Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hillary for gays, lesbians--Obama not so much

Previously mentioned in passing, Hillary Clinton's interview with the Philadelphia Gay News.

Yesterday, Sapphocrat (love the name) dived inside the pages of the PGN. Noteworthy from page 11:

At this point in the Democratic presidential campaign, we’re able to view the candidates by their actions. And we have found that Sen. Barack Obama would rather talk at the LGBT community than with it. While Sen. Hillary Clinton has been accessible to the local LGBT press with numerous “no rules” interviews, Obama simply has not. The fact is that Obama has spoken with the gay press only twice, and one of those interviews, which appeared in chicago’s Windy City Times, was in 2004 before he became a U.S. senator. The other limited interview occurred after controversy erupted when his campaign added an anti-gay minister to his tour of the South. It has now been 1,522 days since Obama has been accessible to our community. The question is now this: Is he trying to play it safe or has he become a managed candidate?

But there’s more to this story.

The LGBT press, which has been fighting for respect since its inception, expected this to be the year that candidates would respond to us as they do to the Hispanic, black and other community press… The local gay press is to our community what churches are to the black community — our lifeline for information. The local gay press now has a national weekly audience of some 2.2. million readers, not including our Web sites. Collectively, we reach more LGBT people than any other source. While Obama has issued numerous statements, he has only granted one interview in this campaign. This begs the question, is he uncomfortable with the LGBT community? …

So whom has he spoken with in that time? Christianity Tody [sic], local Philadelphia sports radio station, Grist and Paris Match. Guess he’s going for the French vote.

Sapphocrat then added these disheartening tidbits:

After giving PGN the runaround, PGN complained to Obama’s communications director that the campaign’s “actions, not just to PGN, but to the entire LGBT press, have been disrespectful,” noting that Republicans Bob Casey and Arlen Specter (no friends to the gay community, they) and even “nightstick-carrying” former Mayor Frank Rizzo have granted interviews to PGN.

“The last candidate running for office that refused an interview with PGN,” the paper reminds us, “was Sen. Rick Santorum.”

PGN then speaks directly to Obama, whomping him over the head with this hard little truth: “We were treated with more respect by Republican John McCain’s campaign than yours.”

The lone interview Obama has given during this campaign was to The Advocate, in which he made a pitifully lame attempt to defuse the outrage over the Donnie McClurkin insult (and during which he stepped even deeper into his own doo-doo by suggesting that queers and Democrats — as if the two groups were mutually exclusive — are “hermetically sealed from the faith community”).

And that interview was six months ago.

(And, for the record, the pandering, meaningless campaign ads he took out in gay print publications just prior to the Ohio and Texas primaries do not count as “interviews.” Neither does his appearance at the LOGO debate; for one thing, his absence would have been more than conspicuous, and for another, the questions lobbed at him weren’t even softballs, but wiffle balls.)

So what, you say? So, Obama hasn’t given an interview to the gay media (even the outlets that support him) since.

And it’s not like he hasn’t been asked. Repeatedly.

I wrote Barry off after his Donnie McClurkin episode. My preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, is far, far, far more supportive of gays and lesbians, one of a lot of reasons I'm sticking with her even if I have to write her in name on my November ballot if I can. Otherwise, I'll vote for the Green Party candidate. No way I'm endorsing Mr. Audacity of Hope when clearly he's not audacious enough to stand up for my community. A deal breaker.

His words that he doesn't "think the LGBT community or the Democratic Party is served by being hermetically sealed from the faith community and not in dialogue with a substantial portion of the electorate" just shows that Obama doesn't understand who we are, our activists, our outreach, and our clergy.

Hillary gets it by personally associating with us, marching with us, and advocating for our equality. Action speaks louder than words.