Friday, March 7, 2008

LGBT Clinton supporters stand by their woman

Former President Bill Clinton famously described himself as the Comeback Kid after a stronger than expected showing in the 1992 New Hampshire primary. His wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, appears to have carried the torch as she proved the media and pundits wrong with her victories in the Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas primaries this week. Her supporters in New York were obviously elated as my article in EDGE New York proves. The main lesson to learn from this past week, however, remains the fact that the campaign on the Democratic side is far from over. Stay tuned!

As New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama continue to battle it out on the campaign trail, LGBT New Yorkers who back the former First Lady could barely contain their excitement over her victories in the Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas primaries on Tuesday.

Dirk McCall, an activist in Astoria, Queens, described Clinton’s victory as ’wonderful.’ And he added he feels it provided added momentum for her campaign going into the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 and the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

"She’s definitely making her case to the American people," McCall said.

Jeff Campagna, a member of Clinton’s LGBT Steering Committee, agreed.

"There is tremendous momentum," he said.

Jon Winkleman, a gay Clinton supporter from Woodside, Queens, handed out buttons for Clinton at gay bars in his native Rhode Island ahead of Tuesday’s vote. He also campaigned for the former First Lady in Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of their respective caucuses and primary in January. Winkleman added he had little doubt Clinton would do well.

"I’m excited, but I was really confident it was going to happen," he said.

Clinton has received widespread LGBT support in New York since she announced her candidacy in Jan. 2007. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, state Sen. Tom Duane [D-Chelsea], state Assemblymembers Deborah Glick [D-Greenwich Village], Daniel O’Donnell [D-Upper West Side] and Matthew Titone [D-Staten Island], New York Trans Rights Organization director Melissa Sklarz, long-time gay activist Ethan Geto and Tonio Burgos of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT caucus are among those who serve on Clinton’s LGBT Steering Committee. And nearly 1,000 people attended a Clinton fundraiser at the Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel in Manhattan on Jan. 25.

The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York has also endorsed the former First Lady, but some, such as Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle, have previously expressed their disappointment over Clinton’s failure to support marriage for same-sex couples. McCall was quick to defend her LGBT record.

"She has been a very strong supporter of the LGBT community," he said. "She’s always stood by the LGBT community - even in dyer straights. It’s important to continue to stand by her."

Local supporters also dismissed pundits and others - especially those in the media - who claimed Clinton’s campaign was in trouble after Obama’s string of caucus victories following Super Tuesday.

"The same thing happened in New Hampshire - everyone said she was dead and they were wrong," Stonewall Democratic Club of New York President Matthew Carlin said.

McCall agreed.

"I don’t think she was ever faltering," he said. "She was just focusing her efforts. She was focusing on the major swing states."

Campagna echoed these sentiments. He singled out Clinton’s Super Tuesday victories in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California. Campagna further argues they, combined with her wins in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, give her campaign further momentum.

"There is tremendous energy and enthusiasm to charge into Pennsylvania," Campagna said. "A case is being made that she is the stronger candidate."


Hrag said...

I don't understand why Hillary even gets LGBT support. What has she done?

Hrag said...

I don't understand why Hillary even gets LGBT support. What has she done?

Anonymous said...

Hillary gained precious little in terms of delegates at all in the Texas/Ohio/Vermont/Rhode Island elections. She needed to win by 15 point spreads, but she barely squeaked out a victory in Texas (meaning her and Obama split the delegates, hardly a victory) and won by 10 points in Ohio. Obama is still ahead substantially. What's even more telling is the way she did it-- by polling place intimidation at the Texas caucus sites, but lying about Obama's experience in forming public policy in contrast to her's and McCain's (and giving a tacit endorsement to McCain over Obama), by putting fear-mongering commercials on TV, and by screaming "shame on you Barack Obama" on national TV as if she's scolding a child. How is she going to face her colleagues in the Senate after this disgraceful performance is beyond me. What she's showing is that she is quite willing to destroy the Democratic Party in order to get votes. Rachel Maddow (Air America radio host and political scientist) has stated that every time a bloody primary is fought to the end of the season, that party loses. The last six times it has happened, this has been the case.
At this point, Hillary needs to win by even greater margins spreads than 15 points, so her situation is worse, not better, after the Texas/Ohio elections. The situation for the Democrats at this moment is dire, and more mud-slinging by Hillary could be the death knell to their taking control of the White House. If Barack takes the same tone and tactic in the upcoming campaign, we're doomed.