During this week's presidential debate, many people became fixated on Dennis Kucinich for admitting that he saw UFO's. However, it was the other aliens - the illegal ones - that are making leading Democrats see stars. In the "red states" (and California and New York, too) illegal immigration is a combustible issue that may have consequences on who becomes president.
According to today's Washington Post, polls suggest that most Americans want to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country and create ways for them to obtain citizenship, but party strategists say the voters who care most about this issue are those angry about illegal immigration and want to hear a tougher message.
"The reality is that this is an issue where people support what Democrats have to say on a policy level, but Democrats do not reflect the emotional tone and intensity of the electorate," said Mark Mellman, a Democratic strategist.
Immigration, chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn said in the Post article, is emerging as "a new wedge issue" for Republicans, who will attempt to use it to paint Democrats as weak on border security.
In this week's debate, Clinton said that illegal immigrants should be granted drivers licenses - which I happen to agree with. However, this does open up an area of attack for Republicans who are far to the right on this issue. According to a CNN poll last month, 76 percent of Americans oppose giving licenses to illegal immigrants, compared with 23 percent who favor it. Obviously, this spells trouble.
On the plus side, Republicans are alienating Latino voters - which will play a key role in Arizona, Florida, California and New Mexico.
The Democrats need to get this right. It seems like an issue tailor made for a Republican party that has only one note - FEAR.
Members of a fundamentalist Kansas church led by hate-preacher Fred Phelps were ordered to pay nearly $11 million in damages to a grieving father smiled as they walked out of the courtroom, vowing that the verdict would not deter them from protesting at military funerals. Members promised to picket future funerals with placards bearing such slogans as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."
My first reaction is THANK GOD. This does bring up thorny First Amendment issues. But, at the same time, I believe that a family should be able to mourn in peace. There is really never an appropriate time to protest a funeral. Relatives have a right to grieve without obnoxious people screaming.
My second reaction is disgust that people did not seem to give a shit about Phelps when he and his clan were protesting gay funerals. However, when he turned on the U.S. military - suddenly people were outraged. Typical double standard B.S. In any case, the attorney, Craig Trebilcock, got it right:
"They're always talking about other people's Judgment Day. Well, this is theirs," he said.
Don't let the tall buildings and flashy tourist traps fool you. Dubai is still a backwards cesspool of homophobia and barbarism. Take the case of poor Alex, a 15 year old French boy who was gang raped - with one of the assailants HIV+. The government tried to cover up the crime and even threatened to convict Alex of homosexuality - as if this should be a crime.
Shame on Dubai. They need to get in the modern world or stop building high rises and start building caves. Fortunately, Alex and his family have stood up to this perversion of justice and their case is moving forward. They have even launched a website, Boycott Dubai. Stay strong Alex, what you are doing is brave and takes courage. At this page, we stand with you in your fight.
State Representative Richard Curtis says he's not gay, but police reports and court records indicate the Republican lawmaker from southwestern Washington dressed up in women's lingerie and met a Medical Lake man in a local erotic video store which led to consensual sex at a downtown hotel and a threat to expose Curtis' activities publicly.
I have to be honest with you - I would have paid the blackmail money. I think it is fair to say, Rep. Curtis will be looking for a new job. I'm telling you, the more they preach, the more fucked up they truly are. Conservative is just a synonym for pervert.
With a wealth of good candidates - particularly on gay issues - many Democratic voters are still undecided going into the primaries. The only thing they are sure of is that they loathe President George W. Bush and none of the Republican contenders present themselves as viable options. One-time GOP moderates - like Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani - are reinventing themselves as right wing conservatives who can't wait to appoint "strict constructionist" judges. Even if one likes their policies on defense (I don't) the notion that they might stack the court with more Scalia-types is too frightening to countenance.
Hillary Clinton is the current frontrunner, but it is clear that her lead is tenuous and could evaporate with any serious missteps. At this week's Democratic debate, moderated by NBC's Tim Russert and Brian Williams, the challengers vigorously worked to dethrone her. Some made headway, but no one delivered a memorable blow to change the calculus of the race. Here is a snapshot on how the candidates performed in this crucial Democratic contest:
Hillary Clinton: She was targeted by nearly everyone on stage and portrayed as an untrustworthy, status quo candidate. However, she helped her case by coming across as the Timex candidate: She took a licking and kept on ticking.
However, at times Clinton did seem too packaged and at some point she needs to answer questions more directly. She also mentioned Bush way too many times, and that strategy grated on my nerves after the first hour. But, she did help herself in the general election - if she gets there - by talking tough on defense. This debate generally bolstered Clinton's campaign because she looked like a brawler - exactly what is needed against Republicans.
Barack Obama: While he began the debate comparing himself to Rocky, it is increasingly clear that this man has no clue how to throw a punch. First, he acted surprised by the hype surrounding the debate - even though he is the one who hyped it in the New York Times, signaling that he would aggressively challenge the frontrunner. However, he looked unsure of himself, terribly uncomfortable with political combat and withered under Clinton's piercing glare. He got better as the debate went on - but delivered no decisive blows. The only thing rocky was his tepid performance in a crucial debate.
Indeed, Obama still seemed to be reeling from his gospel gaffe, where he lacked the leadership to dump outspoken "ex-gay" singer Donnie McClurkin from a campaign gospel tour in South Carolina. Obama is a very talented politician who will learn and grow from these experiences. One day he will be president - just not in 2008.
John Edwards: Edwards effectively played the attack dog role that Obama should have embraced. Still in the hunt, Edwards drew distinct differences with Clinton and sharp contrasts. He will do better than people think and may sneak up on Clinton if she keeps equivocating. Edwards made it clear with his assault on Clinton's record that he is playing for keeps, believes he can make a difference and is not looking for a shot at a Vice Presidential nomination.
Dennis Kucinich: On the same day he questioned President Bush's mental health, he admits to seeing a UFO. Note to Kucinich: Americans say they want our politicians to be honest - they don't really mean it. E.T. has a better chance of winning the presidency. But, thanks for adding entertainment value to the debate! Who said politics can't be fun?
Christopher Dodd: When your campaign is up in smoke, why not endorse decriminalizing pot? Hey, at least its not UFO's! But, just think what a party joint appearances with foreign leaders might be? It is a shame that in America we cannot have a reasonable debate on drug policy - but after all, we are the country that reelected Bush. On the plus side, if he wins the pothead vote, he's way ahead of where he was before this debate. And, truth be told, he handled himself quite well and looked presidential.
Bill Richardson: For some reason, when Richardson discusses his thick resume, it seems like he is boasting. Instead of being impressed with his accomplishments, I find myself wondering how a guy that seems so disheveled got so far in life. With his campaign in shambles, he auditioned for the vice presidency, lecturing the other candidates to tone down their attacks on Clinton. He probably scored some points with her and kept his political career alive.
Joseph Biden: Like Richardson, he auditioned for the vice presidency by ruthlessly attacking Giuliani and calling him unqualified. Quite frankly, he was an effective hatchet man and performed well in the debate.
If anything, this debate will get Democrats in the fighting spirit they need to take on the Republicans. The country desperately needs a new direction and having nominees from both parties taking the spotlight further off lame duck Bush will lead to a much-needed discussion on the direction we want to take our country.
John Aravosis has decided to get tough with Obama - after the candidate held a gospel tour in South Carolina with several anti-gay singers - most notably, "ex-gay"circus act Donnie McClurkin. Today on his site, America Blog, John offers new T-Shirts, sure to shake-up the political scene.
One T-Shirt reads: "Bigots for Obama" and another reads, "Obama Cured Me (of wanting to vote for him)."
State Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, caught up in a statewide media frenzy over an ongoing extortion investigation in Spokane, said Monday that he is not gay.
"I committed no crime," Curtis said Monday afternoon. "I did not solicit sex. I was trying to help somebody out."
Considering no one is gay - there sure seems to be a lot of gay sex these days. Amazing how that works out....I suppose he is innocent until proven guilty, but just being a conservative republican is reason for great suspicion.
Language Used In Letter Echo's Offensive 1998 Million Dollar 'Ex-Gay' Campaign
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out criticized a letter from GLBT advocates and African American preachers defending Barack Obama's poor decision to offer a platform to virulently anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. In an effort to win the crucial Democratic primary in South Carolina, the Obama campaign seems willing to open it's "big tent" to bigots at the expense of GLBT citizens, says Truth Wins Out.
"Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans," the letter said. "This cannot and should not be denied. At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin's beliefs. This also cannot be ignored."
Truth Wins Out condemned the letter as empty rhetoric that skirts the central issues, while doing nothing to lessen intolerance. Furthermore, the letter is inconsistent with Obama's admirable efforts to practice a "different kind of politics."
"This incoherent letter basically says, 'we know McClurkin's message is despicable, but hey, we really need the bigot vote in South Carolina, so we are willing to surrender our core principles and pander to anti-gay preachers,'" said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "The letter is a false compromise, that only compromises the values of dignity and respect for all people. For all the feel good language in this letter, GLBT voters are not feeling very good about the way they have been treated during this controversy."
Indeed, even the language used in this letter was eerily reminiscent of the 1998 "Truth In Love" right wing ad campaign that said homosexuals could be "cured" through prayer. The print and television campaign featured the late football star Reggie White and featured ex-gay activist John Paulk, who was later photographed in a gay bar in Washington. According to the letter:
"We also ask Senator Obama's critics to consider the alternatives...would we rather stand with Barack Obama, who speaks truth in love to both sides, pulling no punches but foreclosing no opportunities to engage?"
"If we look at the name of the gospel tour, "Embrace the Change" combined with the "truth in love" phrase in the letter, one has to wonder if the religious right has hijacked the campaign's media operation," said Besen. "Obama should have shown leadership and dumped McClurkin. Let's hope the Obama campaign has learned from this debacle and can return to its inspiring message of hope and genuine reconciliation - which is not what this clumsy letter represents."
Indeed, McClurkin, as feared, used his platform to indirectly condemn the GLBT population saying, "there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God."
"McClurkin conveniently left out the side of religion that condemns such intolerance and supports the equality of GLBT people," said Besen "There are many people of faith who don't share McClurkin's backwards views and these are the people that Obama's campaign should be courting."
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.