It’s April Fools’ Day 2011 and we are at the starting line of the 2012 presidential campaign. Some people on both sides of the aisle may think it’s a fool’s errand but clearly there are enough fools out there willing to put on their running shoes.
President Obama is on a tear to raise another fortune but this time it seems he will look to rich people as well as the Internet. He is going all out to appeal to business and even suggested bringing a neighborly cake to the Chamber of Commerce might have helped earlier. So why not haul in some of their money? Republican candidates are beginning to set up exploratory committees as the way to test the waters and see if they sink or swim. Some of them better have their lifevests on.
Democrats know who their candidate for president will be. So the entertainment will be watching the Republican candidates fight it out. Rep. Michelle Bachman who thinks that Lexington and Concord and Paul Revere’s ride occurred in New Hampshire and Sarah Palin, who thinks, well I guess she must at times. Tim Pawlenty who has been testing the waters for months announced recently that he is going from dipping his big toe in the water to putting his whole foot in — or is it in his mouth? Then there are the Donald and the Newt. Those two would make a great ticket; two adulterers, six wives between them, running on a family friendly morality ticket. Wouldn’t that be fun and it’s not even an April Fools’ joke.
One thing the frontrunners for the Republican Party presidential nomination have in common is that they are all apparently uncomfortable with the LGBT community and are against us getting married. So much so that they think it is a great idea to say it loud and often. Now I know that President Obama isn’t for our marrying yet either but at least he has come out for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and asked his Justice Department not to defend it in the courts. We can only hope he will fully “evolve” before the elections. Viewing 2012 from this distance he is so tied to the LGBT community now that he might as well support full human and civil rights for us because anyone who really continues to think we are the devil incarnate won’t vote for him anyway.
As we look beyond the presidential primaries, the Republicans have the same problem this year that Democrats have often had. Democratic progressives of the more liberal persuasion make up most of their primary voters and conservatives of the most extreme make up most of the Republican primary vote. Add the Tea Party members to the Republican primary mix and they can get a whole bunch of Sharon Angles and “I’m not a witch” Christine O’Donnells as their candidates. Democrats could then end up with a lot of accidental senators like Chris Coons (D-Del.).
Taking that race as an example I would suggest to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that they recruit strong candidates — rich ones if possible — because we have seen in 2010 that anything can happen on the way to the Senate.
And then there are our LGBT organizations. Wouldn’t it be great if they could play nice for two years and work together? Maybe they can call a truce to the competiveness long enough to produce a comprehensive plan to elect more members of Congress who both believe in and will vote for our rights. There are so many smart people in these organizations but sometimes it seems as if their only role is to see who can get more press or TV time. If the talent at HRC, the Task Force, Equality Matters, and GetEQUAL, among others could join hands, just think what they could accomplish. I don’t expect Log Cabin or Stonewall to join this sewing circle because their roles are politically defined by party. But the others could combine resources and brain power and make a real difference in our world.
The world is changing and I think the LGBT community is changing with it. Some are now part of the establishment. But for the next two years our goal shouldn’t be to support the few in the establishment, but rather to make all of us free to live our lives in dignity with our human and civil rights secured.