Thursday, May 22, 2008



A few weeks ago I was huffing and puffing about a gay human rights outfit, HRC endorsing Susan Collins, who has a so-so record on gay rights ("good for a Republican") against Rep. Tom Allen who has a perfect record on gay rights issues. I don't want to go through the whole thing again, but if you missed it in April, it's all at the link above. The next day Michelangelo Signorelli called and asked me to be a guest on his radio show and I tore into HRC more strongly than I intended to. After my interview was done they called Michelangelo and asked if they could have a representative on to rebut me the following day. Exciting, huh? Below I have an embedded mp3 of the HRC spokesman's interview. It's pretty amusing and I recommend listening to it.

This evening an old friend send me this:
I got two calls from HRC today.
I couldn't take the first call and, good for them, someone called me back a couple of hours later.

They asked me if I would renew my membership so they could lead the fight in anti-gay initiatives.

I told her no because HRC endorsed Susan Collins.

Her:  "Who is that? Some local person?"

Me:  "No, she's a United States Senator"

Her: "Well, I've never heard of her and we don't even do endorsements"

Me: "Actually that is one of the most visible things that HRC does."

Her: "Well, I don't think that we do that and this is the first time that I have heard of that woman's name"

Me: "Well, she is a Republican and she votes for the anti-gay Republican leadership and she has voted for Bush's nominees for the Supreme Court"

Her: "OK..... so would you like to renew to fight these anti-gay initiatives?"

Me: "No, I need to recover from the Collins endorsement.... And this when I had almost recovered from HRC's endorsement of Lieberman and D'Amato."

Her: "Well, I don't know who that is... In two days of calling this is the first time I have even heard that name.... So you don't want to renew?"

Me: "uh No....thank you."

OK, so here's the radio show: HRC Interview

Michelangelo starts by playing a couple of soundbytes from my interview the day before. They he talks with the HRC guy. You can see why Michelangelo is considered a master-- not just as a church painter, but as a radio interviewer. I actually started feeling sorry for the HRC guy after al while. I don't have a clue if many gay people read Down With Tyranny but if you are gay and if you do belong to HRC I want you to listen to that interview and think about donating whatever you would have donated to them this year, to Tom Allen instead. The money you give to them-- or at least some of it-- will go to help re-elect Senator Susan Collins who has vowed to continue voting for viciously homophobic judges who not only oppose granting rights to gay men and women but who are committed to taking away current rights, like the right to adopt children. You can donate to Tom Allen's campaign here.

Notice when they are discussing raging homophobic maniacs like Leslie Southwick, the HRC guy admits that they don't agree with her on those votes but excuses it by saying "many Democrats voted for those nominees." Well, I don't want to quibble over the definition of the word "many," but I can tell you that one was another HRC endorsee and Bush rubber stamp, Holy Joe Lieberman. I can also tell you, with no equivocation, that no one, not a Republican and not a Democrat, has ever or will ever be endorsed by Blue America if they vote against equality under the law for any minority. The "many Democrats" are reactionaries like Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor and Ben Nelson, none of whom are supported-- and are all frequently chastised-- here are DWT.

When the Senate was debating whether or not to confirm the proven bigot Leslie Southwick, HRC's own president Joe Solomonese, didn't equivocate either. "A nominee who so callously disregarded the rights of GLBT families clearly cannot be trusted to safeguard the rights of any American... This vote for Leslie Southwick is a vote against the dignity and safety of our families, and an insult to the millions of dedicated GLBT parents raising happy and healthy children across this country." OK, we agree, so why funnel thousands of dollars from working gay men and women into her re-election campaign, when her opponent has a perfect voting record on equality and has pledged to never vote to confirm any bigoted judges?

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At 6:27 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm gay, I read DWT. I read the original post about HRC. My renewal is up and since I read the post I've hesitated about renewing--now, I will not renew and will support Tom Allen directly. Thanks.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto, to tule93704's post, but I gave up my HRC membership years ago. Incredible that they don't support the true friend in the race. And given the state of the Repuglican Party, which depends on anti-gay hysteria (and racism, fear mongering, etc) for its power, the support of any of its members is harmful to the cause of LGBT peoples and basic principals of civil liberties.

P.S. DWT is one of my favorites, and I have come to value your focus on progressive candidate throughout the nation. Keep up the good work in the defense of the Constitution.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Eric said...

I like how at the end of the interview the poor (one can't help but feel sorry for him-- he knows the organization is wrong but can't say so) guy slips up and tells the truth: the HRC and other Beltway advocacy groups have a "strategy" which involves endorsing the least odious Republicans so they can claim to be bipartisan. He's right that all of them (NARAL, Planned P'hood, etc.) do the same thing, and it's wrong wrong wrong. Endorse the better candidate or don't bother....

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a gay man and stopped contributing to HRC years ago, when I realized it was, to gay & human rights, what the DLC is to democracy and democratic ideals.

Sadly, many in the more affluent parts of the gay community trend republican in their behavior anyway. So I suppose it's not surprising that the HRC, who depends on that slice of the demographic for much of its financial support, continues to shill for bottom-dwellers like Lieberman & Collins.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric is right on. I am not gay but I thought the interview was illustrative of those "Beltway advocacy groups" that I've stopped supporting when I know about them. I quit the Sierra Club years ago when it endorsed Mark Hatfield in Oregon because they needed to be bipartison. Hatfield rarely supported OR environmental issues until an election was upcoming. Then he threw one or two crumbs our way.

So proud of Howie for keeping up informed on these and other important issues.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SNL skit that sums up this whole primary season
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