There have been a lot of arguments on this blog and elsewhere about whether or not Obama was doing enough for the gay community and so on. As an Obot, I always felt the criticism of Obama on these issues was overblown. At the same time, I think that nearly all of the progress made on gay rights has happened because the gay community fights like hell and puts its money where its mouth is. Repealing DADT was the right thing to do, but it didn’t represent a big gamble, because it’s good politics too: Obama will raise a lot of money in 2012 because of it.
President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is banking on gay donors to make up the cash it’s losing from other groups of wealthy supporters who have been alienated and disappointed by elements of Obama’s first term.
Pleased by an all-out White House push to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay donors have surprised campaign officials with the extent of their support. And the campaign’s new fundraising apparatus appears designed to capitalize on their enthusiasm: Obama’s finance committee included one gay man in 2008; there are 15 this year, a source said.[….]
“It’s ironic – a year ago there was no constituency more unhappy. There was a sea change,” said David Mixner, a veteran New York gay activist, who said that White House actions during the past year had swayed restive gay donors. “You not only will see a united community that will contribute to Obama, but they will work their asses off.”
Campaign donations from the gay community are more important proportionally in New York than in most other states, which makes me wonder (a) why Republicans in New York State continue to oppose marriage equality and (b) why Democrats don’t push the issue harder. The politics work even better here, since the so-called “cultural conservatives” in this state are often Catholic, and Catholics are fairly supportive of gay rights. I’m sure Chris Matthews has a crazy cousin who devotes her life to opposing gay and reproductive rights (I have one myself), but those people vote Republican anyway and they aren’t big donors.
A lot of politics in this country is trapped in some Peggy Noonan view of the world, where the Reagan Republicans will ride again the moment that Democrats do anything to help anyone who isn’t white or straight. That’s bullshit, those days are gone.
In the 2012 election, I wish a motherfucker would try to start a “culture war”.