Sunday, May 16, 2010

More Gays Visit the White House;

Trickle Down Community Benefit?

President Obama and his administration's top advisers have thrown open the White House doors, to welcome dozens of Gay Inc leaders and others from the gay community to the people's house. I've documented through searching the visitor logs that key gay leaders have had unprecedented access to the White House, and it's good to see that, and an administration showing genuine transparency regarding the logs.

But one question keeps nagging at me about the visits, and that is, what benefit is it to the millions of gays beyond the Beltway?

It's not enough that the gay elite are showing up at the White House for a handful of meetings or diversity briefings, bill signing ceremonies and cocktail receptions, or watching a movie or using the bowling alley, while the Obama administration delivers memorandums advancing small changes for us.

I wonder not only where is the fierce advocacy we were promised by Obama, but where is the Gay Inc butt-kicking to get Obama to spend political capital on our behalf?

There is an onus on the shoulders of the top gays visiting the White House to explain to the community how their access is helping the larger community. I can't fathom why the folks from HRC and NGLTF make no reports back to the community after they meet with the administration or enjoy the fun perks at the White House.

Gay Inc should be constantly informing us about their lobbying and partying with the administration. I'm not suggesting that we know every detail about every discussion taking place, but some broad outlines, with substance, should be shared with us.

I've searched the logs again, for the names of gay leaders outside of HRC and NGLTF, and one former HRC honcho, Winnie Stachelberg, to get a fuller picture of who's getting invited to the White House. Here's some new info, and if you click on the person's name you'll jump to their listing(s) in the logs and in most cases, a description of why they were at the White House:

Name: Steve Gunderson
Visits: 12

Name: Jamison Citron, Leonard Hirsch
Visits: 9

Name: Steve Elmendorf
Visits: 8

Name: Ben DeGuzman
Visits: 7

Name: Jeremy Bishop
Visits: 6

Name: Darcy Kemnitz, Winnie Stachelberg
Visits: 5

Name: Greg Varnum
Visits: 4

Name: Steven Hildebrand, Mark Glaze, Mara Keisling, Matt Nosanchuk,
Visits: 3

Name: David Bohnett, Mark Bromley, Joan M. Garry (thrice?), David Geffen, Donald Hitchcock (thrice?), Frank Kameny, Kate Clinton, Leah McElrath, Jared Polis, Cathy Renna, Andy Tobias, Jeff Trammell, Paul Yandura, William Waybourn,
Visits: 2

Name: Tammy Baldwin, Jarrett T. Barrios, Aaron Belkin, Tom Duane, Adam Ebbin, Jody Huckaby, Ellen Malcom, David Mixner, Mark Perriello, Aubrey Sarvis, Richard Socarides, Chuck Wolfe,
Visits: 1

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