Saturday, December 04, 2010

WH Gave HRC 
Marching Orders on Aug 30?

The Democratic-oriented Human Rights Campaign is not known for bucking the party's leaders, nor does it try to serve as the community's advocate pushing the White House to execute a truly beneficial gay agenda improving the lives of ordinary gay people. What we have is HRC advocating the Obama administration's talking points and excuses to the community; rare is the mildest criticism from the group against the president's lameness.

I thought about all the many ways HRC executives, lobbyists and big donors schmooze and network with Obama's advisers, as I looked at the latest round of visitor logs released last week by the White House, and paid attention to a meeting held on August 30.

The logs reveal that Joe Solmonese, executive director; David M. Smith, de facto honcho for 16-years; and Alison Herwitt, a straight person and lobbyist; attended a one-hour briefing on August 30 at the White House. They met with Kristin J. Sheehy, assistant to the deputy chief of staff for operations, Jim Messina.

Info is omitted from the description column of the briefing in the logs, and the community received the usual silence and lack of communication about the meeting. At times, I find HRC's transparency about its full engagement at all levels of the White House to be as hidden and hard to decipher as the ruling party of North Korea.

My hunch is that marching orders for Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal efforts were issued on August 30 to HRC's executives, maybe an instruction or two about another gay matter also made, and a unified WH/HRC fall strategy was finalized and ready for execution.

That late summer briefing is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of regular communication between the administration and HRC. Over coffee in cafes near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, strategy sessions at invitation-only meetings at hotels, HRC galas and other venues where visitor logs are not kept, the discussions take place. Decisions are made without the prying eyes of the gay public.

If HRC democratically engaged the community with regular public forums with uncensored questions posed, as Obama and Hillary Clinton regularly do, I would expect the August 30 meeting, and all of HRC's dealings with the White House to be addressed.

Until then, we can only guess as what transpired at that meeting.

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