Friday, February 29, 2008

The Caucus Endorses Obama

This is an historic time for the Caucus. Harris county and Texas are seeing unprecidented turn-out in early voting. In these frantic days before the March 4 election, both Senators Clinton and Obama have taken the time to seek our endorsement.

Due to the timing of our screening, the board members are the ones to make this decision. It was empowered by the membership at the February 6 meeting to do so. This was not an easy decision as both are wonderful candidates. We considered a "no endorsement", however we felt it necessary to endorse since they gave us the opportunity to screen them and as individuals either would have our backing. After thoughtful deliberations, we have chosen to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president.

The Caucus press release is available here.

Obama campaign's website on GLBT issues.

Coverage: The Burnt Orange Report
Coverage: Off the Kuff

12 comments:

Martha said...

Hmmm ... Are you aware of this:

“As God Is My Witness”: Obama Snubs Newsom, Gays

http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/02/29/as-god-is-my-witness-obama-snubs-newsom

During his Senate run for Illinois, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is said to have declined to have his picture taken with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who at the time was in the center of a national turmoil over his decision to allow same-sex marriage in the city.

Amethyst said...

I, personally, had not heard of this. I would recommend reading the original article for the full story.

There are dozens to hundreds of blogs and stories in the wild which could make either Clinton or Obama look horrible. We are not interested in tearing down either, so we did not focus on such stories in making a decision. We looked at what they have done, what they want to do, their stated positions, and how they could benefit our other endorsed candidates in the primary and general election.

As amazing a moment as it is for the caucus to screen presidential candidates, our best work is on the local level. We hope everyone will keep those candidates in mind as they have the most impact on our day to day lives.

Rob Scamardo said...

I am surprised and disappointed that the Board of Directors has endorsed Sen Obama without giving the membership notice, calling a special meeting and giving us the opportunity to participate in the decision. The motion referenced in the press release was passed very late, after a long night and without any expectation that the Board would endorse a Presidential candidate.

I am grateful to the Board's commitment and work on behalf of GLBT equality. However, this is an historic primary election and the Caucus endorsement doesn't belong to only a few. I think the leadership missed an opportunity to strengthen the Caucus. This decision risks alienating those of us who support Hillary Clinton and positions the Caucus in opposition to Houston's GLBT community who have publicly endorsed Sen Clinton.

We need an experienced leader in the White House. Hillary Clinton is uniquely qualified to bring about the change we all want. We can't afford another president who will have to learn on the job.

Hillary in 08!

Amethyst said...

Rob, ideally we would have notified the membership. While we had been working with his campaign to attempt a meeting for a few weeks, we did not know Senator Obama was actually screening until Tuesday. We had even more difficulty getting a response from the Clinton campaign despite trying several avenues. We learned she would screen with us Thursday. (Please give Sue props for making it happen at all.) There simply wasn't time as much as we would have prefered to let all members vote on this.

If you support Clinton, then by all means please continue to do so. Our card is a recommendation to the community, not a commandment.

Anonymous said...

Here's the article:


SFGate.com

Print This Article Back to Article

Obama snub still rankles Newsom

C.W. Nevius
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Seeing Mayor Gavin Newsom on the national stage with former president Bill Clinton on Monday night is a reminder of how political winds can change. On the eve of the biggest night of the presidential primaries, Newsom shared the spotlight during a town hall meeting staged and broadcast on cable TV and satellite radio by the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign.

But just four years ago, current Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is said to have declined to have his picture taken in San Francisco with Newsom, who was then at the center of a national uproar over his decision to allow same-sex marriage in San Francisco.

"I gave a fundraiser, at his (Obama's) request at the Waterfront restaurant," said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. "And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn't get his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin."

Today, of course, Obama's people are backpedaling away from that account like crazy. His deputy campaign director, Steve Hildebrand, who lives with his partner as an openly gay man, calls it "a ridiculous story."

"Barack Obama gets his picture taken with gay people all the time," Hildebrand said. "Including me, his deputy campaign manager."

But insiders at City Hall, both current and former members of Newsom's staff, recall the incident well. And you can bet that Newsom hasn't forgotten it either.

"He was pissed," said one former staffer.

In fact, early last year, Newsom alluded to the incident in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Speaking to Reuters on Jan. 26, 2007, Newsom was asked about three potential Democratic candidates: Obama, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.

He was asked about the flak he took after announcing that San Francisco would allow same-sex marriages - flak that included claims he had helped Republicans by handing them a wedge issue heading into a presidential election year. In the interview, Newsom admitted he'd been hammered over the decision. "And I'm not just saying from Republicans," he added at the time.

"One of the three Democrats you mentioned as presidential candidates, as God is my witness, will not be photographed with me, will not be in the same room with me," Newsom told Reuters, "even though I've done fundraisers for that particular person - not once, but twice - because of this issue."

Now, could that be why Newsom declared his support for Hillary Clinton a good six months ago? San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who was concerned enough about the 2004 story to look into it, insists the mayor's endorsement of the former first lady is more likely a case of repayment of political favors. And Newsom said after the town meeting that the snub "had nothing to do with my decision."

But Brown, as savvy as they get when it comes to reading political motivations, thinks the 2004 snub played a part.

"I think he has harbored this resentment for years," Brown said of Newsom, adding that Obama was reluctant to be seen appearing in San Francisco altogether, much less side by side with the gay-marriage mayor. "I would guess that is part of the rejection of the Obama campaign."

Though same-sex marriage is still a hot-button issue in 2008, it is no longer the shocker that had the country in an uproar four and five years ago. Until you go back and look at the news stories from those days, it is easy to forget how radical and unpopular Newsom's stand was.

And, no, it wasn't just the right-wingers who were upset. It was Democrats, too, particularly those running in the presidential primary. John Kerry, for example, was careful to stage his Bay Area appearances in Oakland, not San Francisco, after the controversy hit.

"I don't know anybody in the party who was happy with him, except me," Brown said. "He was all alone out there. He was the poster child for same-sex marriage worldwide."

That's why Brown says he doesn't blame Obama for his caution. Today, of course, the Illinois senator is happy to embrace gay causes. But in 2004, nationally, same-sex marriage was a radical notion.

"What they ought to say is, 'Damn right I did it, and I'd do it again,' " Brown said of the Obama camp. "He was in a race for the Senate, and I am guessing that downstate Illinois is a pretty red (meaning conservative) group of voters."

But on the eve of the biggest vote of the primaries - with the big prize of a California win at stake - the Obama campaign isn't taking Brown's advice.

"They could attack Obama for a lot of things, but this isn't one of them," said Hildebrand. "And for this to pop up on the eve of the election is very suspicious. There's just no truth to it."

To which Brown replies, "Why would I make it up?"

It seems clear that something happened. Staffers say there is still a chill between the two, although Monday night Newsom gave Obama his qualified support.

"I believe in his leadership qualities, and I look forward to voting for him," Newsom said.

"In eight years."

C.W. Nevius' column appears on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. E-mail him at cwnevius@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/05/BAM5US1B5.DTL

Anonymous said...

How could you do this? Weren't you aware that he never displayed a profile in courage when it came to his cowardly 7 "Present" votes in the Illinois Legislature on amendments either for banning or restricting women's reproductive choices WITHOUT an exemption for their LIFE or HEALTH? Do you really think he'll promote any of the GLBT's agenda, once elected? From day one of his presidency, he'll start running for his re-election and there's no way in hell he's ever going to pass controversial legislation concerning GLBT's issues. Proof in point just read the following enumeration of his hypocrasy compared to his present rhetoric:

February 29, 2008

Count Me Out

The Obama Craze

By MATT GONZALEZ

Matt Gonzalez is a former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and is running on Nader's ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

Part of me shares the enthusiasm for Barack Obama. After all, how could someone calling themself a progressive not sense the importance of what it means to have an African-American so close to the presidency? But as his campaign has unfolded, and I heard that we are not red states or blue states for the 6th or 7th time, I realized I knew virtually nothing about him.

Like most, I know he gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I know he defeated Alan Keyes in the Illinois Senate race; although it wasn't much of a contest (Keyes was living in Maryland when he announced). Recently, I started looking into Obama's voting record, and I'm afraid to say I'm not just uninspired: I'm downright fearful. Here's why:

This is a candidate who says he's going to usher in change; that he is a different kind of politician who has the skills to get things done. He reminds us again and again that he had the foresight to oppose the war in Iraq. And he seems to have a genuine interest in lifting up the poor.

But his record suggests that he is incapable of ushering in any kind of change I'd like to see. It is one of accommodation and concession to the very political powers that we need to reign in and oppose if we are to make truly lasting advances.

THE WAR IN IRAQ

Let's start with his signature position against the Iraq war. Obama has sent mixed messages at best.

First, he opposed the war in Iraq while in the Illinois state legislature. Once he was running for US Senate though, when public opinion and support for the war was at its highest, he was quoted in the July 27, 2004 Chicago Tribune as saying, "There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage.
The difference, in my mind, is who's in a position to execute." The Tribune went on to say that Obama, "now believes US forces must remain to stabilize the war-ravaged nation - a policy not dissimilar to the current approach of the Bush administration."

Obama's campaign says he was referring to the ongoing occupation and how best to stabilize the region. But why wouldn't he have taken the opportunity to urge withdrawal if he truly opposed the war? Was he trying to signal to conservative voters that he would subjugate his anti-war position if elected to the US Senate and perhaps support a lengthy occupation? Well as it turns out, he's done just that.

Since taking office in January 2005 he has voted to approve every war appropriation the Republicans have put forward, totaling over $300 billion. He also voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State despite her complicity in the Bush Administration's various false justifications for going to war in Iraq. Why would he vote to make one of the architects of "Operation Iraqi Liberation" the head of US foreign policy? Curiously, he lacked the courage of 13 of his colleagues who voted against her confirmation.

And though he often cites his background as a civil rights lawyer, Obama voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act in July 2005, easily the worse attack on civil liberties in the last half-century. It allows for wholesale eavesdropping on American citizens under the guise of anti-terrorism efforts.

And in March 2006, Obama went out of his way to travel to Connecticut to campaign for Senator Joseph Lieberman who faced a tough challenge by anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. At a Democratic Party dinner attended by Lamont, Obama called Lieberman "his mentor" and urged those in attendance to vote and give financial contributions to him. This is the same Lieberman who Alexander Cockburn called "Bush's closest Democratic ally on the Iraq War." Why would Obama have done that if he was truly against the war?

Recently, with anti-war sentiment on the rise, Obama declared he will get our combat troops out of Iraq in 2009. But Obama isn't actually saying he wants to get all of our troops out of Iraq. At a September 2007 debate before the New Hampshire primary, moderated by Tim Russert, Obama refused to commit to getting our troops out of Iraq by January 2013 and, on the campaign trail, he has repeatedly stated his desire to add 100,000 combat troops to the military.

At the same event, Obama committed to keeping enough soldiers in Iraq to "carry out our counter-terrorism activities there" which includes "striking at al Qaeda in Iraq." What he didn't say is this continued warfare will require an estimated 60,000 troops to remain in Iraq according to a May 2006 report prepared by the Center for American Progress. Moreover, it appears he intends to "redeploy" the troops he takes out of the unpopular war in Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. So it appears that under Obama's plan the US will remain heavily engaged in war.

This is hardly a position to get excited about.

CLASS ACTION REFORM:

In 2005, Obama joined Republicans in passing a law dubiously called the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) that would shut down state courts as a venue to hear many class action lawsuits. Long a desired objective of large corporations and President George Bush, Obama in effect voted to deny redress in many of the courts where these kinds of cases have the best chance of surviving corporate legal challenges. Instead, it forces them into the backlogged Republican-judge dominated federal courts.

By contrast, Senators Clinton, Edwards and Kerry joined 23 others to vote against CAFA, noting the "reform" was a thinly-veiled "special interest extravaganza" that favored banking, creditors and other corporate interests. David Sirota, the former spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, commented on CAFA in the June 26, 2006 issue of The Nation, "Opposed by most major civil rights and consumer watchdog groups, this Big Business-backed legislation was sold to the public as a way to stop "frivolous" lawsuits. But everyone in Washington knew the bill's real objective was to protect corporate abusers."

Nation contributor Dan Zegart noted further: "On its face, the class-action bill is mere procedural tinkering, transferring from state to federal court actions involving more than $5 million where any plaintiff is from a different state from the defendant company. But federal courts are much more hostile to class actions than their state counterparts; such cases tend to be rooted in the finer points of state law, in which federal judges are reluctant to dabble. And even if federal judges do take on these suits, with only 678 of them on the bench (compared with 9,200 state judges), already overburdened dockets will grow. Thus, the bill will make class actions - most of which involve discrimination, consumer fraud and wage-and-hour violations - all but impossible. One example: After forty lawsuits were filed against Wal-Mart for allegedly forcing employees to work "off the clock," four state courts certified these suits as class actions. Not a single federal court did so, although the practice probably involves hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide."

Why would a civil rights lawyer knowingly make it harder for working-class people ( Or the people of Hunter Point suing Lennar) to have their day in court, in effect shutting off avenues of redress?

CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES:

Obama has a way of ducking hard votes or explaining away his bad votes by trying to blame poorly-written statutes. Case in point: an amendment he voted on as part of a recent bankruptcy bill before the US Senate would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent. Inexplicably, Obama voted against it, although it would have been the beginning of setting these predatory lending rates under federal control. Even Senator Hillary Clinton supported it.

Now Obama explains his vote by saying the amendment was poorly written or set the ceiling too high. His explanation isn't credible as Obama offered no lower number as an alternative, and didn't put forward his own amendment clarifying whatever language he found objectionable.

Why wouldn't Obama have voted to create the first federal ceiling on predatory credit card interest rates, particularly as he calls himself a champion of the poor and middle classes? Perhaps he was signaling to the corporate establishment that they need not fear him. For all of his dynamic rhetoric about lifting up the masses, it seems Obama has little intention of doing anything concrete to reverse the cycle of poverty many struggle to overcome.

LIMITING NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES:

These seemingly unusual votes wherein Obama aligns himself with Republican Party interests aren't new. While in the Illinois Senate, Obama voted to limit the recovery that victims of medical malpractice could obtain through the courts. Capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases means a victim cannot fully recover for pain and suffering or for punitive damages. Moreover, it ignored that courts were already empowered to adjust awards when appropriate, and that the Illinois Supreme Court had previously ruled such limits on tort reform violated the state constitution.

In the US Senate, Obama continued interfering with patients' full recovery for tortious conduct. He was a sponsor of the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Act of 2005. The bill requires hospitals to disclose errors to patients and has a mechanism whereby disclosure, coupled with apologies, is rewarded by limiting patients' economic recovery. Rather than simply mandating disclosure, Obama's solution is to trade what should be mandated for something that should never be given away: namely, full recovery for the injured patient.

MINING LAW OF 1872:

In November 2007, Obama came out against a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. The current statute, signed into law by Ulysses Grant, allows mining companies to pay a nominal fee, as little as $2.50 an acre, to mine for hardrock minerals like gold, silver, and copper without paying royalties. Yearly profits for mining hardrock on public lands is estimated to be in excess of $1 billion a year according to Earthworks, a group that monitors the industry. Not surprisingly, the industry spends freely when it comes to lobbying: an estimated $60 million between 1998-2004 according to The Center on Public Integrity. And it appears to be paying off, yet again.

The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007 would have finally overhauled the law and allowed American taxpayers to reap part of the royalties (4 percent of gross revenue on existing mining operations and 8 percent on new ones). The bill provided a revenue source to cleanup abandoned hardrock mines, which is likely to cost taxpayers over $50 million, and addressed health and safety concerns in the 11 affected western states.

Later it came to light that one of Obama's key advisors in Nevada is a Nevada-based lobbyist in the employ of various mining companies (CBS News "Obama's Position On Mining Law Questioned. Democrat Shares Position with Mining Executives Who Employ Lobbyist Advising Him," November 14, 2007).

REGULATING NUCLEAR INDUSTRY:

The New York Times reported that, while campaigning in Iowa in December 2007, Obama boasted that he had passed a bill requiring nuclear plants to promptly report radioactive leaks. This came after residents of his home state of Illinois complained they were not told of leaks that occurred at a nuclear plant operated by Exelon Corporation.

The truth, however, was that Obama allowed the bill to be amended in Committee by Senate Republicans, replacing language mandating reporting with verbiage that merely offered guidance to regulators on how to address unreported leaks. The story noted that even this version of Obama's bill failed to pass the Senate, so it was unclear why Obama was claiming to have passed the legislation. The February 3, 2008 The New York Times article titled "Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate" by Mike McIntire also noted the opinion of one of Obama's constituents, which was hardly enthusiastic about Obama's legislative efforts:

"Senator Obama's staff was sending us copies of the bill to review, and we could see it weakening with each successive draft," said Joe Cosgrove, a park district director in Will County, Ill., where low-level radioactive runoff had turned up in groundwater. "The teeth were just taken out of it."

As it turns out, the New York Times story noted: "Since 2003, executives and employees of Exelon, which is based in Illinois, have contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama's campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fund-raisers."

ENERGY POLICY:

On energy policy, it turns out Obama is a big supporter of corn-based ethanol which is well known for being an energy-intensive crop to grow. It is estimated that seven barrels of oil are required to produce eight barrels of corn ethanol, according to research by the Cato Institute. Ethanol's impact on climate change is nominal and isn't "green" according to Alisa Gravitz, Co-op America executive director. "It simply isn't a major improvement over gasoline when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions." A 2006 University of Minnesota study by Jason Hill and David Tilman, and an earlier study published in BioScience in 2005, concur. (There's even concern that a reliance on corn-based ethanol would lead to higher food prices.)

So why would Obama be touting this as a solution to our oil dependency? Could it have something to do with the fact that the first presidential primary is located in Iowa, corn capital of the country? In legislative terms this means Obama voted in favor of $8 billion worth of corn subsidies in 2006 alone, when most of that money should have been committed to alternative energy sources such as solar, tidal and wind.

SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE:

Obama opposed single-payer bill HR676, sponsored by Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers in 2006, although at least 75 members of Congress supported it. Single-payer works by trying to diminish the administrative costs that comprise somewhere around one-third of every health care dollar spent, by eliminating the duplicative nature of these services. The expected $300 billion in annual savings such a system would produce would go directly to cover the uninsured and expand coverage to those who already have insurance, according to Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Obama's own plan has been widely criticized for leaving health care industry administrative costs in place and for allowing millions of people to remain uninsured. "Sicko" filmmaker Michael Moore ridiculed it saying, "Obama wants the insurance companies to help us develop a new health care plan-the same companies who have created the mess in the first place."

NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT:

Regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement, Obama recently boasted, "I don't think NAFTA has been good for Americans, and I never have." Yet, Calvin Woodward reviewed Obama's record on NAFTA in a February 26, 2008 Associated Press article and found that comment to be misleading: "In his 2004 Senate campaign, Obama said the US should pursue more deals such as NAFTA, and argued more broadly that his opponent's call for tariffs would spark a trade war. AP reported then that the Illinois senator had spoken of enormous benefits having accrued to his state from NAFTA, while adding that he also called for more aggressive trade protections for US workers."

Putting aside campaign rhetoric, when actually given an opportunity to protect workers from unfair trade agreements, Obama cast the deciding vote against an amendment to a September 2005 Commerce Appropriations Bill, proposed by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, that would have prohibited US trade negotiators from weakening US laws that provide safeguards from unfair foreign trade practices. The bill would have been a vital tool to combat the outsourcing of jobs to foreign workers and would have ended a common corporate practice known as "pole-vaulting" over regulations, which allows companies doing foreign business to avoid "right to organize," "minimum wage," and other worker protections.

SOME FINAL EXAMPLES:

On March 2, 2007 Obama gave a speech at AIPAC, America's pro-Israeli government lobby, wherein he disavowed his previous support for the plight of the Palestinians. In what appears to be a troubling pattern, Obama told his audience what they wanted to hear. He recounted a one-sided history of the region and called for continued military support for Israel, rather than taking the opportunity to promote the various peace movements in and outside of Israel.

Why should we believe Obama has courage to bring about change? He wouldn't have his picture taken with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom when visiting San Francisco for a fundraiser in his honor because Obama was scared voters might think he supports gay marriage (Newsom acknowledged this to Reuters on January 26, 2007 and former Mayor Willie Brown admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle on February 5, 2008 that Obama told him he wanted to avoid Newsom for that reason.)

Obama acknowledges the disproportionate impact the death penalty has on blacks, but still supports it, while other politicians are fighting to stop it. (On December 17, 2007 New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed a bill banning the death penalty after it was passed by the New Jersey Assembly.)

On September 29, 2006, Obama joined Republicans in voting to build 700 miles of double fencing on the Mexican border (The Secure Fence Act of 2006), abandoning 19 of his colleagues who had the courage to oppose it. But now that he's campaigning in Texas and eager to win over Mexican-American voters, he says he'd employ a different border solution.

It is shocking how frequently and consistently Obama is willing to subjugate good decision making for his personal and political benefit.

Obama aggressively opposed initiating impeachment proceedings against the president ("Obama: Impeachment is not acceptable," USA Today, June 28, 2007) and he wouldn't even support Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's effort to censure the Bush administration for illegally wiretapping American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In Feingold's words "I'm amazed at Democrats cowering with this president's number's so low." Once again, it's troubling that Obama would take these positions and miss the opportunity to document the abuses of the Bush regime.

CONCLUSION:

Once I started looking at the votes Obama actually cast, I began to hear his rhetoric differently. The principal conclusion I draw about "change" and Barack Obama is that Obama needs to change his voting habits and stop pandering to win votes. If he does this he might someday make a decent candidate who could earn my support. For now Obama has fallen into a dangerous pattern of capitulation that he cannot reconcile with his growing popularity as an agent of change.

I remain impressed by the enthusiasm generated by Obama's style and skill as an orator. But I remain more loyal to my values, and I'm glad to say that I want no part in the Obama craze sweeping our country.

Anonymous said...

I'm really very surprised that the HGLBTPC would endorse Obama over Hillary! I suppose the fact that the only two GLBT elected officials in Houston (Annise and Sue) sit on Hillary's GLBT committee doesn't count for much? What was the deciding factor? I have repeatedly heard Hillary talk positively about gay issues in the public forum (she did this during her town hall meeting broadcast live over the Hallmark Channel), and she is the only candidate that I know who has courted the GLBT vote, calling our office for information about issues and asking for GLBT venues to hold rallies. To my knowledge, the Obama campaign seems to camouflage GLBT issues for fear of upsetting black voters who are vehemently anti-gay. I'm also surprised considering he is a member of a church who's pastor is very good friends of Louis Farrakhan, and preaches black superiority to his congregation.

Terence O'Neill

Anonymous said...

I just read the HGLBTPC press release (The Caucus Endoreses OBAMA, February 29, 2008) about the Caucus’s decision to endorse Senator Obama. What really bothers me is that absent from the release are any reasons for endorsing Obama except that “This is a phenomenal moment in Caucus history. Never before has the Caucus endorsed in a presidential race.” I think, just like other newspapers and organizations that have made endorsements, the Caucus needs to publish reasons for supporting a particular candidate, especially in a race that is so divided and close as this one. What factors made the committee to endorse one over the other? Was your decision based on a particular answer from each candidate about GLBT issues? Was it based on viability? Please explain??? The Caucus leadership needs to do a much better job at providing their reasons and not just say they made a decision because of the historic value in endorsing a candidate in a presidential race.

Terence O’Neill

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate to see a GLBTQ organization endorse Senator Barack Obama. While he has that pop star feel and can really get a crowd going, the substance beneath that isn't there.

What disturbs me most is that his stance on GLBTQ issues is lacking in comparison to Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton's record for the community goes without stating. However, Obama's record is sketchy at best. Starting with Newsom, then Donnie McClurkin in South Carolina stumping for him and being an "ex-gay" and coming out saying it is a choice. And in his debate in Ohio, while giving his "closing," he talks about race, religion, and others and leaves out orientation. This isn't the mark of a leader for the GLBTQ community.

And one thing that really bothers me is that now he's deciding to put funds into advertising his campaign in gay publications. When he was raising record numbers in January and over 1 million dollars a day in February, where were these ads then. I feel like I'm second rate as a gay man. Clinton has done more then just promote ads, she's been a woman of action and has great plans for the future.

Starting with adding orientation to Hate Crimes, repealing "Dont Ask, Don't Tell," and dealing with the marriage amendment. She's been very visible to our community and seeing an organization in the community endorse Obama over Clinton really is discouraging to me as a gay male.

I wanted to make sure I got out my thoughts on this. Congrats on making your first stand in a presidency race. I hope that your next one will be a little more reflective of the GLBTQ community.

Anonymous said...

This says everything:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/10/26/obama/

Terence O'Neill

Evan said...

Let me tell you a little more about the Caucus vetting process:

first, the screening is administered by a special committee that includes board members but is not limited to the board. If I remember correctly, there were ten people on the committee. These folks score each candidate separately on an objective, numerical scale, immediately after each candidates respective interview.

Second, before screening, both campaigns were asked to provide answers to our presidential primary questionnaire. At this round we ask questions about viability and political startegy, as well as questions about general LGBT issues. Eventually both campaigns responded with excellent answers. In regards to Obama, I will say that the committee was impressed with his desire to fully repeal DOMA. He also demonstrated a very keen understanding of constitutional law and civil rights. We were also extremely impressed with his campaign's organization and punctuality.

Next, the committee had a face-to-face interview with Tobias Wolf, Obama's LGBT policy director. We had a phone conversation with Mark Walsh, Clinton's person for LGBT outreach. These meetings were very helpful, as our eventual time with both candidates was limited.

Finally, the screening committee interviewed Senator Clinton and Senator Obama on conference calls. We focused our questions on issues of gender identity and expression, because our community is deeply concerned about the exclusion of transgender workers from ENDA. We also talked about health care for LGBT familes, the 2010 census, and "don't ask don't tell" and it's relationship to military recruitment on college campuses.

I'm sharing all this, because I don't want people to assume that our endorsement was predetermined or simply based on viability. Both candidates impressed us. They were both judged on the merits of their answers to tough questions about LGBT policy at the federal level. After thoughtful deliberations, the committee weighed recommending one of three options: no endorsement, endorse Clinton, or endorse Obama. In the end, the Board very enthusiastically chose OBama.

Anonymous said...

If Obama wins, I will tear up my Democratic voters card and vote for John McCane. I am 100% behind Hillary Clinton and totally against Obama who had no business trying to run this country. Go Hillary! Oh well, again, if she loses, I vote for John!