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The DNC Boycott: Count Me In

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the opinions of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

November 10th, 2009

Frustration is boiling over concerning the Democratic Party’s ongoing neglect of LGBT issues. The latest insult to injury? The Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America set emails to Mainers urging them to vote, but didn’t ask them to vote against Question 1. In fact, the email didn’t mention Question 1 at all. The DNC then sent another email urgently asking Mainers to get involved right away in … wait for it … New Jersey! 

When John Averosis at AmericaBlog contacted the DNC about the emails, he got the classic run-around. They first denied targeting Mainers to help with the New Jersey gubernatorial election, and then admitted that they lied about it.

This is just the latest in a long list of grievances and slights that have been building up since last November. That’s why several bloggers led by Avarosis and Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog are banding together for a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give” campaign to urge doners to stop donating to the DNC:

It’s really more of a “pause,” than a boycott. Boycotts sounds so final, and angry. Whereas this campaign is temporary, and is only meant to help some friends – President Obama and the Democratic party – who have lost their way. We are hopeful that via this campaign, our friends will keep their promises.

So please sign the Petition and take a Pledge to no longer donate to the DNC, Organizing for America, or the Obama campaign until the President and the Democratic party keep their promises to the gay community, our families, and our friends.

This was launched yesterday. I haven’t taken the pulse of the other contributors at BTB, so I can’t speak for them. But I support this wholeheartedly. One of the DNC’s most loyal constituencies — and among the most reliable sources for cash and sweat equity — has been taken for granted for far too long. The goals of the “pause” are pretty simple:

We are asking voters to pledge to withhold contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the Obama campaign until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is repealed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed -– all of which President Obama repeatedly promised to do if elected.

…Candidate Obama promised during the campaign to be the gay community’s “fierce advocate.” He and the Democratic party have not kept their promise.

Longtime LGBT activist David Mixner is on board with the boycott, along with Andy Towle, Michael Goff, Dan Savage, Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler, Paul Sousa, Bil Browning, Jane Hamsher and Michaelangelo Signorile. Interestingly, even the Human Rights Campaign appears to have tacitly endorsed the boycott, in an email response to David Dayen at Firedog Lake:

“Individual donors should always make their own careful assessments of how to spend limited political contributions. We all need to focus on the legislative priorities identified by AmericaBlog and with whatever tactic individuals decide to employ, the ultimate objective needs to be securing the votes we need to move our legislative agenda forward.”

You can sign the petition and take the pledge here, and you can spread the word to your friends and family here.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Jim,

I think that the decision by the New York Democratic Senate leadership to ignore marriage equality in the special session is also an indicator that the Party in general has no real commitment to equality for our community. Our equality will be considered only when it is convenient, incidental, and comes with no cost of political capital.

I think that we have made the mistake of paying far too much for far too little.

Ben in Oakland
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

I absolutely support this. I long ago stoppped giving money to the DNC after DOMA and DADT, and told them why. I have given money to individual pioliticians only a few times– John Anderson and Howard dean come to mind.

in 1976 (!), Jimmy Carter (!) spoke out against the briggs Initiative (!) while in california. Our Previous Fierce Advocate, Bill, was too busy getting Monica’d in the Oval Office to to stand up for us, though he gave fine speeches. No stern lectures from the Bully Pulpit about the un-American aspects of enforcing religious bigtory.

Our current Fierce Advocate, Mr. Obama, or as I am starting to refer to him , Mr. Ofama (Our Fierce Advocate My Ass) could have said some thing about the use of his words and images in the fight against H8. I could understand then why he might not.

But he is in office, and he could have said something about maine. He could have talked about religious freedom. He could have talked about the inherent un-American-ness, (or entire American-ness) of civil rights as a popularity contest. He could have thrown his weight behind Taucscher’s repeal of DADT. He could ordered the justice department NOT to defend DOMA. He apparently has the legal out to ignore DADT.

And congress is barely any better. a two vote margin on a highly defective health care bill. Still wasting lives and wealth in a land war in Asia. As Vizzini (?) noted. NEVER fight a land war in Asia.

Our Fierce Advocate, My Ass.

If I am going to get screwed, I would prefer not to be paying for it.

Donnchadh
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

I see only one way to make the Democrats notice you: start voting Republican. Or for a third party, if it has any viability (at least in local elections).
If you vote predictably, why should anyone in power take notice, much less try to fix what is not, for them, broken?

John B
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

I’m signing this too. My only quibble is with the wording. I’m OK with resuming support before all three items are signed and delivered, but I’ll be waiting for tangible progress on each issue (and speeches most certainly do not count). We’re going to get slammed for ‘impatience’ but what’s pushing us all towards this is the lack of any indication that the Dems will risk any political capital whatever on this.

Last year, I explained to gay friends my support of Obama over Hillary by saying that I didn’t believe Hillary would actually bother doing anything for us, but I thought Obama would at least give it a shot. I don’t think we needed much from the Dems this year to be satisfied that we are on the agenda, and to remain patiently supportive. Instead, we’re getting exactly what I’d feared from a HIllary administration — so far, anyway.

Frequent Flier
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Nice to see the HRC’s response. They have come in for a lot of criticism in the last year. Some of that criticism was justified and healthy, some was not. They were the largest donors to the No on 1 and Approve 71 campaigns, provided valuable support to both, especially in Washington and were the driving force behind the hate crimes law being passed with Judy Shepard. They are our most powerful political group, my company gives them a large donation every year as do many others in Corporate America, and they have connections no other group can match, which like it or not is essential to advancing our legislative goals. BUT, we can no longer tolerate them giving a pass to lukewarm supporters and fair weather friends. Not one more penny to candidates who don’t support full equality. And NO invitations to events and fundraisers for politicians who are not fully supportive neither. Finally, as another poster noted, and most importantly, NO VOTES. Vote Green. Vote Libertarian. Hell Vote Republican as I would have done in NY 23 if the candidate is supportive of your civil rights. But no more votes to people who are comfortable treating you as a second or third class citizen.

Regan DuCasse
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Same as Ben, I was done donating to the party when DADT and DOMA went into effect during the Clinton admin.

I voted for Obama because I definitely didn’t want McCain in the WH.
But our current POTUS, for a lawyer…he’s not defining gay citizens too well.
But he was here in CA…several times, hitting up wealthy Dems, that included wealthy gays and lesbians.

One of whom, David Geffen, outright and very publicly refused to even see Obama or give him any money during his early fundraising efforts.
Eventually and too often now, the Dems and Repubs are wearing the same clothes.
The clothes of ‘me first, my own political ends first, don’t expect me to REALLY keep a promise first’ politician.

Ben in Oakland
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Thanks, Regan. As always, bang on. :)

Burr
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

I never gave money to the Democrats or Obama in the first place, but I’m glad to see others committing to this.

Matt
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

I donated to Obama during the campaign, but I wouldn’t give him a penny if he asked me to today.

I find it laughable that the HRC is coming out in support of this. They’re as culpable as the DNC imo and they should be right up there on the list:
http://gay.americablog.com/2009/11/hrc-responds-to-gay-boycott-of-dnc.html

John
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Good. Now if we can more Republicans to do likewise when it comes to the GOP perhaps we’ll see some real change.

Ah, who am I kidding? The nuts run the asylum in both parties. Well at least the political theater is fun to watch…

Emily K
November 10th, 2009 | LINK

Signed.

I decided to re-register after the presidential election. I’m ready to go Independent.

Lynn David
November 11th, 2009 | LINK

My own health care has run me out of funds anyway. If that aspect of the democrat’s plan doesn’t get going I sure won’t have any money to give them. So count me out/in… which ever which way.

GO GREENS!!!

johnathan
November 11th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, what to do…

I completely support this in principle, and will absolutely not donate a single penny to the DNC. I will donate to those LGBT candidates who I feel actually pursue LGBT interests as well as hold positions on other issues I agree.

However, when it comes to ballot box time, I have great qualms about this. Essentially, I find myself in the Independent-Green category (although I am registered Democratic). At the State Legislative, Gubinatorial, and National Levels (both executive and legislative), I feel marking a vote for third parties gives the Republican party more strength. While I find the Democratic party intolerable at this moment, when it comes to LGBT issues, I would rather deal with Democratic inaction than negative-LGBT legislative action.

Until the United States develops European-style party coalition to truly embrace third parties into the legislative bodies, I truly don’t know how to vote at the ballot box, except to gnash my teeth and — provided the national or state Democratic candidate isn’t an anti-gay zealot — vote Democratic.

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