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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


I’ve been offline for a while, because I happened to emerge from an election watch event in Washington precisely at the moment when the networks projected Obama to win the presidency.
Downtown D.C. quickly became a street party, with cars honking horns, people screaming and high-fiving each other, and just about everyone looking happy. I’m sure there were some Republicans in the vicinity, but if so, they kept a low profile or went along with the excitement as a matter of empathy or protective coloration.
Ir was by far the most exciting election celebration I’ve ever witnessed, and it was one of the few times I was happy to be in Washington.

3 comments on “Celebration

  1. edkilgore on

    While I don’t necessarily share your less-than-happy assessment of what Barack Obama will do as president, I do share your anguish about the underside of last night’s results. The Prop 8 win was a shock (check out the county-by-county numbers at the LA Times site to see the very limited areas in which it lost), and the Florida initiative was even worse, since it required so large a vote.
    We intend to do some analysis on this subject at TDS, with the goal of helping break the back of state-sponsored homophobia in the future. That’s a very small contribution to a big challenge, but we must all do what we can, or every celebration will leave someone on the sidelines, unable to join in.
    Thanks for the comment.
    Ed Kilgore

  2. ducdebrabant on

    At the same time they embraced a black man, voters all over America punished and persecuted gay men and lesbians.
    An Obama administration intent on consensus, determined to achieve legislative victories not by majorities of 60 but by majoriities of 80 and 85 in the Senate, cannot be expected to do much for them. The value of the new Democratic majorities will be measured mainly in what they will not do. No Constitutional amendment targeting homosexuals, for example.
    And should the Congress bother (in these trying times) to re-enact employment non-discrimination, or add gays and lesbians to hate crimes legislation, Obama will presumably sign the bill. We can expect the White House to issue another executive order forbidding discrimination in the civil service. Gay men and lesbians in the military can probably sit and stew for the next four years unless they roll legislation ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by their own efforts. Obama may not hinder it, but he won’t expend political capital in his first term to help them.
    This centrist administration will make mostly symbolic gestures and get out of the way of the determined advocates of gay and lesbian equality, but it won’t be a determined advocate, or much of an advocate, at all. I accept that. It’s better than the last 8 years, that’s for sure.
    But they’re hunting us in California, they’re hunting us in Arkansas, they’re hunting us in Florida, they’re hunting us in Arizona. The most we’ll get from the White House to protect us from the states is a cup of tea and a kind word.
    All this election has done for gay people is de-federalize an assault on our citizenship and liberties and return it to the states. This should have been a happy day for all Americans. For some of us, it isn’t altogether that.
    In no state where attacks on gays and lesbians were on the ballot did kindness, generosity, or even good sense prevail. America didn’t give up hating this year. It just decided to transfer its loathing from a race to a sexual minority.
    Obama’s generation of black men and women may indeed be the Joshua Generation, seeing the Promised Land, but Obama is not even the Moses, let alone the Joshua, of gay men and women and their struggle. Perhaps we have no right to expect that. Perhaps he has enough on his plate.
    But if not this President’s plate, then whose? We gay men and lesbians have stood at the threshold of the Promised Land for generations now. Who knows when we will see it? Perhaps when Barney Frank becomes President?


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