Turn out the rights, the party’s over

The dawn of a second term for President Bush comes as another executive term sunsets this week.

On Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign acknowledged that the beltway rumors were true: Executive Director Cheryl Jacques had been fired at an emergency board meeting Monday night. Critics have cited Jacques’ decidedly partisan “George W. Bush: You’re Fired!” campaign as part of the reason for her dismissal, rightly noting that the strategy didn’t leave the HRC anywhere to go when the President was re-elected.

Jacques’ ouster won’t immediately bring back the moderate gravitas the origination has built up over the past years, but it will likely send a message to friendly Republicans on the Hill that they have seen the light.

The HRC has been an effective lobbying organization for many years – and especially so over the past half decade because of their acknowledgement of the importance of moderate Republicans to their cause. While HRC supporters characterize their shift to the left in the past years as a natural shift in strategy, the numbers tell a different story. In the 107th Congress, the HRC asked Members of Congress to sign a pledge that they wouldn’t discriminate in their offices on the basis of sexual orientation; 68 out of 100 Senators signed.

In the 108th, however, the HRC broadened their pledge to include gender identity. While transgendered individuals are certainly worthy of protection – and no less worthy than gays and lesbians – the concept of a protected class for transgendered folks isn’t as bipartisanly supported; this year, the HRC lost 46 of its previous pledges.

Many say this is progress, but in a town where politics is perception, the perception of progress is slipping.

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