Socarides: 'I Urged Clinton Not to Sign DOMA';
But the Public Record Shows . . .
Writer and activist Larry Kramer yesterday wanted more info from Richard Socarides, after I blogged several times in recent days about Socarides' compromised status as a critic of President Obama and supporter of NYC's Mayor Bloomberg. Through emails exchanges, Larry, Socarides, longtime NYC gay activists Andy Humm and Allen Roskoff, and myself, engaged in constructive dialog about many issues.
Before we get to the best of the emails, I wish to make a few points. Socarides claims he publicly and privately opposed Clinton signing DOMA, and that the public record back up this claim. I emailed Socarides, requesting any URLs to proof that he indeed did what he said back in the 1990s. So far, Socarides has failed to provide us with a single URL to any document or news account verifing his claim.
After days of asking many San Franciscans and others, if they can recall him opposing the DOMA signing, no one has stepped forward to back him up. And the only info I can find through Googling about Socarides' comments after the bill was signed, are stories in which neither Socarides nor anyone else mentions his supposed public challenge to his boss over DOMA.
Here are the emails:
From Kramer: i don't know why you are all ganging up on richard. all he said on this tv appearance, in addition to criticizing obama as i have certainly done as well, is that bloomberg is for gay marriage. i thought both his wsj article and his appearance on msnbc were excellent. we all have the bad habit of tarring everyone forever for old opinions or old actions we might have taken or not taken that we didn't like. i don't think clinton did as much as richard said he did. in fact, i know he didn't, and clinton himself has admitted it. but richard has really been out there lately, certainly with the getequality bunch who are doing really good work, but to bring all this past stuff up of what he did and didn't do in the past, now when he, that is richard, has done some excellent work, strikes me as rather unkind. we do all grow, you know. petrelis particularly has a memory that is insatiably unforgiving.
From Roskoff: While Richard was in the White House he supported Clinton and did not raise a stink about Clinton signing DOMA and DADT. Clinton not only didn't do enough but was the one who signed the legislation Socardies is blasting Obama about. Socarides kept his White House job and pay check while the LGBT nation was fucked by his boss. While we all went ballistic he supported Clinton and went all over the nation defending him.
From Kramer: i am overwhelmed with the strength of these arguments from my friends whom i respect. i had no knowledge that the veins run so deep. my only interactions with you have been concerning my urging you to write about your father. i do think that i would like to hear from you in your own defense against all these charges, if they are in fact inaccurate.
From Socarides: I urged Clinton not to sign DOMA at the time, both publicly and privately. I did everything I could to stop it. This is all part of the public record. I was not part of the WH policy group during DADT implementation but fought against it too, after I arrived. I have talked about all of this publicly, both then and now, including saying that Clinton was wrong, very wrong, even saying this when I worked for him.
From Kramer: you are ducking what i am troubled about-- that you are so supportive of bloomberg who has not been supportive of us.
From Humm: Bloomberg single-handedly prevented marriage being legal for same-sex couples in New York City by appealing the only court order ever issued to start issuing licenses in New York. Had he not appealed that decision, gay couples from all over the world would STILL be able to marry in New York City. THIS DOES NOT SOUND LIKE A MAN WHO SUPPORTS OUR RIGHT TO MARRY.
From Socarides: That he appealed was a bad mistake. But what Andy says here is just ridiculous and not true. We don't know what would have happened. [Bloomberg] supports our right marry. That's all I said on tv.
From Kramer: richard, i am troubled to read this. i respect andy a lot: Andy humm: "I have been sickened by the ink and air time accorded Socarides as a critic of Obama on LGBT issues given his role as apologist for Bill Clinton when he instituted the policies he wants Obama to repeal."
From Socarides: Yes me too and I like him also. I guess when you criticize important interests you offend some people. He has not expressed this to me.
From Humm: Richard--I have discussed with you how bad Bloomberg is on LGBT rights and AIDS issues and you continue to support him. To say he is "for" same-sex marriage belies virtually all of his conduct on the issue. He "came out" for same-sex marriage on the very day he appealed the decision ordering him to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Let's apply ONE standard to all these elected officials and work together to get them to do the right things.
And the final word goes to Humm: We all want Obama to do more and faster. But when Richard Socarides presumes to take the lead on this issue as a spokesperson for the community, he needs to be upfront about not just that he worked for Bill Clinton, but why he went to work for Clinton AFTER he screwed us on gays in the military and why he continued with Clinton after he signed the Defense of Marriage Act. And he needs to explain how he can support the anti-gay Mayor of New York while attacking the president.
In attacking Obama, Richard should come forward with why Obama is worse than Clinton who he aligned himself with and was on the payroll of. I don't think he can do that and is thus compromised.
Instead of applying his Obama standard to his friend Mike Bloomberg, Richard campaigned for Bloomberg and marched with him and continues to support him despite the fact that New York City is a MUCH easier place to be completely pro-gay than the country at large. He really needs to start applying his same standard to Bloomberg or frankly step back from the role of gay crusader against Obama.
I have never heard him criticize Bloomberg, no less get Bloomberg to reverse himself on the many issues where he has opposed the gay and AIDS communities.