A gay winner and a sore loser

BY

September 11 2006 12:00 AM ET

Patricia Todd
clearly won. Joe Lieberman clearly lost. That’s how
direct elections work. Todd, an out lesbian candidate,
won two primary face-offs to be one of
Birmingham’s Democratic candidates for the Alabama
state legislature—virtually assuring her
victory in November—while Lieberman was turned
away as Connecticut’s Democratic candidate for the
U.S. Senate.

So why did a
state party committee attempt to invalidate Todd’s
electoral win? And why is the Human Rights Campaign
still endorsing Joe Lieberman for the U.S. Senate?

Is direct
democracy that difficult to understand?

Yes, Lieberman
built a decent record on gay rights during his three terms
in the Senate, earning a high HRC rating. But he’s
also one of President Bush’s fiercest
Democratic allies on the Iraqi war as well as energy,
taxes, and judicial nominations. Lieberman even voted with
Bush to strip Terri Schiavo’s husband of his
rights—a failed attempt to use federal power to
interfere with a partner’s most private and painful
decisions.

HRC turned a
blind eye to the Schiavo vote, and it may argue that Iraq
and taxes are not “gay issues.” OK. But
Connecticut’s Democratic voters, who ought to
have the final say in which Democrat represents them, told
Lieberman to take a hike, and that’s reason enough
for HRC to withdraw its endorsement from the now
“independent” senatorial candidate. HRC need
not endorse the untested Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman, but
sticking with the sore loser is personal loyalty to
the point of obstruction.

By ignoring
voters’ clear choice of their party’s
candidate, HRC has aligned itself with certain forces
in the Alabama Democratic Party. On August 24 a
subcommittee recommended disqualifying Todd on a rules
technicality, despite her twice-counted 59-vote runoff
victory on July 18. It briefly appeared that a rancid
combination of racism—Todd would replace an
African-American legislator—and homophobia might
overturn the voters’ will.

But two days
later the Alabama Democratic Party executive committee voted
95–87 to reject the committee’s
recommendation, and Todd’s ballot-box victory
was reinstated.

Votes
don’t always go our way, but we all need to play by
the rules. We should be loyal to the democratic
process above all.

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