Friday, August 13, 2004

A hero for our times?

For those among your blogstress's peeps eager to lionize McGreevey, check out Wonkette's take. It's remarkably sober and should give one pause.

This Washington Blade piece features a concise chunk of the backstory, proving they're not about to jump whole-hog on the McGreevey bandwagon.

For a not-so-sober but hilarious take, check out Tom Burka's Opinions You Should Have.

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Convention recap
Did the governor tip his hand?

McGreevey at the Stonewall Democrats luncheon

At the time, it struck your blogstress as the tiniest bit odd, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey being the only "straight" speaker among a good half-dozen on the menu at the luncheon sponsored by the Stonewall Democrats in Boston on the last day of the Democratic National Convention. (Remarks transcribed below this post.) However, your cyberscribe's home state being among the latest to pass domestic partnership legislation, and the queer community being so legendarily moneyed and fabulous, she saw the thing as generic opportunism from a well-known opportunist, overlooking what she now sees as either a slip or a wink to the assembled crowd from the chief executive of the Garden State.

"My friends, we are engaged in a great debate within our nation," said the governor. "What we are looking for is workplace protection, equal rights and equal opportunities."

Of which "we" did the governor speak, one might ask. The royal "we"? The editorial "we"? The one-nation-indivisible "we", or the just-among-us (wink-wink) "we" in the room?

Okay, so maybe we're reading a bit too much into this. Or maybe not.

A well-laid plan?

Given his stunning debutante turn yesterday afternoon, however, it does seem that McGreevey was positioning himself to take his place in our legendarily moneyed and fabulous community. (Your blogstress, alas, has achieved only the latter of those two laudable attributes.) Although your Webwench was authentically moved by the governor's confession yesterday--especially his utterance of the glorious sentence, "I am a gay American"--its execution bears the mark of something rather calculated. McGreevey's actions were obviously forced by some unexpected (at least by him) events--a sexual harassment law suit filed against the governor by a male former aide, and revelations to come about a boyfriend that may prove to be something of an international incident. But leave it to McGreevey to find real opportunity in self-created crisis. Now, there's a real American!

Who's shoving it now?

While Teresa got herself in trouble with an acolyte of Richard Mellon Scaife for declaring the actions of an opponent to be un-American, McGreevey, speaking of gay issues, wound up his remarks before the Stonewall crowd with the same epithet.

"As much, God willing, as we have done," McGreevey asserted, "we have so much more to do to [rally] America and bring America to the side of decency in repudiating this administration, whose position on these issues is simply a matter of hate, and among the most un-American positions ever taken by any federal administration."

For your viewing pleasure...

...your blogstress forwent a planned evening of musical debauchery to transcribe (an act of tedium if there ever was one) the governor's remarks from the Stonewall gathering. (See below.) It was a most generous sacrifice on her part, seeing as no one born outside the state could have possibly made sense of those remarks, and even she had difficulty deciphering her native accent rendered through a charmingly low-end, shabby chic tape machine, not to mention the danger of tripping over all those dropped consonants littered around her dainty feet. (State secret: the reason Jersey folk talk so loud is that they think it will make them understood.) It all made her grateful for the elocution lessons she received via the high-quality recordings of one Francis Albert Sinatra, who really knew how to turn the dialect of his Hudson County homeland into a language for the masses.

The reader will no doubt take pleasure in learning that Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who hosted the Stonewall event, was born in the Great State of New Jersey, which certainly explains a lot of things.

*See Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial page editor Colin McNickle's name-dropping, self-laudatory memo for his heroism in standing firm in the face of mean rich lady. If you've come in late, you'll find it under Romenesko's miscellany, posted 8/12/2004 3:57:47 PM, under the title: "Trib-Review staffer McNickle's note to colleagues".

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Remarks of N.J. Gov. James McGreevey
Before the Stonewall Democrats

July 29 - Boston, Mass.

BARNEY FRANK: Let me begin with our first speaker, who represents a part of my past, but it's the least interesting part of my past, so don't get too excited. ..But he is a man who has distinguished himself by his advocacy of fairness on our behalf. And he is one of the statewide-elected officials in this country who has done more than almost any other to get across the point that we are entitled, as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, to be treated fairly and equally. So I am very proud to present to you the governor of the state of my birth, Governor Jim McGreevey of New Jersey.

GOV. JAMES McGREEVEY: To the infamous [unintelligible] leader, Congressman Barney Frank, born in the sacred soil of New Jersey, let me say, on behalf of a grateful nation, thanks to the congressman for his leadership, his courage and his strength on all issues of civil liberties in the House of Representatives [in] very challenging and difficult times.

First I'd like to recognize Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg from the State of New Jersey who sponsored our Domestic Partnership Act--Loretta? She was the [unintell] without whose leadership the bill would not have become law.

When we look to the issues that confront our nation, tragically, we confront a federal administration that chooses to ignore the economy and education, and the environment, and the havoc they have wrought upon our nation, and instead attempts to divide America. And whether it's on reproductive rights, on civil liberties, on issues that are important to Stonewall Democrats, the irony is the Constitution of the United States, of this nation, has always been about furthering the cause of civil liberties. It is tragic--it is fundamentally wrong--that this administration is attempting to take the Constitution, which for 255 years has been the framework for granting freedoms, and now, ironically, twisting it in a perverse way to engage in gay-bashing in an attempt to fulfill its own political aims. All Americans need to be engaged in this debate, need to understand the fundamental wrong that is being wrought [by] this administration.

Now, I believe Americans don't want this type of wrong-headed direction. And I'm proud of the fact that New Jersey is among the first states in the nation that stepped forward with domestic partnership legislation--to take a stand for fairness, to take a stand for dignity, and to understand that same-sex couples understand the importance of basic liberties and basic rights. I signed New Jersey's domestic partnership legislation because it was the right thing to do.

When it's visiting a loved one in a hospital room, filing state income tax deductions, inheritance tax exemptions, or granting, under the New Jersey state workers eligible to receive certain health care benefits and retirement benefits, and, most importantly, I'd like the Stonewall Democrats to know that couples today in New Jersey now have protection against prejudice under New Jersey's law against discrimination. This important legislation would be threatened by the Bush administration's advocates.

My friends, we are engaged in a great debate within our nation. What we are looking for is workplace protection, equal rights and equal opportunities. The Kerry-Edwards ticket will fight for these protections--[and] the importance of a wide range of health-care protections. And I would argue that any administration that attempts to divide American along these lines not only needs to be repudiated by the Stonewall Democrats, but needs to be repudiated by all thinking Americans.

Congressman Frank, I want to thank him for his leadership--I want to thank you for all your of your support in New Jersey for our domestic partnership legislation. I want to thank those legislators who were willing to come forward in the New Jersey State Legislature to make a stand for courage and decency. As much, God willing, as we have done, we have so much more to do to [rally?] America and bring America to the side of decency in repudiating this administration whose position on these issues is simply a matter of hate, and among the most un-American positions ever taken by any federal administration. Thank you very much.

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