Michael Hamar

Obama, Congressional Democrats and The Pink Beltway

Filed By Michael Hamar | July 06, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, broken campaign promises, Congressional Democrats, DADT repeal, DOMA, ENDA, Jim Webb

There were two great posts up on Pam's House Blend - one by Pam Spaulding and the other by Autumn Sandeen, both of whom I got to know at the December 2008 LGBT Blogger Summit. Neither post holds its punches and combined they are an indictment of both Barack Obama and the current Democrat leadership, as well as "Gay Inc." and our purported leaders within the so-called pink beltway.

Pam correctly describes Gay Inc.'s view of the "accomplishments" of the Obama administration an alternate universe when contrasted with reality. Indeed, Gay Inc. has become nearly as delusional as the Christo-fascist base of the Republican Party. How anyone who isn't on mind altering drugs can talk about "accomplishments" in the plural when the only legislation enacted since 2008 is the Hate Crimes Bill, defies belief. Oh, yes, there have been changes in executive branch policies, but these are as fleeting as the moods and holder of the Presidency. These are not accomplishments. Especially, since they do nothing for LGBT Americans all across the USA.

Those within Gay Inc., who would praise the do-nothing Obama administration seem to only be concerned about making it look like they are doing something for those they claim to represent when, truth be told, they are not. The rest of us have gained nothing from invites for cocktails at the White House and other photo ops for Obama or Joe Solmonese being named among Washington's best dressed.

Besides turning off all contributions to Democrats, the LGBT community needs to turn off all contributions to Gay Inc., until they deliver true accomplishments. First some highlights from Pam's post:

But if you look at what is being circulated and tabulated inside the Beltway as "accomplishments," it's pretty obvious there is some grasping at straws to justify the foot-dragging by this administration regarding the big ticket items the community asked for action on -- ENDA, DADT, UAFA, DOMA, etc. These have languished despite speech after tired speech by the President about supporting action, but decidedly less fierce follow through -- like LBJ-style arm-twisting on the Hill. Actions have spoken louder than words.

Is there a political problem in transparency regarding what was asked of this administration and what has been accomplished? These administrative changes do not go unnoticed. They are political maneuvers that only give you, the readers, voters and donors, additional reasons not to fully trust the motives of the organizations supposedly holding our fierce advocate's feet to the fire. Any good steward of the original list, since it was so carefully crafted, would indeed want to check off those boxes and show people the work left to be done.

It's called goal-setting, marking milestones and acknowledging where matters fall short, people.

Autumn is equally peeved at the non-action by our "fierce advocate" and the gutless wonders within the Congressional Democrats - a group that includes my spineless Senator Jim Webb who lacks the courage to support DADT repeal even when polls show that 56% of Republicans support repeal. Give me a freaking break, Mr. Webb. Here are a few of Autumn's comments:

Voting a record number of Democrats in the House and Senate in 2006 and 2008, and voting in a Democratic President who described himself to us as a "fierce advocate" for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has brought us to this reality; contributing all those gAyTM campaign dollars has bought us this reality: Democrats now appear not to be promising anything on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this congress, and that passage of E may take as many as five years to accomplish.

I've got a dumb question here: Why do we, as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, keep doing the same thing over and over again and hope for different results?

It will be interesting to see how our national LGBT civil rights organizations spin this bit of "reality" from Congresswoman Speier. My guess is that they'll probably ask us for more money, just like the politicians will -- our LGBT civil rights organizations will likely just say though that they need the money for lobbying. Again, expecting we in the LGBT community to do the same thing over and over again while hoping we won't notice that we're not getting any different results.

Again, my advice to the LGBT community? No more money for Democrats and Gay Inc. and possibly no votes for Democrats in November unless some promises start being kept. Enough with the meaningless - and disingenuous - speeches.

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This issue, at least from my novice point of view, seems to always go back to the "Lesser of Two Evils" theory. It's not that we're always voting the MOST LGBT friendly politician into office on election day, just the better of the two. That usually ends up being the Democrat, and quite often one cut of the exact same cloth that we're seeing now: reaching for their pink money handouts while "promising they'll fight for us." The crossed fingers behind their backs say, "...eventually."

We failed to vote for pro-LGBT candidates in the Dem presidential primaries. Had we done so, both candidates would have had to assiduously court us and we could have been deal makers/breakers.

But no.

We by and large foted for "God is in the Mix" with accompaning music by Donnie McLurkin and an invocation by Rick Warren.

Obama was never pro-gay, we merely wanted him to be...

None of Pam Spalding's complaining about Obama changes the reality in the US Senate. We have 45 Anti-Gay US Senators. This means we can't pass anything LGBT-related.

What advice do they offer to change that reality? None. They believe that Obama is some kind of "Tinkerbell" that can wave a magic wand or spread some pixie dust. It is childish.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 11:47 AM

Where were you during the bush administration? Bush flexed muscle. Bush demonized the other side. Bush made republicans afraid to think for themselves on issues he cared about. Post-Bush, that whole what can the president do argument cannot fly. He could not even control his people during the healthcare debate. He strikes me as a weakling who could be put in traction after a fist fight and would still declare it a victory since his attacker did not also steal his car and rape his wife. Being Trans, I could never back the GOP, but I can at least see the appeal of being a part of a political party that can accomplish their goals even when in the minority. Maybe that is what helps GOProud members sleep at night.

"He could not even control his people during the healthcare debate."

Ahhhhh, they're not "his people." What do you think Obama is Moses?

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 12:44 PM

So, would you call the republicans in the early 2000's Bush's people? They sure as hell acted like it. Even now the RNC tells Republicans how to vote and what will happen if they vote against the party's platform. Obama's lack of spine and conviction is not just a LGBT thing. He is the head of the democratic party right now and he looks more like a parent in the mall crying while his kids scream and cuss him out in the mall

Being Anti-Gay is morality based. Bush couldn't tell the few Republicans that supported a woman's right to choose, not to. Political Party solidarity doesn't apply to moral beliefs.

Bart Stupak (along with a dozen other members of Congress) proved that during the Healthcare debacle. They won, not Obama. Obama had to modify (and create a separate deal) to accommodate their "moral objections" to insurance companies paying for abortions.

If Presidents could fire members of Congress (in their own Parties), maybe that would change things. But, it doesn't work that way.

This is such a laughable position to take. The Democrats don't have to serve LGBT political interests to get LGBT votes. All they have to do is be indifferent. The hatred on the right will keep every LGBT person (except the lunatic fringe cabin republicans) from voting for them.

I know I'd rather vote and pay to keep someone indifferent to me in office, rather then allow someone who hates me in.

It's pretty sad that the choices are between indifference and hate. Of course, the Democrat can be indifferent precisely because they believe that they will get our votes no matter what they do or don't do.

If we keep supporting them in exchange for nothing other than indifference (some might even call it disgusied hate), why should they ever actually deliver on promises to LGBT Americans?

Yes, there is real risk in not voting and allowing in a Republican. Yet on the other hand, by simply allowing ourselves to continue to be played for suckers, we help insure that the Democrats will continue to do nothing of substance.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 2:16 PM

Yeah, black people have dealt with this dilema for quite some time. Dems paid lip service but did nothing of value since republicans could be counted on to be the biggest reason to vote for dems if you were a minority. You did not see dems actively courting black people until black people started voting against gays based on religion.

I have no idea how we can turn the tide on this trend.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 3:21 PM

This has to be one of the most ignorant and racist comments that I have ever seen at Bilerico.

"You did not see dems actively courting black people until black people started voting against gays based on religion."

Exactly what do you think was one of the reasons that Harry Truman signed EO 9981 desegregating the military?

There was a political payoff in it for him. And it DID pay off. (The black vote in New Jersey, Illinois, and California gave Truman the 1948 election).

The Democrats realized the potential of the black vote as early as the election of 1912. And when Woodrow Wilson segregated the civil service, all of a sudden he went from a landslide in 1912 to being ~4,000 Californian votes away from losing the 1916 election and the Democrats didn't occupy the White House again until 1932.

Now...you are correct about the lip service that the Dems have by and large played to "black issues" since LBJ.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 4:10 PM

Thanks for the history lesson, does not change the fact that black churches are telling black people to vote against gay issues and for the first time in a long time democrats have to pay more than lipservice to retain their votes. The same thing would be happening to hispanics were the right not so evil towards them all of the time.

Oh and I am black. Thanks for crying racisim and doing your part to keep that whole victimhood loving stereotype alive and well.

I can't even see how that last post was even insulting to black people. I was insulting the dems.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 4:16 PM

"and for the first time in a long time democrats have to pay more than lipservice to retain their votes."

And blacks are going to vote Republican?


And blacks overwhelmingly elect pro-gay Democrats.

No, I think that Democrats still pay lip service to black voters...pretty much for the same reason they pay lip service to GLBT voters.

And actually, my statement still stands no matter what color/ethnicity you are.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 4:29 PM

Of course they are not going to vote republican, they are just going to vote for democrats and oppose gays in any way that they can on a political or community level.

Prop 8 should have taught you that.

Maybe Georgia is different than the rest of the country but it where I have been for most of my life and I have been to political rallys where democrats were speaking to black people and equality is never mentioned and with a political party willing to bend before the first shot is fired, that does not fare well for us.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 6:43 PM

Yet still that didnot stop a majority black city from voting for a gay city council president (Detroit).

And even though the mayoral campaign in Houston got highly homophobic, that did not motivate an upsurge in black voters that would have been needed so that Annise Parker did not win.

And didn't they just elect a black lesbian to the Georgia State House...speaking of Georgia?

And I don't know who this "us" is that you're talking about, the fact that you're still hammering away the Prop 8 bullshit and you've conveniently ignored all of the anti-marriage equality votes where blacks polled at the same (if not slightly less anti-gay) than whites in those respective states, not to mention Maine...and the fact that you're talking to me in such a snide and condescending way would tell me that you aren't black at all.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 6:55 PM

And besides, Karavision, blacks, like every other American demographic, are increasingly becoming [non-religious http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/24/blacks-mirroring-larger-u_n_587854.html].

I like your fairness Kevin and we have exchanged some ideas in the past - but I think you need to be honest. Blacks, in general are much less likely to support LGBT equality. Religion is the culprit.

"Public opinion on this issue also varies according to age, sex, race and education. Most young people (ages 18-29) favor same-sex marriage (58%), while majorities in older age groups oppose it. Women are more likely than men to support same-sex marriage (43% vs. 34%), and whites and Hispanics are more supportive than blacks (39%, 45% and 26% respectively). Among those in the survey with a college education, a 49% plurality favors same-sex marriage, while half or more of those with less education oppose it."

From Pew Research. Link: http://people-press.org/report/553/same-sex-marriage

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 7:36 PM

And you should know Andrew that my statements are very precise.

Consider what you are responding to in this instance.

I'm saying that blacks, just like every other American demographic, are becoming less religious over a period of time. You may want to read the link that I posted.

Of course, I know that a high percentage of black Americans are religious and (as that article indicates) there remains a stigma in the black community if you are atheist or agnostic.

And speaking as someone who a bit of both, I'd say that there is far more of a stigma in the black community if you are atheist/agnostic than if you are gay, in all honesty.

And...what, do you think that all blacks are simply old bigots? Again, young blacks are pretty much the same as their counterparts in other ethnicities.

This polling of the black community without controls for age, religious denomination (some denominations are more pro-equality than others) education, etc...are simply sickening, giving people like you a one dimensional view of the black community.

For example, black atheists and agnostics have existed since slave times and for a very good reason.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 7:31 PM

"Us" as in LGBT people.

Also, you are really grasping at straws. The shit that went down in Prop 8 was bullshit but not when it comes to the facts.

Everytime that I mentioned black people, I also mentioned religion. The two go hand in hand at the moment. Everyone is welcome to hope for the future to be better than it is now but you are really reaching.

Saying that Black people are pro-gay as a whole due to Lesbian being elected over a republican would be like America nixing Afimative Action the day after the black Merrill Lynch CEO was hired and claiming that it was now no longer needed.

I don't like the facts but accepting them does not make me any less of a Black person.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 7:50 PM

Where did I ever say that black people are pro-gay?

Hell, WHITE people aren't pro-gay.

I did say that black people elect a lot of pro-gay politicians and even gay politicians (the black NY State Senators turned out to be even more pro-gay than we thought they were?).

And I stand by that statement.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 7:37 PM

By the way, feel free to correct me if you wish but did those same white people in Ca. and Maine that were compared to Black people also vote overwhelmingly democratic in all other instances?

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 7:47 PM

Uh, Maine was a very solid Obama state that is also 98% white.

And I worked with the No On 1 campaign in Maine and, yes, it's very white. Saw it with my own two eyes (the black female mayor of Portland, however, is pro-equality, of course).

As far as California was concerned, Obama won California by 24 percentage points I believe...an awful lot of white people voted for Obama and voted for Prop 8 as well.

See again, I have to doubt that you're black because all you seem to be able to talk about is California.

Go look at the same sex marriage vote in Virginia in 2006 or that fact that 56% of the Latino vote in Ohio voted against the marriage amendment or that 54% of Wayne County Michigan (where Detroit is) voted for the anti-gay amendment (as opposed to over 60% of some very white counties in Michigan).

And Charles Pugh won that city council Presidency in Detroit with the support of black churches.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 8:05 PM

Here's the link so y'all don't hurt yourselves


And I hate that this discussion was derailed in this way.

Karavision Karavision | July 6, 2010 8:09 PM

Good for Detroit. They should really be proud of themselves, really. Not being sarcastic.

I am going to stop here, though. I am obviously not Black since I do not see things as you do. We all know that there is only one way to see things as a Black person.

If I was really black I would know this.

Have fun with that Hive mind.

Chitown Kev | July 6, 2010 8:14 PM

Jeez, anyone that thinks that I'm one of the "hive minds" has really got to be crazy.

I actually didn't vote for Democrats in 1996 or 2000, for example, I have been disaffected from the Democrats for a long time.

I held my nose and voted for Kerry and I didn't hold my nose and voted for Obama.

Hell, Obama has done little or nothing in the way of addressing a lot of "black issues" and I'm pretty pissed about that.

But then again, I'm just a hive mind?

Folks, let's keep it civil with one another.

The truth is that Obama seems to have done little for many - LGBT's blacks, Hispanics, etc., etc. He's proven that he is no leader and that he has the spine of a jelly fish.


I am open to all reasonable suggestions.