Politics are not quite my cup of tea. I try to stay informed but honestly, I get a little bored. It’s all a bunch of talk, and it has never been a real big part of my life. I do understand its importance though.
Charles Winters writes the majority of political commentary provided on GaySocialites.com. I’m thankful he does because it probably would not be covered here if he didn’t. So when thinking about my Roundtable, I thought it may be good to get a little political for a change. The election is 6 months away and it’s important to focus on it a little more, regardless of my own interest level.
So, I’ve asked Charles to lead this week’s panel. He will make for a more riveting discussion, and be in heaven while doing it.
Thanks Thomas for this opportunity to host the Editor’s Roundtable!
Welcome everyone! When Thomas asked me to be the special guest host of the Editor’s Roundtable Election 2012 Special, I got a little more excited than any man should! Needless to say, I’m a political junkie!
For this year’s Presidential race, I find myself undecided… so far. I am excited to weigh out the promises made by the candidates and watch their campaigns closely until one wins me over.
For today’s discussion, I wanted to invite a diverse group of individuals who can each offer unique opinions in hopes of helping voters set their gauge as we enter the 2012 General Election. Let me introduce you to the panel.
As Thomas said earlier, my name is Charles Winters. I am the founder and CEO of Charles Winters Information Management, the parent company for GaySocialites.com. Politically, I am a moderate Democrat. As I like to say, a Clinton Democrat.
Demanda Dahling, a New York nightlife personality and GaySocialites.com contributor, joins us each week for this panel. Demanda says she “isn’t too interested in politics.” Politically, she identifies as a liberal Republican.
Thomas Bistrtitz is, of course, the Editor-in-Chief here at GaySocialites.com and hosts the Editor’s Roundtable each week. Thomas is a liberal Independent.
Our guests this week are:
Joshua Sean, the Chief Information Officer at GaySocialites.com who also runs his own companies Cream Code Design and Development Team and Webhattan Webhosting, says he is a liberal Democrat.
Soo Joo, the columnist of “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” every Wednesday here at GaySocialites.com, is a moderate Republican who says she is thinking about becoming an Independent.
Dylan Edwards is a former contributor to GaySocialites.com. Although we’ve focused primarily on Dylan’s treatment for addiction in his writings here; he has many layers. He is an NYU graduate with a degree in Journalism. He also has his finger on the pulse of politics. He describes himself “as Independent as they come.”
1. Have you decided who you will vote for yet? You don’t have to tell us who, but it will interesting to see who has decided on their candidate and who remains undecided. Did you or do you plan to consider any third party candidates?
Demanda: Oh, I’m completely undecided. Despite being out and about often, I actually do watch the debates and then make a decision. It makes for a good cocktail hour.
Thomas: I’m not even sure who the third party candidates are at this point. It feels too early in the game. But knowing me, I will vote for Obama. I honestly cannot ever imagine a day in which I would vote for a Mormon Presidential candidate. Religion shouldn’t play into it, but it gives me just one more reason to dislike Romney.
Soo Joo: If the choice is Obama or Romney, I would definitely go for Romney. A vote for a third party candidate is basically a wasted vote, as there is no chance that such a candidate could possibly win. Although I do think that Harry Potter might be a lot better for the economy right now (he does know how to handle his magic wand).
Dylan: I’m not really sure who I will vote for yet. I’m not just considering Obama and Romney though. I think we need more political parties, so I always give the Independent guys a chance too. Hopefully, others will do the same. After hearing that Barack Obama supports gay marriage, another candidate will have to do the same to earn my vote.
Sean: Honestly, I’ve never voted before. This year I am going to cast my first ballot ever, and it will be for Barack Obama. I admire the man greatly, and I am proud that he is supporting the gay community as much as he has.
Charles: Its no secret that I’m a “Clinton Democrat,” so I’ll probably always harbor some ill feelings towards Obama. Beyond that, he’s generally a little too liberal my taste. I’m not afraid to say that Obama has done some good things, but he has also misguided me and many others. It comes down to one issue for me in this election, and that is gay marriage. Over the past week, I moved from the undecided column to officially supporting the President in his bid for re-election. I’m not aware of any third party candidates, but I’ll always consider them. The first person I ever voted was an independent. Looking back, I’m certainly glad Bill Clinton was president rather than Ross Perot.
2. Last Sunday, Joe Biden became the first sitting Vice-President to openly support same sex marriage. That also made him the highest ranking member of the United States Government surpassing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was the highest until then. Biden held that spot for about three days when Barack Obama announced that he too was coming out in support of same sex marriage. Of these three events, each historic in their own way, which do you believe will go down in history for having the biggest impact on the gay rights movement when it all goes down in the history book? Why?
Demanda: Obama’s announcement overshadowers both of them. Sorry Joe and Hil, but that’s the way the big gay cookie kingdom crumbles.Thomas: I believe the entire administration will go into the history books. It doesn’t seem as progressive as it should, being that it’s 2012 and we should all support equal rights for everyone, but it’s a huge leap for American politics. Bravo.
Soo Joo: Obviously, having any politician at such a high level supporting same sex marriage is a historic event. Hillary was the most courageous because she announced it first. However, Obama’s would have to be considered the most significant as he is the leader of the free world. But at the end of the day, it would have been impossible for any Democrat at this level not to openly support this issue because it’s come to the forefront of the national consciousness. If Obama wouldn’t have come out, he would have lost an enormous amount of grassroots support among liberal America.
Dylan: I think it’s a toss-up between Barack Obama’s announcement and Hillary Clinton’s speech. We have to remember that both of these are nothing more than words, and as powerful as they may be, they don’t change any laws anywhere. We’ll have to see how it pans out, but we must applaud Secretary Clinton on a global scale as well as Obama for what he has done here at home.
Sean: I think Obama’s decision to support gay marriage is probably going to have the biggest impact in the long run. No matter how unobtainable it may seem right now, we are more likely to see gay marriage pass here in the United States sooner than many of the leaders who heard Hillary’s speech will even consider becoming tolerable of gays. Many parts of the world have a lot more work to do than we do here in the US.
Charles: It’s clear that Obama coming out for gay marriage is very significant here in the United States. Marriage Equality has suddenly become the main issue in this presidential election, however what Secretary Clinton did while addressing the United Nations was put gay rights front-and-center as a worldwide civil rights issue. She is the first person to ever address the United Nations and speak on gay rights at that magnitude. Here in the US, Obama may get the most recognition in the history books; but at the end of the day, Hillary’s speech was a bigger move globally.
3. We reported at GaySocialites.com on Friday morning that VP Joe Biden apologized to President Barack Obama for “outting him”. Evidently, the President feels as though he was forced to make the announcement that he supports gay marriage sooner than he wanted to do it. Obama, however, says he had intended to make the announcement “soon” but not as soon as he did. A gay Republican was quoted as saying this led him to believe that Obama has always supported gay marriage and used the civil rights movement to his advantage by waiting to come out for gay marriage much sooner. What do you think? Did Obama slow down the battle for marriage equality while he claimed to be “evolving” on the issue? Do you think Obama’s announcement will help the LGBT community in any way? If so, how?
Demanda: Isn’t it amusing that we say people “come out” in support of gay marriage? Who cares when he did.. he did. Maybe Obama always did support it, and maybe it was evolutionary. But to say he came out sooner than he had hoped is second guessing his decision, and this falls back into the ole politican rhetoric. You did it, took a stance, good. Don’t double talk now.Thomas: I’m torn, because I feel although this was Obama’s “evolving” stance, he’s had it for a while. Had he come out sooner, there may have been a great chance for others to follow in his footsteps. That being said, later is better than never. At least it’s out out of the closet now, and that gains a greater visibility, as well as open a bigger dialogue, about gay marriage.
Soo Joo: Certainly, Obama’s hesitancy to announce his support for same sex marriage slowed down the process of legalizing it in individual states. It probably would have happened in a state like New York sooner, and other states might have started to initiate the process. Of course, his announcement will help the LGBT community because states, especially those controlled by Democrats, will now start the legalization process.
Dylan: Absolutely. No question about it. Barack Obama let his campaign time this one out. I believe all of this “evolution” talk is bullshit. Obama has probably supported gay marriage since day one. However he decided not to mention it during the 2008 campaign, because he would have never won in “swing states” like as North Carolina if he had. I also have to point out that he waited until after North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage before he “came out.” I’m sure it will make it a lot easier for more liberal states to get gay marriage passed through their legislative bodies if Obama is re-elected.
Sean: I want to start by saying that it is undoubtedly going to help gay marriage get the momentum it needs to pass through some states that are on the verge of passing it now that Obama is on board. I think there is a right time for everything, and I think now is the right time for gay marriage. Maybe Obama believes that too but looking back, he never said exactly what he meant by “evolving”. We all just assume that meant he was deciding where he falls on the issue. He never defined it as that.
Charles: I’m not sure if Obama slowed down the gay marriage movement by not signing on in support of the idea. Although it will be great for states with reps who feel like they need some heavy hitters in their corner to now vote in favor of gay marriage on a state-by-state basis. The real test for Obama will be to see if he can pass a gay marriage bill through Congress that will bring marriage equality to the entire country. Then, we’ll be able to tell how much he slowed down the movement.
4. Although he hasn’t officially announced him as such, it seems as though Barack Obama plans to make Joe Biden his running-mate once again as he seeks re-election. In an editorial earlier this year, I joined other Democrats in calling for President Obama to replace Biden and give Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the chance to serve as Vice-President.
In a recent poll, more Republican voters said they would like to see Mitt Romney run with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his Vice President over anyone else on his “short list” which includes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and a plethora of conservatives from the southern states.
Of all the aforementioned potentials, who would you most like to see run with Obama and Romney? How much does a candidate’s choice in a running mate matter to you?
Demanda: Like exercise partner?
Thomas: I’d actually like to see Obama run with Hillary. It’s what I thought four years ago too. It just makes sense to me. As for Romney, I’d like to see him run with Christie or Bush or someone that I feel may alienate people. I think it would be a smart move to choose Condoleeza Rice because it may draw it some minority votes that he otherwise wouldn’t have. But it could also alienate voters. So.. I’m not sure. I am leary though of anyone from the southern states.
Soo Joo: Hillary as a running mate for Obama would be an excellent choice, but I really can’t see her taking this figurehead position as it would really be a demotion from her current status. She would go from making world shaking decisions to attending funerals and dinner parties. Then again, she might consider having a hitman do away with Obama (let’s not forget her possible involvement with the death of Vince Foster) so that she could take over the top spot.
Condi would also be a great running mate for Romney. I think she’s viewed as a more moderate conservative (I don’t know if that’s really the case, but I think that’s what people think). She’s smart, female, African-American and has national and international political experience. Christie and Bush would be losing choices since Christie is not a popular figure even in his own state of New Jersey and anyone with the name Bush would represent political suicide.
Of course, a running mate has some influence on my vote, as the VP is just one bullet away from the Oval Office.
Dylan: I am fond of Hillary Clinton. That in addition to his “evolution” on gay marriage would seal the deal for me to vote for Obama. Out of those listed on Romney’s list, none of them would make his a sure bet for me. I’ll hope he goes back to the drawing board. However, if he goes for a running mate from the south, I’d like to see Elizabeth Dole (R-South Carolina) or Charlie Crist (former Governor of Texas) on the ticket.
Sean: The candidate’s decision on who will be his VP is very important to me. I believe it would be a historic move for Obama to make Hillary his VP. As individuals they are very powerful, imagine what they could do together.
For Romney to pick Rice seems like a “copy cat” move in more ways than one. Having a female running mate seems very reminiscent of McCain choosing Sarah Palin in 2008. And you can’t help but wonder if picking an African American woman might be nothing more than a way for Romney to tap into Obama’s voter base. I, however, don’t think it would work.
Charles: I know everyone is expecting me to say that I think Hillary should be Obama’s V.P. However, I have changed my opinion on this. I think being Veep is too much of a figure head role for Secretary Clinton. It was a smary move for Obama to put Biden in that role, and it was an even smarter move to make Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State. I think she will go down in history as one of the best people to ever hold that job.
On the other side of the political spectrum, I have to agree with Sean in regards to Condi. It does seem like Romney might pick her simply because she is a black woman. Chris Christie is too fat to fit into Washington. He needs to go on a diet. The though of having another Bush that close to the White House made me vomit in my mouth just a little, and the rest of those people aren’t on my radar.
After all, the Vice President’s role is insignificant unless something happens to the President.
5. In 2008, Barack Obama ran a campaign based on “change” and “hope”. Do you feel that President Obama delivered enough change to meet the expectations of those who supported his candidacy? As president, did he bring that hope he promised into fruition? What do you think was Obama’s biggest accomplishment as President? What campaign promises do you believe fell short on?
Demanda: Obama’s campaign was smart, and won my little heart. But I haven’t really followed what he’s done or hasn’t done.
Thomas: I don’t think he’s done everything he promised. He promised he to make a more bipartisan government, but then doesn’t appoint many Republicans to positions. He has done some good things. Of course the two that stand out in my mind is ending DADT and the war in Iraq. I hope we’ll see more when he’s reelected.
Soo Joo: Honestly, I really don’t see any change that he’s accomplished in the past four years. The economy is still in the dumps. Healthcare aka Obamacare is still an open issue and an enormous number of Americans are suffering. His biggest accomplishment were the capture of Saddam Hussein (note that Hussein is Obama’s middle name) and Osama bin Laden. Frankly, I feel that anyone sitting in the Oval Office, whether Obama or McCain, would have accomplished these feats as they were not based on Obama’s abilities, but were due to external factors. I think he really fell short on his promises and many others feel this way, as his popularity ratings were extremely low. If he would have come through as he promised, Occupy Wall Streeters might not have anything to protest.
Dylan: Obama’s empty talk didn’t win me over during the 2008 elections. I think “hope” and “change” were a simple way of him putting words to an otherwise empty campaign. I think Obama fell short on many campaign promises and didn’t act on others as quickly as he has promised. I think we have to keep that in mind while we’re weighing out his new-found position on gay marriage.
Sean: I don’t think any candidate can ever deliver on most of their promises they make during their campaign. However, considering what he inherited from Bush when he took office, I am pleased with what Obama has accomplished so far.
Charles: Dylan makes a good point. Obama didn’t accomplish as much as he promised to accomplish, and we should definitely hold him to his position on gay marriage. Especially if it gets him re-elected. Sean also made two good points. No candidate ever does what they claim they will, and Obama was left with a lot of cleaning up to do after Bush wreaked his havoc on this fine country. I think it is absurd to try and blame Obama for our economic woes, and I have to disagree with Soo Joo. Occupy Wall Street is not a product of the Obama presidency.
Furthermore, don’t all candidates run for change unless they are the incumbent? And don’t they hall have hope that we’ll vote for them to win?
6. In the movie “Swing Vote,” the lead character is given the task of casting the one vote who picks the President of the United States after his ballot is incompletely registered. He must chose between two candidates. However, imagine for a moment that you’re given the duty of choosing anyone (other than me) to become the leader of the free world as long as they meet the requirements as set forth by the United States Constitution. Who would you choose and why did you picked him or her?
Demanda: Charles Winters, you sly dog. How the hell can anyone answer this? And you wonder why I drink. I’d go for the Manhattan Madam, Kristen Davis, and let the party begin. I voted for her as Governor of New York, btw.
Thomas: Judge Judy. It would be a war on stupidity, and I’m all for that.
Soo Joo: In a country like the US, where we have the best and brightest, our political choices are very limited. One potential candidate would be Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Congressperson from Florida). But at this point in her career, her experience is not wide enough to warrant her candidacy, nor has she expressed any interest in running. Of course, there’s always Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island, who should run simply by virtue of his name alone!
Dylan: This have been some very thought evoking questions, but this one has to be the hardest. I, of course, would like to see Hillary Clinton serve as President; but to make it interesting… I would pick Marion Barry to be President. He’s the DC councilman who served two terms as DC Mayor and busted in a hotel room while doing crack with his model girlfriend in 1990 while serving as Mayor. So, if you can do the math, he got elected as councilman after he went to jail on three felony counts of perjury, 10 counts of misdemeanor drug possession, and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess cocaine. His most famous quote is “you set me up bitch.” A statement he made toward his girlfriend who was working an informant to authorities. This might seem like a joke answer, but clearly the man is doing something right if he got elected to public office again after being dragged through the mud as a crackhead. Put his personal life aside and realize that we have struggles (his being cocaine use), and you might find a great political mind.
Sean: I would pick Lady Gaga once she is old enough to serve. She is not afraid to speak her mind or to use her star power for what seems right. You have to admit, Gaga seems to have her finger on the pulse of what young people care about. Plus how cool would it be to have a Commander-in-Chief who was referred to as Gaga.
Charles: Like Dylan, I hope to see Hillary serve as President. Unlike Dylan, I don’t want to Marion Barry to be President. I’m going for a more inspirational person rather than calling on the crackhead.
I’d like to see Gabrielle Giffords make it to the White House. Her recovery story after being shot at a political function in Tucson has been remarkable. She has also managed to gain the respect of both Democrats and Republicans, and she was an amazing leader during her time in Congress. There would be no better person to motivate today’s youth or who could work across party lines. I was sad to see her resign from her seat in the United States House of Representatives, but I hope we haven’t sen the last of Gabby!
And by the way, Demanda, I have never been called a sly dog!
That made for a very interesting discussion. I want to thank all of our guest panelists for joining us this week. I also want to thank Thomas for having me here as the guest host. I’d love to do it again between now and election day (hint, hint!)
Please look for our Editor’s Roundtable next week when Thomas, Demanda and I will be back with three new guest panelists.