Guest Blogger

Obama adds 'gay' to stump speech

Filed By Guest Blogger | November 15, 2007 9:23 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, California, election 2008, LGBT community, presidency, San Francisco

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post is written by Cynthia Laird. Cynthia is news editor of the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter. This is her first post for the Bilerico Project. Photo credit to Bill Wilson (click to enlarge).

Presidential candidate Barack Obama brought his "Countdown to Change" rally to San Francisco Wednesday night (Nov. 14), and mentioned "gays and lesbians" during his speech before about 6,500 people at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Obama_SF_11_14_07.jpg"Gays and lesbians will have somebody to fight for equal rights," Obama told a mostly young crowd. He said that he would "make sure gays and lesbians are not discriminated against."

"I want everyone to feel part of America, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of race, regardless of station," the Illinois senator said.

Obama's specific mention of gays and lesbians – about a minute of his 35-minute speech – is a change from when he appeared in Oakland, California in March. I attended that rally as well, and was frustrated when he made no mention of gays while speaking before about 10,000 people in one of the most diverse cities in the country.

The rest of Obama's stump speech Wednesday appeared to be a fine tuning of the one he delivered in Oakland and countless other cities. He's coming off what's been reported as a rousing speech at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa last week, and heads into a televised debate tonight.

Obama made reference to why he believes he's the candidate of change, saying that he's the one who can offer "meaningful change" for the country. He reiterated his long-standing opposition to the war in Iraq, and made reference to former President Bill Clinton when he noted that the problems that have been made worse during the Bush administration "were festering long before George W. Bush took office," singling out the lack of health care reform.

"The Democratic Party has always been at its best when we win not by polls but by principle," he said.

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Obama may make rather foolish mistakes on his campaign, but I must admit I'm satisfied with his recent efforts to make amends and am becoming disappointed with Hillary. So far, Clinton, in comparison to Obama, has not made a single mention of considerable length that addresses the LGBT community as Obama has. She punts and tries to justify unjustifiable actions, eroding my favor for her. However, I'm fairly certain she will be the GE pick, so I'm gonna end up voting for her anyway, as dissatisfied as I may be as to her neglect to directly address us outside the LOGO debate, not to mention her hesitation to promise a complete repeal of DOMA.

However, I'm fairly certain she will be the GE pick, so I'm gonna end up voting for her anyway, as dissatisfied as I may be as to her neglect to directly address us outside the LOGO debate, not to mention her hesitation to promise a complete repeal of DOMA.

Thanks for expressing just how I feel about her, Lucrece. I'm with you.

It will be interesting to note whether Obama's stump speech continues to include any mention of LGBT cities other than San Francisco.

Even the once fiercely-pro-war NYT recently editorialized that one can hardly notice the Democrats have taken Congress. They continue to fund the war...have given Bush the OK for (no longer) illegal spying on Americans...and didn't filibuster the appointment of the new Att'y Gen. though they had the numbers to do so.

(Bad enough he won't admit waterboarding is torture: though I recognize that if he had, it'd amount to accusing his bosses of war crimes. The worst is his having agreed that Bush/Cheney are free to ignore the law...because we're supposedly in a never-ending war on terror. Who's the biggest threat to peace? It ain't al-Qaeda.)

So even though his issues are spot-on, I find it difficult to support even Kucinich: because (as in 2004) when he loses--and he will--he'll then give his support to the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be.

They're all paid-off corporate shills (it took Hillary ages to realize how awful it looked to be on the board of Wal-Mart, and thus quit...for that reason only).

CWM, I agree with what you're saying. But does that mean the LGBTQ community should shift its funding and efforts towards a viable third party? I think the Democrats might start to take us seriously if we stopped lining their pockets.

What's that, Bil? Surely you didn't miss Sen. Clinton on Ellen--months ago--clearly stating that she thinks DOMA should be repealed, gay and lesbians couples should be granted ALL the same benefits given married couples, or her position in support of federal non-discrimination legislation. (Psst... do believe You Tube has a clip from that show...maybe you could post it?)

Serena, I've been thinking along the same lines. I recently read an article which suggested holding mass rallies in which Democrats would line up at elections offices to change their party affiliation: to Independent I assume (not Republican...ugh!)

This would be irresistible to the usual suspects--Faux News Channel, for example--but perhaps it's true that all publicity is good, even if it's coming from the Right.

The Democrats in the House and Senate kowtow to Bush/Cheney and then tell their base, "Who else are you gonna vote for?" I'm reminded somewhat of the abusive spouse who routinely promises to change his ways: and the victim who keeps coming back, hoping this time it'll be different. (sorry to anyone who's lived through the horrendous real-life situation; I don't mean to trivialize it)

It's possible that if a large proportion Democratic officeholders became truly afraid of losing their seats, we might suddenly see more action on the issues they've been avoiding.

If so, then a third party wouldn't be necessary. So I would hope, since deliberate attempts to create one always seem doomed to fall apart into endless infighting and splits. Historically what's happened is one party fades and another takes its place, almost spontaneously.

Those who live in states without open primaries could re-register as Democrats at the necessary time. It would be the initial, massive, simultaneous exodus from the party that's the most important thing.

When 80- to 90 percent of members of Congress are re-elected either unopposed or with only token opposition, one wonders what kind of choice we can possibly expect merely from voting. Our options seem more and more limited, what with police in riot gear overreacting to even the most polite dissent, the phenomenon of "First Amendment zones", and the growing equivalence of protesters with terrorists in the media (and in the law, with the Patriot Act).

Obama went to Ellen, too, kdm. The appearances in Ellen are hardly significant. The demographics who watch the program are fairly uniform, with no mixed crowds and the host being herself a liberal lesbian.

Yes, Obama may have done it in an already gay-friendly place, but it was a speech to a mixed crowd nontheless, something Clinton has yet to do beyond a mitigated mention of gay rights support in the form of lumping them up with other civil rights to make the support less glaring.

Furthermore, Obama is the only candidate who has publicly promised to FULLY repeal DOMA, while Clinton only wants to repeal some parts. She also unashamedly defended without basis the validity of passing DADT.

I find it rather remarkable that the left edge of the Democratic party speaks of forming a Third Party because they are so frustrated with the cowardliness and inaction of a Democratic Congress ... while the right edge of the GOP speaks of forming a Third Party because they cannot find a presidential candidate that can be their uber-xenophobe we-hate-everybody-not-a-clone-of-us "values" candidate. How odd that the voters of the nation are so polarized that Democrats are not left enough, Republicans are not to-the-right enough --- and in the middle, we have the actual, elected, centralist politicians that we can hardly tell apart without a scorecard.

Perhaps the only way for America to evolve permanently out of its two-party system into a multi-party system like some countries have in Europe is for both major parties to split simultaneously --- which could conceivably happen in 2008!

An interesting scenario --- is American two-party politics approaching a cataclysmic "tipping point"?