Alex Blaze

Don't question the Democrats' commitment to ENDA

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 16, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: bisexual, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, gays in the military, jobs, Kerry Eleveld, lesbian, LGBT, Nancy Pelosi, transgender

Kerry Eleveld has an article up with anonymous Congressional sources blaming the Senate for ENDA falling behind. The DADT deal has to pass the Senate before ENDA can be considered in the House (it's in the Constitution, somewhere in one of the boring parts), and they couldn't have been working on ENDA earlier this year like they said they would because the Congressional session just started three weeks ago.

Plus ENDA needs the approval of Republicans to pass, even though the DADT deal was just attached to the National Defense Authorization Act without 60 votes, but it's different for ENDA since no one in the Senate has had the time to think of how to pass ENDA in the last year and a half. It's not like the Senate is working on any bills related to jobs or employment this year, so they can't just attach it to something else.

You see, mean, mean Republicans like Coburn or Demint might filibuster ENDA, which actually means that they'll threaten to filibuster it and Harry Reid won't force the issue. He could, and then Republicans would be forced to filibuster the bill on national TV, reading the phone book to prevent basic protections for LGBTQ people that most Americans think are already the law, and look like a bunch of out-of-touch Moral Majority scolds from the 1970's. That just wouldn't be fair to the GOP. Why, they might get mad and start opposing the Democrats' agenda.

Most importantly, it's a very difficult bill to pass since only 89% of the American public supports it. Only 66% of people in Utah are OK with LGBT job protections, so if Democrats push the issue they might alienate Utah's most conservative voters and lose their chance to replace Orrin Hatch with Noam Chomsky. Plus the transgender protections are there, and people who work in the Senate are simply helpless to get the Senate aware of how firing someone for who they are is wrong. It's transgender people who need to "own this," not the Senate itself, because Senators and their staffers are simply passive bystanders in this ballad of folly and squalor we call American politics.

But don't question the party's, or Nancy Pelosi's, commitment to ENDA. Obviously they really want it to pass.

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*Suuuuuuuuuuure* they do. LOLOL

SkepticalCidada | June 16, 2010 8:16 PM

Oh, hell, no, Alex. You do NOT get to have it both ways, my friend.

You were among the quickest voices several years ago to personally vilify anyone who questioned the practicality of trying to pass the inclusive version of ENDA. Well, largely through that demonization, you got what you wanted, the inclusive version of ENDA.

And now you have to live with it. The poll you are citing to criticize Democrats for cowardice found that 89 percent of Americans believe that gay men and lesbians should have equal employment rights. But having successfully insisted on only demanding only the inclusive version of ENDA, you do not now get to switch and use gay-only data when it becomes convenient for you to erase the Ts. This is exactly the kind of thing that some of the people you attacked as anti-trans bigots were trying to tell your smart ass back then.

I'm as frustrated with congressional Democrats as you are. Furious with them, in fact. But you are being disingenuous and breathtakingly hypocritical to simply wish away what political advisers to members of Congress worry most about: opposition attacks focusing on things like transgender restroom rights. Things that don't poll at the 89 percent that you want to exploit.

You chose the inclusive version of ENDA. And we can try to emphasize sexual orientation in rhetorical debates. But when it comes to intra-community discussions about why congressional Democrats deserve condemnation, you have to accept the political ramifications that come from the choice of the inclusive version of ENDA instead of retreating to gay-only data and trying to have it both ways. Otherwise, your complaints about congressional Democrats are unpersuasive because you're burying your head in the sand.

Actually, I wasn't "among the quickest" back in 2007. If I remember correctly, I was moving at the same time as the whole ENDA fracas started, and I didn't get around to posting about it until a few weeks into the whole thing, making me "among the slowest."

I notice you don't have any data on the trans protections, and, really, there isn't much polling there, which is why lots of people keep on talking about the LGB/G&L numbers. The only poll I know of is a Lake and Associates poll from 2002 that put the trans protections at around 60-some percent. The Utah data, and several other states, did include trans protections and 66% of Utahns were OK with employment protections and other states's numbers that I've seen have all been better than Utah. Two middle-American cities have since gotten the trans protections past a ballot initiative, and I'd guess that the number's moved on the trans protections in the last 8 years. Unless there's newer data that puts trans protections at under 50% I don't really believe that the polling on that part of the bill can be what's holding up the entire bill.

Further, it's OK to mention the popularity of part of the bill instead of always looking to the least popular part and seeing how big of a minority of the US opposes whatever it is. The biggest chunk of the bill, in terms of the populations it affects, will have 89% of the population wondering why the Senate in filibustering. Instead of always trying to find the least popular part of the legislation and asking how many people oppose it to determine the bill's total popularity (a losing proposition that Democrats seem drawn to), we could focus on the people who support it.

It's not "burying your head in the sand" to mention that 89% of people support a big chunk of the bill - it's keeping the focus where it should be instead of seeking out parts that are less popular and conceding to conservatives that they are, in fact, a reason to jettison the bill in its entirety or tailor it to their expectations.

But, yeah, blame the trans people. I notice that the folks that were leading the "drop GI/E protections" charge two years ago could barely so much as notice that ENDA was introduced into the House and Senate this year while focusing instead on DADT and DOMA, while the "Keep ENDA together" crowd was the side actually calling and writing letters and blogging, etc., for the bill. And considering how well SO-only DADT repeal is doing right now, I don't think there's much reason to believe that a less-exciting SO-only anti-discrimination bill would be doing much better.

SkepticalCidada | June 17, 2010 2:50 PM

"I notice you don't have any data on the trans protections...."

LOL! It's your argument, my dear, and your burden of proof, not mine. Your evidence didn't support your claim, and it still doesn't.

Nor does your attempt at arguing around the data. If your claim is that members of Congress have no public-opinion excuse for failing to enact a bill, then the relevant polling data is that concerning the most controversial elements of the bill because those are the parts that members will most fear running on. You do understand something about politics, campaigns, and elections, right? You've really just degenerated into say-anything argumentativeness in trying to support your proposition by claiming that members of Congress ignore controversial provisions in an otherwise popular bill. (Yes, that's why a single-payer system was so easily able to pass Congress by merely being surrounded by more popular health-care reforms, right?) And, really, all you're ultimately doing is trying to convert a smug solidarity claim into an empirical claim about congressional behavior, and the result is a laughable, incoherent mess. Sorry, but you're wallowing in trying to have it both ways: gay-only when it serves your purpose, but full inclusion when that does.

As for DADT, I didn't even mention that, so spare me whatever sanctimonious talking points you're cutting and pasting about that. If you don't like the priorities set by HRC and other administration sycophants, you'll have to take that up with them. GetEqual, as I recall, engaged in direct action for both pieces of legislation, and I believe a transgender servicemember participated one of the White House chain-ins on DADT. Besides, if you'd stop spewing talking points long enough to think for a minute, you might notice that, by your own numbers, trans equality fares about as well as DADT repeal. You think that might explain why both DADT repeal and inclusive ENDA ran into about the same degree of congressional resistance this year?

Just found this comment now as I was doing research for another post.

So I'll be quick: Wow! I'm completely convinced - there's not enough public support for a T-inclusive ENDA. Or something, since you say that opposite yourself when you mention DADT.

And sorry you don't like the polling data I could find. I'll commission a new one right away, so long as they don't mind being paid in pocket lint and empty coke bottles.

There are 22 States where the majority of the residents are anti-Gay. It isn't just Utah.

We have never had enough support in the US Senate to pass ENDA or DADT Repeal. The so-called "Compromise Repeal of DADT" won't pass the US Senate.

Pelosi promised Democrat House members that they wouldn't have any "controversial votes" before the mid-terms. She is honoring that promise. The "Compromise Repeal" is just a charade and now an excuse to not break her "promise."

There are 22 States where the majority of the residents are anti-Gay

I know I probably won't get an answer, but... what are you basing that on?

Polling data I have been doing for the last 6 months. National polls are not sufficient for legislation. We have 22 troublesome States. But, we can change half of them. Not Utah, and not Alabama.

That's an answer, Alex.

So, where is this data?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 17, 2010 5:39 AM

That's a troublesome question.

Would you like to help pay for the studies Bill?

Sounds like great data. Why don't you forward it to me and I'll post about it? Or maybe I can find some queer policy wonks to take a look at it? This is important information that the community should know about, especially the LGBT people who live in those 22 states.

All of the research will be shared with the entire community. It was a first step in an ongoing process to figure out how to win.

SkepticalCidada | June 17, 2010 2:57 PM

AndrewW is hoping and praying that the DADT compromise fails because passage would undermine his smug disdain for the direct action that was necessary to propel the measure forward.

I don't "hope" or "pray" about anything.

Whether or not the so-called "DADT Compromise" passes has nothing to do with GetEQUAL. They had nothing to do with the compromise and they were AGAINST it. Choi was even willing to commit suicide because he was against it.

GetEQUAL marched into Chairman Miller's Committee Hearing and gave him markers "because he couldn't afford them" and then demanded an immediate "mark-up of the ENDA Bill." It was childish, stupid and completely ignored.

How's that angry, demandy thing working out for ya?

In keeping with the satirical spirit of Alex's post I say we turn the whole thing into a job's bill. Let's be frank with Barney. He wants a penis check at the entrance to the men's restrooms so wow how many jobs will that create? We could get the union vote by starting a whole new union of federal genital checkers. And it wouldn't hurt the budget much because they could all work for tips. I haven't figured out just quite how to appeal to the Republicans but maybe we could toss in a few billion for some new technology.

If the ball-less Democratic party could not pass ENDA when they had the "super majority" I doubt they will get it to a vote in the last six months before a mid-term election. Once that is done unless they end up with their super majority back it is unlikely ENDA will see a vote again until such time as they have a Super-majority and a president again.

We can say it is the Democrats fault it is not passed but the fact is we as a group have once again been had by them. The only message they hear in my opinion is money. If LGBT organizations withhold their support both in word and by their checkbooks, we may start to see something other than empty promises. I know I have a simple message for them when they send me requests for donations. No ENDA means no money. It is reality for me. If I cannot get or keep a job because I have no legal standing under the law, then I cannot contribute to their campaigns very well. If they would have passed ENDA last year I would be employed today and not on unemployment looking for work.

We're supposed to just trust them, right?

No, "trust" isn't part of politics. The most you'll ever get is hope and that hasn't gone very well, either.

Fisrt time was a stunt and everyone but us knew that as Bush would never have signed the bill and the Senate was never going to pass a version of it.

Now we have had round 2 House once again dose its thing sets up a bill hm I forget now did they ever pass a version this time? The Senate has yet to write a Bill the President probaly will sign it so whats the hang up.Well its the fact they need 60 plus Senaters to pass a bill easy they cant get that even with just Democrates.

Trust them na work with them yes but trust no way bubba.

Politics is a contact sport with no rules.