Don’t blame Mormons or black voters – the California activists who tried to stop Prop 8 ran a lousy campaign.
But evidence of entrenched homophobia and religious intolerance obscure a more difficult truth. Prop 8 should have been defeated — two months before the election, it was down 17 points in the polls — but the gay-rights groups that tried to stop it ran a lousy campaign. According to veteran political observers, the No on Prop 8 effort was slow to raise money, ran weak and confusing ads, and failed to put together a grass-roots operation to get out the vote.
“This was political malpractice,” says a Democratic consultant who operates at the highest level of California politics. “They fucked this up, and it was painful to watch. They shouldn’t be allowed to pawn this off on the Mormons or anyone else. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and now hundreds of thousands of gay couples are going to pay the price.”
Well, at least they ended up on the right side of the “let’s just blame black people” issue. And yet, they still managed to end up terribly wrong.
Did No on Prop 8 run a crappy campaign? From the looks of the article, yes. They could have done a lot better in terms of leadership, grassroots organizing, advertising, fundraising, and of course reaching out to minority populations. All of this is true.
The article also argues that Yes on 8 ran a campaign of Obamaesque magnitude. But apparently that doesn’t factor in to the ultimate conclusion.
I’m personally really sick of the idea that the “gay people just didn’t beg enough for their own rights” argument is a brilliant replacement for the racist one above. Guess what? If entrenched homophobia (across the board) and religious intolerance was not an issue, the fact that No on 8 ran a shitty campaign wouldn’t have been an issue either. And saying “well maybe if they’d just asked the nice straight people a bit more pleadingly” is just another example of the privilege and prejudice.
No one should have to beg for their rights. Period. And the oppressor is always to blame for the oppression they commit.
While I don’t know the author’s sexual orientation, I do have to emphasize that this is a particulary strong slap in the face coming from a supposedly liberal publication that is aimed directly at a white, straight male audience, has a lead political writer whose favorite insult is “cocksucker” (I’m looking at you, Matt Taibbi), and sure as hell didn’t say a word about Prop 8 to that left-leaning straight audience of theirs (many of whom voted Obama but against gay rights) until it was way too late. But apparently, like innumerable other commentators, they’re not above parading around with the claim that they could have done it so much better. If they were the ones oppressed.
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