Saturday, January 20, 2007

Running Up That Hill

In the least surprising political announcement of the past decade, Hillary Clinton has come out of the campaign closet and announced her not-so-secret intentions to seek the presidency in 2008:

Clinton advisers said they chose Saturday as the target date for an announcement during a meeting in mid-December, and that Mrs. Clinton was “raring to go” on Friday, in the words of one confidant.

“I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine,” Mrs. Clinton said in announcing a presidential exploratory committee of her new “Hillary for President” Web site. “After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.”

Mrs. Clinton is positioned as a differentiated candidate in the Democratic Party fold, along with John Edwards and Barack Obama.

However, we fail to see much policy differentiation on the issues that matter most to gay Americans. Like Obama and Edwards (and her fellow New York Senator Chuck Schumer), Mrs. Clinton is an ouspoken supporter of the DOMA law, which bans same-sex marriage and civil union recognition at a federal level.

She maintains ambiguity regarding her position on various other areas of gay concern, including whether or not gay families should have to pay higher taxes than opposite-sex families, the rights of gay Americans to sponsor a foreign partner for residency/citizenship, and a host of other real-life gay issues.

The Washington gay Democratic establishment, including the Human Rights Campaign, will doubtlessly trumpet her "commitment" to boilerplate symbolism, like ENDA and ending the military's ban on gays (a policy as unpopular with the general public as the Iraq War) and will hail her "courage" on those issues.

But as usual, no matter which of the three Democrats that said party chooses, the difference between their choice and the Republican nominee will be so marginal as to be statistically insignificant.

So good luck, Mrs. Clinton and other Democratic candidates. You will need it come election-time, when the Libertarian Party will once again be the only national party to unambiguously embrace a pro-gay, pro-straight, pro-liberty platform for all Americans. Over the next several days, Outright Libertarians will be speaking with each declared Libertarian candidate announcing their intention to seek our party's nomination, and publishing each discussion on this blog.

While neither the Democratic nor Libertarian Parties have chosen their presidential candidates, we can safely predict that the Democratic Party's tired anti-gay "we're not as bad as the Republicans" response -- and dismal record compared to the LP -- will be perhaps the only "new announcement" that is less surprising than Mrs. Clinton's announcement of her intentions.