Thanks for everything, Hillary; now step aside

Posted on 22 May 2008 at 7:52pm
By Hardy Haberman – Contributing Writer

Clinton should concede race to Obama to avoid nasty fight for delegates at convention that would leave party divided heading into November

Sen. Hillary Clinton has broken barriers.

She has worked tirelessly and proven that a woman can be a serious contender for the highest office in the land.

I have to admire Hillary Clinton’s stamina.

She is like that battery-powered bunny that just keeps on going and going.

But stamina and common sense are not the same thing. Her endless campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has come up short, yet she still insists on campaigning.

Someone needs to tell her it’s over.

Clinton has tried every path — including some low roads that really detract from her image — in trying to defeat Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. She fought hard and long and still came up hundreds of delegates short of a victory.

To continue her battle would only hurt the entire Democratic Party’s image.

In this year when the Republicans’ approval rating has fallen through the floor, it is the Democrats election to lose, and if the party seems rancorous and divided, it just might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Hillary’s endless quest adds to that possibility and does nothing to help either her chances or her image.

So why are so many LGBT people still holding out hope that some miracle will occur and Hillary will magically become the nominee?

First there is a perception that she is the strongest candidate for the LGBT community.

Many will point to the Human Rights Campaign scorecard that is published every two years.

Hillary Clinton scored 89 out of 100 percent, voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment as well as co-sponsoring several bills that included protections for LGBT people.

The problem is she spoke against gay marriage as first lady and supported the Defense of Marriage Act.

Over on the Obama side, he scored an identical 89 and voted for all the same measures.

The difference is Obama supports a full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

It’s a small difference, but it tips the balance in favor of Obama. So why the support of Hillary?

I suspect it has to do with that issue we all claim should make no difference in who we support: gender.

If Clinton were not a woman, I suspect her support among LGBT people would not be nearly as strong. For all our talk of a world where gender should have no bearing on how qualified we feel a person is for elected office, deep down in many LGBT people, it still is.

The idea of voting for a woman strikes a chord in many people of a defiance of the status quo.

A vote for a woman is a vote against the prevailing mores of society and that idea appeals to many of us.

And Clinton is a strong woman!

I will admit my own bias as well. Part of my support for Sen. Obama is because he is not white.

Voting for an African-American for president appeals to that part of me that still sees the civil rights fight as just a different skirmish in the fight for LGBT rights. I feel solidarity with racial minorities just as Sen. Clinton’s supporters feel solidarity with her as a sexually disenfranchised minority.

Both these feelings are understandable, but it’s time to realize that they both stem from the same basic desire to battle prejudice and assure equal rights.

That is why it’s time for Sen. Clinton to face the facts and step aside.

She can help party unity and still work for all the same ideals without battling to the death for the nomination she cannot win.

She is a powerful and strong ally of the LGBT community and a great force in the Democratic Party.

With her support, the November elections can restore the White House to a Democrat and put our country back on the right track.

But her insistence on continuing to campaign will lead to a bloody fight for delegates at the convention that will leave the party looking every bit the party Will Rogers described when he was asked his political affiliation:

"I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat!"

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member for Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 23, 2008.

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