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Barney Frank thinks Victory Fund is in a “cultural lag”

Timothy Kincaid

September 14th, 2012

Sorry for being the Barney Frank show, but he’s in the news today. (Tewksbery Patch)

But the Victory Fund — an organization dedicated to supporting LGBT candidates for office — has put its support behind Tisei. Frank said blanket support for gay candidates was a useful strategy 20 years ago, but times have changed.

“I was still in the closet when it started. Visibility was the key thing. I think that is no longer sensible,” Frank said. “Beyond that, I think you take into account the impact. In that sense I think the Victory Fund is in a cultural lag. We used to just be grateful when people were nice to us. We’ve gone beyond that now.”

The premise of the Victory Fund is that gay elected officials create greater impact than gay-friendly elected officials:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender office holders are our clearest and most convincing champions for true equality. As leaders in government, they become the face and voice of a community. They challenge the lies of extremists and speak authentically about themselves, their families and their community.

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Gene in L.A.
September 14th, 2012 | LINK

If someone were supporting a politician only because s/he was straight, we’d be up in arms, and rightly so. Supporting someone only because s/he’s gay is equally short-sighted. Some gay Republicans vote for our equality secondarily–or less–to their other concerns. That is not a staunch ally. If I have a political vision, it’s not just to get gay people elected, but gay people I know will support my concerns. Anything less is self-defeating.

Jim Burroway
September 14th, 2012 | LINK

I agree with Frank on this one. If the only criteria for endorsing someone is because they are gay, then that is an exceptionally shallow endorsement indeed. We’ve had gay Republicans in Congress before, but where has that gotten us?

David Waite
September 14th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I believe you have written at least one column that took the same position about electing candidates based solely on their orientation without looking at what they’ve done for our community. I may be mistaken of course. My belief is based on my recollection of posting a comment praising your stance and stating that if all conservatives were so principled I’d never have a quarrel with them.

Perhaps my memory is starting to deteriorate, and if so I certainly apologize for the implied suggestion that your stated principles and positions depend on whether someone you personally detest shares them. If my memory isn’t the defective thing here –res ipsa loquitur.

UPDATE! BREAKING! UPDATE!
Looks like my memory is going. Whatever column I thought I was remembering, you incorporated Barney Frank’s point much more recently. You certainly included that theme in this commentary* but I definitely didn’t compliment you. [old man walks away dejectedly shaking his fist at cloud]
______________________________
* “However, I simply cannot overlook the fact that Barney Frank is the worst kind of politician, a partisan hack. I can forgive hypocrisy, personal failure, even slick polished empty suits. But I have little use for a politician who tries to broker my community for his personal advancement or that of his party.” -Timothy Kincaid, two days ago.

mikenola
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Kincaid has made it plain he holds a grudge against Frank for some long ago slight Kincaid takes personally.

The last screed he wrote about Frank left me thinking of a two year old having a temper tantrum.

This column is just a very weird backhand slap at Frank, hoping someone else will join him on the waaaaammbulance about him.

I won’t vote for a candidate because they are gay, or straight or bisexual.

I will vote for a candidate who I feel, from their record, has done things for the LGBT community.

Sometimes they will also do things I don’t agree with; As long as they are not the self loathing Uncle Toms sniffing up the right-wing-religious-freaks-butts who are willing and trying to destroy, dehumanize and criminalize LGBT people, I won’t weight most things too heavily against them… I should add that if their social politics include discrimination or other crimes then I certainly won’t overlook that either.

I refuse to have my politics guided by my being Gay, but I damn sure won’t vote for those that hate us.

Jim Burroway
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Tucson has a gay Democrat who ran in the primary for Gabrielle Gifford’s seat. If I lived in that Congressional district (I’m in Raul Grijava’s district) I would not have voted for him in the primary. He lost.

And there is a gay Republican sheriff in Pinal County to the north of us, Paul Babeau, who I would not support for dog catcher.

If anyone chooses a candidate based on sexual orientation, they are making a very foolish choice.

Tony
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Barney is a partisan. Pretending like having more gay people in Congress isn’t a good thing is extremely transparent. He just wants Democrats to be in control no matter what. It would probably advance equality more quickly if that were the case, but I honestly don’t feel like that’s his reason. He just wants his party in power. And it makes him like look just as bad as the “my way only” Republicans.

Tony
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

@Gene You almost sound like the people who complain about the lack of straight pride and white history month. We aren’t at the point yet where sexual orientations don’t matter.

Robert
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

What a laugh. “but he’s in the news today”. I get a tickle out of the fact that you are obviously trolling the internet for stories that have a mention of Barney Frank. It is painfully obvious that you are googling his name every morning to see if you can find something else that you can try to stick to the wall. Because one, surely, goes to the Tewksbury Patch for all the great news it provides. I regularly scour the 28,000 populations. paper every day. Or is it because this one town is the rareity in MASS, a republican leaning town that supported McCain over Obama in 2008.

He really is your albatross, and much like Romney recently, you seem to be doubling down, or is it now trippling down?

You really had to stretch to find him in the news today, didn’t you.

Joe Beckmann
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

We elect candidates to ACT on ISSUES, and not to represent differences; to reflect on those ISSUES, and not merely accommodate their impact. That said, Tisei is a “moderate Republican” trying to represent a suburban district, as did Barney. And his opponent is an old guard Democrat who has represented that district well, but is now the focus of a remarkable range of smear ads and in the midst of a nasty campaign. Tisei may or may not have engaged those supporters (that ad campaign at least represents Tea Party radicalism, even if Tisei seems more accommodating).

In other words, it is not merely a matter of with whom you sleep that should engage – or disengage – a constituent’s support. It’s a lot of things, focusing particularly on what you’ll do when or if you get the job. Republicans from Massachusetts tend to be more liberal, liberated, and engaging than many Democrats, precisely on gay and minority issues (which, not coincidentally, don’t involve much money). Yet – and this is particularly important in THIS election – they get very, very little fiscal leeway in a very divided Congress. Tisei could be a good guy, but it ain’t a good guy time: it’s now more than ever a time to hold to party differences when so much is at risk. It’s not only straight women, for example, who would “get f**ked” by Romney and his buddies.

If you expect any difference on marriage would have ANY impact in Congress, you’re smoking more pot than would be allowed medically if we, in Massachusetts, pass the medical marijuana initiative on the same ballot! If you expect Tisei could have any freedom to support poor or middle class support systems, and fight huge tax cuts to the most wealthy, that same dope describes the dopey insight such expectations represent. There are party hacks on all sides, but this – of any election in the last century – is not the one to rely on feckless Republicans to support gay causes while they rape everybody else.

Gene in L.A.
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Tony, I did not say and do not believe that sexual orientation does not matter. But to vote for a gay politician who uses that identity as a means to be elected but does not share my sense of urgency about gay rights is something I will not do. We are also not at a place where sexual orientation is the most important factor. If there are two fairly equally supportive candidates one of whom is gay it may be the factor that leads me to support him. Gay people who care more about their finances or some other aspect of politics than they do about how they and others like them are treated in our society simply won’t get my vote.

Gene in L.A.
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Tony, And just for the record, I am gay and your comparing me to “people who complain about the lack of straight pride and white history month” says more about your perception than it does about who I am or anything I said.

Michael C
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

I look forward to the day when EQUALITY is NOT a partisan issue. In order to get there, the republican party needs to change (just like the democratic party has). How does this happen? Wonderous-Overnight-Magic? No, The folks within the party need to fight for that change. If no one takes up that fight, everyone loses.

Robert
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Michael C, I agree with you in regards to the day Equality won’t be a partisan issue, but that is not today, unfortunately. And the only way gay rights and equality will be embraced is if and when the GOP dies and is resurected. It happened with the Democratic Party when it came to slavery and the treatment of black Americans, and it’s the only way it will happen in the republican party. The funny thing is that gay issues, high atop the list of many issues, will be one of the key determinations to the demise of the right’s Grand OLD Party. It isn’t the working from within that’s going to do it. it is the change of attitude from without that they are grappling with. As more people in general become supportive, the less room the Grand OLD Party has to be against us. That isn’t thanks to the LCR or GOProud, it’s thanks to the efforts of ALL gay’s and lesbians who actively worked for equality. Our eforts changed the minds of the Public at Large, not the LCR’s or GOProuds. It was the day to day living out loud LGBT people. THe Grand OLD Party is on it’s last gasp, and with it’s death comes the chance that the social issues will become moote (except abortion, that issue will never go away), but until then, the Grand OLD Party isn’t going to change.

Michael C
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Robert, It seems to me that the Republican party, so entrenched in the religious right movement, is definitely on the path to destruction. It is my hope that they can re-direct their course to avoid being relegated to the fringe. This will require a combination of what we both have stated. Equality-minded politicians require the support of equality-minded Republican citizens, and public opinion will fuel political change. The Republican party will “die” if Republicans allow it.

As for today, I feel it would be irresponsible to continue feeding a party that actively seeks to make my life worse. My life is the most important issue to me but I recognize that many U.S. citizens will not abandon their political ideologies solely for my well being. They may, however, be willing to compromise. I don’t expect any Republican to start voting Democrat, but I respect any that would dually vote for equality and conservatism.

Tony
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

@Gene I didn’t say you weren’t gay. Actually, I assumed you were. I was trying to nicely call you stupid. Thank you for proving my point with your grammar. Him just being gay and sitting at the table with Republicans will have an impact. We already have tons of gay-friendly, straight Democrats in Congress. It’s time to start working the other side of the isle. And that’s my whole point. Most of the comments that I’m seeing agree with Barney Frank are from partisan people who can’t see past the Democratic Party. You all sound like a bunch of butt-hurt babies. Sometimes I have to wonder if a lot of you DON’T want progress if it comes from the other side because that might hurt the Democrats’ image. I’m for progress no matter where it comes from, and having a gay Republican is progress whether you like it or not.

TampaZeke
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

There you go again Timothy.

Gene in L.A.
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Tony, you really think calling names helps your point? As for my grammar, I challenge you to point out what’s wrong with it.

I can usually count on this site to provide at least reasoned and respectful discussion. It’s too bad you seem so determined to be an exception to that.

TampaZeke
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Well Tony, since you’re SOOOO much smarter than the rest of us, perhaps you can explain how gay people will be served with a Republican majority in the House, even with Tisei in their caucus.

And please, while you’re at it, help us to understand how it is that Republican politicians and their supporters AREN’T partisan.

You call other people “stupid” and partisan all while resorting to the last resort of a person without a valid argument; the ad hominem attack (with, might I add, partisan bias).

Timothy Kincaid
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Victory Fund’s criteria for support is listed here:
http://www.victoryfund.org/endorsement_criteria

They are a single issue (kinda) organization, but “being a gay person” is not the only criterion.

I am surprised at how many people are opposing the Victory Fund. They are the primary source through which our community funds gay legislators. They help level the field for those whose opponents are funded by antigay source. They are an extremely reputable organization and have been around for decades.

While the vast majority of their funds are distributed to Democrats (most gay people run as Democrats) they are non-partisan and will fund gay candidates that meet their criteria in other parties or in non-partisan races. Personally, I think that’s a good thing.

Tony
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

@Gene “Your” is possessive. “You’re” means “you are”. And that doesn’t even matter. My point still stands. The comparison I was making was referring to your comment about how gays would be “up in arms” if it were the other way around. It doesn’t work that way. We would have every right to be upset if that were the case. Voting in an under-represented minority is totally justified. Voting for someone specifically to keep that particular minority out of power is wrong in the same way that “straight pride” would be ridiculous since the other 11 months of the year are straight pride.

@Zeke Sorry, but where did I say I was smart? Democrats are not going to win the majority in the House this election year. Having 1 gay Republican among their party ranks can do nothing but help us. And who gives a flying crap about other people being partisan? If everybody is jumping off of a bridge, does that mean it’s the new and cool thing we should all be doing? I love how everybody loves to twist everything around to fit their viewpoint. At the end of the day, I know what I am and what I believe in. I don’t want a Republican majority either, but I’m not going to sit back and say “no” to everything that isn’t from a Democrat. That’s ridiculous and closed-minded, and it does nothing but polarize our country even more.

Tony
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

My overall point, in case either of you missed it again, is that 1 House seat isn’t going to matter in the least bit. Why not do the thing that would help LGBT people the most? If Democrats don’t have a majority (which they won’t) then there will be no LGBT positive laws passed. So the next best thing to do is get a gay person in the party and maybe try to change some of their minds.

David Waite
September 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, you have no way of verifying this dubious statement.
“They are the primary source through which our community funds gay legislators.”

Just for the discussion’s sake, let me offer a devil’s advocate “not surely die” to counter and refute your “surely die” ploy. I take your statement to mean it is the primary source you use to fund gay legislators.

If in turn I say it is not the primary source our community uses, I have no way of verifying such a dubious statement. What I would therefore say is the truthful statement that it is not my primary source. I do my homework on individuals before those individuals get a piece of my wallet. Whatever percentage of the Victory Fund’s or the DCCC’s overhead comes out of my contribution is money which doesn’t buy air time and stationery for my candidates.

I strongly recommend every other person, GLBT, straight, Dem, GOP, Liberal or Conservative do their homework and make up their minds about whether individual candidates are a proper fit for their funding. Giving through gatekeepers isn’t just mentally and politically lazy, it is also fundamentally undemocratic.

Gene in L.A.
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Tony, I see the problem. It isn’t my grammar; it’s your comprehension. I will admit that sentence is clumsy, but it’s grammatically correct. I didn’t mean “you are.” I meant “your.” Change the word “comparing” to “comparison” and maybe you’ll get what it says.

You say to me “Voting for someone specifically to keep that particular minority out of power is wrong in the same way that ‘straight pride’ would be ridiculous since the other 11 months of the year are straight pride.” What have I said that leads you to think I disagree with that sentiment? I haven’t said anything at all about voting to keep any group or minority or subset of politicians out of office, certainly not gay people, not even gay Republicans. My post made clear I’m fine with gay Republicans who care as much about gay rights as I do.

Your very first response to me was to accuse me of sounding like someone who wants “straight pride and white history month.” I’ve been a gay activist for over 40 years. The newsflash that “the other 11 months of the year are straight pride” is something we were talking about before the Stonewall riots. Get off my case and use your energy to do some good.

Robert
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Tim, you are starting to be somewhat predictable at your attempts to twist people’s views into something they are not. You say:

“I am surprised at how many people are opposing the Victory Fund. They are the primary source through which our community funds gay legislators. ”

When in fact not ONE individual has written that they “OPPOSE” the Victory Fund. Some did write that they think it not entirely beneficial to elect someone JUST because they are gay. There is a big difference, but thanks for trying to twist your readers views into something they are not. It’s a pretty dishonest tact, usually taken by those who lost the argument. If you can’t win based on the merits of what you write, twist the other person’s words to make it appear you got the best of them.

Do you have ANY standards that don’t have some dishonesty in them?

Jay
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Kincaid’s attacks on Barney Frank are disgraceful. Given two good candidates, one who is gay and one who is straight, I would probably vote for the gay candidate because we are underrepresented. But that is not the choice people are confronted with in the race between Tierney and Tisei. Tierney is a straight man who has been a steadfast and stalwart supporter of the glbtq community. Tisei is a gay man who would give the Republican Party control of the House and thereby prevent any action on gay positive bills and would facilitate a whole rash of anti-gay bills, which he might vote against but which he could not stop. A vote for Tisei is a vote against gay rights.

Jay
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

The Victory Fund is making a huge mistake in doubling down on its support for Tisei. They risk destroying their brand and creating the kind of mess that the HRC got into in the 1998 when they, for example, endorsed the detestable Alphonse D’Amato against Chuck Schumer for U.S. Senator from New York. Their criteria then favored incumbents, even if they were as stupid and homophobic as D’Amato, whose only pro-gay position involved tepid support for allowing gay and lesbians to serve in the military. There was a major reaction against that endorsement, and many members resigned in protest.

I have donated to the Victory Fund for many years. Or rather, I have donated through the Victory Fund to candidates that they have endorsed. I would be very upset if I thought that money I gave to the Victory Fund was being used to support Tisei.

I am in favor of supporting gay Republicans when they run against anti-gay opponents. I even voted for a (straight) Republican who ran against an anti-gay Democrat. But it is folly to vote for a gay Republican whose record on gay issues is much less admirable than the record of his straight Democratic opponent. It is also folly for the Victory Fund to endorse such a candidate.

Tony
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Again, it went straight over your head. You said that if straight people voted for someone just because they were straight that gay people would be pissed off. You insinuated that we shouldn’t be voting for someone just because they are gay, and equated it with a straight person voting for someone just because they are straight. I don’t know how many different ways I can say it; they are not the same thing. That’s where I brought up minorities. I’m done now, old man.

Why are commenters, no matter what site, always so dense?

Tony
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Jay, the Democrats aren’t going to win the House. So really, the question is about whether you want another gay person in there trying to change peoples’ minds, or another straight ally who can’t get anything done because they aren’t in the majority.

Gene in L.A.
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Tony, yes, this should be the end. I never said or hinted that I would vote against someone because they’re gay. I said their being gay ALONE isn’t reason enough for me to vote for them. I won’t vote for ANYONE who isn’t going to support my goals, gay, straight, or in-between. You are free to vote for gay people without knowing their politics as much as you want. All I’ve said is I won’t do that. If you’ve been trying to convince me otherwise, you’ve failed.

Have a nice life.

Robert
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

Tony said:

” So really, the question is about whether you want another gay person in there trying to change peoples’ minds, or another straight ally who can’t get anything done because they aren’t in the majority.”

Well, I’d like to ask, what difference this scenario makes in regards to this race? The gay canidadte can’t get anything done because the republican party will have nothing to do with it, and will never bring gay rights issues. So does having one more gay person who won’t be able to achieve any legislative LGBT goals or a straight ally who is in the minority but would change the numbers in the House? Hmmm, I’d vote for the straight ally. I have found that simply because an individual is gay does not make that individual the best person for the job. Chris Barron and the likes of GOProud are Gay, but I would NEVER EVER vote for them. Voting for a cnadidate strictly BECUASE they are gay is stupid. Gay people are not perfect and infallable, and I don’t agree politically with Gay Republicans, so what makes you think we should vote for someone JUST because they are gay. I don’t vote for every democrat, and I’m not going to vote for every gay person. Some people just are not worthy of my vote, sexuality aside.

Jay
September 16th, 2012 | LINK

I would not be so sure that the Democrats will not take control of the House. This election may turn out to be a blow out for the Democrats. The Republicans are becoming so erratic and their candidate is so unpresidential, I think it is entirely possible that the Republicans lose enough House seats to switch control. From that perspective, it is very important that a traditionally Democratic seat be held, especially since it is occupied by someone with an impeccably pro-gay voting record. (And besides, if Tisei is so persuasive, why hasn’t he persuaded his former Governor, Mitt Romney, to support gay rights?)

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