Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Obama's Movie Nite
With NGLTF's Carey

(Rea Carey waiting to hand a report to Obama at the White House on June 29, 2009; top photo. The President in front of Carey; bottom photo. Credit for both pictures: NGLTF.)

How important is Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force? So important she, and her partner Margaret Conway, attended a private movie screening at the White House, with the President and First Lady on November 5, 2009.

Yep, two days after we lost gay marriage in Maine, during a ballot initiative battle in which Obama refused to publicly stand with gay against the measure, Carey and Conway went to the White House for a very exclusive movie screening. Also there was NGLTF's Julie Childs.

I'm just pointing out the interesting timing of when select gay leaders have been to the White House. I wonder if our leaders expressed any political views that night, or if the event was strictly social.

As I did with the other professional advocacy org in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign, I scoured White House visitor logs to see how many visits were made by former and current NGLTF executives, staff and board members. I believe the logs are current through the end of January 2010.

There were at least 19 White House visits by the NGLTF-affiliated folks:

Name: (Kimberly) Rea Carey
Visits: 5

Name: Brad Jacklin, Urvashi Vaid
Visits: 3

Name: Darlene Nipper
Visits: 2

Name: Marsha Botzer, Julie Childs, Dan Hawes, Andrew Machado, Russell Roybal, Lee H. Rubin,
Visits: 1

If we add the 19 NGLTF visits with the number of HRC visits, 104, the total comes to 123 visits. And what do the rest of us gays have to show for it? How have we benefited from the access extended to our professional lobbyists and advocates?

White House access for our leaders is commendable and I hope NGLTF and HRC, and others privileged to spend time at the White House, explain if that access is translating into tangible results for the community.


Bob Schwartz said...

Gay NGOs bask in the reflected glow of WH power, and get practice at bowing and scraping. "Tangible results" for those of us outside the gates and the Beltway? As with Clinton before him, Obama has substituted "access" for results.

Anonymous said...

I like how Dan Hawes got to go to the WH after fucking us with his hideous work on Prop 8 here in Calif. I always thought he should go to hell, not the White House.

Unknown said...

this note was emailed to me by karen ocamb from los angeles. sorry she had commenting trouble.

she asks a great question about more info in the logs, and yes, the logs show who the visitors are meeting with, and in some instances, there are descriptions.

for example, many gays attended the cocktail party in june 2009 or were at the hate crimes bill signing, and i know this because the logs say so!

we really need not just karen, but lots of other gays poring over the logs. the eyes looking over the logs and info, the more informed we gays will be about which gay leaders are going to the white house, and why.


from karen:

Hey -
I just tried to publish this comment to you site - but in case it doesn't come through - here it is:

Michael - Thanks for bird-doging this. Do the logs actually say with whom each of the folks are visiting? Does it say Rae is going for movie night or is that just the night she happened to be there when the Obama's were screaming the film? I'm curious because there are so many reports of gays going to the White House - but to meet with whom???? Thanks much! Karen O.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm reading the logs wrong, but it looks like she was actually there in February, not November. I wonder what the context was in early Feb that generated an invite?

Unknown said...

hey anon,

if you click on the link to carey's WH visits, you'll see at the logs that the info about the november 2009 movie nite was released in febuary of this year. scroll all the way to the right to see the description of the visit, and the date for the screening, two days after we lost gay marriage in maine.

Anonymous said...

I don't quite get why this is a bad thing... anyone who's been around DC politics for any period of time will tell you that events like this are never "strictly social." If it were a meaningless photo op we would have heard about this six months ago, and I can't imagine anyone at the White House sees the Task Force as a grave threat, which, if not appeased could hurt the administration politically.

The LGBT community isn't going to gain anything politically because Rea Carey turned down a movie night. It is however a chance for Carey to push Obama on LGBT issues.

Rea Carey can't be held accountable for what the White House does or doesn't do but she can be held accountable for what the Task Force does or doesn't do to push the White House on the issues we care about. I think there's plenty of room for criticism of LGBT group (ie: Joe Solmonese spending much of the this year and last giving the White House cover for their inaction on LGBT issues) but we need to differentiate between efforts by LGBT groups that are counterproductive and those that are productive. Ultimately achieving equal rights is going to require a combination of lobbying the White House on the inside and activists pushing from the outside
(ie: what GetEqual has been doing).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Just sent an email to NGLTF to take me off their mailing list. To think, I actually thought of supporting them since the HRC sold us out!

Hope they enjoyed their movie, they just lost out on a good donation.

How come the only group I'm starting to trust is GetEqual?

John P. Ouderkirk, M.D. said...

NGLTF and HRC can save their stamps from asking me for donations- no longer! That's why I continue to support GLAAD and other organizations that help make REAL changes!

Ronbo said...

"God is in the mix!" I would ask Obama if that meant that he believed that slavery was A-OK? My bible says it is...so...? I hope they didn't server shellfish...you know, that Old Testament thing.


Obama is a bigot against gay Americans. As soon as he faces his bigotry, we can call on him. However, as long as his bigotry is unquestioned and unaddressed, things will NEVER change. Say it with me, "Obama is a bigot towards Gay Americans". Cold, Hard, Fact,