President Bush Threatens Veto of Hate Crimes Bill

In about an hour, (1pm EST) the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Hate Crimes bill introduced in mid-April.

HatecrimesbillThe religious right has gone into overdrive, spreading misinformation to defeat the bill. Judy Shepard published an op-ed piece on The Politico today to combat their “bald-face lies”.

An excerpt:

“One group spreading misinformation to its membership — the so-called Traditional Values Coalition — has even gone so far as to put a picture of Jesus on a ‘wanted’ poster, implying that religious people who speak out against homosexuality could become the targets of criminal investigations. Obviously, that’s just not true. The people spreading this type of propaganda are blatantly lying to their members out of fear that the federal government might finally legislatively recognize that gay Americans exist, and need the same rights and protections the rest of us take for granted. Even worse, the Traditional Values Coalition is misleading and manipulating its members to make these phone calls to Congress, even when they know in their hearts that they are spreading lies. This type of behavior has nothing to do with real traditional values.”

The President today threatened to veto the bill should it reach the oval office:

“The White House, in a statement, said state and local criminal laws already provide penalties for the crimes defined by the bill and ‘there has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.’ It also questioned the constitutionality of federalizing the acts of violence barred by the bill and said that if it reaches the president’s desk ‘his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.'”

UPDATE: Hate Crimes Bill passes House by a vote of 232 to 180.

Below, a video from HRC outlining some of the misinformation being spread by the right wing:


  1. 24play says

    Politically, it would be smarter for Bush to sign the damn bill. Then the Republican presidential candidates could cozy up to the base by loudly criticizing his action.

    Is Rove asleep at the wheel?

  2. Zachary Fish says

    The irony of this line from the post is almost too much to bear:

    ” The people spreading this type of propaganda are blatantly lying to their members out of fear that the federal government might finally legislatively recognize that gay Americans exist, and need the same rights and protections the rest of us take for granted.”

    Federalizing hate crimes doesn’t do grant us the “same rights and protections the rest of [America] takes for granted”. Pot, meet Kettle.

    I’d rather folks just discussed the merits of the law, and didn’t trot out the flag, the bogeyman, or the religious right…

    * gah *

  3. Rad says

    Thank you for the HRC link… unfortunate that the only people who care what the HRC has to say are gays and liberals, meaning that the message will be lost.

    24play, I concur with your assessment; if the Fuck-in-Chief wants to help the next round of Reich-wing leadership, he should sign the bill.

  4. says

    “It’d be a heck of a lot easier if this was a dictatorship. Just so long as I’m the dictactor!” George W. Bush. So I’m thinking that for the next two years, absolutely nothing in the federal government is going to get done. I hope one of these investigations turn up something criminal so we can get rid of this asshole.

  5. 000000 says

    Even though I don’t see this classification as a deterrent to anyone who wants to commit criminal acts, the traditional values scene is shrewd to squash a bill that accurately indicts much of its own constituency.

  6. peterparker says

    If this moron vetoes this bill it will mean that during his tenure thus far he has vetoed stem cell research, withdrawal from Iraq and a bill to protect a minority group. What an idiot. The hatred I feel for this man knows no bounds.

    I wonder if the Chimp-In-Chief would feel compelled to sign a federal hate crimes bill if it included moronic fascist theocratic leaders among the protected classes?

  7. 24play says

    And on further consideration…

    If that spot is typical of HRC’s work, then it’s no wonder they have so little to show for all the millions their events raise.

    Joe Solmonese is a lousy speaker. The spot should be 30 seconds long not 5 minutes. There’s no need to give paragraph–long quotations from every wingnut imaginable. The music, which should be dramatic and inspiring, instead is reminiscent of a 4th-grade science film. And the graphics and typography suck.

    These are our highest-paid DC lobbyists?

    The message should be, “This bill is about fighting violent crime; it does not restrict thoughts or beliefs in any way.” Accompanied, of course, by a montage of well-chosen, appalling images of hate crimes. Call your congressperson. The end.

  8. shane says

    PeterParker: I agree except for the veto on the Iraq bill. If you check the Constitution you will see that the President, not Congress, is “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Congress was trying to force an action that is reserved for the CiC. My fear is that if we start f-ing around with the Constitution we will wake up one day with an anti-gay amendment. Then I’ll have to move – and I hate packing.

  9. says

    Shane, the President does not have constiutional authority to send troops to harms way for as long as he sees fit. Only Congress has the right to declare war – and only congress has the right to fund the military.

    The legislation that congress passed was legal simply because it was about Iraq War funding. Bush does not have authority over matters of funding. Democrats have every right to keep Bush from funding this war of his if they so choose – and I dare say the American electorate elected them to make sure that happens.

  10. Tread says

    Shane: Which Constitution have you been reading, because the one I did gives Congress the authority to declare war, not the president.

    Someone needs a basic Civics lesson. Aren’t they teaching that in high school anymore?

  11. Tread says

    Shane: Which Constitution have you been reading, because the one I did gives Congress the authority to declare war, not the president.

    Someone needs a basic Civics lesson. Aren’t they teaching that in high school anymore?

  12. matthew says

    For me, this no longer is a democrat/republican issue, the fact that Bush even has the nerve to say in public that he is treatening to veto this bill reflects the hatred and the bigotry that is in this country at the moment. President Bush is only part of the problem because in a couple of years he will no longer be in office, but the hatred and bigotry towards the Gay Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community (GLBT) will remain. Attitudes and thoughts have got to change in the United States towards the GLBT community. Sorry if I sound like I am preaching from a soap box, but this is how I feel about this.

  13. Matt says

    I disagree on a lot of the stuff said on this blog but I don’t see any harm that passing this bill can cause. Everyone deserves equal protection from crime. It is a win win for everyone involved.

    As far as the Iraq war is concerned. These people have been fighting for thousands of years. We have had several troop surges in the pass. Yes things get better but only during the surge. It’s like a cop standing on the front porch of someone who is beating his wife. He isn’t going to beat her while the cop is there. As soon as we withdraw the civil war will continue. This is our generations Vietnam/Bay of Pigs.

  14. Leland says

    Well, at least this mealy-mouthed sssssssspokessssssperssssson was posing next to an American flag rather than the usual HRC flag [yes, they have one] as if he were the Queen of Equaltopia. But as has been well-addressed, this is simply more preaching to the choir [over really trite, irritating music], and, of course, ended with passing the collection plate yet again to keep the Human Rights Champagne flowing. Can I get an Amen?!

    If HRC had actually been doing its self-identified job for the last 26 years this bill would have passed long ago, we would not still be scrambling a defense at the last minute for the repeated assaults on our civil liberties and safety, our enemies might still be strutting their lies but no one would be listening, and any who suggested that physically attacking us was “holy” would be shamed and shunned into silence. Yes, there are still huge numbers of people who have similar attitudes about Blacks and Jews, and occasionally they crawl out from beneath their rocks. But for the most part they have been marginalized and however racist and anti-Semitic others might internally remain they know that expressing it in the public square will not be tolerated.

    WHY is that STILL not true about those who hate us? In large part because Joe Solmonese & HRC are to sociopolitical power what GI Joe is to the Green Berets.

  15. yoshi says

    The problem with hate crime laws is that they are difficult to prove in court, are highly subjective, and don’t make anything illegal that isn’t already illegal. On top of that it gives the lying paranoid christian right yet another talking point they can yell from the pulpit further uniting their base. And it accomplishes no real goal but to make you feel better about yourself. I really don’t know why Bush is still pandering to his base – he is out of office in less then two years.

    I am reminded of the irrational reasoning behind these laws by a recent event that happened locally in Moorehead. Someone gets beaten up, cries hate crime, and later admits it had nothing to do with it. Assault is a crime and I hope the perpetrators get throw in jail about it but honestly I suspect his entire story after crying the ski is falling…

  16. Matt says


    This is your favorite troll. I agree with you 100% on the effectiveness of GLAAD/HRC. But my question I pose to you is who do we donate too? Who do we support?

  17. matthew says

    Matt, I agree with your question “who do we support” because GLAAD/HRC obviously are not doing what they are supposed to. Maybe you and I should start a group of our own? :)

  18. matthew says

    That’s okay matt, I gladly accept the challenge to be the face of the orginization, but I can’t think of a name of our group that doesn’t sound totally lame. Any suggestions? How about the two Matt’s try to save the world. See? Totally, utterly lame.

  19. Stephen says

    By YOSHI: “The problem with hate crime laws is that they are difficult to prove in court, are highly subjective, and don’t make anything illegal that isn’t already illegal.”

    He makes an excellent point.

    There are laws on the books to address every crime that would have the potential to be placed – and argued subjectively – under a hate crime law. I’m not convinced it’s needed.

  20. 24play says

    Yoshi and Stephen:

    You’re right. Hate crimes can be difficult to prove in court and don’t make anything illegal that isn’t already illegal.

    What hate crimes laws do is stiffen existing penalties for certain crimes when hate is a motivating factor in the crime.

    Assessing motive is a keystone of our justice system. Someone who is responsible for the death of another person can be charged with and convicted of anything from manslaughter to 1st degree murder. Motive is the key to determining the charge and the punishment.

  21. Leland says

    Gary is exactly right. Lambda Legal is one of the organizations I’ve praised before. As I have GLSEN, even in another thread today, and PFLAG, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation [whom I’d much rather see money going to in relation to the hate crimes bill renamed in his memory]. i go back and forth about NGLTF but remain cautiously optimistic and will probably donate again. Though indirectly political, I’ve given to HIV/AIDS groups in four different states [the reason Boy George’s rip off of Care Resource so infuriates me], and encourage everyone to support the effective group nearest them.

    Direct donation links:

    But don’t stop there. Take the time to e-mail HRC — — and say, e.g., “I just sent a donation to ________. When you replace words with actions I’ll consider donating to you, too.”

  22. anon says

    The president’s logic is flawed to the extent that there already is a Federal hate-crimes bill. What this new bill does is make religious bigotry equal to homophobia, which some would not like to see. It’s like getting a seat on the dias as opposed to the floor.

    HRC has little insentive to get this passed, since then they would have no reason to stick around!

  23. 24play says

    Just noticed that closeted California Republican David “Daisy” Dreier voted against the bill.

    Wouldn’t it be horrible if a group of anti-gay thugs beat him to death this weekend?


  24. MCnNYC says

    HAte to break it to you but Judy Shepard will tell you exactly what HRC has not only done for her organization but who she would credit with it’s passage.
    For you to even say such SHIT like “If HRC had actually been doing its self-identified job for the last 26 years this bill would have passed long ago” IF PURE BULL SHIT AND HYPERBOLE!

    And please this video was not meant for a commercial now you are complaining that the m,usic and graphis weren’t slick enough…or do you mean EXPENSIVE ENOugh more money needs to be given to better graphics? or should it look like your fellow GOP propaganda films…maybe you and andrew sullivan and your repuglican buddy chris crain can find the REAL ENEMY of hate crime legislation the REPUBLICAN PARTY and the log cabin —I mean where were these buddies of yours?

    You have one drum to bang Leland and it’s TIRED, OLD and without foundation.

  25. MCnNYC says

    And PLEASE annon…do you really think that HRC has no incentive to pass this because they won’t be around?
    So if this were law there would be no LGBT legislational agenda to advocate?


  26. MCnNYC says

    And PLEASE annon…do you really think that HRC has no incentive to pass this because they won’t be around?
    So if this were law there would be no LGBT legislational agenda to advocate?


  27. Leland says

    Gee, I thought the Reichen Trolls had the market cornered on hysteria but congratulations MC Hammerhead, the tiara passes to toit [the second “t” is silent; or maybe not]. And just like them, rather than addressing the criticism you attack the critic. It hardly helps your credibility to imply that only conservatives criticize HRC. If you’re so familiar with my posts the last thing you would tried to smear me with is being a member of the GOP. ROTFLMAO. And speaking of asses, I assure everyone that it pains me to share a position with Andrew Sullivan, someone I have repeatedly made clear I loathe, and Chris Crain whom I think little better of. But, again, even broken clocks are right twice a day, and much, if not all, of what they say about HRC is dead on. Reichen & HRC, a match made in Phonies Heaven.

    1. The question I responded to was not what other groups have been expressly working on the hate crimes bill but what groups generally I believe deserve the support that I believe HRC does not. Do you really think you’re winning converts to drink the Kool Aid along with the other HRC Stepford Queens by bashing those two groups?

    2. Both, have in fact, done what they can relative to their means to help advance gay issues in Congress. And “means” are precisely relevant to the discussion because HRC’s budget is more than the next THREE largest LGBT organizations COMBINED [none of which are PFLAG or GLSEN].

    3. Add that to the fact that HRC has crowned itself “America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality…[that] EFFECTIVELY [emphasis mine] lobbies Congress…. inspiring and engaging all Americans…blazing trails every day…and has spent the last several years making
    — and winning — the case that a commitment to equality is the fabric that binds this nation together” it is entirely appropriate, even required of everyone who cares about LGBT rights, to expect them to demonstrate what they claim, including documenting how/why they repeatedly unethically take sole credit for progress that they well know is the culmination of the various work of many groups and individuals. E.g., “We’ve defeated another attempt to put discrimination in one of our most cherished documents, the U.S. Constitution.” [2006 HRC Annual Report]

    4. Such HRC hyperbole does not limit itself to actual events but in the basest form of “marketing speak” takes credit for things that did not happen. E.g., “We’ve pushed back efforts to put discrimination in
    state constitutions across the nation.” “Tried to push back efforts…” MIGHT be fair but, as written, it is a lie.
    Only ONE effort to amend a state constitution has been defeated, in Arizona, and, while apparently they gave some money to AZTogether, according to Cindy Jordan, chair of No On 107, “We did this with no national help” – Pam’s House Blend.

    5. I’m far less concerned than Sullivan, et al. about HRC’s membership/supporter number fudging, but it does fit an ongoing pattern of self-serving deception.

    6. As does the games played around at least one 100% rated company in HRC’s BUY BUY BUY!!! guide. Their tiny little footnote about the “possibility” that some of the Coors dynasty may still be funding antigay fanatics is sickening, and their rating contradicts the survey’s benchmark requirements.

    7. The appearance of Joe Solmonese with Congressional sponsors of the bill, along with his/HRC’s endless hot air about how much influence they have on Capitol Hill, is strangely belied by his statement to the “Bay Area Reporter” after acknowledging that our chances of progress are most intertwined with Democrats contradicted his own statements in earlier interviews when he insisted that “It wasn’t our job to help the Democrats take control of Congress.” Read that again. Think about it. Then ask yourselves why this man [with no history of gay activism] was hired and why he hasn’t been fired.

    8. I think we should wait to hear from Judy Shepard herself regarding “exactly what HRC has done…for her organization” and “who she would credit with [the hate crime bill’s] passage.” She is on their board and a practical, gracious woman who probably subscribes to the notion that you dance with the one that brung ya, who might work with the players controlling gay politico chessboard [if winning few games] at the same time she might quietly wonder about how much money they piss away needlessly in one direction [e.g., a paid staff of over 100 housed in space they don’t need] while withholding it from others [while her own group survives on a shoestring].

    According to their 2004 annual report, out of $27 million raised in that year, the year of probably the most crucial-to-gay-equality election in our nation’s history, HRC spent just under $5 million on “Federal, Field & Legal Advocacy,” which one assumes is what election-related efforts would fall under. Yet they spent nearly $2 million more on FUNDRAISING [$6.7 M].

    In the midterm 2006 election, once one separates all the hot air from their claims of success, they spent a little over $5 million on election activities but $7.5 million on fundraising. They ended the year with some $27 million in the bank. If not 2004; if not 2006; exactly WHEN does HRC think our rainy day is going to come?

    9. HRC has a history of, if not sleeping with the enemy, wining, dining, and empowering them. From the aforementioned Coors ……to the HRC executive who helped guard the closet of Republican friend Pete Williams when he was Cheney’s Assistant Secretary of Defense during Bush I and the Pentagon’s spokesperson [read the employer effectively destroying gay and lesbian soldiers’ lives long before DADT] … the public cry for pity for former Mark Foley chief of staff and campaign manager Kirk Fordham by HRC Foundation Board Member and former interim director and former wife of former longtime executive director Elizabeth Birch [who created the HRC monster we know today] Hilary Rosen. Fordham wasn’t just another gay Republican but had been the finance director for Florida Senate candidate Mel Martinez during a campaign that was so gay-bashing even Jeb Bush complained. Martinez won and is now the homohating head of the Republican Party.

    10. After decades of failure and mounting criticism from their own members, HRC has finally begun to apply SOME of its clout and cash where it is most needed. But, as indicated above, their own records reveal that their priorities remained misplaced and too much time and fortune are invested in blowing up their own balloon. Put another way, if any of us as a private person had given millions and millions of dollars over more than two decades to a broker [who insisted he/she was the best in the world] to invest and he/she had year after year after year produced far more loss than profit would you still be taking them seriously, let alone giving them more money? Or another: if you’d been funding an army [that claimed to be the most powerful and effective] for 26 years to defeat your enemies and they had lost more battles than they won while your enemies became stronger and stronger, would you still count on that army? Still fund them? The defenders of HRC sound like Bush defending his policies in Iraq, and I for one am tired of being a victim of both.

  28. 000000 says

    ^I scrolled down with useless curiosity to see who added this lovely tome to the comments section. As if I couldn’t figure it out by now! Shit, I’d have started my own blog if I had that much to say, or thought people would READ it.

  29. resurrect says

    hate crimes veto – typical but when you think he can’t sink much lower, he does.

    HRC vid – who is the audience for this piece? because I’d hate to see any of our allies snooze to death during this piece. God-awful all around. Joe Solomonese – this is not about you. You’re not an authoritative or charismatic speaker/presence and you’d be more effective someplace other than in front of the camera. I can make a better video from my iLife suite on my mac. Get a talented production team, a commanding speaker, cut out all the extraneous BS and get something landed on a site/station/outlet where it will be seen.

    Leland – it doesn’t take much here to whip you back up into a frenzy. Your posts are like commercials on my TIVO – a few clicks and the mouse has cleared the hurdle. as predictable as Bush’s repsonses – in the 180 degree view.

  30. Disappointed says

    How come a bill that protects Americans (and one of the values for which America stands, which is to protect each and all of their citizens) will be vetoed but a bill such as DOMA that actually legalizes discrimination and does not really protect anyone passes?

Leave A Reply