Obama's Evolution On LGBT Equality Angers Blue Dogs
Kissell was elected on a platform of equality... but he's since devolved into bigotry
Although the corporate media and the Beltway trade papers insist on referring to them as "moderates," there are a number of sociopathic homophobes inside the Democratic House caucus. They fear and loathe gay people as much as any Republicans-- short of the GOP closet queen contingent-- and, more to the point, they work with the Republicans to enshrine misery and inequality for the LGBT community. Most of them-- though, alas, not all-- were wiped away in the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010. The corporate media Broderites see it as the collapse of some kind of mythical middle. Gays see it as their extremist and implacable foes finally being defeated.
In Sunday's Santa Rosa Press Democrat, one of the biggest newspapers in California's second congressional district, Norman Solomon helped readers understand the difference between a progressive leader and someone who worships at the alter of compromise for its own sake.
While some Democrats promote the need for bipartisan engagement with Republicans, Solomon said there are issues-- such as women's reproductive rights and defending Medicare and Social Security-- on which no compromise is possible.
"If your hand keeps getting cut off, why would you keep reaching across the aisle?" he said.
These "moderates" (members of the Blue Dog caucus and the New Dems Coalition) routinely vote against equality for the LGBT community no matter what the issue. Protection from hate crimes? They're with the Republicans. Ending Don't Ask Don't Tell? They're with the Republicans. Just last week, when the Republicans decided to celebrate Obama offering hope to LGBT families by passing a gratuitously anti-gay amendment by Kansas' fanatic hate-monger Tim Huelskamp, who is so hung up on gay issues that psychologists just assume he's either gay himself or spending a great deal of time repressing his homosexual desires. His amendment would prohibit the Justice Department from actively opposing DOMA in the courts. Nancy Pelosi led almost all Democrats in opposition to the GOP ploy. “On an historic day and in the dark of night, House Republicans have voted to tie the hands of the Obama administration with respect to their efforts to end discrimination against America’s families. House Republicans continue to plant their feet firmly on the wrong side of history.” Not every "Democrat" agreed with her. The viciously homophobic Blue Dog caucus-- and a few of their fellow travelers-- hid behind Cantor's skirts and voted with the Republicans. The amendment passed 245-171, all but 7 Republicans vote with the hatemongers. Sixteen anti-LGBT "Democrats" voted with the Republicans:
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)
Jerry Costello (IL)
Mark Critz (PA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA)
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)
Dan Lipinski (IL)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)
Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
The DC Dem power structure-- which has been almost entirely infiltrated by Blue Dogs and New Dems-- does not discourage this kind of destructive, sociopathic behavior. In fact they encourage it. One of Congress' most hateful anti-gay crusaders, Rep. Joe Donnelly, was carefully shoehorned into the Democratic nomination for an open Indiana Senate seat and spared the embarrassment of a primary by anti-democratic Democrats in DC. "Ex-Blue Dog Steve Israel, head of the DCCC, personally recruited a virulent gay-haters, Hayden Rogers and Terry Bellamy, for an open seats in North Carolina and Rogers-- with huge financial help from the DC Dems-- managed to win the nomination last week (as Bellamy's idiotic campaign went down in flames). Rogers will lose the currently blue district to far right Republican Mark Meadows because progressives-- especially progressives in West Asheville, the Democratic heart of the district, will never cast a vote for Rogers. Israel's brainless shenanigans may even cost Obama this key purple state by discouraging Democrats and left-leaning progressives from even bothering to go vote in November. Israel will now waste between a million and two million dollars in a fruitless effort to elect another Blue Dog who not just hates gays but who would-- in the unlikely event that he managed to be elected-- vote against Democrats on every single core roll call.
President Obama may be evolving but the Blue Dogs will wait until Virginia Foxx, Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan do before they embrace equality for LGBT families. Georgia Blue Dog John Barrow, for example-- even when his district was solidly blue-- voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit marriage equality, not just in Georgia, but across America. And he did it twice, in 2004 and 2006. Predictably, the Blue Dogs are not backing President Obama on this evolution thing. Some, in fact, are using it as a way to display their homophobia as a tool in their reelection kit, another assertion of their independence and, obvious "moderateness."
Obama's choice to come out in support of gay marriage could have unintended consequences for moderate Democrats facing re-election in conservative districts.
"I think this has hurt their chances of getting a majority in the house," says Larry Sabato, the director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "They figured if they could win up the score for Obama, they would do whatever it is to get him elected. They operated on the basis of their own interest."
One of the Democratic candidates certain to get caught up in the gay marriage debacle is North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre, who serves the state's conservative seventh district. The congressman, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010 and has stated he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
"I don't think McIntyre was going to win before this, but now he is especially likely to lose," Sabato says. "It made it more difficult. It is an additional burden. This is helping to extinguish the blue dog class."
With North Carolina hosting the 2012 Democratic Convention and shaping up to be a key battleground state, Obama will certainly be a frequent visitor, making it even more difficult for McIntyre to distance himself from the president.
Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, another Blue Dog Democrat who believes marriage is between a man and a woman, is running for a newly created seat in the state. Matheson was barely leading in a Salt Lake Tribune poll in April. The Congressman is running in a state almost guaranteed to go for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November.
Sabato says candidates' vocal opposition of gay marriage isn't likely to be enough to keep voters from lumping moderate Democrats in with Obama.
"They can actually use this to show how they are different than Obama, but it is really tough," Sabato says. "In this polarized era, voters punish anybody and everybody that has the same party label."
Not a hint-- not even after even a sixth grader's analysis of the 2010 Blue Dog Apocalypse proves that dozens of Democrats lost because Democrat voters stayed away from the polls in droves-- that conservative Democratic incumbents like McIntyre-- and conservative Democratic moderates like Rogers-- will lose because Democrats want to vote for actual Democrats with core Democratic values and principles-- equality being among them-- not for Republicans who haven't fully devolved yet.