Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who are These People?

As Obama and Hillary waffle from time to time over the veracity of LGBT rights of marriage, etc., and Hillary omits her appearances at HRC dinners from her published schedule, John Edwards has decided to court "the gays."

It's very nice that his web site officially announces the fact that he has - or, more probably, his people have - met with a group of 35 allegedly important political movers and shakers in our "community."

The majority of these people are Human Rights Campaign board members or employees. HRC has been criticized a lot lately for its excess spending, huge salaries and general A-list mentality by Michael Petrelis and others.

HRC's response was akin to, "If you're not for u$, you're again$t u$."

In 2005, gay activists protested at an HRC dinner, as they took scads of cash from a big drug conglom.

So, let's see who our apparent student council is in the high school of gay America. My comments in italics.

* Skip Paul, Corporate Executive

Golf-playing Stanford executive in the entertainment, video game industry; currently runs IFilm. Let's do lunch with Muffy!

* Darren Star, TV Producer

Okay, we loved Sex and the City and Grosse Pointe. But what does making a comedic series about shoe-addicted columnists have to do with politics? more proof that Edwards may be more concerned with style over substance.

* Julie Johnson, Human Rights Campaign Public Policy Committee Co-Chair

Texas fundraiser; dig her quotes in this article about a Bill Clinton fundraiser held in Texas.

* Eric Stern, Former National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director; Former Democratic National Committee LGBT Outreach Director

Busy fellow, quite accomplished.

* David Mixner, Former Bill Clinton for President Adviser; LGBT activist, fundraiser, author

David seems to show up anywhere there's a political schmooze session; still smarting from being Bill Clinton's adviser all through the monstrous 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell?' Yep, he's endorsing Edwards.

* Dennis Erdman, TV Producer/ Director

Another TV show producer. That's nice. We can be sure Edwards will have nice commercials. (rolls eyes)

* Mary Snider, Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors Executive Committee Member

Ms. Snider has hosted a lot of dinners for HRC. How nice. Here, in a letter to the Washington Blade, she justifies HRC's giving Lance Bass an award for having the courage (really, I'm holding back tears of inspiration) to come out. What a hero he is.

* David Tseng, Kerry-Edwards 2004 National LGBT Advisory Committee Co-Chair; Former Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National Executive Director

Not even gonna snipe at PFLAG. We love our gay-friendly parents!!

* David Mariner, Former Out for Howard Dean Co-Chair; Founder,

Cool points for being on-target, having a findable source of his opinions and writing.

* James Duff, TV Producer

Okay, so is Edwards going to have his own series? An election reality show?

* Ramon Gardenhire, National Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus Co-Chair; Former DNC LGBT Deputy Outreach Director

Not much of an online presence, but has some credentials. See Ramon's 2004 article on HIV issues in the last election

* Scott Benson, Majority Leader Minneapolis City Council

He's running for office himself. So, is that a conflict? Eight-ball says, 'Ask again later.'

* Shane Larson, AFL-CIO Pride @ Work National Executive Board Member; Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)-Communications Workers of America (CWA) Government Affairs Director

Mr. Larsen seems to focus on the partner benefits of flight attendants. Mm-kay, that's a target market.

* Scott Wiener, Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors Member; San Francisco Democratic Party Chair* (for identification purposes only)

I actually met Scott, and he plays the party line well. Not sure what he can do if Edwards doesn't get the endorsement of the Dem. Party groupthink.

* Jeff Gardner, Garden State Equality Vice Chair; New Jersey for Democracy Co-Chair

I have a New Jersey bias, what with their having accomplished LGBT civil union rights; plus I lived there for a few years.

* Lynne Wiggins, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) National Leadership Council Member; Former Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors Member

While I love GLSEN and all it does, one thing that should prove an activist or "important community member's" power, affluence, or at least visibility, is to do a Google search with their name and the word 'gay.' Results: Ms. Wiggins isn't so visible.

* Ken Keechl, Broward County Commissioner; Former Dolphin Democrats President

Another politician, Keechl is in Broward County, Florida, the state that brought us the 2000 presidential election fraud.

* Linda Elliott, Human Rights Committee Board of Directors Member

Another name/gay Google search reveals very little, other than her HRC association.

* Dave Garrity, Former Democratic National Committee Member

14 Google/gay page results, most of them repostings of the Edwards press release. Who is Dave, where did he come from, and why is he considered "powerful" or representing millions of LGBT Americans?

* Mark Perriello, Former Human Rights Campaign staff member; Democratic strategist

Also a PFLAG emeritus, and an ex-ex-gay. Not much else to find.

* Ron Ginsburg, LGBT Community Activist; business owner

Sorry, I don't see anything for Ron other than the Edwards PR. And you are...? And I should know you from...?

* Randall Kelly, LGBT Community Activist; attorney

See above

* Robert D. Horvath, Mautner Project Board of Directors Member


* Stephanie Kornegay, LGBT Community Activist; business owner

Okay, she plays golf. a lot. That'll take care of the Dinah Shore Classic fans (i.e. rich white lesbians).

* Patrick J. Lyden, LGBT Community Activist; Homeland Security Advisor

Are these two creds an oxymoron? This guy doesn't even exist on the internet. Will he ensure airport security for John's campaign? Who can say.

So, only 5 of these people are women. Without looking up headshots of these alleged "community representatives," I see few non-Caucasian names.

So, basically, Edwards schmoozed with a bunch of A-list rich white guys to consult about how to make him look good on TV.

Moving on....


mark said...

Thank you for taking the time to do the research here. When I asked the question on JMG earlier, I was hoping someone would respond. And as I suspected, it's not really a pretty list. But then, the question is still out there: who are our community leaders? Whose voices are important?

David Ehrenstein said...

Great work Jim!

David Mariner said...

Hey Jim,

You know who I am! I'm the same guy that does the website. I did a review of your first book at your request many years back.

I can assure you, not all the people on this list are 'rich white guys' - I'm not even close to rich.

There are several folks on this list that are hardworking grassroots activists that have a history of working for LGBT equality.

I'm really proud to be listed with folks like Eric Stern and Mark Periello (who I don't believe you know but you'd like him - check out

And to me it's very exciting that so many LGBT folks are playing a role in the Edwards campaign.

Best regards,

David Mariner

Jim Provenzano said...

Thanks for the update and clarification, David.