Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Drumbeat for Sam Nunn

There's been a lot of debate and concern among LGBT activists about this take on what the former Democratic Georgia senator Sam Nunn -- the man who brought us the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy -- could mean for Barack Obama as a VP running mate.

It's a complete fallacy of course, because running to the center has never worked for Democrats -- and it's not something successful Republicans do either. I don't recall George W. Bush pulling in a left-of-center VP in order to show that he wasn't beholden to the right -- but that is exactly what is being suggested that Obama do. It's a mistake because it not only depresses energy in your base; it allows your opponent to label you a flip-flopper, a charge successfully used against John Kerry and which is already being used against Obama, who is now trying to defend against it, even though he created the problem himself.

There's also been some discussion that Nunn's daughter is a lesbian, whether that is publicly known or not. This might lead some to believe that his claim to want to revisit the ban on gays in the military is genuine. But really, it means little, as Mary Cheney's existence did nothing to mitigate this administration's homophobic actions, and there are plenty of religious zealots with gay children, like Phyllis Schlafly, who still work against the LGBT movement. Just because someone has a child who is gay or lesbian doesn't necessarily mean that person's hostility toward homosexuality has dissipated. In some cases it appears to in fact be the impetus for the hostility.

And then we get this piece telling us we should not be so outraged by Sam Nunn as a running mate, and should accept that he's changed. There's clearly a movement out there to get Nunn on the ticket. Whether Obama is seriously considering it is another matter. Barney Frank has suggested he couldn't go out and drum up LGBT support for Obama if Nunn is his running mate. What would you do if Nunn were on ticket? Would you still support Obama?