Why Is Obama Making Appearances With An Anti-Gay Pastor?

This post, written by Matt Stoller, originally appeared on Open Left

In the whole McClurkin fiasco, one interesting note here is that Obama seems to have built the opposite of the Dean coalition. Dean's very first base group was the gay community that funded his initial campaign, and then he moved to the blogs and the wider white progressive space, but he never really picked up traction among African-Americans. Obama's McClurkin incident has coalesced the blogs and the gay community against him, and he's now fighting Clinton for African-Americans. There's an exception of course in that both Dean and Obama were much stronger among men than women, but the gist of the McClurkin story is that Obama has gelled the latent anti-Obama sentiment among progressives into something solid.

I should be clear. The McClurkin situation is not about gay bashing and it never has been about gay bashing. Obama's not a homophobe, he is probably more comfortable around gay people than any Presidential candidate and he has a great record on LGBT rights. It is a significant incident though, because it's about priorities. It's obvious from the campaign's blundering politics that the people Obama listens to for political advice simply don't care about the concerns of progressives. Here's Obama on the gay-baiting McClurkin controversy.
Part of the reason that we have had a faith outreach in our campaigns is precisely because I don't think the LGBT community or the Democratic Party is served by being hermetically sealed from the faith community and not in dialogue with a substantial portion of the electorate, even though we may disagree with them.
So the choice, apparently, is between the LGBT community and the Democratic Party being hermetically sealed from the faith community and inviting gay-bashers to act as surrogates. Ok, fine. At least Obama would take the notion of dialogue seriously, right? Both sides would get their say. And McClurkin is just a singer, not a spokesman.
Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.
He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: "Don't call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings," he cried.
"God delivered me from homosexuality," he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: "God is the only way." The crowd sang and clapped along in full support....
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