Once again the Democratic Party acts just like the Republicans. They only like our money and our votes!!!
Howard Dean lied to gay Democrats
Gay Democrats should withhold money until the party reinstates the abolished gay outreach office.
Friday, February 10, 2006
LIKE MANY GAY Democrats, I was shocked to learn from a report in the Blade last week that party chief Howard Dean had abolished the Democratic National Committee’s office of GLBT outreach.
Ramon Gardehire lives in Washington, D.C., and is the former deputy director for GLBT Outreach for the Democratic National Committee; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the former deputy director of the office, I see this decision as an affront to all progressive Democrats, GLBT or straight, especially considering the importance of the gay vote and gay dollars to the party.
After the 2004 election, the Office of GLBT Outreach issued a report with exit polling showing that more than 4.6 million self-identified GLBT voters cast ballots in the presidential, congressional and state races. Of those, an estimated 81 percent vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, roughly 6 percent of their total.
The outreach office hired GLBT coordinated campaign staff in 15 of the 21 battleground states, helping us to secure victory in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The gay outreach office also built an e-mail database of nearly 80,000 GLBT activists and voters to help our candidates across the country. With the elimination of the Office of GLBT Outreach, these types of grassroots activities will fall by the wayside.
GAY AND LESBIAN Americans have been and continue to be among the Democratic Party’s biggest financial supporters, contributing more than $5 million in 2004. GLBT voters are also among the most loyal, second only to African Americans in party allegiance.
Now our loyalty is rewarded with the elimination of the GLBT outreach office. And to add insult to injury, Dean has decided to maintain the DNC’s Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council, which raises money for the party from gay donors.
Intentional or not, the message this sends is simple: Our money may be good enough, but we are not.
Defending his move, Dean has been touting his new American Majority Partnership, whose stated goal is to integrate efforts to address the concerns of different minority groups into all of the DNC’s departments and offices.
Yes, there are issues that unite us, but there are also issues specific to gay Americans that must be advocated for, and trusting them to a bureaucratic roundtable trying to work with every minority group will only slow things down.
Some argue this shift at the DNC suggests that Dean believes gay rights may have hurt the Democrats politically. If that is the case, Dean is wrong.
It was wavering and weaving and blatant pandering on gay rights by the party’s leadership and candidates that hurt the party—-not our struggle for equality. In fact, exit poll data from the 2004 election shows voter opposition on marriage and other issues was limited to a vocal minority within the Republican Party—-most independent swing voters didn’t base their votes on our issues.
WHAT’S EVEN WORSE than the DNC’s disservice to gay Americans is the fact that Howard Dean lied on this very issue.
During his campaign to become DNC chair, Dean stated in a questionnaire from the DNC Gay Caucus that, if elected, he would retain the office of GLBT outreach.
Dean has broken his word and his flip-flop is tearing at the contract between the Democratic Party and GLBT voters, which has benefited both for so long. This gay Democrat is growing increasingly tired of political cowardice and lies.
I am and always will be a Democrat despite Dean’s actions. I truly believe that Democratic values align with America’s promise of equality and opportunity for all. But until the Democratic Party can again find its moral compass and adhere to the principles that make me a Democrat, I will withhold financial support and encourage others to do the same.
Until the Office of GLBT Outreach is re-established, we should send contributions to candidates who champion our issues. As with most things in politics, money and our silence will speak volumes, until Dean and the DNC are ready to listen.
We cannot be complacent in our own marginalization.
I am furious and I hope every GLBT person and our friends let Dean know what we think of his throwing us to the curb yet again!!!