Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Concierge Politics

Should a gay politician spend his political career denying gays various rights? Roy Ashburn has done so:

Sen. Roy Ashburn, whose personal life became the subject of rumors in the wake of a DUI arrest last week, said today he is gay, but he defended his numerous votes against gay rights bills.


Gay-rights advocates seized on the news to point out Ashburn's votes against gay rights legislation and his appearance several years ago at a rally in support of a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage.

Ashburn defended his positions, telling Barks he was representing his district, a mostly conservative area running from Bakersfield to Visalia.

His view of politics reminds me of a concierge business, something along the lines of those services which come to your house to pick up your dry-cleaning or deliver your groceries. It doesn't really matter whether your customers share your values or beliefs.

Ashburn seems to argue that he is just running a concierge business for his constituency, voting the way they would want him to. But will those conservative voters of Ashburn's district re-elect him now that they know of his gayness? I wonder.

Sarah Palin's recent comments about how her family in the 1960s used to sneak across the border to use the Canadian health care system reveals something similar:

"My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse," Palin said during a speech in Calgary on Saturday. "Believe it or not — this was in the '60s — we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."


On the Daily Kos website, one post — entitled Sarah "The Death Panel Queen" Palin Went to Canada for Health Care — called the former Alaskan governor "opportunistic" and "hypocritical."

"It's good enough for her, but not for the rest of the American people who don't have easy access to Canada and a system that isn't based on wage discrimination?" the post made on the left-leaning political blog stated.

And Gawker.com also pointed out Palin's comment, writing that her family put her brother on a train "and sent him to Canada for the socialism."

Palin has previously claimed Canada should dismantle its public health care system and called the push by U.S. President Barack Obama to nationalize the American system "irresponsible," suggesting the move would allow "death panels" to choose whether Americans would live or die.

A fascinating topic, is it not? Should politicians be like concierges or should they actually believe in what they spout? It might ultimately be the customers voters who decide on that.

To tie this all to feminism, note that we don't (outside feminist blogs) ask misogynistic female politicians or pundits to justify their stance. We don't get all upset that they vote or advocate for policies which hurt other women. That is interesting, too.