Sunday, October 06, 2013

Yes, There Are Gay Democrats Who Vote GOP On Everything But Specifically Gay Issues


Don't assume from this picture of Sean Patrick Maloney's lovely family that he isn't a conservative

Friday Michaelangelo Signorile picked up on the theme we've been discussing here at DWT about the disappointments inherent in identity politics. He singled out anti-progressive gay congressmembers, specifically Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY) and Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ).

Both, though Sinema even more so, campaigned for Congress as progressives and both were very upfront about being gay and seemed to hope voters would assume because they are openly gay, they would also back a progressive agenda. Each has accrued voting records that are among the half dozen most conservative among House Democrats. According to the ProgressivePunch crucial vote score Maloney has the worst record of any freshman (31.25) and Sinema has the third-worst (38.46). Both vote against progressive initiatives twice as often as they support them. And both voted with the Republicans in their shut-down-the-government agenda. "Think about this," suggests Signorile, "On what is arguably the most important debate in Congress, two of nine Democrats who voted with the tea party-led blackmailers are openly gay or bisexual. Two of only five openly gay or bisexual members of the House voted with the extreme far right to undermine the president."

The newest iteration in the GOP strategy to undermine the country by continuing their policy of anarchy, nihilism, blackmail and delegitimization of Obama and of government itself, is the piecemeal approach to funding we talked about last week. Sinema and Maloney were among the very first Democrats to break ranks with their party and embrace the Republican strategy-- but only when it suited their conservatism.

The first round of votes required enough Democrats to pass the GOP bills with 2/3s and they all failed last Tuesday-- but not because of Maloney and Sinema. First bill up was to fund veterans benefits and 33 Democrats crossed to the Dark Side, including both of them. A few minutes later, when the GOP tried passing a bill to fund the national parks, 22 Democrats backed them, including Sinema and Maloney. The third bill was interesting because it funded District of Columbia government operations and a lot of progressive Democrats just couldn't vote no. 34 Democrats crossed the aisle on that one though, tellingly, not the corporate-minded Maloney (who does his call time from the offices of a shady hedge fund).

Cantor announced he would bring the bills up again under regular order when only simple majorities would be needed to pass them. So, on Thursday when the GOP passed a bill to pay the national guard, Sinema and Maloney were among the 36 Democrats to cross the aisle to undermine Democratic strategy to end the government shut-down. Next up was a bill to pay veterans benefits and Sinema and Murphy again joined 35 Democrats who crossed over to the GOP. Keeping the national parks open-- Sinema and Maloney were among the 23 aisle crossing Dems. National Institutes of Health… Sinema and Maloney were among the 25 Democrats who collaborated with the GOP on that one. Both voted for all the rest of the piecemeal funding bills this week.

So here you have two very conservative Democrats-- albeit gay very conservative Democrats-- voting with the Republicans to, in effect, pressure the Democratic Senate and Obama to buckle to GOP blackmail that Obamacare be dismantled before the government be allowed to open.(Again, it was telling that the only bill in the two days of voting that didn't have support from Maloney was the one to fund DC. I guess that's why he's the worst freshman and Sinema is just the third-worst.)

We'll end this discussion with another look at what Signorile had to say about these two at HuffPo:
Since taking office, Sinema has voted with the GOP against economic justice issues that progressives, including LGBT activists, view as crucial. Both she and U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), an openly gay former Clinton aide, also elected for the first time in 2012, have voted with big banks and Wall Street time and again. Right out of the gate, Maloney, who took a lot of Wall Street money, voted with the GOP on the debt ceiling early this year, and actually co-sponsored a bill that would roll back reforms of the very Wall Street practices that led to the economic collapse. He even voted with the GOP to take authority over the Keystone XL project from the president. Like Sinema, he also voted to jeopardize Obamacare or shut down the government. And he too was supported in his election campaign by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, and other gay and progressive groups, touted as a progressive.

…Some say it's better to have Democrats like Sinema and Maloney than to possibly have a Republican in the seat. If it means they have to vote with the GOP, especially if the vote isn't pivotal, then so be it, the thinking goes. But that breeds the most cynical kind of politics and drives people away from participating when we need to bring them in. It only furthers the disgust with Washington. It's dishonest too, as these candidates are promoted as progressives and sold as such to LGBT and progressive donors, disingenuously using their queerness during Democratic primaries as a way to give them street cred with progressives while their records and intentions are otherwise. (And they're continuing to do it: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hosting an "Equality Reception" next week in D.C. for them, once again using their being gay or bi to raise money.) President Obama comfortably won both Sinema's and Maloney's swing districts in 2012, and a real progressive could win them as well.

…Klein believes it's healthy to debate whether or not it's enough today for a candidate to simply be gay, lesbian, bi or trans, and I agree. The quicker that progressives learn that just being LGBT doesn't make someone progressive, the better. And the quicker that LGBT people (donors and voters) realize that just because a candidate is LGBT, it doesn't mean that he or she is looking out for many interests that are important to us, the better. As with the rejection by LGBT voters of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the city's Democratic mayoral primary-- and the dismissal of simplistic identity politics--  it's a maturing of the LGBT electorate.

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At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tea Party Line-Item Veto

Caving in to the GOP on their current insurrection is identical to giving the so-called tea party the sole power to line-item veto the budget of the federal government. Our nation could go crazy in worse ways, I suppose, but right now I can't think of any.


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