Alex Blaze

Homophobic Dreier mailer - It's just as bad from the left

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 09, 2008 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, closet cases, David Dreier, homophobic behavior, Prop. 8, republican

I have to go back and hit this item, too. This mailer went out in California's 26th district against semi-closeted Republican David Dreier:

dreier1 copy.jpg

Howie Klein's Blue America PAC paid around $20K to run this ad. I find it extremely homophobic.

It's worth noting that Howie Klein does great work with Blue America PAC to get more money to good Democrats and to run ads for them. He blogs over at Down with Tyranny and is himself a gay man.

But I don't think that excuses something like this. I know I'm a minority on this one, but I don't think that homophobia has a particular target. Using a homophobic ad against one person who, however we justify this one, deserves it stirs up homophobia against the rest of us. That might not have been the best idea about a week before Prop 8.

I know that some in the community would justify this based on "hypocrisy," but there is no discourse on the importance of honesty in this ad, why voters should not elect someone based on his hypocrisy, or even a mention of that argument. It's clearly meant to trigger the knee-jerk, lizard brain reaction of the people of California's 26th and make them go out and vote against the queer.

Even the kinda sorta attempt to make this about possible misappropriation of funds, well, there's no need to put the already offensive word "homosexual" in red. Whether he took vacations with a man or a woman shouldn't matter, if that's the central thrust of Blue America's argument.

To me, there isn't much difference between an ad like this and just putting up his picture with the phrase "DON'T VOTE FOR A FAGGOT" underneath.

Progressives can't go around complaining about racist mailers against Barack Obama and then put out homophobic ones against David Dreier. And gays can't complain about anti-gay job discrimination and then tell voters to take someone's job away because he's gay. Unfortunately, being the ones (as either progressives or gays) demanding that other people act on certain moral principles - such as respect, acceptance and equality - means that we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

On another note, Dreier won his reelection 53-40.

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Reformed Ascetic | November 9, 2008 7:35 PM

Thanks Alex.

I greatly appreciated your catch on the McConnell ad (one of your Nov 3rd posts for those who missed it) as well as this one.

Is it just me or does anyone else find it interesting that both McConnell and Dreier won?

I think the reason this was ineffective (I'm sure they won because they're incumbents, and incumbents do well generally) was because it looks so ridiculous. I remember my a political mom's reaction to those mailers accusing Obama being a terrorist - she tore them up and said "Do they really expect anyone to believe anything so stupid?"

This Dreier mailer looks about as well-reasoned.

Reformed Ascetic | November 9, 2008 9:55 PM

You're right, they both look like cheap tricks.

Of course they are, but they also both look like cheap tricks.

In my head, I'm trying to compare this to the number of people I talked to this election that found chain emails saying Obama was a "secret" Muslim convincing. Without addressing whether it should matter, I was truly shocked how many found this convincing while being confronted with evidence to the contrary.

Reformed Ascetic | November 9, 2008 10:47 PM

Good for your Mom by the way.

crescentdave crescentdave | November 9, 2008 8:00 PM

I don't think you're "a minority on this one" (at least I hope you're not) and I wish more folks would speak out. This ad is hate-mongering, homophobia based b.s. And it's got to be addressed. Everywhere. With everyone. No passes. No excuses. Thanks very much for the post.

What would make you think you're in the minority on this one?

I notice that the first three replies all mention that phrase....

Well, because I've come to accept that for many LGBT activists and bloggers, it's OK to make homophobic comments about a politician if that person is closeted and votes against bills important to the LGBT community.

"Well, because I've come to accept that for many LGBT activists and bloggers, it's OK to make homophobic comments about a politician if that person is closeted and votes against bills important to the LGBT community."

I can't account for bloggers, because that's a world with which I'm just not that familiar; but I've never known an activist that thought it was okay to slime someone with homophobic attacks. That makes the slimers hypocritical, not just the subject of the attacks. Homophobia is homophobia, regardless of the source. Actually, it's worse coming from someone who should know better.

There are activists who support the outing of hypocritical closet cases. But using homophobic language and inflammatory pictures (I don't think that's an actual photo of Dreier and his purported partner) isn't making the point of hypocrisy. It's saying, 'be afraid'. As you very aptly point out, it's designed to appeal to their lizzard brains, which is a great phrase.

I find the mailer offensive, and I would hope that all supporters of equality do as well. We hurt only ourselves if we endorse that sort of language by using it ourselves.

Thanks for taking them to task for this, Alex.

Reformed Ascetic | November 9, 2008 10:45 PM

I agree with Alex. It seems to be increasingly more common to try to justify homophobic attacks against individuals who are perceived to be opponents, or even just not helpful enough.

Shame on Howie Klein. Something like this should cause him alienation from his Democratic benefactors, and from his own peers.

It's curious how some gay men are so willing to sell out their own for professional advancement. I don't see this happening that often in other minorities, perhaps because ethnic and racial minorities usually tend to be more cohesive.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 9, 2008 10:47 PM

Wow! This is all kinds of messed up. I can't imagine what was going through Howie's mind with this ad.

Just a little disgusting. Or maybe a lot disgusting. I can see as an activist outing a closeted politician who votes against us. I can see outing a anti-LGBT activist who is actually in the closet. But that is because he or she is taking an hypocritical action. But I cannot see pandering to bigotry and using phobia as a weapon.

beachcomberT | November 10, 2008 8:59 AM

Highlighting the word "homosexual" in red was particularly nauseating. It's saying, in essence, Vote against Dreier 'cuz he's a fag (not because he wastes tax money on junkets). Some Republican may pick up on this to craft ads attacking Barney Frank for his traveling companion, not for his legislative votes.

I live in Driers district ... and have never voted for him ... this year he had a challenger who actually had the money to make it a race. That democratic challenger actually had homophobic Republicans helping with the dems race ... because "Drier was one of those."

Hello. What proof do you have that "Blue America spent $20k" on this mailer?

I sure don't see the required disclaimer with their name anywhere on it.

Libel, much?

See the original post updated with the Federal Election Commission 24-hour campaign finance disclosure at the original post, updated:

Or, go to the Federal Election Commission site and bore down and find it in their search engine