On Asking Experts, Part Two, Or, What's An LBGT Voter To Do?

It’s been a few days now since we began a conversation that addresses the issue of how frustrated some number of LBGT voters are with the Democratic Party this cycle; this because they find themselves either frustrated at the lack of progress on the civil rights issues that matter to them, or because they see both the Democratic and Republican Parties as unreliable partners in the struggle to assure equal rights for all.

In an effort to practice some actual journalism, I assembled a version of an online “focus group” at The Bilerico Project (“daily adventures in LBGTQ”), with the goal of gathering some opinions on this subject in the actual words of those frustrated voters.

Part One of this story focused on “stating the problem”, and today we’ll take on Part Two: in this environment, with Election Day staring us in the face, what is an LBGT voter to do?

As before, there are a variety of opinions, including a very informative comment I was able to obtain from a genuine Member of Congress, Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and that means until the very end you won’t hear much from me, except to help “set the stage” for the comments that follow.

A monk asked Ma-tsu [Baso]:
What is Buddha?
Ma-tsu replied: “The mind is Buddha”

A monk asked Ma-tsu:
What is Buddha?
Ma-tsu replied: “The mind is not Buddha”

--From the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings, compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki

We’ll begin today’s discussion with a housekeeping note: in order to keep the story moving in a linear fashion, from one topic to the next, in some instances I edited portions of multiple comments from the same person into one comment. I also edited some comments for length.

The disclaimer out of the way, let’s start the conversation with Zoe Brain, who sums up Part One rather neatly in one comment that absolutely did not have to be edited together:

We had a Dem super-majority in the Senate.
We had a Dem majority in the House.
We had a Dem president.

It wasn't enough. We need more. So let's use the only weapons we have for behaviour modification; our money and our votes, to make sure that the next time this can possibly happen, around 2020 (though 2028 is more likely), we won't have a repeat performance.

Andrew W responds with a bit of legislative “nuance”...and in doing so, he makes the point that looking beyond Democrats for solutions may be the way to go:

A "Democratic Super Majority" is different than an LGBT-Majority. We have never had an LGBT super majority. In the current US Senate we have only 56 votes. After November we will have 51 or 52 votes.

Stop saying "Democrats." It misses the point. Our challenge is to find 60 US Senators that support our equality.

SoFloMo makes a similar point:

Perhaps we have become too comfortable surrounding ourselves with other gay folks and straight allies. We're terrified of losing the only friends we've had in politics, so we cling to them despite the abuse.

We need to encourage one another turn our outrage into concrete action. Just feeling bad won't do any good.

Here’s some more from Andrew W:

We spend way to much talking about the "Religious Right," bigotry exists in anyone that accepts the traditional Christian belief that we are wrong. That's 70% of Black voters and they are primarily Democrats...

... We need people as our allies, not organizations. We need to educate, enlighten and enroll our neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers. Two-thirds will support our equality - especially if we leave religion and politics out of the conversation. Both religion and politics divide people - we just want to ask people to stand for one thing, our equality.

Try it out over the next week. You'll be surprised.

So let’s get to the big issue: vote, or don’t?

Here’s Bill Perdue’s take on the question...

On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010...vote left or cast your protest vote by sitting it out (barring important referenda, propositions or initiatives).

The only good vote is a protest vote. In a system run by competing gangs of like minded hustlers voting is not important except as a way of validating that system....

...It's a fool's errand to believe that participation in a rigged electoral system is the way to change. It's the road to perpetual lesserevilism, betrayal and defeat.

Elections can be used to organize and educate movements in struggle but elections don't bring change except in the sense that they (rarely) ratify changes forced by mass actions in the streets, workplaces and barracks. Those are the kind of battles we can win and those are the kind of battles that produce fundamental, permanent change as opposed to hopey-changey.

...followed by Andrew W:

While "mass demonstrations" may sound appealing or possibly effective, they aren't going to happen. The biggest crowd in D.C. is likely to be for two cable-tv comedians at the end of this month.

Polling data indicates the religious grip on "beliefs" (including the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong) is weakening. Of all those that define themselves as "religious" only about one-third are "literalists" and I would suggest their beliefs are virtually unchangeable. I'm not suggesting we try to change those minds, but rather we marginalize them by enrolling the other two-thirds. Most of them will put equality before religion.

The other dynamic is age - we are much more likely to get support from those under the age of 40 because they are less religious.

We need the young people that put Obama in office to turn out on November 2nd. Unfortunately, many in this audience have heard the GetEQUAL [a pro-civil rights group] narrative that "Obama didn't keep his promises." Young people are likely to believe that "we're angry" and not vote...

GrrrlRomeo has some thoughts as well:

The second thing I'd tell them is don't think of it as voting for Democrats, think of it as voting against conservatives. Look, anti-gay Christian conservatives have no problem holding their noses and voting for a Republican just to vote against gays or abortion.

I'm sorry that people were under the impression that we could really get this stuff done in 2 years. There are 420 bills backed up in the Senate. It's obvious to me that the Republicans were doing everything they could just to make the Democrats fail so that the progressive base would throw one of our predictable tantrums and not turn out.

I do understand. I was with the Green Party in 1996 and 2000 as I was unable to forgive Clinton. But whatever Obama hasn't done...he has not done anything so unforgivable as Clinton signing DOMA [the Federal Defense of Marriage Act].

More on the subject, from symbiote

I would tell a frustrated gay voter this: Own it! You vote. You make your choices. You allow yourself to be lied to, over and over, in a repetition of craving. It is time to look for candidates who support equality for all, and vote for them--even if they don't win. It is a natural consequence of change that the first people for whom we vote will lose.

But if continue to vote for people solely on the idea that they are "electable," then we will never build support for candidates that share our views, and thus, we ourselves destroy their "electability."

Andrew W opines further on what a voter should expect from a politician—and what they shouldn’t:

... After reflection, I would add this: tell this "democratic voter" that there is no "promise" in politics, only "hope." As in life there are no "guarantees." All we can do or expect is our best efforts. The idea that politicians have "let us down" is not the exception, it is the rule. We should learn from that. We should understand we cannot "hire" politicians to save us - we need to do it ourselves.

Politicians are motivated by their constituents beliefs - it is what gets them elected. That is OUR job - changing minds. Instead of expecting politicians to handle the job, we should simply do it ourselves. We've spent 40 years betting on politics and we have little to show for it. That should make all of us think twice about continuing to believe "somebody else" will save us. Our equality is our responsibility...

... Our only political hope is targeting a few States where public opinion could change enough to turn the tide. Senators will either reflect the views of their constituents or they will be replaced. We need to change those views.

An additional question I had for the “focus group” was what you say to voters who do not differentiate between “the Democrats” or “Congress” and supportive and unsupportive legislators?

Here’s what Tim W’s thinking:

I would tell them the same thing I have said many other times. If the Democrat is a true ally in actions and not in words then they deserve our vote. If not I will be voting for someone who is. We are where we are because the Democrats feel we have no where else to turn to. The politics of fear that we aren't as bad as the Republicans doesn't cut it anymore...So the old scare tactics don't work. Democrats need to be held responsible for their actions.
We definitely should not be giving money to the DNC [Democratic National Committee], DSCC [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee], OFA [Organizing for America, the Barack Obama campaign’s “legacy” organization], or the newest branch of the Democratic Party the HRC [Human Rights Campaign, a pro-civil rights group]. That money is being wasted to elect the Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincolns of the world. Give money to candidates that are pro-gay be it Dem, Rep, or Green.

Bolton Winpenny offers another perspective:

I recently started publicizing the idea to stop supporting democrats that don't support us...While I understand the risk of giving republican's power, I don't think we have much gain that warrants a large risk. This conversation, along with the Get Equal campaign, "We'll Give when we Get" and other similar sentiments makes a big statement that the Democrats will hopefully listen to...Things are changing in the Republicans where they seem more interested in anti-abortion and anti-Christian than they are anti-gay...

What does work is spreading awareness and education... Shortly after LGBT Freedom Week 2010 a PA [Pennsylvania] senate subcommittee voted down 8 to 6 (tabled) a move to add "one man and one woman" into our constitution. Two years prior, the same committee, with only one member change, passed a similar bill 4 to 10.... Four votes changed after a state-wide campaign to spread awareness and education over the LGBT plight for equality.

Bill Perdue would tell you that, in some instances, you just won’t find any supportive legislators:

If they're in unions or one of the other struggle movements they should be encouraged to break with the Democrats and move left.

Their real incentives come from corporations so we have to provide an counterbalance of mass movements and mass demonstrations to get concessions. When the profit margin hits the fan, as it does in the case of ENDA [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] and equal wages, expect no concessions.

Still another topic from the group: what’s to come after this election?

Deena has a theory:

Bielat will defeat Barney Frank and Pelosi will no longer be speaker of the house when Republicans win the majority. In one sense that will be tragic yet in another it will set the tone for 2012 when progress can be made. I think it is the best change in recent history because the house will know lip service is what it has always been -- BS. Obama will also have to pay attention or he is toast in 2012.

As does Bill Perdue:

The next anti-incumbent Congress will do no better than the last anti-incumbent Congress and in 2012 the Republicans will suffer for it. They're as rancid and rightwing as their Dem cousins and even less popular, because they don't bother lying about it...

And now: a point of personal privilege.

I have kept my opinions out of this discussion, because it really wasn’t about me, but as we close out this conversation—and the election cycle—I am going to tell you that there was one comment that struck me as being the closest to what I might say if I was a voter in this situation; it comes from John Rutledge, and it required no editing at all:

I have been in the same angry place as the writer before and will likely be again. After all, this is personal. This is our lives.
I just read the Obama interview in the Rolling Stone. I hear a brilliant mind, fair and balanced. Possibility is alive, like never before. It is also close to passing us by with the upcoming elections. Now is not the time to indulge in wallowing. I now this fight is tough, but we just can not give up. We have to continue to push. Being resigned and cynical is only being that. It makes one useless to bring about change. So choose. Go home and bitch to whoever is willing to listen, be ineffectively righteous, or suck it up and get in the game. Grow or blow.

Finally, as I promised, we’ll wrap all this up with a comment from Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-08), who has been absolutely supportive of advancing civil rights for LBGT citizens, despite the fact that he’s a freshman in Pennsylvania, which kind of makes him “double vulnerable”.

I managed to catch up with Murphy on a live chat at Bilerico, where I asked him what he would tell voters who see Democrats as unreliable partners and don’t recognize that some Members are more supportive than others.

We’ll close out this conversation by giving him the last word on the subject:

...Some of you have brought this up today and I couldn't agree more. The far-right wing and hate mongerers are coming at me with everything they have because they know that if they knock me off, no member in a tough district will stick their neck out for DADT or other LGBT issues for years. I need your help to win this thing and show these guys that we won't back down from doing what's right.

Comments

i've read a lot of comments...

...to produce these two stories, and i find the "vote" argument far more persuasive than the "stay home" argument.

it's tougher to consider the voters who will vote green for good reasons. in the end, i might be inclined to vote anti-republican, if i didn't have available a compelling candidate for whom i'd rather vote.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Because I'm not LGBT I almost passed on making a comment..

I hear and understand your frustration. Lots of people are frustrated about many things. We're all going to suffer if you don't vote. Things are going to get worse, not better, if the wackos win.

Stan Bozarth

i don't know if you recall...

but in part one we discussed how this sort of came up and caught me by surprise; this because i'm not gay and i also didn't have any real handle on how widespread this was, nor a sense of how deep the discontent might really run.

having conducted this little focus group exercise, i'd suggest that the democratic party establishment is also not fully aware of what's going on here.

i'd also suggest that you could do this with other democratic constituencies, and you might well achieve the same results; this could help explain a big part of what "enthusiasm gap" might exist as well as why democrats are on the defensive today, and not republicans.

and just to close out the thought: you can look back over the past 30 years or so and see any number of examples of the democratic party not understanding their voter base, to their later dismay; i'd like to see democrats come out of this cycle not so badly off as many think, with a way to reengage with their core voting blocs and a plan to move forward with a legislative agenda.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

If the wackos win, maybe it will wake some people up

Case study: Wake County School Board taken over by nutjobs last year. The sanity backlash may actually increase the Democratic majority on the Wake Board of Commissioners this year.

So yeah. I'm punishing those who have failed to deliver even the most basic stuff (DADT repeal or just freakin' keeping LGBT issues in the sainted health care "reform" bill) when they've have plenty of power to do it.

I've lived through the likes of Reagan and the rise of the Falwell's moral majority. Sarah Palin doesn't scare me.

I'll support the likes of Patrick Murphy -- a true champion and ally. There may be a dozen of those in Congress.

For you to imply that the whole of the Democratic caucus deserves our support because Patrick Murphy is in it...well, that's insane.

The spineless Congressional leadership (the House won't stand up to the Senate, the Senate won't stand up for anything) doesn't deserve a damn thing.

When Congress starts to deliver results, they can ask for my vote (and money and time) again.

 

i didn't think i implied that.

as it happened, i had been talking to another democratic member of congress' press secretary who did not follow through with a comment, and by coincidence i ran into murphy on a live chat at bilerico and got to ask him that question.

he got the last word because he's a member of congress who answered my question directly, and i very much appreciated that.

as far as the slant of the comments goes, i'd encourage you to visit the original bilerico posting, where you can see how things went.

my goal was to try to reproduce the feeling of that string of comments, and i think i did it pretty fairly.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

As a parent with children in that school system

I do not appreciate the "wake up call" being made at the cost of my children's education.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I'm worried that

even though the General Assembly delivered a bill on LGBT equality (anti-bully bill, which is so important given the recent rash of suicides), and that even though Elaine Marshall has championed equality in a way no US Senate candidate from NC ever has, that many LGBT voters are so turned off that they wont vote, or will actively cast punishment votes.

I fear that the GOP will take the state Senate, pass a constitutional marriage-discrimination amendment, and redistrict in such a way that there is no hope of change for another decade.

i think there are people around the country...

...saying the same thing--but consider the position of an lbgt voter in ga-08, where jim marshall is the highly unsupportive democrat.

except for moving up here to seattle, what else is there to do?

more or less, that was how this situation was put to me by a colorado voter, who sees both bennett and buck as horrible choices.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

stupidity

Not your post, which is exceptionally well done, but this quote:

"...It's a fool's errand to believe that participation in a rigged electoral system is the way to change. It's the road to perpetual lesserevilism, betrayal and defeat."

and the attitude it represents.

For one thing, single issue voters are just arrogant and short-sighted. Yes, that issue may be the most important thing in the world to that person, and it even may be the most important issue in that election at that time, but not voting in this election assures victory for people who will do far more than damage that one issue.

Children who now have healthcare will lose it.
Women who now have choice likely will lose a lot of it.
Tax policy will be set in an ignorant and ultimately economically destructive way.

And more to the speaker's point, redistricting lines will be drawn in favor of people who hate him. Not people who frustratingly dilly dally with court motions when Presidential Directives would do. People who want him dead.

To this voter, I ask whether, if you were in a car driven by a guy who listens to you, but isn't doing everything you want as quickly as you want, are you going to shoot the driver and hope the car keeps going on its own? Does the fact that two steamrollers are behind you and semi trucks are on either side change your mind?

And before someone starts quoting the Letter from a Birmingham Jail at me, understand that I am not arguing for a go slow approach to civil rights for anyone. I am not claiming that the Administration is right.

But while Martin Luther King was frustrated by the comments of white ministers that he was moving too fast, and was frustrated by the pace of change in the Kennedy Administration, I am pretty certain he would never have counseled sitting an election out, or voting for Lester Maddox.

Protest nonvotes are nothing more than an abdication of responsibility. It says - "I am more important than society. My issue matters more."

Guess what? It doesn't. Like every other issue, it is one of a myriad of things to be considered.

Protest votes gave us George W. Bush. The people quoted above may want to see what happened in Florida in 2000, and the ultimate cost of thost 100,000 protest votes for Ralph Nader by people who thought they were too cool for the two party system.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I have no intention of not voting

I have every intention of punishment voting -- namely in my US Congressional race.

Children who now have healthcare will lose it.
Women who now have choice likely will lose a lot of it.
Tax policy will be set in an ignorant and ultimately economically destructive way.

You seem to imply this hasn't happened in the past 2 years. To not realize that this has happened at the national level is truly impressive stupidity.

And it was all for the health care "reform" bill: Stupak compromise. Not effective until 2014. Rates still going up double digit percentages each year.

 

Oh, I forgot about your magic fiat machine

all is possible because one wishes. Right?

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

All is possible when you act instead of cower in fear

Great polling on the issue? Check.

Majority of votes in each chamber? Check.

No veto threat? Check.

So what's been the problem?

You tell me.

And don't say 60 votes, because Senate rules can be changed on any day that ends in "y"

Robert Byrd did it twice in his career, and it didn't take an act of Congress (literally) to do it.

 

the best legal argument i've heard...

...regarding the difficulty of making major changes to the senate rules, and, thereby, make changes to "cloture", lays out like this:

As noted earlier, the Senate considers itself to be a “continuing body.” This is because (1) the Constitution provides for overlapping Senate terms by which only one-third of the seats can theoretically turnover in each election (and therefore, two-thirds of the Senate continues to serve with no interruption), and (2) the number of Senators continuing their service exceeds the number constitutionally required (a simply majority) for a quorum. Thus, there is no point at the beginning of a new Congress at which the Senate could be said to lack the possibility of a quorum
for processing chamber business.

This principle has been interpreted to imply that the Senate is continuously organized across Congresses, as well. In other words, Senate rules continue to apply across Congresses with no action necessary from the body to re-adopt them. The Senate did not readopt its rules at the beginning of the 2nd Congress (1791-1792) and standing rules changes have always been accomplished in the context of the procedures and precedents established by the standing rules as they existed at the time. In 1959, the Senate explicitly incorporated this understanding into the standing rules, which state, “The Rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next
Congress unless they are changed as provided in these rules” (Rule V, paragraph 2).

(all members of the house are reelected every two years, therefore there are no continuing members, and the incoming house adopts a new set of rules with every new congress)

if you live by these rules (and there are proposals that would try to ignore this for the purposes of making changes), then you're stuck with having to get 67 votes to change senate rules; in this environment you can probably see the problems with that approach.

but since you asked "what went wrong?"...i have a theory:

i think obama failed to sell health care, loudly and from the bully pulpit, in the march-august '09 time frame, in a way that would drag reluctant senators to "go along with the program", like it or not.

instead, he sent that sucker to senate finance for three months, and it got lobbied and "town meetinged" into the current watered-down form with no counter influence coming from the white house.

that taught republicans that they could use obstructionism to great effect...and here we are.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

This Senate rule business is utter bull

Not just for LGBT issues, but for every progressive issue Harry Reid has killed or compromised away.

You ask for a ruling from the chair.

Any day. Any time.

A majority vote sustains it. You're done.

 

again...

...i'll defer to the crs for the answer here...

In the past several Congresses, there has been increased discussion of what recently has been called by some a “nuclear” parliamentary option to end debate and vote. Under such a scenario, the chair, perhaps occupied by the Vice President serving as presiding officer or by the President pro tempore of the Senate, would set aside the existing provisions of Rule XXII and rule that cloture could be invoked by simple majority vote. Supporters of such an approach argue that if such a ruling were appealed by opponents or submitted to the Senate for decision, and then sustained by a majority vote, debate would end and the pending business could then be brought to
a vote.

In another version of this scenario, a Senator might raise a constitutional point of order against the decision that cloture had not been invoked on a matter, and the same end achieved if the point of order were sustained by a majority vote of Senators. Supporters argue that this proceeding would be permissible because under the Constitution, the Senate has the express right to make, or change, the rules of its proceedings at any time. This has led some Senators to call this scenario the “constitutional option.” Under Senate precedents, however, constitutional questions are to be submitted to a vote of the full chamber for decision;13 therefore, the chair also would have to act in contravention of the precedent that constitutional questions are submitted to the Senate (or the rule that submitted questions are debatable), perhaps by stating that the body has a right to “get to the question” at hand.

In the 108th and 109th Congresses, the focus of such proposals was on certain judicial
nominations, not on other business. Those concerned about filibusters on these questions in particular argued that the inability of the Senate to reach a final vote on a nomination represented an abdication of the Senate’s duty to perform a constitutional duty, that of advising and consenting to nominations. In the current context (as well as in some historical ones), these proposals are often intended to apply to all debatable questions, or, in some cases, at least to questions in relation to a rules change at the start of a new Congress.

Opponents have used the term nuclear to describe these scenarios, in part because they rely on steps that would violate existing rules or precedents, or both, but also because of the belief that their use would destroy the comity and senatorial courtesy necessary in a body that operates overwhelmingly by unanimous consent. They further argue that such an approach might destroy the unique character of the Senate itself, making it more like the House of Representatives, where a majority has the ability to halt debate any time it wishes.

Observers point out that such a parliamentary proceeding is not unprecedented. On several occasions, Vice Presidents acting as the presiding officer (including Vice Presidents Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and Nelson Rockefeller) offered advisory opinions from the chair that the provisions of Rule XXII can be changed by a majority vote of the Senate at the beginning of a Congress. In 1975, a ruling to this effect, submitted to the chamber by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was sustained by a vote of the Senate. The Senate later reversed itself by recorded vote, but whether this obliterated the precedent permitting cloture by majority vote has been a source of disagreement. For example, Senator Robert C. Byrd, the architect of the 1975 cloture amendment, observed that the reversal vote “erased the precedent of majority cloture established two weeks before, and reaffirmed the ‘continuous’ nature of Senate rules.” Others argued that such a precedent was established and was not overturned. Senator Walter F. Mondale observed, “... the Rule XXII experience was significant because for the first time in history, a Vice President and a clear majority of the Senate established that the Senate may, at the beginning of a new
Congress and unencumbered by the rules of previous Senates, adopt its own rules by majority vote as a constitutional right. The last minute votes attempting to undo that precedent in no way undermine that right.”

this footnote is also worth your attention:

S.Res. 396, submitted in the 111th Congress, seeks to address this issue and provide that Senate rules do not automatically apply on the first day of a new Congress. To provide for a rules change outside the operation of the current rules allowing extended debate on such a question, the resolution presumes expiration of the current standing rules (but does not seem to provide a mechanism to implement or cause their expiration). The resolution does not appear to provide a mechanism by which the Senate would end debate on a rules change.

...so at a minimum, it is highly questionable as to what could be done from the chair and what can't--and you'll note that even robert byrd himself argued for "the continuing approach" as to how senate rules work.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

i should add...

...a commentary on quorum calls.

the deal on quorum calls is that any senator can call for one in association with every single vote, and a quorum call takes 15 minutes of senate time.

so if you're looking to shut the senate down, what you do is grab a bill that's up for floor consideration, and you present to the clerk 100 amendments for consideration.

as each amendment is ready for a vote, you demand a quorum call.

every 100 amendments guarantees 25 hours of delay; as a result it is possible, if you're so inclined, to absolutely guarantee that no senate business will transact.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Bravo! More apologies for the US Senate's failure

I'm sure you're worth every penny the DSCC (or a similar organization) throws your way.

I'll wager this Senate rule discussion is small comfort to Judge Catherine Eagles and Judge Albert Diaz from here in NC who have been waiting for months for a floor confirmation vote.

It's not just LGBTs that have been screwed by the US Senate, but everybody!

 

you are exactly correct...

...to note that this is screwing everybody.

you are exactly wrong as you make assumptions about me and the dscc.

nonetheless, this rule problem is part of what's going on, and simply saying "it's bull" denies the reality of how the senate works.

the reason harriet myers is not a supreme court judge today is because of the fact that republicans saw that a life of endless quorum calls would be bad for them, and they abandoned the "nuclear option" stuff themselves in the 109th congress, and ended up withdrawing her nomination.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

naive

I get mad at them too,but Harry Reid did in fact schedule a vot on DADT, and it was killed by a Republican filibuster.

You can jump up and down and claim the filibuster is evil, yadda yadda. 6 years ago, we wanted to preserve it to keep Bush from running rampant.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

the issue related to cloture and delaying votes...

...is a tough one, but we sure would be looking at an even more right-wing supreme court today with a justice myers (in fact, i think of her as a "sarah palin" kind of justice...not very informed, but plenty willing to take positions), and if the senate goes r majority this time (which i don't think it will), folks on this side will be considering cloture procedures in a whole new light.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

so you would have voted for Lestor Maddox then...

glad to hear it.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I'll let the late General Johnson explain

Decade after decade of support for the national Democratic party.

It's 2010 and what have we gotten?

A hate crimes bill that hasn't been used once -- ONCE!

That bashing in Savannah and the other recent ones somehow didn't merit Justice Dept attention.

So yeah. Screw the coalition that keeps telling me to wait.

I've waited for decades.

It's past time to pay the piper.

 

i want to ask you...

...to put yourself in a different position for a moment.

imagine that you are a member of congress who is supportive of the agenda that we're all pursuing here (i was going to say a democratic member, but that pretty much goes without saying), and you are operating in a legislative environment that is not supportive.

what message can you send to voters that communicates to them that you're on their side, even as the party leadership isn't?

the reason i'm asking you this is because of the murphy comment: i do think if large numbers of lbgt voters withdraw support for the democrats, then democratic politicians would be more likely to move rightward on civil rights issues, since, theoretically, that's where the remaining voters will be found.

there was a considerable commentary regarding the ineffectual nature of the efforts of gay, inc., but to me there seems to be a bit of a catch-22 situation: you gain influence among members of congress by targeting money and "boots on the ground" to the right people at the right time, but doing that hasn't worked so far, but getting rid of the gay, inc, infrastructure would mean you'd need to create a new one, in order to target the money and influence you need to get things done.

so...what are your thoughts about all this?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Your premise is wrong

i do think if large numbers of lbgt voters withdraw support for the democrats, then democratic politicians would be more likely to move rightward on civil rights issues, since, theoretically, that's where the remaining voters will be found.

I hear the voice of the DNC in your comment here.

If you move rightward away from your base, then you move back to it (to the left) to reclaim those votes.

Secondly, words are insufficient no matter who they come from. Actions matter.

Hold up your leadership's agenda until they give you what you want. Ask Bart Stupak about that.

 

i came to that conclusion...

...because i'm looking at murphy's comment to this story, and that's the implication i draw from the outcome he posits.

he's a member of congress, i've never campaigned for anything, so to me, he seems to be a bit of an expert on the subject, and that's why i'm asking the question.

the larger point is that if voters see "the democrats" or "congress" as the problem, then there is no external incentive being applied to induce members of congress, or candidates, to act in a way that advances civil rights.

let me try the question this way: you note that there are about a dozen members of congress doing the right thing right now. presumably you would like to induce other members of congress to at in a manner that duplicates the efforts of this dozen.

so...how would you approach the question of how you provide support for the dozen in a way that "incentivizes" the others?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

You "incentivize" the others with carrots and sticks

They've gotten carrots for the last 4 years (to narrow this down to current Congressional members -- though in truth it's been decades for the party).

Patrick Murphy is getting a ton of LGBT support that I'm sure you're already aware of. He gets carrots as do the rest of that short list.

Time for sticks for rest of them.

I have no interest in incentivizing those that have held up progress for the last 4 years (or the past decades).

I have an interest in dumping the current fearmongers in leadership, so that future politicians will be "incentivized" to deliver.

 

i actually use the "carrot and stick" anology myself...

...and that's why i've kept after this question.

to me, this is the most challenging part of the deal.

as you note, a lot of support provided to a lot of members isn't getting results, but i would suggest to you that withdrawal will also send the wrong message--and as of right now, i haven't heard anyone who has suggested a "third way" that could break this logjam...and i think if this process is going to move forward that third way will have to be found.

for what it's worth, andrew w's comments about targeting certain senators makes a lot of sense, but it also seems as though we've been down that road with little success so far.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Another DNC code word

Third way.

No thanks. Try doing something first.

but i would suggest to you that withdrawal will also send the wrong message-

And I disagree.

And some of us are going to try this new strategy now, since decades of working with Democrats hasn't gotten us anything.

 

Supporting your oppressors

is not a "new" voting strategy, my friend. The South has a long history of figuring out ways to "guide" the voting of former slaves and the poverty-stricken.

To do so of your own volition (without being coerced) might be new, but that doesn't make it wise.

I'm sure you don't mean it, but

This is beyond galling.

"Supporting your oppressors" is exactly what LGBT Democrats have done for decades by sticking with the Democratic party and getting nothing. It's flippin' 2010!

Only Nixon could go to China.

Ted Olson and the Log Cabin Republicans are (to my dismay) leading Democrats on the road to equality.

It's time to try that route.

 

Leading where?

Seriously. What have (or will) the Log Cabin Republicans achieved in the realm of LGBT legislation? What rights have they secured for you? What rights do you think they might be able to secure for you, in the next hundred years?

I'm not being sarcastic, I really don't know.

The Log Cabin Republicans (the national group)

There is no functioning LCR in NC -- no matter what some other blogger says.

The national LCR is the group that filed the lawsuit against DADT.

The DADT court case that's been in the news? The LCR was the entity that brought it.

So... the Log Cabin Republicans got DADT declared unconstitutional...and the Obama administration is defending DADT.

This is the same Obama Justice Dept that hasn't prosecuted a single hate crime (like the one in Savannah I mentioned before), but finds time to defend DADT and appeal the ruling against it.

FYI: an administration doesn't have to appeal federal court rulings. Don't let any "process apologist" tell you differently. In fact, the Obama Justice Dept just decided not to appeal another case at the circuit court level just a couple weeks ago.

But they're appealing the DOMA ruling (1st Circuit) and DADT ruling (9th Circuit).

This is why I'm past done with Obama.

 

I wasn't aware of that

Which doesn't say much about how closely I've been watching this thing. Sorry.

I'm still not sure that's justification for supporting run-of-the-mill Republicans over Democrats, but it is enlightening.

just for the record...

...on this one, there will be an appeal, no matter what.

the reason for that is because if the administration doesn't, an intervening third party will come along and ask for permission to defend this, and they'll get it, which is also the situation with prop 8.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Is there any length you won't go to

...to excuse continued bigotry?

The inherent duplicity of Senate procedural rules.

Parties that actually have standing in the DADT suit.

Despite your protestations for continued "engagement" and progress, you sure do spend a lot of time spinning excuses about why things can't be done.

Did you ever think that's why pitifully late attempts at "engagement" aren't met with open arms?

We've provided the open doors for progress, but the Democrats haven't walked through them.

 

i'm not sure, once again...

...how you get the impression i'm trying to excuse anything.

where, in this comment...

...but i do truly understand why some of the people who replied to that string of comments feel that democrats are just as unwilling to advance civil rights as the rs.

put yourself in the position of someone who came into the political process in '08, possibly for the first time, because, at long last, maybe they could walk down the street and live a life just like any other citizen if we just get the democrats in there--and now, here we are, with the "change" president unwilling to really use any political capital on this issue, and the congress looking as feckless as ever...and if i've got my political analysis right, the next shot at this issue is a four month window in early 2013...which means democrats will be going to lbgt voters and asking for support, again, in '12, with doma not legislated out of existence, nor will enda be passed, and dadt will also likely still be in place...and that's not going to be an easy sales pitch.

chris rock does a joke about how ron goldman was driving around la in the car that oj bought for his ex-wife, and oj murdered him; about that chris rock says: "i don't think he should have killed him...but i understand."

to me this is a similar situation: i do hope lbgt voters see advantages to a democratically controlled congress, for all the reasons you've talked about above--but consider this: if you come to me, time after time after time, asking for support, and i back you, but you deliver nothing for me...after awhile, we're gonna "have a problem"...and i will tell you, if there's anything i learned here, it's that there is a community of lbgt voters who now have a problem with the democratic party.

...do you see anyone excusing anything?

what i am doing, time and again, is bringing facts to the table, even when they are pointing to problems that i wish i knew how to overcome, when i don't.

"change the rules, dammit" probably won't work, the lawsuits are probably doa if they get to the roberts court, the green party ain't gonna be enacting a lot of legislation any time soon...and many democrats show every indication of being as feckless as ever.

i'm looking for new ideas, but there's not a lot of new thinking that's coming to the table here--but that's not entirely surprising, if you consider that there's not really anyone, today, who has figured out how to move past this set of problems.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

zealotry sucks

no matter the issue

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Except when Obama rolls over for other groups

He won't appeal this one, but is only too happy to appeal the rulings against DOMA and DADT?

Kiss my @ss, Obama and Justice Dept.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Aug. 6 that the Park Service's regulation forcing individuals or small groups to obtain a permit for First Amendment-protected activities was unconstitutional. But the court upheld the agency's policy of setting aside designated park areas for larger demonstrations and the sale of printed material after applicants obtained a permit.

The Justice Department declined to appeal the ruling.

Emphasis mine.

 

Sorry to impose a little reality on your rant

but there is a big difference between a District Court ruling in one District in California or Massachusetts or Iowa and a ruling of the DC COurt of Appeals on a matter affecting Federal Property.

A ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is, for all intents and purposes, a final ruling. The Supremes won't touch it.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

The question is about the administration's actions

...not about the Supremes desire to take a case.

It's clear what this administration is willing to fight for and what it isn't.

 

no

the question is the level of the court being appealed from, and whether it is incumbent upon the party tasked with defending statutes in Court to appeal or not.

We don't let Federal District Court Judges' decisions control matters of national policy. THey make a decision, one party appeals, and the subsequent higher decisions set the national decision.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is, for all intents and purposes, a national court when it deals with Federal issues. There is no need to appeal that order. Case closed.

By the way, you are arguing with friends here, and turning them off rapidly.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

With friends like these..

That's the point I'm making on a "progressive" blog like this.

There was no need for Obama's Justice Dept to ask for a stay of Judge Phillips decision on DADT -- whether they appealed or not.

You know this as well as I do.

Continued apologies for inaction mean less and less every time they are made.

 

well you know what?

come tuesday, somebody's gettin' elected, and somebody is going to be speaker of the house, and they are going to hold the fate of enda and doma and dadt in their hands...and if you are so correct that a speaker boehner would be a better choice in moving that agenda forward, then that's the vote (or non-vote) that you gotta make...and why don't we all meet back here in about two years and see just exactly how well that worked out?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

hey...

...i get that you and i see this in a different way...and no worries, that's what it is.

what i don't get is why you toss in the little "oh, you're the dscc and they pay you" or "dnc code words" digs, which really bring nothing to the discussion, and, over time, drive away people you might like to ally with one day.

i make a point of being very "down the middle" about this stuff, even to the extent of posting information that supports arguments you're making in this string, and i'm not sure why you don't recognize that in a more positive way.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

If you don't get that an ally doesn't

...keep asking for just a little more time -- over and over and over.

Well, then you're not going to get it.

And yes, this third way crap is exactly what Clinton delivered. The same Clinton that delivered DOMA and DADT.

I've heard this argument before. Fool me once...

 

i used third way...

...as a mathematical construct, and here's why:

right now, those who seek to advance civil rights face two unhappy options:

one, maintain alliances that haven't been effective, and hope things get better...

..or two, dismantle those alliances, leaving lbgt voters more or less alone, trying to advance the same issues, which, if history is any giude, is a low-probability option as well.

since options one and two both look like bad choices, maybe what's needed is some...oh, i don't know...some third option, that might be more successful, that, as of today, no one seems to have been promoting.

a "third way", if you will.

it appears that you're not interested in engaging in that kind of thinking, however, at least not on this page, and that's too bad, because the entire point of these stories is to engage in a dialogue that might lead to some new ideas for the reader community and to see where that might end up.

and just for the record: third way is hardly a phrase confined to clintonesque politics.

in addition to the folks who seek to promote world trade, there are third way movements among the mennonite community, and the third way center, who, since 1970, have used the name as a reference to a third way alternative to incarceration and homelessness for troubled youth.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

with all respect...

..."not effective until 2014" isn't entirely accurate.

no exclusions for kids with preconditions is already in effect, as is the ability to carry your kids on your insurance until age 26.

the "donut hole" is already closed for seniors.

lifetime limits on how much care your insurer has to pay for is gone, annual limits are phasing out.

if you have to go the er for emergency care, you no longer get stuck with a higher bill if the er is "out of network"...something that happened to The Girlfriend this year.

"not entirely in effect until 2014" would be accurate; "not in effect" would not be accurate.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

if you go to bilerico and follow...

...the original string of comments, you'll notice that i asked more questions about this issue than any other...and i gotta tell ya, i'm a strategic voter by nature, which means i'll hold my nose and pick the least worst...but i do truly understand why some of the people who replied to that string of comments feel that democrats are just as unwilling to advance civil rights as the rs.

put yourself in the position of someone who came into the political process in '08, possibly for the first time, because, at long last, maybe they could walk down the street and live a life just like any other citizen if we just get the democrats in there--and now, here we are, with the "change" president unwilling to really use any political capital on this issue, and the congress looking as feckless as ever...and if i've got my political analysis right, the next shot at this issue is a four month window in early 2013...which means democrats will be going to lbgt voters and asking for support, again, in '12, with doma not legislated out of existence, nor will enda be passed, and dadt will also likely still be in place...and that's not going to be an easy sales pitch.

chris rock does a joke about how ron goldman was driving around la in the car that oj bought for his ex-wife, and oj murdered him; about that chris rock says: "i don't think he should have killed him...but i understand."

to me this is a similar situation: i do hope lbgt voters see advantages to a democratically controlled congress, for all the reasons you've talked about above--but consider this: if you come to me, time after time after time, asking for support, and i back you, but you deliver nothing for me...after awhile, we're gonna "have a problem"...and i will tell you, if there's anything i learned here, it's that there is a community of lbgt voters who now have a problem with the democratic party.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Political Reality is what it is

Anyone who wants to be politicly active must know what reality is.

1. LGBT folk and those in the progressive movment like to threaten the party with motivate my movement or my movement will not vote. To many folks in politics if you have to be motivated just to show up and vote you have little value to the process.

2. The Democratic parties main goal it to elect Democrats, not to promote progessive movements or LGBT causes. In order to get the party to take you seriously you have to show that following this cause will get more Democrats elected that not following this cause. Losing the votes in 2008 in California and 2009 in Maine on Marriage laws did very little to impress the party on how much political clout the LGBT voter has.

3. Too many folks in the Black community, which has alot of power in the Democratic do not consider LGBT cause "civil right" and are offended when such a charge is made. Truth of the matter is some of the loudest objections about LGBT come from certain groups of black Democrats either the LGBT needs to settle this dispute no matter how long it takes or they will always be behind the 8 ball. Just because the LGBT declares their cause a civil right does not make it so.

4. Bill Clinton was a the only Democrat to serve two terms as president for the last half of the twentieth century, as a matter of fact only FDR and Woodrow Wilson served two terms as Democrats in the twentieth century at all. This makes him admired and respected to the Democratic party, do not be so loud in your objections of him it will only cause a strain between you and the party. It is my opinion of him that I do not know what he stood for at times, but he was one of the best at knowing what the mood of the county really was, and if he did not come to your aid as much as you wished it was because he did not the politcal value in your cause.

5. Obama the progessive movement and LGBT took their eye of the ball for the last two years and they are going to pay for badly next week. The most imprtant issue for the last two years has been jobs. Not health care, not immigration, and not LGBT, it has been jobs, and the unemployment rate is around 9.8% for two years. Also companies have frozen raises, cut hours, reduced benefits and the morale in the work place is very low for those of us who still have them. Until this issues is solved all the other issues are meaninless to most voters.

I almost agree with you

but there are times when the party should do what is right. This is one of them.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

but what is the right thing

When you ask 20 different Democrats what the right thing is on LGBT you are going to get 20 different answers, and they are most likely going to be all over the place. This is an issue that unites Republicans and divides Democrats and LGBT does not help itself by throwing temper tantrums when things do not go as they plan.

Sit down

...shut up, and be happy with your second class citizenship!

Um...No thanks.

You're clueless if you think this topic hasn't been dividing the GOP for the past few years.

I've even mentioned Ted Olson and LCR upthread, but google GOProud.

 

if you are happy spining your wheels knock your self out.

First of all LRC is a total joke, the North Carolina branch was began by some guy in Hickory that most Catawba County GOP members had never heard of. I know of no one in the GOP outside of Megan McCain who favors LGBT. The Democrats have no LGBT strategy except to agree to disagree. Which means respect opinions you do not share, try to understand where the other guy is coming from, and keep an open mind. Or you can declare yourself a second class citizen, without actually showing how you are a second class citizen, considering you can eat at any resturant, use any public restroom, attend any school you are able to attend. You can also call everyone who does not fall into your line of thinking various names, and spin your wheels till you are happy. And if you wish to join the GOP and I not stopping you, I wish you well over there I am sure you will be happy.

If you'd taken the time to read the thread

...you'd see that I've already said there is no functioning NC branch of LCR.

And you are simply woefully out of touch if you think Megan McCain is the only Republican who "favors LGBT"

And no, I can't attend any school I want to attend. You're just willfully ignorant of daily life as an LGBT person in America.

Did you see any news in the past few weeks? The story about lesbians asked to leave a shopping mall in Raleigh ring a bell?

Second class citizenship? I'm sure you or your spouse will enjoy the survivor's Social Security benefits. There's a nationwide, literal, federal, specific second class citizen item for you.

Moderate, heal thyself.

 

There does seem to be a Green Party in NC

http://www.ncgreenparty.org/

And clicking the link to their platform brings up this:

5. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

Here's a list of NC chapters:

http://www.ncgreenparty.org/LOCAL.html

Charlotte Area Green Party
Serving Charlotte and its metropolitan area.

Eastern
Greenville and eastern North Carolina.

Buncombe County Green Party
Western North Carolina, including Hendersonville, Brevard, Asheville and Boone.

Piedmont Green Party
Serving the Triad area.

Triangle Area Green Party
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, including Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake counties.

OTHER AREAS

Locals may not yet exist in other areas of the state. If you would like to organize a local in your area, please contact the officers. Dedicated staff will be pleased to assist you in forming a local chapter to serve your community.

My suggestion, is that if one feels they must break from the Democratic Party, that you break left, not right. If the right gets more votes, then the lesson is move right, but if the support goes to groups left of the Dems then maybe the message is move left. This seems to be one option for where to direct your actions. Although it took a few clicks to get through to that link, the NC Dems party has a rainbow flag right on front. =p http://www.ncdp.org/

With the court challenges to ballot access, they may be poised to become a more viable option. Might be a good time to push them towards actively pursuing equality issues.

This thread was started by a national blogger - not based in NC

My ire here has been directed at the failings and outright hostility to progress of the current Democratic White House and the national Democratic party.

If someone outside NC is going to come in here to prep me to haul water for Obama on Nov 3rd or try to lay blame LGBTs for the tide crashing on the Democratic party next week, they're going to hear a response from me.

He can have his other platforms elsewhere, but such a narrative will not go without response in my state.

I'm more than well aware of the differences in how the parties have acted at the state level vs. the federal level.

North Carolina is historically a ticket-splitting state. If some national group wants to put us in play on a regular basis, they need to know what's expected from (assumed) base voters.

Cunningham's double defeats should have taught them that lesson, but it seems they need to hear it again.

 

i don't recall prepping you...

...to haul water for anybody, nor do i recall blaming lbgt voters for anything, either--and frankly, i think we've had enough conversation about you projecting your own hostilities onto me by now that we should have moved beyond this...and if you're going to keep flinging that stuff around, then, apparently, i have to react.

i do recall beginning a conversation about how the national democratic party seems to be unaware that there's trouble in the ranks of lbgt voters, and i do recall putting the words of lbgt voters on these pages...and i do recall inviting you to visit the original postings at bilerico to judge for yourself whether i've accurately reproduced the sense of those comments, which is something you don't seem to have taken the time to do.

now for some reason i cannot fathom you seem to be convinced that pretty much everyone on this page is against you, even when we're as frustrated with the party as you.

the fact that we can articulate specific reasons why roadblocks are standing in the way of progress doesn't mean we support having the roadblocks in the way, and i wish you could grasp that as well.

you also seem to be absolutely convinced that roughly 13% of the population is going to win a political fight more or less by themselves--and quickly, too--and i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that's not happening.

consider this...in the same way that lbgt votes alone won't crash the democrats, they also won't make the "green party" into a majority party in either the house or the senate...and that means that the only reason any federal lbgt legislative agenda would move at all after that is because democrats do it anyway, even if the lbgt community stops being supportive to the party.

wanna take a guess as to whether that's a high-probability outcome or not?

of course, if the democrats are the minority in either house, game over.

so even after having said all that, as i've said before, i still would understand if you are so hostile to democrats that you don't vote for democratic candidates, and having looked at what the commenters had to say about all this, it's not that hard to see how you might feel that way...but i do think you're going to find that it doesn't work out successfully.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Pushing for equality isn't a tantrum

It can fall on the spectrum from advocacy all the way up to civil disobedience, but no where in there is it a tantrum.

And anyone who is denied equality has every right to complain, and to challenge that discrimination in the best way they see fit.

The best way I see is too support my pro-equality elected officials (along w/ a host of other advocacy efforts), but I can easily see how people who live in different parts of the state would not find their officials so pro-equality, and so their path to challenging inequality might be different than my own.

it is a tantrum

LGBT is a difficult thing for the paty to deal with. The best they have done is to agree to disagree, and everyone be civil towards each other. As I have said, many do not see this as civil rights issue but others do. When one side declares that there side is the only one that is right and the other is wrong than the party suffers. When those who favor LGBT become so self rightous that they are just plain rude to the others side, then yes it becomes a tantrum. We in North Carolina may be the last southern state in which the Democrats are the majority party, if they are able to hold on to it next week it will be becasue they held their various groups togather, and if they do not they will have to get it back, and that will not come by throwing out folks you do not agree with on this issue.

i have to say...

...that if i'm a second-class citizen in america, and i elected a party to fix that...and it's not fixed by now...there's plenty of reason to be screaming mad.

but the question then becomes "will i advance my agenda by making a different voting choice" along with the toughest question any single-issue voter faces: "will i hurt my larger interests if i only vote based on this one issue?"

i truthfully think lbgt voters hoping to move a federal legislative agenda have to decide from among several bad choices, and picking the least bad one may be the only choice to make.

the unfortunate reality is that one of those bad choices represents something like benign neglect, the other represents extreme hostility that literally includes those who would have lbgt voters killed--or "cured"--if they could; to me it seems relatively easy to discern that one of those bad choices is far worse than the other.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

If someone is saying

(not that anyone here is, just hypothetically), but if someone is saying "x group of people deserve less rights than everyone else" then they are already being uncivil or rude or what have you. There is just no polite way to say "you, to the back of the bus"

An uncivil response isn't necessarily the answer though. You often attract more allies with honey than vinegar, but if someone is saying "you should be a 2nd class citizen" then they are starting the incivility.

Whether or not opposing discrimination is viable in North Carolina doesn't change the fact that opposing discrimination is what we ought to do, and that we ought to stand up against those who impose discrimination.

i couldn't agree more...

...and for a lot of candidates, advancing civil rights also makes good politics.

the trick is to create an environment where advancing civil rights is good politics for virtually all candidates, and so far, we're not yet there.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

I am not sure

If you understand that the while the party is opposed to discrimination, it is still not settled on is LGBT a civil rights/dicrimination issue. For now they tell both sides just to agree to disagree and be civil toward each other. As far as I can tell blog is smoewhat civil, but when someone from LGBT is not it affects the civility of the whole, which right now is not the time for this to happen.

This debate has come back to fear itself

From the last few comments:

a speaker boehner would be a better choice
b

of course, if the democrats are the minority in either house, game over.

The suggestion is still that we LGBTs should be afraid of Speaker Boehner and nutty teabaggers in power.

Speaker Boehner will give me exactly what Speaker Pelosi has given me. And that's nothing.

A hate crimes bill that isn't enforced. Knock me over with a feather.

And I'm willing to take the bet that no federal constitutional amendment will pass the US Senate or US House.

So I'm not shaking in my boots at the prospect of federal GOP victory.

I've got nothing to lose.

And it's telling that the Democrats are the ones trying to -- in Colbert's words -- Keep fear alive.

 

you have alot to fear about a GOP victory

It does not matter if you are Pro-LGBT, Anit-LGBT or Indifferent-LGBT. The mess they made and will make is going to reek havoc on this country more than they already have.

every thing you're saying here...

...may well turn out to be correct (although, honestly, it won't, but we'll get to that)...assuming that you can discern no other difference between a democratic and a republican congress than the way lbgt civil rights issues are dealt with.

if you liked the direction the us government was taking in 2004-2005, when republicans last ran congress, except for the lbgt policy, then you're absolutely right to vote republican.

but if you think that voting republican is a smart move because it's going to advance the cause of lbgt civil rights...you've guessed wrong.

we have a sitting member of congress on this page who's told us you're wrong, and explained why...in fact, we have a highly supportive member who told you that you are going to lose congressional support with this kind of approach...and i'm going to frankly tell you that when i consider what he had to say and what you're saying about this, i think he's more right than you.

and pointing all this out might look like "keeping fear alive" to you, but to me it looks like "hey, have you seen this reality over here!" or "hey, i'm trying to help advance the same cause as you...and i'd appreciate it if you don't make it harder...", or "hey, you do realize that there are other issues besides lbgt civil rights, right?".

because that's what the various commenters on this page are trying to tell you--and we're all trying to do that in a friendly and supportive way.

finally, a dose of realpolitik: what murphy seems to be telling us is that if lbgt voters decide to go their own way, and things get worse, in a variety of ways, you will not see civil rights at all on the agenda in '12 or '14, because issues like jobs and the economy will matter a lot more--and frankly, that's how barney frank felt about doma repeal a full year ago.

you want some cold hard reality?

the very best legislative shot at advancing civil rights, if the lbgt community can help get this over the hump, is in that narrow window of time after a potential obama reelection...if you have d majorities in the house and senate, and the stars all align, and it becomes politically disadvantageous to be the 60th senator who stands in the way.

that's it.

that's the only way this happens--and that is an ugly reality, but there it is.

now you can go vote republican to prove me wrong, if you think that's really smart...but if you really believe that two years from now, with a republican majority house and/or senate, the political situation for a legislative solution on lbgt civil rights will be unchanged...well, you are incorrect in that assessment, and time will prove the truth of what i'm saying.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Stop being so reasonable.

Seriously, dude. You are so freakin' hard to argue with.

i can't make it to the march...

...but, hey, why not try a bit of sanity right here?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

You're laughable

You continue to deal with vague future promises and predictions and dreamy insights.

I'm the one that has laid out the facts of the past and where we are today.

A course has been taken to its end -- the height of its power. It still failed.

A new course will be tried.

You don't know how absurd it is that you think you can lecture me on "cold hard reality" or "realpolitik."

You continue to direct action out of fear, and keep giving direction to wait for my issue's turn or it'll be worse later. It is later.

Heard it all before. No longer buying.

If you were truly helping to advance the cause, you wouldn't keep saying, "Wait a little longer."

 

and as i've said before...

...best of luck with that, and two years from now, we'll see how it went.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965