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Arkansas Gays to Sen. Blanche Lincoln: Don't Ask (For Our Vote)

4 years ago
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The Stonewall Democrats in Arkansas are not happy with Blanche Lincoln.
In fact, members of the group feel like they have "egg on their face," according to one e-mail after Lincoln's vote Tuesday on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Lincoln and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor were the only two Democrats who joined all 40 Republicans in voting to block the bill. The Democratic majority needed 60 votes to break a filibuster and begin consideration of the bill -- which would repeal a law preventing gays from serving openly in the military -- but fell short 43 to 56.
On Tuesday night, Arkansas' Stonewall Democrats, a Democratic Party GLBT caucus that has about 300 members statewide, had planned a fundraiser for Lincoln at a private home in Little Rock. On Monday, she called the event's organizers to say that she had to cancel her appearance in order to return to Washington to be part of a historic vote, said Debbie Willhite, a political consultant and a member of the Arkansas' Stonewall Democrats.
"She said she was going to Washington and hopefully be the 60th or 61st vote to move 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' forward," Willhite told Politics Daily. "It's very disappointing. I think she took a position on the procedure like she did on health care. She didn't do the right thing that she seemed to indicate to us that she was ready to do. If it was just a battle of whose procedural rules were going to carry the day, it seems to have been intuitive to vote with the Democratic leadership."

Lincoln said she voted against the measure on procedural grounds.

On Wednesday, she told Politics Daily in an e-mail: "I'm disappointed that some believe this procedural vote alters my support for allowing the military to repeal DADT. This is not true. This issue was taken hostage by election-year politics. I voted against this procedure because of the lack of an open amendment process; in fact, I had eight amendments to improve the quality of life for our troops that could not be considered. Yesterday could have been a bipartisan show of support for repealing DADT, but the procedure that was chosen made that impossible."

In the past, Lincoln said she would support a repeal, but only when military leaders say it's time.

In a statement released on Tuesday after the vote, she said, "I am a cosponsor of the DREAM Act, and have stated that I will support the Lieberman compromise, which would repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy when our military commanders say it is appropriate for our military readiness and national security."
She added, "I think the stalemate we find ourselves in today is an example of Congress' failure to appropriately deal with issues of critical importance to Arkansans and the American people, and that is why people are so angry."

Lincoln also blamed both parties, saying "they are too focused on how they can embarrass one another and we are no longer doing what our constituents expect us to do – work together to find common ground and move our nation forward."
Progressives have not been happy with Lincoln, a Blue Dog Democrat, for many reasons.
During her primary against Lt. Governor Bill Halter, unions and progressive groups like MoveOn.org supported her opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Lincoln has been in the cross-hairs of environmentalists for myriad issues, including her support of Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's effort to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
For some gays and lesbians in Arkansas, Lincoln's reasoning for her "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" vote doesn't wash, especially when top military leaders have said it should be repealed.
In an e-mail thread, one gay Lincoln supporter said that the senator showed her "true colors" with her vote. Many have said that they will not donate to her campaign. They are urging others to donate instead to an October Stonewall Democrat fundraiser, which will help support progressive candidates at the state level, that will feature comedian and actor Leslie Jordan.

There are no current plans for the Stonewall Democrats to reschedule a fundraiser for Lincoln.
Chris Kell, an organizer for the October event benefiting the Stonewall Democrats, said this week's fundraiser had been planned for a little more than a month.

"It was a horrible vote for the Stonewall Democrats, but the only good thing to come of it is that Lincoln has raised awareness of the issues that the Stonewall Democrats care about," Kell said.

For many in Arkansas' liberal base, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was the one issue that they hung their hopes on with Lincoln. Polls show Lincoln trailing her Republican opponent, Rep. John Boozman, by margins ranging from from 17 points to 27 points. She was to appear in Boston Wednesday at a fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden, but she canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
At home, Lincoln has her work cut out for her in trying to woo back the Stonewall Democrats and their allies before Election Day.
"Hopefully there'll be a vote between now and November 2 and she can show us what her real intentions are," Willhite said. "She needs to do something affirmative. Many of us stuck with her through the primary. It's very disappointing and sad."

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12 Comments

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knhsf4

After Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor voted to support Don't Ask Don't Tell, I decided that I will no longer support Democratic candidates with my vote or my money. Hopefully, if Democrats lose enough elections because they don't do the right thing when they have the power, they will start to stand up for what is right. Ms. Lincoln needs to feel the consequences of her vote to retain this anti-American, discriminatory policy. She speaks out of both sides of her mouth when she says she supports the repeal yet votes to oppose the repeal. Good riddance in November.

September 25 2010 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
christierandall

Blanche you deserve to lose...and I am a democrat. All you do is go with the flow or vote to save your butt. Just what do you really beleive in...

September 23 2010 at 9:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
richardrinck

If you believe that openly gay men should serve in the service, then you also believe that men and women should take showers together. When I was in the service all the men took showers together. When a gay man is taking a shower he is looking you over for a potential prospect. I assume, this is the same with gay women in the service. I don’t think our military men and women want to be looked at in this manner either. Think about it, with all the men in the shower together it would be like a smorgasbord for the gays.

September 22 2010 at 10:19 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to richardrinck's comment
cityguy60640

Richard I'm a little confused here. So "not knowing" if the guy showering with you was gay fixes the problem? Gays are already sharing showers and fox holes with straights. They have been since the beginning. And by the way... I hope you aren't showering at your local gym because they aren't bound by don't ask don't tell there!

September 22 2010 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Andy

I suppose that it goes without saying that if a Democrat voting contrary to how Gays want won't be getting Gay votes in November, that it is a certainly that the Republicans who voted the same way, will not either. I understand that Equality for all Americans is of urgent importance, but the economy, health care, unemployment, illegal immigration and Iran's threats to the peace of world certainly share that importance. Our vote must be thought out carefully and if we have to accept less than what we want in all cases, we should still vote in a manner to improves the U.S. On issues that we cannot find agreement upon at this time, we should continue to work to reach that agreement. Don't make your vote on solely one issue, when there are several pressing issues to resolve. This is called the Democratic process. Don't give up hope, but at the same time, don't stop working for what we as individuals value and hold dear to ourselves. Some of the comments here are so nasty and uncalled for, but they have the right to free speech, just as all of us have the right to differ, hopefully in a more civil manner Love, and respect to one another will win in the long run. Hate always fails in the end.

September 22 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andy's comment
cityguy60640

The problem is the system... Republicans need to satisfy their conservative base and Democrats their liberal one. Our media reinforces the polarization. Sadly in our super politically correct country where so much is considered offensive and the slightest slip of the tongue can get destroy a career it is perfectly okay to blatantly discriminate against a homosexual. Religion and public prejudice should not dictate law in this country anymore than in the middle east. If Leiberman's so called compromise where you wait for the generals to approve had been applied to segregation we'd still have an military divided between blacks and whites. The same would go for women serving. Sometimes what is right is not what is popular. Supporting prejudice in any form doesn't strengthen our military, it simply proves our hypocrisy as a country claiming to be a beacon of free speech. Miss Lincoln may not be as anti-gay as much as she is pro getting herself re-elected.

September 22 2010 at 10:31 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
jberta4079

Only Love of God can change the gay person straight.... hatred changes no one....hatred dosen't change the christian to belive gay is right and hatred dosen't change the gay to straight...God's Love changes the gay to straight ...God's Love is greater then the sin of homosexsuality

September 22 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse -18 rate up rate down Reply
louw95

All poiticians need to know they are now expected to show us what they are for and are against. No more hiding.

September 22 2010 at 6:39 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to louw95's comment
jberta4079

God's Love is for you to be set free from homosexsuality...hatred keeps you in sin of homosexsuality

September 22 2010 at 7:15 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply
jlveer1125

Senator Lincoln,I implore you to PLEASE support the passage of H.R.5175 - DISCLOSE ACT. The support of "We The People",not corporations are what we need in this nation. Also,I was extremely disappointed in the failure to repeal of "Don't ask,don't tell" . I do not agree with the lifestyle of those it concerns ,yet I believe they deserve to protect and defend my country. I speak as a veteran,1964-1967. Last but not least. I have been a proud Arkansan for almost 3 years,retiring from IL. after 37+ years as an employee of Good Year and a PROUD member of USW Local 745.In those 3 years,I have noticed that you do not seem to vote for YOUR convictions but set on a fence to see which way the wind blows. Too many times you fall off the fence the wrong way.Be a DEMOCRTAT and VOTE like one or change party affiliation.

September 22 2010 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

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