Now that DADT repeal passed the Senate, does Joe Solmonese deserve congratulations? Andrea Mitchell, who probably hasn't been following the fight, says yes:
I don't really see how HRC or Solmonese were at the center of this fight, "leading the way" or anything like that, but that's the nature of the nonprofit industry. One of the things HRC has perfected is taking credit for other people's work.
But it's interesting to compare this to what many LGBT people were saying just a week ago, that Solmonese should resign because DADT repeal didn't get through the Senate. I didn't think he should resign for something that he wasn't at the center of (my words: "I just don't see[...] why HRC is particularly to blame for the Senate's failure on DADT when there there are so many other actors involved, like the Senators themselves and all those other orgs that sprang up to specifically focus on DADT"), but other folks took a different position.
Like Pam Spaulding:
Joe Solmonese should do the honorable thing and step down. It is shameful to cash all those checks without the follow through on the job. The White House was never put under serious pressure; the late calls now in the e-blasts for the President to do something ring hollow after the toadying that has gone on for two years.
As we saw, Reid couldn't get it together in the Senate and the wingnuts will have more control in January. The watered-down repeal doesn't do much of anything at this point (even if it passes as a separate bill during the lame duck session -- good luck with that), and we're still dealing with all the GOP squawking by McCain and others who want a "do-over" of the Pentagon's implementation report. It's a big f'ing mess because there has been piss-poor leadership by those who are lobbied in government.
In turn it's the unelected, highly marketed, well-tailored representative of the entire LGBT community, Joe Solmonese of HRC, who also has to be held accountable for these failures. It's clear that those in power had no fear of the vast war chest of HRC being used to turn up the heat. No, the heat came from less well-heeled activists who didn't have the access to power, only voices and fearlessness to call out the purposeful foot-dragging and inaction.
It did seem like a big mess last week, but why did Solmonese "ha[ve] to be held accountable for these failures"? I couldn't really figure out why he was particularly at fault here and the posts linked by Spaulding to support her argument criticized him for his wardrobe and the tone of HRC's press releases, as if one look at Solmonese's D&G suits and Senators decided he wasn't Real American enough to influence their vote.
As it turns out, not having a great reason for believing something means that one won't believe it for too long. Here's Spaulding on Saturday:
It's been a long historic day and the reactions have run the gamut from "you know it played out just as the President planned" (the brilliant 12 dimensional chess strategy meme), to "HRC claiming any responsibility for this is BS" to "it couldn't be done without "X" (as in there's a single reason for DADT's legislative repeal).
As always, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I'm not sure why any one faction has to "claim" victory -- that seems very Beltway, as opposed to the big picture that there was a win today, one with an incomplete asterisk next to it.
Yeah, it's very strange that anyone would think that one faction has to be responsible for any given political move. It's so "very Beltway." I can't think of anyone outside the beltway who thinks along those lines.
There may still be reasons Solmonese should resign, although my opinion is that if someone has a problem with the way HRC acts then he'd be replaced by someone else with similar faults. The various ideological problems with HRC have always been caused by their big donors, both in what they believe and in how they use their money to have an disproportionate influence in both queer and straight politics, so attacking just one piece of the puzzle is unlikely to solve anything.