So patent is HRC President Joe Solmonese’s pandering to Democratic politicians it’s almost as if he were prepping a skit for Saturday Night Live. Left-of-center lesbian blogress Pam Spaulding once compared his interaction with the White House to that of Sally Field winning an Oscar, seeking reassurance that the president’s team still likes him, right now, they like him.
Well, Joe took a step yesterday showing that he is still eager to win the White House’s affection, endorsing Barack Obama for re-election before the Republican field has even been set (and more than seventeen months before the actual election). Let’s hope he has better luck with his endorsement than did Elizabeth Birch, one of his predecessors who, in 1996, endorsed an incumbent Democratic president for reelection only to have their endorsee sign the Defense of Marriage Act not long thereafter. Lot of good that endorsement did. Despite Clinton’s taking gay voters from granted, HRC did not rescind the endorsement.
And while this endorsement (just like that one) comes as no surprise — Joe’s blind devotion to the Democratic party has long been clear — something happened yesterday that comes as an incredible surprise, shattering the firmament of the gay political establishment. No, it wasn’t the swift response from our friends at GOProud whose executive director Jimmy LaSalvia, within an hour of HRC’s announcement, said the “pre-emptive endorsement” shows HRC to be “little more than a puppet of the Democratic National Committee“. Since their founding, our friends at GOProud have not hesitated to criticize HRC’s blind allegiance to the Democratic Party.
The real shocker was that not long after GOProud’s LaSalvia issued his statement, Log Cabin’s, yes, Log Cabin‘s Executive Director followed suit. Yep, R. Clarke Cooper did something one of his predecessors instructed his staff never, never to do. He criticized not just the executive director of another gay organization, but that organization itself. And he didn’t mince words in doing so:
By prostrating themselves before Barack Obama eighteen months before the 2012 election, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has effectively told the president that he doesn’t have to do anything more to earn gay and lesbian votes. Given his lackluster record in the fight for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal, LGBT Americans were counting on HRC to hold the president’s feet to the fire on his other campaign promises, not to become a branch of his re-election campaign . . . This endorsement also sends the wrong message to potential Republican nominees. There are several possible candidates who deserve to be fairly judged on their own merits, and the dialogue on equality issues for the 2012 campaign has barely begun. This decision makes it clear that Joe Solmonese’s greatest priority is an invitation to drinks at a Democratic White House, not securing votes for ENDA, DOMA repeal, or tax equity. Such a pre-emptive endorsement is a mistake and will undermine equality efforts.
Emphasis added. Kudos, Clarke. Like Deborah Kerr’s Anna in the King and I, you’re reminding us just how much Joe is groveling to the presiden (at 2:35 below):
Now that we’ve got Cooper criticizing HRC, the next step is to get him to start sounding more like a Republican and focusing on liberty endeavors instead of “equality efforts.”
UPDATE: In an e-mail to me, Pam Spaulding quipped, “I was still shocked that Joe S. began the ass-kissing so early this time. Never too early for cocktail invites, I suppose.” (Qu0ted with her approval.) Like Cooper, she did not mince words in her post on the endorsement:
this illustrates that if HRC is on board, the assumption is that entire LGBT community is stepping in line by default. Is it “Groundhog Day”, a case of waking up and starting the same day over and over with these folks? HRC no more controls the community than blogs do, as we’ve seen before, it’s just that the institutions seek credibility through our Beltway orgs.
Read the whole thing.