We discover they actually chose not to use a letter from Obama that said, among other things:
I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states ... Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.
Every time you feel exasperated by the uselessness of much of the gay political establishment, you realize you are not exasperated enough.
<end quote from Sullivan blog>
According to a veteran GLBT activist and blogger, the GLBT community in California failed to use the letter because they thought the public would be confused by the name of addressee of the Obama letter, the "Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club":
The gay community in California was handed a golden vote-getting opportunity on a silver platter, pardon my metallic metaphors, when wildly-popular candidate Barack Obama sent a very pro-gay letter to the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in June. In part, it read:
As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. ...
And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states. ...
Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.
Even to my Green Party eyes, I can see a terrific letter from a Democrat that would definitely help sway voters to oppose Prop 8. But, as we all know, the A-gays who ran No on 8, and the straight political consultants they outsourced the decision-making process to, chose not to use the Obama letter in any campaign materials.
And what exactly was the reason why Steve Smith of DeweySquare, a Sacramento-based consuluting firm affiliated with the Democratic Party, did nothing with Obama's words of support for gay couples?
The answer came from Smith at the February 26 town hall in San Francisco, and was reported on this week in the Bay Area Reporter:
Smith also acknowledged that the campaign should have used then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's stated opposition to Prop 8. Instead, little use was made of Obama's opposition in a letter last June to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, and right before Election Day the Yes on 8 campaign sent out a mailer featuring Obama's image and quotes that he is opposed to same-sex marriage.
"That was a close call," Smith said. "Maybe we should have."
Smith said that people outside the Bay Area wouldn't know what the Alice Club was, but club Co-Chair Susan Christian spoke up and said that in fact, Obama's letter to the club been widely reported, including in the New York Times.
How nauseating to know that Smith, whose firm received hundreds of thousands of gay dollars for their expertise, is such a lazy thinker.
Instead of touting who the letter was from, all Smith saw was who the Obama was addressed to.
It shouldn't have mattered who received the letter, just that it was from our likely next president and would have done much to influence minority and independent voters to cast no ballots on Prop 8.
Someone should demand a refund from Smith and DeweySquare for their political malpractice.
As some may recall, I was outraged at Candidate Biden's statement in the Vice-Presidential debate. However on reflection I sent this message to the campaign:
Having thought about it a little longer, I would like to see an ad which uses a clip from the VP debate
SEN. BIDEN: No, Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.
Voiceover: "Don't redefine what constitutes Marriage in California. Vote No on Proposition 8"
It's even cheap because it is so short!
Now we discover that they had even better ammunition.
I haven't criticized the campaign until now. I put a very large sum of money into it, and am not happy with the way it was used.
Just in case you don't remember it, the complete transcript from the Same-sex marriage portion of the VP debate is:
MS. IFILL: Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?
SEN. BIDEN: Absolutely.
Do I support granting same-sex benefits? Absolutely, positively.
Look, in a(n) Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple. The fact of the matter is that under the Constitution, we should be granted -- same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospital, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, et cetera. That's only fair. It's what the Constitution calls for.
And so we do support, we do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights of insurance, the rights of ownership, as heterosexual couples do.
MS. IFILL: Governor, would you support expanding that beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?
GOV. PALIN: Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman; and unfortunately, that's sometimes where those steps lead.
But I also want to clarify. If there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant. And I have a very diverse family and group of friends, and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue.
But in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties.
But I will tell Americans straight-up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman. And I think through nuances, we could go round and round about what that actually means, but I'm being as straight-up with Americans as I can in my non-support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.
MS. IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator.
SEN. BIDEN: Let me be straight for --
MS. IFILL: Do you support gay marriage?
SEN. BIDEN: No, Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically a decision to be able to be left to the faiths and people who practice their faiths, the determination what you call it.
The bottom line, though, is -- and I'm glad to hear the governor -- I take her at her word, obviously -- that she thinks there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.
MS. IFILL: Is that what you said?
GOV. PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.
MS. IFILL: Wonderful, you agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy. (Laughter.)
There are MANY reasons that the No on Prop 8 campaign failed, and why the Yes on Prop 8 campaign succeeded, including the use of Obama's own voice used in robocalls saying that he does not support gay marriage.
Not using a weak letter from Obama has very little to do with why gay Californians were stripped of their civil rights.
6. That's correct, then Candidate Obama own voice against "marriage equality"
was used in robo calls targeted at certain groups.
The letter, referenced by Andrew Sullivan, written sometime around June of 2008, to a small group in California, was never backed up by any speech during the run up to the general election as far as speaking out clearly and vocally stating: Vote No on Prop8.
What the letter said was: "And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states."
Subtle legalese that never comes out to state: I oppose Prop8.
A letter which would have no impact IMHO if read by a voice over actor and perhaps less impact as a newspaper ad.
Also, drawig attention to then Candidate Obama, who walked a fine line for GLBTQ rights, for equality (as in CU's)but came out and said he was "personally" opposed to same sex marriage, would have opened the door further for the right wing to attack Obama on this, as it seemed to ride both sides of the fence: against same-sex marriage but also against, "the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states." WTF?
Good luck selling anything other than a nuanced ambivalence, that would have been countered immediately by what they did in fact do on the right: ads with Candidate Obama's own voice saying he was against same sex marriage. Prop8 was clearly about marriage and not CU's and that robo call voice message was said to have been very effective.
Hind sight is always 20/20, or better.
If there had been one stump speech, just one where then candidate Obama said, "Oh and by the way, I am against Propostion8 in California. Just vote NO!" does anyone really think it woould not have been used in ads?
The question is why we are missing the other part of the letter:
"For too long issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us." Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.
Bareback Andy is an idiot. Don't presume just because he's gay we all worship him. Obama's letter was shit compared to his persistent declarations to the entire nation that "Marriage is between a man and a woman". The No on 8 campaign knew about the letter but probably considered it ineffective in light of that. "Gee, I really don't like that Prop 8 thingy" isn't shit compared to "Marriage is between a man and a woman". We even came home one day to hear Obama's voice saying "Marriage is between a man and a woman" on our answering machine because the Yes on 8 campaign used that clip for millions of robo-calls.
Obama didn't help us in any way and never intended to. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous, or at the very least ignorant.
12. I know that, given CA's traditional liberal reputation, people don't want to face it, but
the fact is that the blame lies with Californians, ultimately. It is THEY who voted to subjugate their gay citizens. No way around that. And it looks like there's a chance that's going to stick. Much as we may want boogeymen to blame, we have to accept that.
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