One thing is clear after reading HRC’s Post-Election Lament; Analysis: if the organization is serious about advocating for gay and lesbian Americans in our nation’s capital, it needs new leadership. Its leaders just don’t get the issues which helped elect Republicans across the country. It is time for Joe Solmonese to step down and to be replaced by someone who knows how to “talk Republican”, given that Republicans will soon control one house of Congress.
Solmonese’s background is in left-wing partisan (Democratic) advocacy. Before coming to HRC, he worked for EMILY’s List, an outfit which defines itself as “a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women“.
In its analysis, HRC almost got the meaning of the election:
Voter anxiety over economic affairs created a difficult environment for incumbents and swept conservative majorities into the U.S. House and state legislatures around the country. Thankfully this election was not characterized by as much wedge-issue demagoguery as we’ve seen in the past but make no mistake, these new leaders are no friends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Yeah, the new leaders may not be friends (as they define friends) to the gay and lesbian community, but they’re surely not enemies. HRC did get that the GOP swept to power by ignoring “wedge-issue demagoguery,” but its leaders missed the issue that really resonated across the country (save perhaps in California): that government has gotten too big and is spending too much.
People want government to leave us alone so we can solve our problems on our own. And that’s a message which should be welcome to gay and lesbian individuals and should certainly not be anathema to the gay community.
If HRC had a leader who understood that message, then he would understand that the results while perhaps damaging to their notion of gay equality (whatever that means) could bode well, very well for the gay community. Just as government shouldn’t interfere in the marketplace, so it shouldn’t meddle in our homes. If it wants to have any influence in the 112th Congress, HRC’s leadership needs to tap into the freedom rhetoric that so resonated with the American people in yesterday’s balloting and lobby Congress not to enact laws which limit our liberty.
And to do that, they don’t necessarily need a Republican leader or one from the Tea Party movement, but one familiar with and respectful of the ideas which undergird it. Joe Solmonese is not such a man. And that’s why it’s time for him to go.
NB: Tweaked the post to fix some sentences which didn’t read well.