CommunityPam's House Blend

DNC dances around the closet for the winger press?

There was an article in the WashBlade last Friday that has the wingnut press buzzing away about the Democratic Party’s “five-point plan” to combat upcoming state marriage amendments.

The article reported on the NY ruling and Howard Dean’s statement on it, as well as the DNC’s contribution of $10,000 to assist Equality Illinois in its efforts. DNC spokesperson Damien LaVera outlined the plan, for what it’s worth. Here’s what was said.

LaVera said the DNC’s five-point plan for fighting state ballot measures calling for banning same-sex marriage includes a number of actions the DNC has already put in place.

The first calls for labeling the anti-gay ballot measures “divisive” ploys by the Republicans and others to deflect voter attention from other important issues, including “the Bush’s administration’s failed policies.”

Another consists of the state “party-building” operation that Dean started, LaVera said, which includes specific training for state party operatives in all 50 states on how to campaign against anti-gay ballot measures.

The other elements of the plan, he said, include working closely with the gay group National Stonewall Democrats to “develop strategy and talking points” on the anti-gay ballot measure issue; working cooperatively with campaign organizations fighting the ballot measures in each state where they surface, providing campaign advice, expertise, and logistical and financial support; and to “empower and organize GLBT communities around the country” through the help of the DNC’s new gay outreach organizer Brian Bond.

I guess some strategy is better than no strategy (see: the GOP). However, I love that lame-o “there are more important things to think about” strategy instead of explaining why the discrimination itself is wrong. I’m afraid of what those DNC talking points are going to look like.

The winger press, including Daddy Dobson’s CitizenLink, and BP News were all over the $10K contribution and five-point plan. Both of the outlets contacted LaVera (who can’t confirm the contribution because of DNC policy), but look at the tepid, and strangely constructed statements, telegraphing to the fundies that civil equality issues are practically radioactive. This is hardly reassuring if the DNC hasn’t formulated a better response than this to the winger press.

First, from Daddy D.’s CitizenLink (look who turns up with a quote…):

In addition, the publication reported the DNC also contributed money – to the tune of $10,000 – to opponents of a proposed initiative in Illinois. DNC spokesman Damien LaVera told CitizenLink the Democratic Party would not comment directly on whether it contributed that money. “I’m not going to confirm or deny or discuss our strategy on that,” LaVera said.

“With respect to issues surrounding marriage,” he added, “we understand that our country is involved in an important conversation right now, about the best way to ensure equal rights and protections for all American families. We believe that as that conversation continues, we shouldn’t scapegoat groups of people or use marriage as a political wedge issue for political gain. We oppose those efforts and we have not made it any secret.”

…”FDR would be turning over in his grave right now, if he knew what today’s Democratic Party was engaged in, when it comes to marriage,” said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, and a key backer of the Protect Marriage Illinois movement. “Marriage is not a Democratic issue or a Republican one. It’s an American issue,” he said. “To see a political party kowtow to homosexual activists like this makes it a really a sad day.”

Gee Petey, it doesn’t look like serious kowtowing to me. It should be noted that an unnamed RNC rep was asked by CitizenLink about party initiatives to support marriage amendments at the state level, and the comment was “we don’t, as a course of policy, financially contribute to or take part in state-level initiative campaigns.”

And this from BP Press — LaVera won’t even confirm there’s a plan here, and speaks “mostly on background.”

LaVera refused to confirm or deny the Blade’s report — which was attributed to him — that the Democratic National Committee has devised a five-point plan for fighting ballot measures, but he spoke briefly to Baptist Press about some of the actions the committee is taking in regard to marriage amendments.

“We’re calling those efforts what they are, we’re working to strengthen our state parties, we’re consulting with advocates on the ground,” he told BP.

…LaVera spoke mostly on background to Baptist Press except to say the DNC opposes “mean-spirited efforts” against “gay marriage” and to refute Baptist Press’ characterization of marriage amendment supporters as “pro-family.”

“Democrats believe that the best way to support families is by working to address our nation’s serious problems,” LaVera said. “Democrats are fighting for our nation’s families every day by pushing to make healthcare affordable for all Americans, by demanding that we raise the minimum wage, by working to create good jobs in America, by fighting for good public schools and by demanding accountability from elected leaders about the war in Iraq and about corruption in government. These are the real challenges facing America’s families, and they are the challenges we are working to meet.”

Again, no arguments about fairness, about how marriage equality is stabilizing and positive for gay and lesbian families, more of just “think about the really important matters” families are facing. They step a single toe in the water of support, feel it’s cold when the fundies react, and they jerk it out.

The DNC is being asked specifically about the party position and measures of support it’s willing to give gay folks and the generalities that come out sound weak and purposely unfocused. If “our country is involved in an important conversation” about equal rights now, it’s not all that helpful if the Dems can’t even discuss the issue on the record or get its act together about whether the powers that be want there to be a public plan supporting equality.

Jeebus, it makes you think that we’re still the crazy granny in the attic to the DNC, and they’re letting the AmTaliban press confirm it.

Previous post

After the Long Night...

Next post

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding