Bil Browning

DNC issues continue

Filed By Bil Browning | February 13, 2007 2:36 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Democrats, DNC, glbt civil rights, LGBT community

Does anyone know more about this internal DNC struggle? I'll admit, I'm a little lacking in knowledge of the background on this one... I know Howard Dean made some bad decisions after the election and the director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council of the Democratic National Committee was fired.

Americablog is reporting that the former director will have a letter in the Washington Blade on Friday. I've reprinted the letter here. Who can tell me more about this?

Washington Blade

DNC Not Ready to Make Nice

Dear Editor,

After attending the recent Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus meeting, it reaffirmed for me my reasons for standing up to Gov. Dean's reluctance to treating our community with dignity and respect, an action for which I was fired. I claim that firing as a badge of honor.

Gov. Dean barely addressed the LGBT caucus with only 5 minutes worth of comments, and no questions from the floor. And unfortunately, his talking points had shifted from the comprehensive plan to address the anti-LGBT state ballot measures offered last year to throwing only "a little bit of money" into the states at the end of the fight. So much for the strategy to combat them that he touted in the LGBT press prior to the elections. A recent survey shows that the DNC gave states less than $20,000 in-total, despite having raised almost $2 million from the LGBT community in 2006. But we will never know the exact amount given to state groups since the DNC is embarrassed to officially release the numbers.

The most shocking revelation during the meeting was that Gov. Dean misspoke by claiming that there were no 2006 LGBT exit-polling numbers, stating that "people won't admit that they are gay" to pollsters while walking out of the voting booth. However, as many of us know, there are indeed exit polls reporting that approximately 80% of LGBT voters voted Democratic. Obviously, either his staff still does not have access to brief him on our issues, or he is not listening. I wonder if he would address any other constituency group, not knowing this basic information.

At the meeting, LGBT finance staff and key fundraisers did sit at the Caucus table, as before, but what is different is that lately we seem to be treated solely as an ATM for the party, with our civil rights seeming an afterthought or burden. After Gov. Dean became Chair of the DNC, two LGBT political positions were abolished, and two finance positions were added, for a total now of four positions in Finance and zero in Political. Given the meeting, it's obvious that we continue to be invited to the table, pay for the meal, but we are not allowed to eat.

I have great faith in the community to continue to ask questions, and hold our party accountable. That is the only way real progress can be made.


Donald Hitchcock
Washington, DC

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Bil, I with you, I don't know what's going on. I'm very disappointed in Governor Dean's actions since taking over as chair of the DNC. LGBT people shouldn't be an ATM for either (or any) party. Give to candidates that have proven their worth!

Curious Gov. Dean | February 14, 2007 6:45 AM

Gov. Dean's reactions are puzzling.

He struggled with Rep. Emmanuel and Sen. Schumer, as heads of their respective bodies; campaign committees, about directing 06 campaign money to all 50 states. His strategy there was correct, albeit divisive in September.

This GLBT strategy is frightening. Not another dime from me until he explains it. There could be a logical explanation, and I'm waiting.