Rebecca Juro

Why Tim Kaine, Nibblerspeak, and Democrats can't be trusted

Filed By Rebecca Juro | August 17, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, democratic agenda, Democratic Party, election campaigns, ENDA, same-sex marriage, Tim Kaine

Did you catch Tim Kaine's new video, supposedly about the progress the Democratic Party is making on LGBT issues? tim-kaine.pngLike a lot of what comes out of official Democratic Party channels these days, it's simply unbelievable. Not amazing, exciting, or surprising, but literally not believable.

Most notable is Kaine's assertion that Democrats are "working hard" to pass ENDA. Really? Current whip counts (our own) show that there's more than enough support to pass ENDA in the House at least, but despite this well-known reality, it's delayed, and delayed, and delayed, until it seems it has once again fallen off the calendar entirely. Even more ridiculous is Kaine's statement that "LGBT equality can't be achieved overnight." Has this guy been living in the same country or even on the same planet as the rest of us for the last four or five decades?

Also, the Dems could have chosen a far better messenger than Tim Kaine to speak to LGBT Americans about our rights on behalf of the Party. Kaine's wishy-washy "support" of LGBT equality as Governor of Virginia came in the form of weak, watered-down executive orders that his rabid conservative successor Bob McDonnell wiped out almost instantaneously when he took over as Virginia's Governor, just as the next Republican president will likely do to most of the so-called "progress" on LGBT rights made thus far during the Obama Administration.

Perhaps most telling of all is that when Republican Bob McDonnell rolled back those protections, Democrat Tim Kaine couldn't even be bothered to comment in the media on the loss of those rights for LGBT Virginians. And this spineless ball of fluff is the public voice of the Democratic Party, the guy they roll out to speak on their behalf to the American LGBT electorate? Seriously? It would be laughable if it weren't so sad, and so very costly to LGBT American workers and to the true progressive movement in this country. Let's make sure we never forget that it was Tim Kaine, as Virginia's Governor, who signed that state's same-sex marriage ban into law.

Simply put, Tim Kaine is not a credible spokesperson or advocate for progress on LGBT rights. History teaches us that Kaine and other fair-weather "progressives" in the Party are not the solution, but rather one of the biggest obstacles to achieving real equality for LGBT Americans.

When we call out the Democrats for being completely out of touch with the LGBT community and the issues that matter to us most, it's exactly this kind of ignorance and lack of substance we're talking about. Tim Kaine knows better. He has to.

Kaine is the poster child example of what happens when a political leader makes a half-hearted, let's-not-rock-the-boat-too-much effort at making things at least a little easier for LGBT's during his tenure, only to see all of that "progress" quickly wiped out by a Republican successor because he took the easy, politically convenient route of issuing executive orders instead of working to pass actual legislated law, which of course is much more resistant to attempts to eliminate. That should tell you about all you need to know about Tim Kaine's "support" for LGBT rights. He's actually the perfect mouthpiece for the Democrats.

Like most of the Democratic Party leadership, when it comes to LGBT equality Tim Kaine talks a good game but folds in the clutch because just like Obama he'll always prioritize taking the path of least resistance for himself and his political allies over doing what he knows is right for LGBT Americans.

In the interest of clarity and truthfulness, here's some popular Nibblerspeak lines and their real-world translations:

  • "Democrats are working hard to pass ENDA." = "Get back under the bus and wait a few more election cycles until we decide it's politically advantageous for us to fight for you."
  • "I'll be a fierce advocate..." = "I'll mention you in a speech or two when it serves my purposes, but don't expect me to actually fight for you or for your rights. Remember, what I actually do fiercely advocate is that you continue to be denied the right to marry. Even though I used to publicly support that right as a state senator in Illinois, I flip-flopped on same-sex marriage when I ran for federal office because that's what's politically convenient for me and my Party.

    You can expect me to back-burner ENDA and anything else LGBT-related that proves inconvenient for Democrats because the political entities I'm always going to protect first and foremost are myself, my party, and my Administration. Just be thankful I'm not Bill Clinton and I probably won't end up actually making things worse for LGBT's like he did because it's no longer profitable or good politics for Democrats to campaign on anti-LGBT bigotry in most areas of the US."

  • "More education is needed." = "There are still too many unchallenged bigots like Ike Skelton in the Democratic Party to guarantee passage of LGBT equality bills. We're not going to make any effort to challenge them publicly because we care far more about protecting the seats our party cronies hold in Congress than we do about protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination."
  • "ENDA will be introduced..." = "Forget about ENDA becoming law, at least in the foreseeable future. We keep giving you dates and then moving them further and further back because it's an election year. We need the LGBT's who still buy our bullshit to be hungry for justice and flock to the polls in November to vote to keep us in power in the hope of finally being treated decently someday. It's how we keep Gay, Inc. in line and continuing to come up with votes, donations, and volunteers for us. As long we keep feeding you lies and you keep coming back for more every time, why should we ever pass ENDA into law and cut off our own gravy train?"
  • "ENDA is a top priority for Democrats." = "ENDA is, in fact, a top priority for Democrats. Not the actual passage of the bill into law, mind you, but being able to dangle it in front of LGBT voters every election season like a carrot on a stick to drive you to the polls to vote for us yet again, despite our consistent failure to keep even our most basic promises to LGBT Americans. That's worth its weight in gold to us and we're not ready to give it up.

    The truth is that ENDA is worth far more to the Democratic Party politically as an unrealized goal than an actual accomplishment so we're going to milk it for all it's worth, or at least until you people finally wise up and stop making it so easy for us. As always, protecting our own jobs is far more important and urgent to the Democratic Party than protecting the jobs of LGBT Americans will ever be."

  • "Make me do it." = "Piss off... but don't forget to vote, donate, and work to re-elect Democrats, 'cause, y'know, things would be so much worse for LGBT's under the Republicans. Really."

Got some Nibblerspeak translations of your own? Post 'em in the comments!

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Renee Thomas | August 17, 2010 3:55 PM

To date, the efforts of this President and the DNC to make good on their promises falls under the category of "pissing on us without extending the simply courtesy of calling it rain."

I feel for you.

I don't know why they don't get the desperation behind the anger. It's like watching an almost once-in-a-lifetime window of opportunity slide shut. Behind the politics, the "strategizing," there are real people in economic, legal, physical and societal hardship.

I guess it's always easy to apologize later than to have courage in the first place.

I went on and left my message for him there. After 35 years of activism, this video was a slap in my face. I felt exactly as I had after I had been held up at gunpoint.

My reply to the video: "FAIL: Mr. Kaine we have been telling the Democratic Party that we want equal rights NOW FOR FUCKING? 30 YEARS. What about Equal Rights don't you dumbass motherfucker's get?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 18, 2010 1:39 AM

Democrats = HRC = GOProud = Log Cabin Republicans = Stonewall Democrats = Republicans = bigots and bigot panderers.

Again you hit the ball out of the park, Becky. Thank you for so eloquently pointing to the problem. I knew I was angry, but now I know exactly why.

"'I'll be a fierce advocate...' = 'I'll mention you in a speech or two when it serves my purposes, but don't expect me to actually fight for you or for your rights...'"

Ha! You have great interpretative skills when it comes to "Nibblerspeak".

I've learned a new word: Nibblerspeak (at first I thought it was a new social network like Twitter when I first saw the headline).

Brava! Brava!

I thought the same thing when I saw the video, Becky. What in the hell has Tim Kaine ever done for LGBT rights that they'd trot him out to pacify the gayz? That's like the religious right sending Rick Warren as a peacemaker.

I like your translation of "make me do it." That was so fucking annoying coming from Pelosi, who's been protested, voted in, donated to, everything to, for years now. She's been made to do it, but it's obvious that she's working against us (or at least that others are making her work against us).

What amazes me most is how stupid these people apparently think we are. Do they think we don't know Tim Kaine's record on LGBT rights or that of Obama and Congressional Democrats? Do they really believe the fight for LGBT rights began when Obama was sworn in? It's an insult to our intelligence, and they richly deserve all the backlash they get as a result.

I think Bil nailed it. It's like sending us Rick Warren to preach about diversity and freedom of religion.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 18, 2010 5:56 PM

I wonder if GLBT Democrats will have the same opinions on November 2nd 2010 or on November 6th, 2012.

Or will we be treated, as we were in 2008, to another dose of lesser evilism and fear mongering. "Oh my, lions and tigers and Republicans."

On November 2nd do us all a favor and vote a protest vote or just sit it out (unless there's and important initiative or proposition on the ballot.)