Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Guns And Gays And Hillary Clinton


It takes me hours, most of it in research, to write most DWT posts. Early in January, 2011 I was writing a post about a Blue Dog who had been in office for 5 years. She had joined both Democratic congressional reactionary factions, the Blue Dogs and the Wall Street-owned New Dems. She wasn't bad on gay issues and she was perfect on women's issues but sided with the bad guys on most economic inequality-relkated stuff. Her last rating from the AFL-CIO (2011) was a zero. The NRA had mixed feelings about her. She was pretty pro-gun-- helped them with their jihad against DC's ban-- but they graded her a "C." My post was pretty negative but they day I was going to post it, a right-wing terrorist tried to assassinate her. She was shot in the head and was no longer a grubby conservative politician but a living saint and an icon against NRA gun insanity. I scrapped the post.

She and her husband have been working to achieve safer, saner gun policies in America ever since. And she gets wheeled out-- icon-like-- to support whichever grubby politician can find a way to exploit her, generally Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but this week, Hillary Clinton-- a club in her vicious and dishonest attacks on Bernie Sanders-- whose D-minus indicates that the NRA hated him more than they hated Gabby.

Hillary's desperate gun nonsense didn't work when she used it against Obama in the 2008 primary and her own flip-floppy record on guns makes her the imperfect vehicle for a gun purity message, but her hack establishment surrogates are out in force cynically attacking Bernie as though he was some kind of an NRA champion.

I don't hear Bernie, or anyone from his camp, launching a divisive attack on Hillary for being the anti-gay candidate-- although she once was. A certain kind of gay man loves tragic women figures-- Judy Garland first and foremost-- and a lot of affection towards Hillary stems from that feeling. Yesterday I got an e-mail from her about what a great champion of gay rights she is. "Howard," she wrote "in 2011, I went to Geneva to tell the UN that 'gay rights are human rights, once and for all.' We’ve seen so much progress since I made that speech, particularly with last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. But there’s still so much at stake for LGBT families in America and around the world, and we need our next president to keep us moving forward. I’ve laid out an ambitious plan to advance LGBT rights in our country." But an examination of her LGBT record, wouldn't make her nearly so attractive to gay voters. PolitiFact looked into her flip flops on LGBT issues last summer.
On the day that the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to hear oral arguments about same-sex marriage April 28, Hillary Clinton changed her "H" logo to rainbow-colored and tweeted: "Every loving couple & family deserves to be recognized & treated equally under the law across our nation. #LoveMustWin #LoveCantWait."

Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013 after more than a decade of opposing it. But her views are particularly in the spotlight now that she is a presidential candidate.

We decided to put Clinton’s statements about same-sex marriage on our Flip-O-Meter, which measures whether a candidate has changed their views without making a value judgment about such flips. We found that as public opinion shifted toward support for same-sex marriage, so did Clinton.

She has had plenty of company among members of her own party to change their stance on same-sex marriage. In 2012, we gave Obama a Full Flop when he announced his support for same-sex marriage.

Currently about three dozen states allow same-sex marriage. The outcome of the decision, expected in June, could mean either that same-sex marriage will become legal in all states or that some states will institute new bans on same-sex marriage. (A spokesman for Clinton’s campaign declined to comment for this Flip-O-Meter item.)

Clinton’s statements during her 2000 Senate race

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defined federal marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Hillary Clinton would face questions about same-sex marriage starting with her 2000 campaign for Senate. Let’s look at the highlights of her statements between 1999 and 2015 in a timeline:

December 1999: Clinton told a group of gay contributors at a fundraiser that she was against the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy signed by her husband.

The New York Times reported that Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said she supported the Defense of Marriage Act but added that "same-sex unions should be recognized and that same-sex unions should be entitled to all the rights and privileges that every other American gets."

January 2000: At a news conference in White Plains, Clinton said, "Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman. But I also believe that people in committed gay marriages, as they believe them to be, should be given rights under the law that recognize and respect their relationship."

April 2000: Clinton again expressed support for civil unions. "I have supported the kind of rights and responsibilities that are being extended to gay couples in Vermont," she said.

July 2004: Clinton spoke on the Senate floor against a proposed federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage. (The amendment ultimately failed.) Though she opposed it, she said that she believed that marriage was "a sacred bond between a man and a woman."

However, she said she took "umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that exists between a man and a woman."

October 2006: Clinton told a group of gay elected officials that she would support same-sex marriage in New York if a future governor and Legislature chose to enact such a law.

"I support states making the decision," she said.

As a 2008 presidential candidate

In 2007, all the presidential contenders except for longshot candidates-- both Democrats and GOP-- were against same-sex marriage, the New York Times reported. So were the majority of Americans, polls showed.

May 2007: In a questionnaire for the Human Rights Campaign in 2007, Clinton backed away from the Defense of Marriage Act:

"I support repealing the provision of DOMA that may prohibit the federal government from providing benefits to people in states that recognize same-sex marriage."

In response to a question about whether marriage should be made legally available to two committed adults of the same sex, Clinton marked that she was "opposed" though she stated she supported civil unions.

August 2007: In a Democratic primary debate sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and LOGO Network (a gay-oriented TV station) Clinton was asked "What is at the heart of your opposition to same-sex marriage?"

Clinton replied: "Well, I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions. You know, it’s a personal position. How we get to full equality is the debate we’re having, and I am absolutely in favor of civil unions with full equality of benefits, rights, and privileges."

As a 2016 presidential candidate

As Clinton got ready for her second presidential bid, she again modified her position.

March 2013: After leaving her position as secretary of state, she announced her support for same-sex marriage in a video with the Human Rights Campaign on March 18, 2013.

"LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones. And they are full and equal citizens, and they deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage. That’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law, embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans."

The comments put her in line with other Democrats at the time who were mentioned as potential 2016 presidential contenders, including Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Obama had announced his support for same-sex marriage in May 2012.

June 2013: Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton issued a joint statement about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. The congratulatory note didn’t mention that Bill Clinton had signed the law back in 1996: "the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union."

June 2014: NPR’s Terry Gross grilled Clinton about her past positions’ on gay marriage in what led to a testy exchange. Gross tried to get Clinton to explain if she had truly changed her stance or if the shifting political landscape made it possible for her to announce her support.

At one point Gross asked, "Would you say your view evolved since the '90s or that the American public evolved, allowing you to state your real view?"

Clinton replied: "I think I'm an American. (Laughing) And I think we have all evolved, and it's been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations."

April 2015: On the day of the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments about same-sex marriage bans in a handful of states in April, Clinton changed her "H" logo to rainbow-colored and tweeted a message of support: "Every loving couple & family deserves to be recognized & treated equally under the law across our nation. #LoveMustWin #LoveCantWait."

Our conclusion

Clinton opposed same-sex marriage as a candidate for the Senate, while in office as a senator, and while running for president in 2008. She expressed her support for civil unions starting in 2000 and for the rights’ of states to set their own laws in favor of same-sex marriage in 2006.

As polls showed that a majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage, Clinton’s views changed, too. She announced her support for same-sex marriage in March 2013.

It’s up to voters to decide how they feel about her changed stance, but on same-sex marriage we give Clinton a Full Flop.
Is she better than Trumpf or Cruz or Rubio or any of the garbage candidates the GOP is offering? Of course she is. But is she any better than the same old transactional hack politician that is rapidly turning Americans off to our whole system of democracy? No, she isn't. Come November, if she wins the nomination, she'll be the lesser of two evils. But still evil. During the primary, though, there is still an opportunity to vote without picking evil. If you'd like to help Bernie's campaign, you can do so here.

UPDATE: MoveOn Endorses Bernie

Nearly one in five votes-- 340,665 people-- chose Bernie over Hillary for the MoveOn endorsement. And, this morning, the progressive activist group officially endorsed him. Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn's executive director:
MoveOn.org only endorses candidates based on votes by our members. Our only previous presidential endorsement during a Democratic primary was for Barack Obama, in early 2008. In 2004, no Democratic candidate reached the threshold for an endorsement.

Here are 5 of the top reasons MoveOn members support Bernie and will mobilize to get out the vote on his behalf in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other crucial early states.

1. Bernie’s lifelong commitment to standing up to corporate and 1% interests to fight for an economy where everyone has a fair shot.

2. He’s standing up for justice for communities facing oppression.

3. He’ll say no to permanent war.

4. Electability: This election will hinge on turnout, and Bernie is inspiring and mobilizing the communities it’ll take to win.

5. Putting members in the driver’s seat is what MoveOn does, and a whopping 79 percent voted to endorse Bernie.

...With Sanders campaigning on a message of standing up to big money and powerful interests and fighting for the rest of us, and with new polls this week showing that message resonating and Sanders ahead or running even in both Iowa and New Hampshire and gaining ground elsewhere, it feels like great timing for MoveOn to join Bernie's political revolution.

We're getting to work right away to turn out the more than 43,000 MoveOn members in Iowa and the more than 30,000 in New Hampshire and are excited to join Friends of the Earth WFP, CWA, DFA, National Nurses United, PDA, and others in helping Bernie win.
You can contribute to Bernie-- and to the congressional candidates who have endorsed him if you'd like-- on this Blue America ActBlue page.

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At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typos: (do you still want typo alerts?)

1) "relkated" (middle of first paragraph) >>> "related"
2) If 79% of MoveOn member voted to endorse Sanders, then the Update section should start "Nearly four in five votes ... " (not "one in five").

John Puma

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is royally insulting to say that many gay men only support Hillary because "A certain kind of gay man loves tragic women figures-- Judy Garland first and foremost-- and a lot of affection towards Hillary stems from that feeling."

You completely ignore very important positive things that both Bill & Hillary did for LGB people.

Before Bill, there were no LGBT anti-discrimination protections AND open homosexuals were banned from accessing classified information if they worked for the federal government. This meant that if you wanted to rise through the ranks in the executive branch--which means accessing classified information sometimes-- you would have to lie about your sexual orientation.

In 1995 Bill issued an executive order allowing for openly LGBT people access classified government information for the first time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_12968

In 1997 Bill issued an executive order that made it illegal for someone who works in the federal government or the postal service to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13087

In 1999 Bill appointed the first openly gay ambassador in American history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hormel

Before Bill was in office the military had a blanket ban on gays in the military. At recruitment stations they would ask if you were LGBT & if you said 'yes' you were turned away & if you lied & were discovered to be LGBT you were discharged.

Back in 1992 when Bill ran for the presidency only 29% of Americans supported same-sex marriage according to Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/170801/americans-say-sex-couples-entitled-adopt.aspx

In his 1992 presidential campaign Bill campaigned on allowing LGB (though not T) people to openly serve in the military. This was not a popular position--only 43% of the American populace supported the idea.

In 1993 Bill tried to fulfill his campaign promise of letting LGB people serve openly in the military, but the push back was hard. Pretty much the entire GOP was against the idea as well as a huge chunk of the Democratic party. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, but the bulk of the party was not with Bill on this issue.

Eventually Bill was able to reach a compromise between the total exclusion of LGB people from the military and allowing them to serve openly--'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'--you can join the militarily if you're LGB but you have to stay closeted.

Symbolically DADT was better than the total exclusion policy. Whether it was materially better for LGB people is a more open question--I've read smart people on both sides. What is not an open question though is that Bill truly did try to do the right thing when it was not politically popular at all.

As soon as Hillary become secretary of state in 2009 she ordered that the state department provide equal benefits to gay couples working for the state department. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/23/gay-us-diplomats-to-recei_n_207116.html

This was a decision she made & not one for which we have any evidence that was forced upon her by President Obama.

We know from just-released-in-December-of-2015-Hillary-emails that in 2012 when the Maryland state legislature was considering legalizing gay marriage that both Clintons were lobbying people in the legislature to make sure that the marriage bill would be passed http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/12/31/email-reveals-clinton-sought-to-help-with-md-marriage-effort/

In 2012 Bill also gave automatic robocalls urging people in North Carolina to vote against amending their state constitution to ban gay marriage: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gay-marriage-bill-clinton-speaks-against-north-carolina-anti-gay-amendment/politics/2012/05/05/39118


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