One-Party State Supporters

Some on the LGBT progressive left are condemning the Human Rights Campaign for endorsing incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Kirk is one of an admittedly too-small number of GOP congressmembers working to make their party more LGBT supportive.

HRC’s policy is to endorse incumbents who are mostly if not 100% onboard with its scorecard priorities—even if an opponent dots more “i’s” and crosses more “t’s.” Otherwise, elected officials would have less reason to be responsive when lobbied—and in the Democratic party, there’s often a primary challenger claiming to be even more progressive across the spectrum than a sitting congressmember.

But as I never tire of pointing out (as it makes progressives stomp their feet so), the worst nightmare of the LGBT left is a Republican party that ceases to be predominantly anti-gay, pulling gay voters away from the party. So when HRC occasionally does the right thing and endorses a pro-gay-equality Republican incumbent, it’s seen as a betrayal. Left foot first; always, left foot first.

I don’t think these progressives actually believe the GOP can be permanently prevented from keeping or taking legislative power so why bother working to reform them. It’s more like if the GOP is allowed to have power in Washington, then worse is better as regards mobilizing LGBT votes and dollars to put the one-true-party back in office.

16 Comments for “One-Party State Supporters”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Some on the LGBT progressive left are condemning the Human Rights Campaign for endorsing incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

    The operative word being “some”, more accurately “few”. A mighty small number of people, when you get right down to it.

    As for the rest of the post, you are off into never-never-land.

  2. posted by Mike in Houston on

    Again with the “it’s progressive’s fault” meme… I can understand HRC’s reasoning — to them it’s all about access, not necessarily results — and still not like their endorsement in this case. Not just because Duckworth has a better record on LGBT issues, but because I happen to believe that it’s in our country’s best interest right now to regain a majority in the Senate (if not the House) in order to break the obstructionist logjam foisted on us by the Tea-publicans.

    That said, I doubt if HRC’s endorsement will have an effect one way or the other with regards to moving the needle with a predominantly anti-LGBT Republican Party. And as Tom & others have pointed out (endlessly, since Stephen has only two drums to beat: progressives are bad; discrimination against LGBT people for religious reasons is good) – it’s not the job of progressives to reform the recalcitrant revanchist rump of the GOP… that’s the job of those that are titularly part of said party.

  3. posted by Houndentenor on

    I have never agreed with HRC’s policy of endorsing incumbents whenever possible. It shows that HRC is about maintaining their own cozy relationships with those in power rather than trying to get something done for lbgt people. Maybe that’s why they have never actually done anything for lbgt people except throw lavish parties and pay their executives well for accomplishing nothing. HRC and other organizations are the problem and will never be the solution. Also, HRC’s endorsements do not and never have guaranteed that any gay people would vote for the endorsed candidate. So it’s a little silly to make a big deal out of their endorsements. They have no effect on elections and never have.

  4. posted by tom jefferson iii on

    I don’t know any gay progressives who hate the idea of the a Republican Party not being glued to the rectum of the religious right. They just realize that gay Republicans and straight Republican allies have to do the work.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      I wasted a great deal of effort over the years pleading with Republicans “friends” and relatives to speak up about their objections to GOP platform planks and policies regarding gay rights. Not one of them ever wrote a single letter or email or made a phone call. Instead they yelled at me. How dare I make them feel bad for voting for anti-gay politicians!

  5. posted by tom jefferson 3rd on

    Jeb Bush endorses Cruz. So, which of the GOP Presidential candidates — still running and able to win the party nod — should the HRC have endorsed?

    I am not saying that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — which has always presented itself as a centrist/third way group — is a perfect organization or without fault. It does some things well, some things not-so-well and their is certainly room for improvement.

    The rules of the game tend to favor incumbency. In Washington D.C., the more time who serve, the more likely you are able to gain leadership positions — especially with committee assignments and the like. So, that may be why the HRC prefers incumbents.

    For better or for the worse — probably a bit of both — when you have men who have been in the Senate or House for year — decades even — they tend to be the people that understand how things work behind the scenes.

    Likewise, the HRC rarely (if ever) has given an endorsement to a candidate outside of the two major political parties. For better or for the worse — Independent and third party candidates very rarely win and (even if they do) rarely have the experience and the connections to move bill through the legislative system (or help stall/kill bad bills).

    Now, we can certainly talk about election law reform — but we also have to deal with the electoral system that rules that we have in place, now.

    So, which GOP presidential candidate should the HRC considered endorsing? How many U.S. Senate candidates and Congressional- GOP — want a HRC endorsement? How many are willing to actually stand up for equal means equal?

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      HRC’s PAC endorsement criteria are public and detailed.

      With respect to the PAC’s preference for incumbents, and the flap over the PAC’s endorsement of Kirk (instead of Duckworth) the criteria say this:

      (1) HRC favors incumbency and when an elected official in a particular seat works consistently on behalf of LGBT Americans, HRC rewards that loyalty; and (2) HRC does not favor dual endorsements, except in the rarest of circumstances. It prefers instead to make the hard choices, even when the record and official position of more than one candidate are exemplary.

      Plain as a goat’s ass, it seems to me.

      With respect to the Kirk endorsement, Chad Griffin issued this statement:

      HRC has always aimed to make LGBT equality a bipartisan issue. That’s why HRC is, and always has been, a bipartisan organization. In fact, we have never in our history won a major legislative battle without bipartisan support. Today, that bipartisan support is all the more important when the threshold for passing anything through the Senate is 60 votes. The truth is we need more cross party cooperation on issues of equality, not less.

      So when members of Congress vote the right way and stand up for equality—regardless of party—we must stand with them. We simply cannot ask members of Congress to vote with us, and then turn around and try to kick them out of office.

      Senator Kirk has been a strong ally in the Republican Party. He was the first Senate Republican to cosponsor the Equality Act, a critical step towards full federal equality. He was one of fewer than a dozen Congressional Republicans to support marriage equality, and he was also the Republican lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He supported the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would never have passed the Senate without the leadership of Republican Senators including Mark Kirk.

      Still, some have questioned his imperfect Congressional Scorecard rating. But Senator Kirk’s score from the last Congress does not reflect his current co-sponsorship of the Equality Act. And because bills in the House and Senate have differed, comparing his rating to a House Member’s is apples to oranges.

      At a time when many in his party are trying to roll back our rights or shy away from LGBT issues, Senator Kirk has worked to move the GOP toward equality. We must reward that kind of leadership from a Republican in the Senate. I wish we had more of them.

      If you are still unconvinced that HRC did the right thing supporting a Republican incumbent Senator who has championed LGBT equality time and again, I will leave you with this thought. After Sen. Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012, he faced months of rehabilitation, and was unable to participate in many votes in the Senate. In November, 2013, he walked up the steps of the Capitol, and his first speech was about the need for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: “I have been silent for the last two years due to a stroke … I have risen to speak because I believe so passionately about enacting the ENDA statute,” he said. Nine other Republicans eventually voted for the bill, which would not have been possible without his leadership.

      I’m not a member of HRC, and don’t support it financially, so I don’t have a say in what HRC or its PAC do. If I was upset about HRC, I guess I could become a member and try to influence the organization. I’m not, so I don’t.

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      “How many U.S. Senate candidates and Congressional- GOP — want a HRC endorsement?”

      That’s a very good question. One that I’ve never heard homocons address.

      Would very many GOP politicians welcome an endorsement from the HRC, or from any other LGBT advocacy organization? Or would they run away as fast as they could to avoid being slimed?

      On a related note, did Ted Cruz ever thank Caitlyn Jenner for her endorsement?


      • posted by Houndentenor on

        I remember in 1996 when staffers for the Dole campaign solicited an endorsement from Log Cabin Republicans so that Dole could quite publicly return it. I realize that is ancient history by now but what exactly has changed since then except that the rhetoric from the GOP is even more harsh than Dole’s “I’m for equal rights but not special rights” meme (that was a flat out lie). The GOP of the 90s tried to disguise it’s extreme opposition to gay rights. Now that opposition is front and center. How are any gay people still Republicans?

        • posted by Doug on

          ” How are any gay people still Republicans?”

          That’s easy, they value their tax cuts and having an ineffectual place at the table more than their own self respect.

  6. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    And as Tom & others have pointed out (endlessly, since Stephen has only two drums to beat: progressives are bad; discrimination against LGBT people for religious reasons is good) – it’s not the job of progressives to reform the recalcitrant revanchist rump of the GOP… that’s the job of those that are titularly part of said party.

    While the task of turning the Republican Party on equality is something that has to be done by Republicans, I’ve learned not to expect the supposedly pro-equality homocons — e.g. Stephen and the cast of characters at Cato — and their allies — e.g. Paul Singer and David Koch, both supposedly pro-equality powerhouses who fund anti-equality Republican politicians — to do anything to try to change the party’s attitudes on “equal means equal”.

    The reason is simple enough — the “recalcitrant revanchist rump” is critical to the party’s electoral success and will be supported at the expense of changing the party’s positions on equality until the day comes, not too many election cycles away now, when “faggot, faggot” is correctly seen as the later-day equivalent of “nigger, nigger”, and the “recalcitrant revanchist rump” starts costing Republicans elections in the Red States.

    Progressives can’t do much to change that, and Stephen knows that, or I think that he does, anyway, based on what he’s written over the years. Witness the ridicule that Stephen tossed on HRC’s efforts to make inroads in the South a few years ago — Stephen opined that the HRC’s efforts were counterproductive since only conservatives could influence conservatives. He’s posted similar sentiments many times, all the while consistently criticizing “progressives” for not entering into dialog with conservative Christians, and blaming “progressives” for not making the case to conservatives. In StephenWorld, progressives are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

    It seems to me that Stephen and his cohorts might better expend their energy showing the rest of us how to change the Republican Party. Yapping about HRC — an Alphabet-Street lobbying group that doesn’t have any influence at all out in the rest of the country that I can see, except possibly in NYC and Hollywood — isn’t accomplishing a single damn thing. At least not a single constructive damn thing.

    I’m not a homocon, but if I were, I think that I would be pushing on Paul Singer and David Koch right now, asking them, in simple and blunt terms, “What the hell are you thinking?” supporting hard-core anti-equality politicians.

    And, if I had a moment of lucidity, I might even ask the question of myself.

  7. posted by JohnInCA on

    I’ve decided I will no longer be annoyed at these claims that left/liberal/whatever gays are the reason the GOP is so anti-gay.

    Insteadiller believe that the left has more influence on their par, I’ll be amused that people like Mr. Mty of choice then they themselves do.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      Ech, that got a bit garbled. The second paragraph is supposed to read:
      Instead, I’ll be amused that people like Mr. Miller believe that the left has more influence on their party of choice then they themselves do.

  8. posted by Tom Jefferson 3rd on

    You don’t have to look far on a University campus for students – on the political left and right – who are interested more in protesting and public theatrics, than actually dealing with complicated policy questions like adults.

    This doesn’t mean that freedom of speech is somehow non-existent or that these particular students are an accurate representation of most young conservatives or young liberals.

    Likewise, you can easily find people who are more interested in the loud and public theatrics of being universally pro Israeli or pro Palestinian, rather than people trying to implement a just and last peace for everyone.

  9. posted by Tom Jefferson 3rd on

    Frankly, I love it if I had several different political parties campaigning for my vote. I am sure a lot of LGBT voters would like to see more meaningful choices.

    The problem is

    (a) the Republican party is dominated by folks who oppose LGBT rights, often on religious grounds, and very few GOP nominees break the mold in this way, especially higher up the political food chain.
    (b) gay Republicans and their straight allies have not done the important work that is required. Much like with what gay Democrats did in the previous decades.
    (C) the system is generally rigged against independent or third party candidates.

  10. posted by Tom Jefferson 3rd on

    We see alot of gay Republicans and straight allies who live in very comfortable blue or purple communities.

    Respectfully, these people do not really understand the reality in other, red state communities .

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