Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Why Did Some Gays Vote For Republicans Last Week?


Michelangelo Signorile, on the nation's most popular gay-oriented radio show, explored the phenomena that saw some members of the LGBT community voting for Republicans last week, even for radical right kooks like Rand Paul (R-KY) and Paul LePage (R-ME). As we saw last week, as many as a third of LGBT voters pulled the lever for Republicans.

Signorile makes the case against several listeners who claimed they voted their pocketbooks-- or at least the ridiculous but widely believed Republican propaganda that has foolish people believing the GOP is better for their pocketbooks-- over their civil rights. Another thought sending Rand Paul to the Senate for six years would send Obama an appropriate message from the gay community.
And yet, the Republican takeover of the House and many statehouses means there will be no votes expanding gay civil rights protections, in Congress and in most of the states that went GOP (and there likely will be antigay votes, such as in Minnesota where Republican pledge to push a marriage amendment), which begs the question of why gay people would vote Republican in this election. The phones were jammed with people who voted GOP who wanted to offer their explanations for casting votes politicians like David Vitter in Louisiana, for Rand Paul in Kentucky, for Rick Scott in the governor's race in Florida, and for various other, Senate, House and local races.

The must-hear video above doesn't include the gay person who voted for Vitter over Melancon for the U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. Voting for a homophobic maniac and a dyed-in-the-wool reactionary like Vitter can never be the right thing to do under any circumstances. I would like to point out, however, that it was Blue Dog Democrats like Charlie Melancon who muddied the waters for Democrats and ruined their brand, along a wide front of issues, including LGBT equality. In April of 2009, when the House passed a Hate Crimes bill 17 conservative Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans against including gays in the legislation's protection. One of those 17 was Melancon. How easy could it be for any gay person to ever vote for him? And this past May, when the House passed an amendment by Patrick Murphy to eliminate Don't Ask Don't Tell, again, 26 homophobic Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans against gay equality. (Melancon, already running for the Senate, took the cowardly position that day and didn't vote.) Of the 26 conservative Democrats who voted against repealing DADT, 15 will not be serving in Congress after January:

Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)
Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS)
Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN)
Chet Edwards (D-TX)
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)
Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Earl Pomeroy (Blue Dog-ND)
Ike Skelton (D-MO)
John Spratt (D-SC)

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At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Mark Scarbrough said...

Yep to all. And what you've limned here is one of the many reasons I will never follow my fellow GLBTers and fawn over Bill Clinton. I despise him. DADT. DOMA. A horrid, unforgivable man.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous me said...

I recently spoke to someone who voted republican. Unlike most of them, he is not evil. He's just confused. He knows the economy is shit, we're stuck in two wars, and we have no jobs and no money.

All he hears is corporate propaganda, and he knows that Obama won't fight for anything. He knows that what Obama is doing is not working, so he voted republican.

He doesn't know that everything Obama has done, from bank bailouts to keeping the wars going to passing a ridiculously corrupt medical insurance bill to abandoning those who voted for him, has been almost exactly what the republicans wanted.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Budroe said...

This is an incredible piece of journalism. To believe that Civil Rights/Equal Rights should be relegated to a second position to ANYTHING is a concept which simply eludes me.

Codification of discrimination is simply unamerican. To discover that those who would be in the discriminated class are helping create the reality of discrimination against themselves is much more than frightening. What idiocy! Thank you for this report, and for the work you do as a Journalist

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Jon K. said...

Seems an odd phenomenon. Talk about cutting your nose to spite your face. Many of my gay friends expressed frustration with the Democratic Party, but don't realize that Republicans are 10 times as worse. Now throw in the Tea Party, whose own members have called for the lynching of homosexuals in their own communities and it seems that my precious gay community was fooled into the same belief that somehow things would get better with the GOP in charge.

All of this is not surprising. The Republican spin machine has been doing double duty trying to convince every American that somehow Obama's policies have gotten us into this mess. Not only did he save the nation from a second depression, fix the belleagured Auto and banking industry, and create more jobs in 20 months than Bush did in 8 years, but he did it all without the help of the Republicans. Add into that landmark reforms for Health, Student Loans, and Wall Street, and it's interesting to see how so many intelligent people (gay, straight, black, white, young, old) have been manipulated into voting against their own best interets. Shame on you, America.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous me said...

@Jon: Many of my gay friends expressed frustration with the Democratic Party, but don't realize that Republicans are 10 times as worse.

Of course they are! That's how Demublicans and Republocrats keep getting away with it, year after year, decade after decade. The Dems and repubs are in cahoots, and you're a victim of their good cop, bad cop routine.

You're seeing in action the reason for the existence of republicans: To make the Democrats look good in comparison.

Personally, I've had enough, and I will no longer vote for anyone unless they actually deserve my vote. Fuck the Democrats. I'd rather have an enemy than a false friend.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be helpful to think about this in terms of religion. America practices a form of secular religion that values elements of Social Darwinism masquerading as ragged individualism. In Latin America we see how the catholic majority keeps shying birth control despite the fact that it would alleviate poverty. This is not because they are stupid, but because their minds are infected by a particular meme that makes them behave against their own self interest. It is not the well being of the individual that matters, but how well he or she can spread the cultural meme. The same is happening in America. It is not the well being of individuals that the system is concern about, but the enlargement of the economic machinery. In other words, our economic system is not concerned about us individuals, but about itself. It manipulates our behavior as to make itself sustainable. This system can only exist if we all act as little consumers and units of productions and can only define ourselves by terms and concepts relevant to the system. To drive us into acting against our own interest the system has to create cultural memes that are basically nonsense. Hence all this Ayn Rand, individualist rubbish so prevalent with free market jihadist. They are nothing more that mental viruses to make us believe bogus claims full of circular reasoning. Gays, just like the poor women in Latin America, act against their own interest because they believe in some economic moral code (the meme) hiding a Social Darwinist agenda.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Jon K. said...

"Personally, I've had enough, and I will no longer vote for anyone unless they actually deserve my vote. Fuck the Democrats. I'd rather have an enemy than a false friend."

I'd rather choose a side and work towards a common goal then to sit on the sidelines like a spoiled brat that is too stubborn to get in the game and make a difference. Yes, I am talking about you, spoiled brat.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous me said...

More reasons to dislike Obama:

Why does it have to be a republican to say this??

It's about time

And this one just figures (related to the previous one, probably - after all, Obama recently called Bush a "patriot"), since Obama let him off the hook:

Why didn't this come out before the election?


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