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Gauging Dems' enthusiasm to meet Melissa Etheridge

by Jeremy Hooper

So you've probably already heard by now about the upcoming HRC/Logo presidential forum, wherein the leading Dem White House hopefuls will field questions on issues affecting LGBT Americans. But who among those candidates is most excited about the opportunity? Well, let's look at how they are PRing the event on their campaign websites and jump to form a highly unscientific opinion, shall we?

Hillary Clinton is getting the word out in a big way, with a button on the front page of her site encouraging folks to organize viewing parties for the event:

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Barack Obama has a less visible button on front of his web site, but his subsequent "House Party" page has a much more colorful "Obama '08" rainbow and an all-around more appealing page design than Lady Clinton's:

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Which brings us to current thirdrunner John Edwards, who has sort of been stumbling a bit with the LGBT community due to his constant "evolving" and "struggling" with the gay marriage issue (not that the above mentioned duo has been stellar). So what's his web presence for the historic gay debate like? Well...

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...at this point it seems to be completely missing. No button on the front page, no place to organize house parties, no cute little rainbow flags. Hell, we couldn't even find a mention of the event anywhere on the site:

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Geez, Johnny boy! Do we need to put your extremely pro-gay wife in charge of your web site, too?

As for the other candidates? Well, who the hell cares as none of them have a snowball's chance anyway.

We kid ya. Chris Dodd has a small web presence for the event and Bill Richardson also gives it a small nod, yet shockingly we found nary a mention on the site of the very gay-friendly Dennis Kucinich's web site (but it should be noted that his website is said to be re-launching soon). Also, after all the struggling to get on the bill to begin with, Mike Gravel has very little mention of the event, outside of the announcement that he was invited to attend.

There you have the breakdown. So who's the winner? Well, in our opinion: LGBT Americans and their allies are the true winner in this whole situation. Because despite the claims of pandering, despite the varying degrees on campaign site enthusiasm, and despite the fear that questions will be softballs with little to no follow-up, all of the above candidates will be addressing an LGBT audience about actual LGBT issues. No matter how cynical you might be, it's hard to see how this event could possibly be a bad thing. Such soirees were not possible even back when the majority were unaware of Al Gore's global warming passion and 9/11 was just the day that follows this writer's birthday**. So that all of the above will be showing up and that some of them are giving the impression that they are excited for the opportunity? Well kids, Dem tides do seem to be a'turnin'!

Visible Vote '08 [HRC/Logo]
Good As You: Visible Vote '08

**it's true, and I'll be expecting gifts on the 10th!

*UPDATE: Andy speculates at Towleroad that perhaps Edwards' 5:45 event night fundraiser is tied in with the debate? Could be.

*UPDATE2: TMZ weighs in with a discussion of Barack and Hillary's event night fundraisers

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Your thoughts

Two dozen American Beauty roses to you, as Kate Smith used to say, for not wasting too much of your time, unlike so many others, on what the also-rans are doing or not doing.

But we have to take back 23 of them for your buying into the campaign to paint John Edwards as Fred Phelps Lite. At the risk of Jasmyne Cannick declaring me another racist member of the "Gay White Mafia," didn't it strike you as odd that that Black minister only waved his YouTube finger at Edwards when, as you acknowledged, Hillary's and Obama's position on gay marriage has been no better. And, in fact, contrary to exagerations of how Edwards has connected his religious beliefs to his position on gay marriage [one would think he had climbed atop the towers of Notre Dame like some latter day Charles Laughton yelling, "Sodomites! Sodomites!"], Obama is the one, as Black lesbian minister Irene Monroe has frequently and courageously pointed out, who has been wrapping himself in the Bible and the church and God's plan for "man and woman," etc., etc.

But now, miracle of miracles, Obama FINALLY has something official on his campaign Website about gays when, two weeks ago, all one could find were mentions of us by his lavender lemmings in the supporters pages and blogs. Compare that to the fact that Edwards' site included four separate official campaign press releases affirming gay rights in different ways, from calling for the overturn of DADT to praising the passage of domestic partnerships in New Hampshire to condemning the Bush Reich's homohating nominee for Surgeon General. [Hillary's site displayed two, and Obama's none; zero; nada; zip.] Recall, too, that Edwards bashed General Pace's attack on gays before Hillary and Obama. Maybe Edwards has yet to start blowing up balloons for a party the night of the forum because he's beginning to think there's nothing he can do to please the gays while Hillary and Obama get away with doing less.

Posted by: Leland Frances | Aug 2, 2007 3:57:05 AM

Leland: Please give me more credit than what is implied in your suggestions about "buying into the campaign to paint John Edwards as Fred Phelps Lite." I dedicate 10 hours a day to studying LGBT politics; I don't "but into" anyone's ideas but my own.

I agree with you 100% that Rev. Longcrier's wuestion should not have been focused exclusively on Edwards, and have said so on multiple occasions:


Also, there has been no bigger critic of Obama's inability to separate religious from civil marriage than myself:


But what I said in the above entry is that John Edwards has rubbed some in the LGBT community the wrong way with his marriage stance. That is true. It's the way he keeps saying he's "struggling" with it, as if the situation is overly complicated and mentally draining. I hold out great hope that he will step up, and think in many ways that he is in the best position to do so. And it should noted that I have defended the candidate on several occasions. So if you want someone who paints him as "Fred Phelps lite," then you are looking in the wrong place.

The above entry focuses exclusively on how the candidates are PRing the event. It is not a gauge of who is th best on our issues. Hell, Kucinich (who you've made it quite clear you are not so fond of) is the lone supporter or full marriage equality, yet he gave it no mention. So it's not meant to be a testament to the candidate's progressive views on our issues, only their handling of the Aug. 9 event.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 2, 2007 9:11:08 AM

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