Sara Whitman

Dancing backwards and in high heels

Filed By Sara Whitman | February 28, 2008 5:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Ann Richards, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, hypocritical motherfuckers, sexism

I had a friend tell me the other day, the reason why Obama doesn’t say anything support-hillary.jpgabout policy or program is because it’s so similar to Clinton’s it would be almost impossible to distinguish the two.

So Clinton does all the work and Obama gets all the credit?


Take for instance, the outreach efforts of Senator Clinton- herself, not her staff- with the gay community. Clinton has marched in Gay Pride parades as both First Lady and as Senator. In addition, she has spoken in front of so many LGBT audiences ranging from the Human Rights Campaign, Empire State Pride Agenda, the Hetrick Martin Institute, PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

But more specifically, she has sat down and given live interviews to LGBT journalists over and over again, some as small as Gay People's Chronicle.

Obama sat for one live interview with The Advocate. He was there with all the other candidates at the Logo forum. No others. Despite repeated requests to his campaign. If they are out there, I’m looking, asking, and not able to find any.

Compare press releases from each candidate about the brutal murder of a gay teen in California, Lawrence King.


“I was deeply saddened by the recent death of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was killed at his school in Oxnard, CA. No one should face intimidation or violence, particularly at school, because of their sexual orientation or the way they express their gender identity"

“We must finally enact a federal hate crimes law to ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are protected against violent, bias-motivated crimes. We must send a unified message that hate-based crime will not be tolerated.”


“It was heartbreaking to learn about Lawrence King’s death, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. King’s senseless death is a tragic example of the corrosive effect that bigotry and fear can have in our society. It’s also an urgent reminder that we need to do more in our schools to foster tolerance and an acceptance of diversity; that we must enact a federal hate crimes law that protects all LGBT Americans; and that we must recommit ourselves to becoming active and engaged parents, citizens and neighbors, so that bias and bigotry cannot take hold in the first place. We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all.“

Pretty much the same, right? Clinton’s statement came out the day before Obama’s. And you wonder why I feel like Obama rides on Clinton’s coattails?

Because he does.

At the 1988 Democratic National Convention, Ann Richards said, “If you give us the chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

What Richards didn’t live long enough to see was not only do you have to dance backwards in high heels, you have to provide all the policy and program. You have to meet with media large and small and endure being called “emotional,” “strident” and “grating.” You smile through “devious,” “power hungry” and having your ankle size subjected to national scrutiny.

People accuse you of having your 28 year old daughter ‘pimped out,” while your competition puffs away on cigarettes clearly given a free pass, even though he is a parent of two young daughters.

Obama only needs to move forward, in sparkling dancing shoes. By being less specific, he can be the perfect screen onto which America projects our wishes and hope for change.

While Clinton has to do the deep dip backwards to prove she’s the smartest one in the room, bending low so she doesn’t hit her head on the glass ceiling.

My friend is right. Obama doesn’t have anything new and different to say. He doesn’t need to because Clinton has already said it.

I only wonder what he is going to do when Clinton is gone because the Republicans will not reach over, pat his arm, and thank him for being there.

*photo thanks to ©Susan Bernstein, 2008.

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Michael Bedwell | February 28, 2008 5:58 PM

“I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” - Barack Obama, "The Audacity of Hope," 2006, Crown/Three Rivers Press, 288 pages [the title isn't even his—it was the name of a sermon by his pastor].

If there were any more projection going on, everyone in America would have third-degree burns.

I wondered how long it would take you to find this post, Michael. *grins*

You know, while I'm an Obama supporter, I do tend to agree with a lot of what Sara says... Hillary has always been the frontrunner until late simply because her team was always on top of things. They were the first out of the gate with just about everything.

The one critical "late to the party" trick for me though was admitting she fucked up by voting for war in Iraq and that she was sorry for it. While she did that in the last debate, it was too little too late.

Michael Bedwell | February 28, 2008 9:47 PM

And here I thought it was just about The Hairbands for you, Bil. :- )

While it's worth noting that Obama was out in front on an inclusive ENDA waaaay before Hillary, that's hardly the most important thing here.

The fact is, like it or not, Hillary Clinton is one of America's most divisive political figures. She started this election season with a 47% negative rating. After 7+ years of Bush, this country and it's government needs to be united to push for common goals, and that's just not something Hillary Clinton can do. Fair or not, that's just the way it is in America in 2008.

Obama has demonstrated that he can unite the country behind him, that he can bring in independents, youth, and even Republicans in support of his candidacy. Hillary has been clearly shown to be incapable of doing this. In fact, not is she unable to inspire the kind of unity and support Obama does on the Democratic side, but it's highly likely that a Clinton nomination would enrage the right-wing enough to draw the kind of energy toward supporting McCain that he and his party are currently lacking. Hillary would draw right-wingers to the polls to vote against her the same way the issue of same-sex marriage did for Bush in '04.

Maybe her time will come in 2016, but it isn't now. Policy is only one side of the coin. We need more from a President right now, we need someone who can unite the electorate after the most acrimonious and divisive Presidency in modern history. Obama can do that. Hillary can't. When you get right down to it, none of the agendas matter if a candidate can't get elected with a big enough mandate to effect real change.

Obama has become more than a candidate, he's a bonafide movement, and a movement is exactly what we, both as LGBT's and as Americans, need right now if we are to have a hope of getting anything done to make our lives better. Hillary is just too divisive to make that happen, and the primaries have already proven that quite clearly.

What's best for the country and best for all of us is to have a President in office who can do what needs to be done on the both political and social fronts, and only Obama qualifies on both. If we really want what's best for ourselves and for America right now, there's only one real choice.

It is interesting that so many queers forget that Clinton also marches in the homophobic hate parades that the rightist nutjobs have on St. Patrick's Day. Most New York Democrats boycott the hatefests.


While this is a nice meme that the Clinton campaign has trotted out again and again and again, it doesn't hold up to more thorough scrutiny.

Go to the Library of Congress website ( and type in both Obama and Clinton's names and compare their ACTUAL records in the Senate. Even with Clinton's added years of service Obama has been MUCH MORE SUCCESSFUL than Clinton in getting legislation proposed, cosigned (he demolishes her on that mark quite impressively) and passed.

But Clinton keeps talking about all of her accomplishments and the media lets her get away with it. The proof is otherwise.

Here's one good assessment based on that kind of actual research:

After looking into this I find all these Clinton lines of attack absolutely false and disengenous.

Michael Bedwell | February 29, 2008 11:52 AM

Rebecca, I SO hate having to repeatedly draw your attention to facts, really I do but:

If Sen. Clinton is "unable to inspire the kind of unity and support Obama does on the Democratic side" then why do all those DEMOCRATS keep voting for her? Why did she raise TWICE as much money in February as January? Why hasn't Obama BEEN CROWNED BY ACCLAMATION? MILLIONS of Americans want to know. Perhaps you can enlighten them.....

But, please, girlfriend, spare us the disingenousness about "negatives" and "fairness." One suspects the truth is that it's not that you love Obama as much as you hate Hillary. In any case, re what would happen in the election, exactly when did YOU become a professional pollster? While her advantage over McCain, depending on which PROFESSIONAL poll one reads, has gone down as Obama’s goes up, last I saw she was still neck-and-neck with McCain or within the kill zone.

Even assuming your claims, with her negatives, and with Oprah if not God on his side [but don't tell him], with an adoring, fact ignoring media at his back, with people describing his effect on them in transcendental and religious revival and sexual terms, having apparently raised roughly $200 million dollars, enabling him to repeatedly outspend her with print and TV advertising, with Obama campaign workers and signs blanketing the nation—WHY has your GREAT UNITER been unable to close the deal?

There is some possible truth in what you're saying, but allow me to express it more clearly: the biggest challenge to winning the White House with Sen. Clinton would not be Repugs but all those Obamamaniacs who care more about HIM winning than the better Party. He's said as much himself. That he said it publicly, thus effectively blessing their Nader Nuts-like narcissism, is reprehensible.

As for her alleged inability to work with Repugs, might I dare replace your propaganda with, forgive me again, some facts?

“From Senator Clinton, a Lesson in Tactical Bipartisanship
NY Times, 4/30/06

“Only eight years have passed since Lindsey Graham, then an ambitious Republican member of the House, paraded over to the Senate each day to argue the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton. How things have changed. Mr. Graham, of South Carolina, is now a senator. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of his adversary, is now a colleague... And the two are to the amusement of their peers and the distress of liberal activists increasingly close allies and friends, working together on high-profile issues from military benefits to manufacturing, traveling together on extended trips overseas, even publicly praising each other.

Mr. Graham recently wrote a glowing tribute to Mrs. Clinton for Time magazine's coming 100 Most Influential People issue, in which he calls her a "smart, prepared, serious senator" who "has managed to build unusual political alliances on a variety of issues with Republicans." "I don't want her to be president," Mr. Graham said in an interview. "We're polar opposites on many issues. But we have been able to find common ground."

The pairing may be odd, but it is not unique or, from Mrs. Clinton's perspective, accidental. One by one over the last five years, to team up on specific projects, she has sought out the most conservative of Republicans many of whom tried to remove her husband from office just two years before she won her seat and derided her candidacy when she stepped into electoral politics. They, in turn, have sought her out. ...

Her tactical alliances with Republicans...also provide a window into how she operates in the Senate. With Senator Trent Lott, she worked on improving the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With Representative Tom DeLay it was foster children. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, jumped in with her on a health care initiative, and the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, was a partner on legislation concerning computerized medical records. And virtually every Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, whose Republican chairman, John Warner, speaks admiringly of Mrs. Clinton's "remarkable core of inner strength." ...

Her pairing with Mr. Graham was also awkward at first. It began three years ago when Mr. Graham invited a large group of senators, including Mrs. Clinton, to join him at a news conference to demand broader health benefits for National Guard members and reservists. "She was the only one to show up," Mr. Graham recalled. "I felt weird, and I think she did too. The history is what it is. So I felt uncomfortable. But once we got into the news conference it flowed well, and I think we complemented each other, and we chose at that moment not to let history define us." END QUOTE.

THIS JUST IN: "Word of a scientific study was leaked today which suggests that Barack Obama cannot, and we quote, 'leap tall buildings in a single bound'. The lives of the scientists who worked on the study have already been threatened and they have been put under protective custody. Statistics on the 'more powerful than a locomotive' hypothesis have yet to be tabulated."


Did you just defend Hillary Clinton by admitting she's cozy with Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, Bill Frist, and John Warner?

Oh, snap!

With friends like you, Clinton better hire new staffers to wander the internet.

so clinton marches in SEVERAL pride parades and St. Patrick's day parades, Obama marches in NONE and

she's evil?

excuse me?

Ooh snap! You said it, Ms. Whitman. :) I knew there was a reason Senator Obama isn't saying anything about actual policies.

Here's a different perspective based on Obama's *REPEATED* speaking up for LGBT inclusion in friendly AND non-friendly settings (Something I challenge Clinton supporters to substantiate Clinton doing... and I mean the non-friendly settings here).

so the answer is NO, it doesn't matter than he has never attended an HRC dinner, an Equality Illinois dinner, or any other gay rights organization event as far as anyone can tell but by golly he does talk a nice talk.

pardon me while I'm not impressed by a lot of TALK and no ACTION.

Michael Bedwell | February 29, 2008 3:30 PM

Well, there’s ONE good thing to say about Andrew Sullivan’s hard on er endorsement of Obama—we guess he’s stopped believing in the “blacks are genetically more stupid” fake science of Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray whose work he promoted when he was editor of “The New Republic.” But then, technically speaking, Obama is only half-black so maybe that’s why Andy Pandy is willing to give HIM a pass. As for the credibility of all he’s written about Obama, Mr. Sullivan has also effectively declared that “AIDS is over!”

As for his ludicrous claim that he never saw the same level of support from Mrs. Clinton during "the Clinton years," I guess Mr. Sullivan was too busy screaming about how sexually irresponsible other gays and Bill Clinton allegedly were at the same time HE, HIV+, was trolling online for bareback sex"—too busy to note her marching in that New York Gay Pride Parade for ALL the world to see.

Anyone who refuses to believe that she didn't understand how pictures and video of that would be used against her by the Repugs if she got the nomination for President some day, but marched anyway, would probably, conversely, give Obama yet another pass for having refused to have his picture taken with SF Mayor Gavin Newsom shortly after Newsom became world famous for attempting to legalize gay MARRIAGE—refused even AFTER Newsom helped raise money for Obama's Senate campaign!