AmericaBlog has announced the cleverly titled "Don't Ask, Don't Give" to urge voters not to donate another penny to the DNC, Organizing for America or the Obama campaign until "the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) is repealed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed—all of which President Obama repeatedly promised to do if elected."
Their announcement includes a lengthy list of things the president and Democrats have done to earn this dishonor. Most of the items are indisputably offensive to the LGBT community; only a few are really silly and petty (he looked "uncomfortable" talking about gay rights, he "flubbed" a question on gay issues).
They don't address this, but I imagine they are not against directly supporting progressive candidates, which is good. Part of our problem is we have a supermajority of Democrats, not of progressives.
My reaction is that this kind of thing is fair, but I only want to involve myself in a boycott if it's going to work. This one is already impossible; we simply do not have the votes to toss out DOMA, for example. Right now, we're several votes away from ENDA, the easiest of the litter.
My question would be: If President Obama and/or the Democrats were making good-faith efforts on these issues—speaking out about them, bringing them to a vote even if the vote failed miserably—would that mean the boycott ends?
Part of what I learned watching the vote on health care is the idea that purity has a price. If progressives had voted against reform because it wasn't progressive enough or to protest the abysmal anti-choice Stupak amendment, any chance at reform of any kind would have died for a decade. (And Obama's presidency's authority along with it). Instead, we get a flawed but overwhelmingly good bill that moves forward and will begin a process of changing. Will it be good? Better? Worse? It will be something positive in the end, if it survives.
With purity comes a price. I'm for pressuring politicians on their promises, and there are so many mistakes Obama has made on gay issues, but in the end, it has to be about getting good results. Will this result in depressing a key part of the base not only for Democrats but for true progressives, and will that in turn lead to another period in the wilderness while religious nuts and warmongers (not to mention aggressive homophobes) run the show? Will that be the fault of Obama's inaction, or will it be a sacrifice made on the alter of gay-rights purity?
Will a boycott of money lead to a boycott of votes?
These are things to consider.
I've only given $5 to the DNC this year as opposed to maxing out for Obama last year, so there is a measurable enthusiasm gap even among those of us who don't think Obama hates our guts...
Let me know if any of you decide to join.