Michael Hamar

President Obama, Are You Listening?

Filed By Michael Hamar | June 09, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, broken campaign promises, broken health care, broken immigration system, DADT repeal, demoralized Democrats, Nancy Pelosi

From my perspective and that of many gays that I talk with, the answer to the question asked in the headline of this post is a resounding "No." Obama and far too many among the Congressional Democrat ranks have abandoned the party's progressive base and the anger is becoming palpable as Nancy Pelosi found out at an appearance before annual gathering of progressive activists organized by the Campaign for America's Future.

Broken campaign promises and actions that look like they were orchestrated by the GOP is much of the legacy during Barack Obama's term to date. Mediocre health care reform that will likely not deliver as promised, ineptitude with the Gulf oil spill, and on LGBT issues close to open betrayal - there are now even allegations that the Department of Defense study on DADT repeal is being rigged against repeal.

Worse yet for Democratic incumbents, I am sensing the same disillusionment among Democrats that took place here in Virginia in the lead up to the 2009 election debacle that put Taliban Bob McDonnell in the governor's mansion and the literally insane Ken Cuccinelli in as Attorney General. It comes down to the issue of why bother to put Democrats in office if they cannot get progressive legislation passed even when they control Congress and the White House.

The window for delivering on promises is closing and significant action needs to occur before November. I shared these sentiments with a representative of Senator Jim Webb's office at a function last night and received no assurances that the Senator gets the situation. Dana Milbank at the Washington Post has some highlights of Pelosi facing the wrath of those in her own party base:

For 17 months, anger at President Obama and congressional Democrats has been pooling on the left. On Tuesday morning, it spilled onto the floor of an Omni Shoreham ballroom and splashed all over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The celebrated San Francisco liberal took the stage to greet what should have been a friendly audience: the annual gathering of progressive activists organized by the Campaign for America's Future. Instead, Pelosi was eaten by her own.

Political movements tend to unravel gradually, but on Tuesday this one seemed to be imploding in real time. As the "tea party" right has gained strength, Obama's hope-and-change left has faded. The frustration has crystallized at the gathering this week of demoralized activists.

At Monday's opening session, attendance was sparse: 10 empty tables and about 200 empty chairs. "Progressives have grown ever more dissatisfied, and for good reason," Robert Borosage, the conference organizer, said at the start. "Our hopes or illusions were shattered: escalation in Afghanistan, retreat on Guantanamo, no movement on worker rights or comprehensive immigration reform, dithering on 'don't ask, don't tell,' reverses on choice, delay on climate change and new energy."

Tuesday brought a denunciation of the Democrats from former Democratic chairman Howard Dean: "It's time for them to behave like Democrats if they want to get reelected. They have forgotten where they came from -- and they haven't been here that long."

The Republicans must be watching and salivating - and praying that the Democrats continue to alienate their own base.


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"The celebrated San Francisco liberal took the stage to greet what should have been a friendly audience: the annual gathering of progressive activists organized by the Campaign for America's Future. Instead, Pelosi was eaten by her own."

There were about a half-dozen dozen protesters from Code Pink and ADAPT.

Howard Dean described them as "the fringe" and suggested that they were "professional demonstrators" and "that's what they do but it doesn't matter" on MSNBC. He went on to say "they've been doing it for 14 years." The Chairman of the Democratic Party saying protesting doesn't matter and dismissing them as the "fringe."

Jim Webb voted against DADT Repeal and is expected to join the GOP filibuster effort. This anti-Gay position was known when Webb was campaigning and after he was elected. He's not likely to change his mind until the people of Virginia change theirs. Currently, 65% of Virginia residents are anti-Gay.

It is truly sad that it really doesn't matter who you put in office. Show me a honest and trusting politician these days. It certainly does not matter which party line you will follow and support. You can throw your support and contributions to a individual that will promise you this and that but in the end it is always the same results. A result of betrayal. Sort of like giving money to HRC. Once someone gets what they want nothing really else matters. We are just the pawns in Big Brothers chess game.

Boy you are really misinformed Andrew. Let's make some corrections shall we. First Howard Dean is not the Chairman of The Democratic Party. He is the former chair. Second it's interesting you use him as example when he was at the second GetEqual event when 6 protestors changed themselves to the WH fence and talk about how they were brave Americans. So if you are using him as an argument against protesting you have failed.
As for Webb even if 65% of VA is anti-gay which is a stretch there are still a majority in national polls and imagine the numbers aren't too different in VA that support allowing GLBT soldiers to serve openly. So FAIL again.

I should have said "Former" Chairman. You are correct, he was at the GetEQUAL event with about 30 other people. Wow.

Your "National Polls" about DADT are meaningless to a Senator from Virginia. Polls from Virginia matter.

Are you still working on providing the rationale for "demanding?" That's still an unanswered question. Oh yeah, as a GetEQUAL supporter you don't need to answer anything.

We had a march last year. There was still a belief by many that the Obama administration was still going to do the right thing by the LGBT Community. I for one was in that camp. Back then when Gaga asked "Are you listening?" we got perhaps. Now we get silence. I called, wrote, visited and was given kind words but no actions. I have decided in part thanks to the fact ENDA has not been passed and I am a victim now, that I send them a simple message that even the politicians understand. No Passage of ENDA = No Campaign donations from me. It is a simple message and may do no good but if the message is repeated long and loud enough perhaps they will understand that things like ENDA passage and DADT and DOMA repeal do matter to some. I further suggest anyone you know who is not LGBT but supportive be given the same message....

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2010 5:20 PM

I'm not so sure we want a lot more attention from Obama.

During the final days of the election he fastened his gaze on us and sabotaged same sex marriage in California by bellowing the bigots battle cry "gawd's in the mix'. They followed him in droves to the polls and defeated us.

Since then his DoJ's been fiercely defending Clinton's DADT and DOMA in the courts, using the vile language of christian bigots.

The Republicans must be watching and salivating - and praying that the Democrats continue to alienate their own base.

Who cares what the Republicans think. They're not the alternative to the Democrats, WE ARE.

Most constituents of the Democrats have been betrayed, over and over. GLBT folks. Unions. Blacks. The GI and civilian antiwar movements. The Latino/a communities. Environmentalists. Women. Native Americans. The tens of thousands of people who'll died because they betrayed health care. Immigrant and imported workers. Etc.

On the other hand, the rich got richer, the militarists got new killing fields in Pakistan and Afghanistan and BP and Haliburton got to pass Jail and go directly to Park Place.

Rick Sours | June 9, 2010 6:44 PM

From what I read or hear, conditions at the local or state levels are bad and getting worst for members of the LBGT community. Parallel to this members of the LBGT community are being told how supportive everyone is regarding equal rights.

No, he's not. Rahm Emmanual has his ears plugged full of horseshit.