Saturday, January 16, 2010

HRC Leader's White House Meetings
With Axelrod, Jarrett & Gaspard

(Hilary Rosen, DC power-lesbian and HRC honcho.)

Two key gay bloggers yesterday expressed concerns and pointed criticism over White House and Gay Inc moves this week, regarding potential action lifting or easing the Don't Ask/Don't Tell ban on open gays serving in the military. From John Aravosis in DC:

The second big thing we learned in the NYT piece was that the Pentagon is considering whether to segregate, "separate but equal" style, gay troops, giving them separate showers and barracks, among other things. [...]

The Times article also references a secret gay meeting that took place this week to discuss the repeal of DADT. We've spoken to people who attended that meeting, and here's what we know.

The meeting took place this past Wednesday in Washington, DC. Approximately 20 people were in attendance, including representatives from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Palm Center, the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United, and the Center for American Progress.

From North Carolina Pam Spaulding got worried about these developments in Washington, some of the gay players involved, and she wrote:

Now I'm kind of concerned that Big Gay is out there issuing ultimatums on our behalf, because I'm sure you don't want to see our movement go down in flames when the Obama admin and Congress jerk us around again -- and there are no repercussions of significance.

I think it's ironic when the gay netroots have been calling for action for a long time (The "No Excuses" theme regarding action on our issues was not created in HRC's shop, btw) and have been chastised endlessly for the lack of patience -- "he's only been in office __ months." Well now our leaders are pissed, (and, now many progressives as well) about getting the shaft by Congress and the White House. They are late to the game.

The worries of Aravosis and Spaulding got me thinking about what role, if any, out lesbian and veteran DC powerbroker Hilary Rosen might be playing in the DADT effort among gay orgs. Rosen wears many influential hats, and is a top honcho at HRC, where she is a member of the HRC Foundation's board of directors. When she speaks, Gay Inc snaps to attention.

My curiosity about any of her visits to the White House was piqued and I searched the visitors' logs available through the White House's blog. Records are current up to December 30, 2009. Rosen's name appeared in the logs five times:

Date: 2009-03-11
Total People: 5
Visitee Name: JARRETT VALERIE [Senior Adviser, Office of Public Engagement]
Description: Blank
Location: Old Executive Office Building

Date: 2009-03-12
Total People: 18
Visitee Name: AXELROD DAVID [Senior Adviser]
Location: White House West Wing

Date: 2009-03-20
Total People: 3
Visitee Name: GASPARD PATRICK [Director of the Office of Political Affairs]
Description: Blank
Location: White House West Wing

Date: 2009-09-21
Total People: 2
Visitee Name: BOOKEY NATALIE [First Lady's Staff Assistant]
Description: Blank
Location: White House East Wing

Date: 2009-09-28
Total People: 1
Description: Blank
Location: White House East Wing, Room 100

I'm not sure what Rosen spoke to the White House officials about, but an AP wire story in late November provided info on one of the meetings she attended:

Demonstrating the political element of the health care debate, the records show that senior adviser Axelrod held what was described as a "communications message meeting" on March 13 with 18 people, including prominent Democratic strategists Brad Woodhouse, the party's communications director, and his predecessor Karen Finney; Steve McMahon, a campaign veteran and media strategist; Hilary Rosen, the former top lobbyist for the music industry; Jennifer Palmieri of the liberal Center for American Progress, John Edwards' former press secretary and a veteran of the Clinton White House; Maria Cardona, a specialist in Hispanic outreach at the Dewey Square Group; and Simon Rosenberg a founder of the centrist New Democrat Network.

Without question, Rosen has and wields quite a bit of power in many elite circles in Washington. My question is, given the anxiety of Gay Inc leaders over a window of opportunity to force the President to address and solve the problems of the gay military prohibition, a window that is slowing closing, is Rosen lobbying the White House about this?

After decades of having no faith in HRC as an effective org, ready and able to step on the toes of Democratic Party leaders and top White House advisers, I fear that Rosen and HRC are not pulling out the stops this weekend and next week on Don't Ask/Don't Tell. If there is evidence Rosen, HRC and others are putting real pressure on the White House, I'd like to see it.

1 comment:

AndrewW said...

Why does anyone believe that the $50 million a year to HRC actually accomplishes anything. It doesn't.

There is no political solution to LGBT Equality.

The sooner we learn that, the sooner we create our equality.