Did you feel the love? Or did you, like me, feel more placated, stroked, as if being limply hugged by a group of so-called friends who showed up at your party only because they know you always bring booze to theirs?
The candidates who were either not busy enough to be somewhere else, or who honestly looked forward to talking directly to the LGBT community about our issues, were each given a little over 15 minutes each to answer questions posed by the forum’s moderator, Bloomberg News columnist Margaret Carlson and a panel that consisted of Jonathan Capehart, an editorial writer from the Washington Post; Joe Solmonese, president of HRC; and Melissa Etheridge, “an incredibly privileged rock star.” She said it; I didn’t.
The evening was, as Logo promised it would be, different. The combined gay muscle of HRC and Logo, plus the respected panel members and the familiar queer faces in the studio audience — Neil Patrick Harris and Jane Lynch, to name two — all fed a vibe that was missing in the earlier debates.
Same-sex marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell were all discussed, not as footnotes, but at length as primary issues. Unlike previous presidential forums, nearly everyone in the studio audience had one and the same agenda, and that was to choose the man or woman who would best represent the LGBT community in the White House and fight for our rights once there.
As a result, the discussions looked more like job interviews. I hate job interviews. And judging from the behavior and speech of the candidates, most of them weren’t crazy about the four-on-one questioning process either.
Often awkward, but throughout a lesson in kissing-up, the candidates did what I have to assume was their best to show their respect for LGBT voters and attempt to secure a few more of our votes. But their best was either not good enough — or, as in the case of Kucinich’s over-the-top outpouring of endless love, too much.
You’re not a president either. Sorry.
For the record, Richardson, who favors civil unions with full marriage benefits over same-sex marriage, has since apologized for misspeaking. “I screwed up. I didn’t understand the question,” he said to Sirius OutQ Radio the day after the forum. “I had flown all night from New Hampshire — that shouldn’t be an excuse — but I made a mistake … It’s not a choice, it’s not a lifestyle, and I didn’t understand the question.”
I understand. I’m tired, too, Bill — tired of fractional consideration.