Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Joe Solmonese: HRC Dinner Attendees "More Politically Aware"

Pam Spaulding's got an insightful post up about Human Rights Campaign executive director Joe Solmonese's comments on CNN the other night -- that HRC dinner attendees are "more politically aware" because they have a "better sense of what's at stake" -- responding to my characterization of the people at the HRC dinners and why they were applauding the president while hundreds of thousands were marching on Washington the next day. I pointed out on CNN the night before that they're not representative: They're mostly white, mostly male, older, well-heeled (over 200 bucks per person at the dinner) and that for many of them it's part of their social scene, and really, they are there to see Lady Gaga and probably couldn't tell you much about politics. (Sure, that's not everyone, and there are those who are politically sophisticated. But to say that in general the crowd at the HRC dinner is "more politically aware" than others is pretty delusional.)

That hit a raw nerve with HRC Foundation board member Hilary Rosen in my CNN debate with her, and obviously hit a raw nerve with Solmonese, who tried to dismiss me, first by claiming I couldn't "get in" to the dinner. (By the way, the reason I couldn't "get in" to the dinner was because I was late and it was a secret service lockdown, not because HRC wouldn't let me in and thus I was disgruntled, as Solmonese implies; in fact, HRC had offered a seat at a table for me rather than have me stay in the media bull pen, though that is where I appropriately would have gone).

Go and read Pam's post about this, as she breaks it down in more detail and focuses on the issues at stake. She includes the video of Solmonese, which I've included here. The idea that Solmonese is now trying to claim the people who go to the HRC black-tie dinners are actually more politically aware than grass roots activists is both hilarious and immensely elitist. But they are pretty desperate these days, threatened by the the grass roots/net roots.