Raising the (Gay) Level Of Presidential Debate

July 17, 2007 at 10:23 am 8 comments

After the recent brouhaha over the presidential forum on LGBT issues sponsored the Human Rights Campaign and Logo, its time to get more serious about urging the candidates to take stronger stands. The HRC/Logo presidential forum will be televised live on Logo on August 9th. So far, seven of the Democrats running have agreed to participate.

Among the things I said in a post on the presidential forum is that while HRC does really great work, there is a definite need for more people to get engaged in more ways to ask the candidates questions and to call them out when necessary.

The candidates will be holding campaign events, rallies, town hall meetings etc in the various states that we live in. What is stopping any of us from gathering our friends and families and attending these events and raising the questions that we think are important? Want to know exactly why Clinton does not support marriage for same-sex couples? Show up at an event and ask her the question. Want to know what is Obama’s plan to repeal DADT? Show up and ask him. Want to know what is Richardson’s plan to improve the lives of LGBT youth? Ask him.There is far too much at stake here to expect one organization to do all of the heavy lifting. We all have a role to play and frankly a moral duty to do everything we can to move towards LGBT equality. Don’t wait for HRC to raise the questions that you want answered. Raise the questions yourselves.

A perfect opportunity to do that is through the CNN/Youtube debate question contest. CNN and Youtube are asking you to submit 30 second video questions to the candidates. Selected questions will be shown at the Democratic debate on July 23rd with the candidates answering those questions. The more questions that we can submit on LGBT civil rights issues, the better we have of having a question on gay rights asked at that debate.

Here is a question that was submitted by a 20 year Indiana man asking the candidates what specifically they are going to do at the federal level to ensure that he is an “equal citizen.”

In this clip Anderson Cooper explains how you can make your video stand out to increase the chances of your question being picked.

For more info, click here.


Entry filed under: 2008 Election, Advocacy, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Campaigns, Chris Dodd, Democrats, Dennis Kucinich, Hate Crimes, HIV/AIDS, Joe Biden, John Edwards, LGBT, Liberals, Marriage, Mike Gravel, Military, Politics, Video, YouTube.

GOP Should Stop Playing Politics With Our Troops I Agree With Andrew Sullivan

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amicus  |  July 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    its time to get more serious about urging the candidates to take stronger stands
    o.k., cool, let’s get started. I have a thought experiment for you and all readers.

    First, really great youTube! (I may pilfer it for my blogologologo…

    Now, congratulations, because you have just been put in charge of LGBT strategy for the Obama campaign. You already had your party and after-party to celebrate, so it’s Monday and time to get to work.

    At the morning meeting, the Obama general strategist tells everyone that, according to the recent calculations, Ohio is going to be THE state for Obama, both in the Primary and in the General. He hints that his friends at DCCC are telling him the same thing, although they think it is not quite as pivotal. Nevertheless, you are instructed, along with everyone, to come up with a strategy to win Ohio and win the race!!!

    Now, you know someone who slept with Mr. Ohio 1999, so you go back to your office, thinking this is going to be a piece of cake (because he was, yuk, yuk).

    Anyway, you call in a few favors from the guys at NGLTF, who have forgotten about that incident in 2002 when you had to walk out of a meeting there. (You didn’t really walk out, you just kinda left, but they took it as an afront. – just for the record)

    Now, your heart sinks. Your contact of NGLTF puts you on to Evan’s website and you find out from stateline.org that Ohio is … a SuperDoma State. That’s right, honey, full constitutional amendment and the works! Mr. Ohio was so sweet and nice, how could Ohio be so … miserable!!! You call the HRC to get their polling data from Ohio, but no one returns your call, because they are out Whale watching, right now, in the summertime. You don’t know anyone else that might have Ohio polling data and you know you don’t have money (or much time) to design and to put in a field poll yourself. In a hail mary, you call Tim Gill, but he’s … not at home.

    You sink back into your chair and think, “What the hell am I going to do?”

    Just then, the phone rings. It’s Chris Crain, contacting you and congratulating you on your new job. He wants to know if the Obama campaign is going to be participating in the forum and if he is willing to have Sam Donaldson ask “tough questions” about marriage equality, if maybe you can give him a hint of what the Senator’s position is going to be.

    Suddenly, you want to go back to the private sector …

  • 2. Amicus  |  July 17, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    15 minutes later, you boss pops into the office and says, “With Hilliary polling strong in Iowa and NH, to keep an eye on South Carolina, as a possible entrance to some of the other Southern states. Also, Hill is strong in FL and NJ/NY, so keep an eye on Michigan, too.”


  • 3. bloggernista  |  July 17, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I’m sensing that you think that pushing the candidates to take stronger stands on LGBT issues will back in key swing states. Am I following you? If not, let me know.

    I don’t believe that marriage is the only issue were the candidates can push issues that will have an impact on LGBT people. For example, Obama could take a stronger role in pushing forward the Early Treatment for HIV Act which would make it easier for people with HIV to get government funded medical and social care. Its an issue that could resonate with Black voters, voters concerned about healthcare access and LGBT voters.

    Clinton could take the lead on introducing a bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the senate. It would fit in with her positioning as a tough, experienced leader who will do what it takes to defend the country. Cause, you know, when you are at war in two places where Arabic is the predominant language, its helpful to recruit as many Arabic language specialist as possible even if they are homo.

    Edwards could include in his focus on poverty, reconciling the two Americas and and such reasons why the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is important in terms of helping Americans get and keep the kinds of jobs that will help them take of their families.

    I am not saying that we should ask the presidential candidates to commit electoral suicide. I am saying that they can find a way to talk about LGBT equality in the larger context of their campaign narratives.

    I also thinking as an activist and not a campaign strategist. That’s a big difference and if I was in the scenario you just laid out, that difference would influence my thinking.

  • 4. Amicus  |  July 17, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I’m sensing that you think that pushing the candidates to take stronger stands on LGBT issues will back in key swing states.
    Well, following the discussion in the other thread (cf. Fight the Right, not Each Other), in which we said that “too extreme” may well play into getting a candidate defeated, the ‘game’ then becomes how to get the most without going too far. Of course, if you’ve got ‘hard power’, you can take the elevator up all the way. Otherwise, you have to take the stairs, so to speak.

    Some electoral politics is ‘played’ at the margin, like economics. What turns out to be critical may not be the “strong” views of the generously accommodated gays and lesbians in San Fran, New York, or Massachusetts, or even the Champagne gay activists and writers in Washington, D.C. It *could* be that what matters is what is going on inside the head of voters in Akron, Columbus, and Cincy.

    I also thinking as an activist and not a campaign strategist.
    First, I like your suggestions.

    My sense is that, if you think like a strategist first, you can tailor the emphasis of your activism.

    This calibrates a sense of what is realistic, without giving up any goals, and increases the odds that the *form* of the activism you choose will be a fabulous success (and bring you riches and even catapult you to being on the registry of fabulous, National Gays…).

  • 5. Amicus  |  July 17, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    oh, and, your saga doesn’t end, it just gets more complicated! (that’s why they are paying you the big bucks on each of your ‘volunteer’ checks, so far …).

    You send your preliminary notes in an e-mail, and indicate that you are going to be refining them, as you get more data.

    Your boss sends back a quick reply, asking two questions, that look rude:
    1. Will black voters in Ohio vote racial affinity ahead of ‘gay issues’ in the primaries and in the general, do you think? If so, maybe Obama can take a stronger stand on gay issues than Hillary, and get her from the Left.
    2. Will voters who swung to the right last time in order to pass the gay-ban see themselves, now, as “protected” or “isolated’ sufficiently from ‘National Gay’ issues, and vote on other issues? If so, the downside of a strong opinion “in Washington” isn’t going to affect what happens “in Ohio”. Do you think this is too risky?

    He passes on this link for you to peruse, with its indication that black voters may – may – have been a swing group for Bush-43:


    In a state contest that close, any number of factors are potentially decisive. However, one set of Ohio findings from the VNS exit poll is especially intriguing. Even though Bush improved his overall share of the vote in Ohio by just one percentage point from 2000 (50%) to 2004 (51%), he registered much bigger gains among three groups that strongly oppose gay marriage — blacks (Bush got 16% of the black vote in Ohio in 2004, up from 9% in 2000); those who attend church more than once a week (Bush got 69% of those votes in 2004, up from 52% in 2000) and voters ages 65 and older (58% in 2004, up from 46% in 2000).

    Nationally, by contrast, his percentage of the black vote grew only modestly (by two percentage points) from 2000 to 2004, his percentage of the vote among more-than-once-a-week church goers by even less (one percentage point) and his percentage among older voters by 5 percentage points.

  • 6. Chase  |  July 18, 2007 at 1:38 am

    Please check out my relatively new blog. Progressive blogging with a bite. Geared towards the GLBT community and all its friends. amerracuda.blogspot.com

  • 7. CNN/YouTube Debate Question « Bloggernista  |  July 19, 2007 at 11:01 am

    […] For more on the CNN/YouTube debate, click here. […]

  • 8. hiutopor  |  September 18, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Hi all!

    Very interesting information! Thanks!



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