The Gay Candidate

This is a few days old; just catching up on a backlog here.

In response to the suggestion here about a gay revolt against Hillary, Hotline on Call wonders who gay voters and activists will turn to, and suggests … Tom Vilsack.

Because “he’s not afraid to touch gay issues,” which is to say he’s against beating up gay kids.

I love Hotline’s newish blog, which regularly breaks news, but I think this mis-reads the situation. What’s changed is that marriage is starting to become a litmus test for mainstream gay groups and — of more importance to Democrats — donors. It’s hard to imagine that some new form of nod-and-wink to gay rights, while opposing a central issue of interest to ordinary gays and lesbians, is going to persuade anyone.

The question for 2008, to the extent that this matters, is whether a longshot from the left will come out strong in favor of same-sex marriage, and raise a pile of early money from deep-pocketed gay donors (who were important to Howard Dean’s early surge back when civil unions were big). Russ Feingold seems the only one with a shot at doing this: So far, he’s fought the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment, and taken the stance that marriage is an issue to be decided at the state level. He seems to duck the issue of whether he actually supports same-sex marriage, though he seems to hint at supporting, saying:

“I generally think a society where people who are monogamous, where people who love each other come together and form stable families is better than the opposite.”