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Title: The American Question Credit: Craig Young Comment Wednesday 25th May 2011 - 6:43pm1306305780 Article: 10402 Rights
 
In 2012, the United States goes to the polls for its next presidential and Congressional elections. How do US LGBT communities perceive President Barack Obama and the Democrats? Or will the United States lapse into extremism once more? Given the recent assassination of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Northwestern Pakistan, this may seem a curious observation, given that the shooting of the al Qaeda commander in chief (?) proved popular and cathartic and certainly, few will mourn his passing. In addition to the innocent US and other civilians who died in the Twin Towers collapse on September 11, 2001, there were also the eight thousand Shia Hazara Muslims in Northern Afghanistan massacred by the Taliban and al Qaeda in 1998 beforehand. However, winning the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1990/91 wasn't enough to save the presidency of George H. Bush in 1992. That said, however, under Obama, the US economy is showing tentative signs of recovery, so that may be an added boost to his re-election hopes. Granted, LGBT Democrat and swing voters are dissatisfied. The Obama administration has ended military service discrimination, and has refused to further endorse the Defence of Marriage Act (against same-sex marriage). However, unlike much of the rest of the western world, it still has no federal protection against homophobic and transphobic discrimination. Given that the United States House of Representatives is Republican-dominated after the mid-term Congressional elections last year, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act still awaits introduction and passage. One can only hope that Obama's current prudent economic management and current military and foreign policy successes pay dividends in 2012, and restore the House of Representatives to Democrat leadership. This raises the question of Republican presidential nominees. In a recent Time article, Mark Halperin assessed the chances of potential frontrunners. Fortunately, the dreadful Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman lie some distance back in the field.Curiously, while the United States has Senate and House of Representative majority and minority leaders, these do not equate to a permanent Leader of the Opposition post. Halperin suggests that the frontrunners are the (Republican) former Massachuesetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Romney is a Mormon, however, which disqualifies him in the eyes of sectarian fundamentalist Republican voters, despite Mormon social conservative cobelligerency. Huckabee does pander to the fundamentalist community, infamously comparing homosexuality to bestiality in one diatribe. However, will he be able to win back mainstream swing voters, especially if there's an improving US economy and further military successes? At this stage in the electoral cycle, however, little is certain. Recommended: Mark Halperin: "Weigh in" Time 23.05.2011: 31. Craig Young - 25th May 2011    
 
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