Michael Hamar

Obama and the Democrats Still Don't Get It

Filed By Michael Hamar | June 30, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
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Perusing the coverage of what some have described as President Obama's "Gay Uncle Tom" event at the White House yesterday (in alleged commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots) leaves me thinking that Obama and Congressional Democrats truly believe that LGBTQ Americans are idiots. And that our votes can be bought very cheaply, or merely for the asking.

Ironically, I received an e-mail from Virginia Beach Congressman Glenn Nye on Monday morning, asking for money. Yes, the same Glenn Nye who lacked the balls to join Congressman Bobby Scott in demanding that Obama act to suspend DADT and said he was waiting for input from military commanders. As one of my readers commented, Nye had apparently forgotten that the military ultimately reports to Congress and the President and not vice versa. Here's my response to Mr. Nye:

Glenn,

Due to the failure of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats to move forward legislation to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the insulting DOMA brief, I am not giving money to any Democrats at the national and Congressional level. Moreover, I am asking other LGBTQ Americans to do the same.

Back to the White House damage control event. All too typically, Obama spoke lofty words but with no action attached to them (Andy Towle has a transcript here).

While Obama claims to be "pressing Congress" on various actions, I have seen few instance where he has in fact done so publicly. Both Pam Spaulding and John Aravoisis have some pretty cutting commentary with which I agree. First, some highlights from John's commentary:

[Y]our president wants you to know that unjust laws must be overturned. Some day. The crowd loved that one too. One might forget that the Obama administration defended the Defense of Marriage Act law recently. They not only defended it, they defended it in a way that demeaned and mocked same-sex marriages by invoking incest and pedophilia. But never mind.

Obama also told us that some would deny us full equality. Um, that would include him. He doesn't support marriage equality -- and his words are being used against our efforts to achieve those rights. But again, never mind. The President tells us that he's looking for a "practical" solution to Don't Ask, Don't Tell (We've also heard the solution has to be "durable" or "sustainable"). But, it has to be an Act of Congress. It really really really really has to be an Act of Congress

All in all, the president gave a very eloquent speech. But, you know what, we've heard those speeches already. He's the president now, not some candidate. He can do more than talk. And so far, he's chosen not to, and made up some pretty flimsy excuses to justify his actions.

And, while many of the so-called gay "leaders" in the East Room were assuaged and bought off by the promise of champagne and a heartfelt "God bless you" from the man who promised much, lots more people are mad as hell and starting to think they're being taken for a ride. The people are way ahead of their leaders on these issues -- both their gay and their elected leaders.

Pam likewise is unimpressed, and in essence calls out the bottom line question: When will Obama stop blathering about caring about LGBT rights and actually start DOING something to advance our cause in some serious form.

Gratuitous appointments of LGBTQ individuals to government positions for the most part do NOTHING for the rest of us. Particularly in states like Virginia, where a Circuit Court has recently held that DNC Chair Tim Kaine's Executive Order 1 (2006) is basically worthless.

Here are Pam's thoughts on the White House reception:

While the VIP LGBTs were waiting for the President to meet and greet, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was taking a pummeling at the daily presser about the inaction of the administration regarding several LGBT issues on the back burner. Clearly it's more than just the "whining homos" wondering why the President talks a good game but seems quite passive about doing anything concrete. Gibbs does his usual song and dance saying the Pentagon and Congress have to be involved, but that the President hasn't met with the people in the Pentagon or Congress.

Sounds like a circular reference to me.

There are those who have been critical of my harshness with Obama, but to date playing nice has gotten the majority of LGBTQ Americans absolutely nothing.

I seriously believe that there are some - perhaps including Mr. Obama - who believe that, despite our whining, we have short memories and will soon be writing checks and casting votes for Democrats even if they do nothing for us.

A strong message needs to be sent that such is not the case. When Obama starts taking serious action rather than hosting photo-op parties, then I will believe that he means what he says in his pretty speeches.


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