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May 18, 2006

Dean's Pink Poodles

You would think the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, would be spoiling for a fight over the upcoming reintroduction of the Federal Marriage Amendment. You'd be wrong. Instead, Joe Solomnese and others have bowed to the demands of Howard Dean, with gay families offered up on the sacrificial altar of Democratic politics. Washington Blade editor, Chris Crain, is having none of it.

Rather than actually defend gay families and make the case for gay marriage, HRC continues to argue that the American people don't — and shouldn't! — care about marriage equality for gay couples.

"Voters want candidates focused on soaring gas prices, a healthcare crisis and national security," Solmonese says in the release, "not putting discrimination in the United States Constitution."

What sort of gay rights strategy is it, when the attention of Americans is focused on our issues, to argue that our rights aren't important, and refuse to engage our opponents in the debate over our equality? [. . .]

Can you imagine Martin Luther King, Jr., responding to an attempt to rollback the gains of the Civil Rights Movement by arguing that the issue shouldn't be debated because rising gas prices are more important?

The HRC can't raise money to defeat state level amendments, and now they won't debate gay marriage when the nation and the media are focused on Congressional deliberations over the FMA. They can, however, come to the rescue of abortion activists in no uncertain terms.

What, exactly, is it these people do again? Why do we need them? Aside from the gala dinners, influence peddling, and activists enriched on donations from gay people and their families who suffer real injustices outside the glossy New York - Washington axis.

Dan has additional thoughts on how the HRC and others are pissing away the opportunity to make the case for gay marriage to an attentive national audience. I think now, more than ever, one of my first articles on this blog is becoming increasingly relevant to the movement.

Update: How much do I love Chris Crain? Let me count the ways. Mal linked this earlier article from Crain that I've just now spotted. I've always enjoyed Crain's honesty and integrity when addressing gay issues, even when I've not necessarily agreed with him. However, his recent responses to the DNC's routing of gay partisans mark his Duke of Wellington moment. Crain for President of the HRC!

May 16, 2006

The Dean of the Clueless Corps

Malbug_17DNC Chairman Howard Dean sauntered into the friendly confines of "The Daily Show" last night.  The audience dutifully applauded references to President Bush's low standing in the polls, as well as Dean's predictions of Democratic takeover of the House and/or Senate.

Dean1_1 But then host Jon Stewart had the temerity to ask just exactly how the Democrats were going to manage not to blow the opportunity before them.

Dean's plan: Let's put, say, four people in every state who will knock on as many as 5 to 6 million doors over the next few years.

"So the Dems are now as powerful as the Jehovah's Witnesses," Stewart said.

No, no, no!  See, this is where the plan gets brilliant.  If they're not home, then you hang this nifty little door-hanger on the doorknob!

Dean3 But Stewart was having none of it.  When he pressed Dean for an actual message, it was essentially, "We'll be less grafty than the other guy."

Then Dean actually angled the Democrats to the left of President Bush's centrist immigration policy.

Stewart neatly summed things up for Dean: "You are so not taking back the House and the Senate."

(Incidentally, no reference whatsoever was made to Dean's recent, humongous gaffes regarding gays.)

[Watch video – 7:38, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 7:38, WMV format, low bandwidth]

In other "Daily Show" news, Stewart took a cold, hard look at the reports of NSA-related phone shenanigans.

900gay_1 Hot on the heels of Administration denials of surveillance of domestic phone calls came a USA Today story last week stating that the National Security Agency has indeed kept a massive database regarding billions of domestic phone calls.

The government explanation has been that the database analyzes only call patterns, and not the content of all the calls themselves, to spot potential terrorists.

As Stewart points out, it's probably cold comfort to those of us whose call patterns are suspicious for any number of other reasons.

[Watch video – 6:22, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 6:22, WMV format, low bandwidth]

May 08, 2006

Burying, Rathering Than Grinding, Axes


Many on the gay Left have made a cottage industry of demonizing their political opponents, even when those opponents also happen to be gay.  So it was refreshing to see today's WaPo op-ed by Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, and her partner, Hilary Rosen, former director of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Rather than continue the Left's pointless and self-destructive crusade against Mary Cheney, the pair welcomed her more public stance on issues of concern to gay Americans:

Mary's presence on the national stage -- the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives -- is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans.


We applaud Mary Cheney's leap onto the national stage. The timing of the book's release is a welcome boon to the current effort to defeat (for the second time) the White House-endorsed Federal Marriage Amendment, which is before Congress and would put discrimination against gay and lesbian families into the Constitution. The vote has once again been timed by the congressional Republican leadership to exploit the midterm elections.

Mary is leading the Cheney family to bring new understanding to dinner-table discussions across the land. We look forward to the Cheney family embracing this teachable moment, not just on the book tour but in election halls, state legislatures and Congress.

Nice to see that "Dear Mary" website hasn't been updated since the 2004 election, by the way.  Then again, leave it to those kooky gays not to let a chance at political posturing go by, at the expense of actually making a meaningful difference.

April 11, 2006

Playing on Another Field


Corey Johnson steps from the out-athlete limelight and into politics.

April 07, 2006

Quote of the Day


Doesn't Rick Santorum believe this is a sin?:

"He tends to come from behind."

Ed Gillespie on Sen. Rick Santorum

April 03, 2006

Number of Tears Shed Here: Zero

Malbug_13Good-bye, Tom.  Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way back to Texas.

March 26, 2006

If Ya Can't Bribe It, Ya Gotta Elect It

Greenback How deeply has Brokeback Mountain penetrated every level of American culture?

Lori tipped us off to this attack ad being run on local television by the Guy Drexington campaign in Georgia. His opponent for state insurance commissioner, John Oxendine, just can't quit Big Insurance and HMOs.

Entitled "Greenback Mountain," sheep, spanking, and satirical content abound.

[Watch video – 0:31, WMV format]

March 21, 2006

Primary Apathy

Voted I've just realized it's election day here in Illinois. I admit, going into the ballot box, I am the epitome of the uninformed voter this year. Furthermore, I'm an Independent. With the Democratic gubernatorial incumbant, Rod Blagojevich, likely to be renominated for a second term, I'm thinking I may go Republican here to aid moderate GOPer Judy Barr Topinka in staving off the right-wing Scooby villain, Jim Oberweis.

However, I'd really like to vote in the Democratic primary for County Board President. Our current entrenched president, John Stroger, is one of those corrupt machine types Chicago is famous for. Also, he's in the hospital recovering from what seems to have been a serious stroke. Cook County is a disaster area, and Stroger's Democratic opponent, Forrest Claypool, seems like a very able guy. (Even if his name does scream, "My ancestors were in the KKK!")

Decisions, decisions.

I'm not terribly familiar with Illinois primary rules for Independents. If they allow me to vote in whichever primary I want, regardless of party, it's all good. If they force me to choose one party for the entire ballot, I plan on having a tantrum right there on the gym floor. God help the election judges if I'm in reaching distance of dodgeballs. They'll be in for a rather trying morning.

Unless they give me lots of stickers. Because, hey, who doesn't like stickers?

February 22, 2006

Empire State Pride Pitch Perfect on Hillary

Evita With another Clinton election on the horizon, gay support for the architects of the Defense of Marriage Act seemed a fait accompli, but lo and behold, the head of one New York State gay organization is having none of it.

The head of a leading gay rights advocacy group in New York has begun criticizing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's position on same-sex marriage and encouraging gays and lesbians to stop giving money to her re-election campaign. [. . .]

In his memo, which was reported on Tuesday on the Politicker Web site of The New York Observer, Mr. Van Capelle said that he refused to "lend my name and sell tickets" to any fund-raiser sponsored by a gay group for Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign. He said supporting such fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton would "actually hurt" the gay and lesbian community.

"It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community," he said. "We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send."

Mr. Van Capelle notes he will still vote for Clinton, but in his capacity as the head of a gay rights organization, he is not justified in signing on to fundraisers for a candidate working against the group's expressed interests.

Perfect. Hopefully certain others will follow suit.

January 29, 2006

Dear God, Let It Be So


Cindy Sheehan said she is considering running for the U.S. Senate against Dianne Feinstein, not exactly a John Birch Society member herself.

Sheehan made her announcement in the country run by Hugo Chavez, the America-hating, self-styled "second Fidel Castro of Latin America."

I am not making this up.

January 27, 2006

Cuomo Stonewalls Dem Club


Cuomo_1 The Stonewall Democrats of New York City have asked Andrew Cuomo, son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to answer charges that he was involved in the distribution of anti-gay signs in his father's first gubernatorial campaign.

Signs reading "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo" surfaced during Mario Cuomo's 1982 primary battle against Mayor Ed Koch.  The younger Cuomo, who is running for New York attorney general, appeared to duck questions about his involvement in the episode during a candidates' forum.

Some in the audience were even left with the impression that Cuomo was questioning whether the signs had existed at all.

[Newsday: "A discord from Cuomo's past resurfaces"]

January 24, 2006

Meet Canada's New Boss, Same As the Old Boss?


Employing a tactic that worked so well for John Kerry, Paul Martin decided to run against George Bush, and he lost.

While some are raising concerns about how gays will fare under Canada's new Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, Reuters feels otherwise, seeing "little chance he will bow to demands from some in his party to clamp down on gay marriage and abortion."

Meanwhile, the Bloc Quebecois, which has an openly gay party leader, lost a net two seats in Quebec.

October 18, 2005

Playing with Hooks

  Via GayPatriotWest comes this story about a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Virginia and his attempts to lighten his opponent's Republican red to a nancier shade of pink.

What lies at the heart of this whispering campaign at scorching volume? A torrid love affair with an employee? A spotting at a seedy club? A former career in hair-styling?

Nope. Just a lisp.

Continue reading "Playing with Hooks" »

October 13, 2005

Simon's Quest

  Brian Ellner, the man responsible for the most hilariously inexplicable political ad ever, has returned to the New York political scene in a strange alliance with Republican Michael Bloomberg. Chad at Cake Or Death notes:

Bloomberg, who's had the benefit of being a Democrat in conservative clothing (or vice versa), and to my knowledge has never really drawn the ire of the Manhattan gay community, is leading in the polls. Does he really need an out-of-the-closet gay aide? Ellner on the other hand, is already being called a sell-out by a lot of his gay base. Granted, he's already lost the race for Manhattan borough president, but I can't see how this decision will benefit any future political aspirations if he's so hell bent on running under the "Look-at-me-I'm-gay" banner.

I guess it's possible this was a principled decision on Ellner's part. I'm just not sure what that principle is.

I don't care why they've done it. I'm simply chuffed we get to see his "by the way, this is the man I make vigorous, passionate love to every night" partner, Simon.

I love Simon.

October 07, 2005

Jeff Launches!


A website, I mean.

And I must say, I like his picture there better than his (admittedly cute) mugshot-like photo here.

September 29, 2005

Goodbye, Tony

Malbug_13TonywilliamsThe WaPo is reporting today that D.C. Mayor Tony Williams will not seek a third term.  As a recent District expat, I will be sorry to see him go.  (Indeed, it was not uncommon for Republicans to cross over and vote for him in both primaries and in general elections.)

Just as Abe Pollin and the MCI Center deserve an enormous amount of credit for igniting a renaissance in some of the District's most blighted downtown areas (and helping again make real estate there a worthy investment), Tony Williams might someday be judged as the driving force behind a future such transformation of the city's ravaged Anacostia waterfront.  (Of course, a historic gay playground will be razed in the process.)

His baseball-sy crusade to bring the Nats to town was criticized by some whose motives were largely their own political ambitions.  He has been known for a style that tends to the aloof and egg-headed, but if there is one thing the cesspool of District government sorely needs, it is a technocrat – and several fewer "deputy mayors."

The Post nails it:

Drafted to run for mayor in 1998, Williams won -- and inherited a boarded-up, trash-strewn downtown along with a dysfunctional city bureaucracy that still used rotary phones, couldn't manage to collect people's garbage and operated at the whim of a federally appointed control board.

Williams quickly brought an air of competence to the District Building, balancing city budgets and releasing Washington from control board authority. He also attracted development downtown and to neighborhoods across the city, while pushing for radical changes in the urban landscape, including redevelopment of the Anacostia waterfront and renewal of the city's historic thoroughfares.

Tony Williams was handed a thankless, Herculean task, and he worked wonders within those confines.  His successor will have mighty big wingtips to fill.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Mayor.

September 23, 2005

Run, Jeff, Run!

Malbug_13Jkc2002 Jeff Cook, an old-school Malconfidant (that's my too-cute term for "friend," seeing how every other blogger has an arsenal of neologisms), sent me an email by way of his exploratory committee for Congress:

Our campaign is challenging conventional wisdom and the politics of complacency in Washington.  The political insiders are already paying attention to our campaign.  They are learning what you and I already know--that now, more than ever, is the time for strong, unifying leadership to restore faith and confidence in our institutions.

I don't know much about his (Republican incumbent) opponent, Sue Kelly, even from my eight years on Capitol Hill (which is probably part of the reason she is getting a primary challenge.)  But I do know Jeff.

What makes him different?  He is running as unabashedly Republican and gay.  His campaign alone is a mark of courage.  He is also smart, well-spoken and very personable.  (It doesn't hurt that he is as cute as a button!)  Would that there were hundreds more Jeff Cooks nationwide.

In an article in The Hill ("Gay Republican will challenge Rep. Kelly in primary in N.Y.-19"), Jeff elaborated on why he is running:

“I have become really concerned in the last couple of years about the direction of some of the leaders in our party,” Cook said. “If the Republican Party is unwilling … to stand up to the trappings and the temptations of big government, then who will? We’ve got to have a dividing line. There’s got to be a party to stand up for the taxpayer.”

Alluding to former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s book Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Cook warned that the country is “slouching towards larger and larger government.”

Good luck, Jeff!

August 21, 2005

Blogosphere Reax to Weld Announcement

.08 Acres (and a Donkey) says: "Someone is going to run to the right of Weld in the GOP primary. The question for Weld is whether there are enough liberal Republicans left in New York to win the nomination."

The Bad Hedgehog says: "The first thing Weld is going to have to explain to all of us is WHY."

Colorado Pols says: "Maybe Governor Bill Owens has a new political future as governor of New Mexico or Wyoming."

Minipundit says: "This guy is the perfect blend of social liberalism and economic moderation. I don't care if he's a Republican; he's my guy."

Blogcabin says: "If Mitt Romney can run for President from Michigan, I say why not?!?"

North Dallas Thirty says: "Personally, this would be a tough choice for me on the gay-rights issue."

The Four Horsemen says: "He was elected in Massachusetts and appointed ambassador by Clinton - sounds liberal enough for New York. Welcome to the race Mr. Weld."

The Politicker quotes Empire State Pride Agenda, which says this of Weld on gay rights: "His recent statements represent a complete and disappointing reversal of his original position."

Bostonist says: "We can offer kudos to Weld for resisting the siren song of the white house, which seems to be luring Republican governors from their jobs left and right these days."

And finally, Gothamist says: "Weld is a native New Yorker and has been working at a city law firm, which might temper some carpetbagger criticism, but his liberal leanings - support for abortion rights and gay rights - might be unattractive to conservative New Yorkers (the ones upstate)."

August 19, 2005

Another Pro-Gay GOP Gov in New York?


Weld What started out as the most half-baked of ideas has now emerged from the oven: Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld wants to return to the governor's mansion, but this time in Albany rather than in Boston.

A northeast progressive Republican in the same mold as George Pataki, Weld could appeal to a lot of the constituencies tapped by the current governor.  His agenda appears solidly center-right:

Mr. Weld said he would seek to cut New York's income and capital gains taxes, overhaul public education, aggressively protect the environment and crack down on Medicaid abuse.

He also has a good record on gay rights.  Short of getting married to a man himself, Weld did the next closest thing to walking the walk: He officiated at the same-sex wedding of his college roommate.

But the pre-primary panderfest to the right might have already begun.  Weld says he now opposes gay marriage outside of Massachusetts.  (I guess he was for equality before he was against it?)  It will be interesting to see how far to the left of Weld the current Democratic front-runner, Eliot Spitzer, will tack on gay issues.  Spitzer previously issued a legal opinion that there is little to stand in the way of New York's recognizing out-of-state gay marriages.

But don't count out Bill Weld yet.  He has proven himself a consistently tenacious candidate.  And if Hillary can carpetbag her way to legitimacy in New York, why not Weld?