Bil Browning

Why Did Obama Engage GOP Candidates?

Filed By Bil Browning | September 27, 2011 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay soldiers, GOP presidential debate, Jay Carney, President Obama, Rick Perry

On a flight on Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked why the President decided to engage Rick Perry and other GOP candidates shortly after saying he wasn't paying Obama-points-finger.jpgattention to the debates.

Carney's response?

Well, the President didn't watch debates, but there have obviously been a number of reports about them, and sections of them are replayed -- if you walk by a television that happens to be tuned to a cable channel, it's hard to escape.

I think the President was particularly struck by the reports of the question asked by a soldier, a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq, about "don't ask, don't tell" and the fact that when he was booed by audience members, not a single of the candidates for president -- people who believe they have what it takes to be the commander-in-chief -- said a thing about that, when he is there defending our country, putting his life on the line for our country.

I think the President was also struck by the -- in an earlier debate, reports that when a hypothetical question was asked about someone who didn't have health insurance was going to die and there were cheers at that prospect, no candidates had anything to say about that.

So he thinks it's a matter of values. He thinks it's a matter or who we are as Americans. So, yes, I think he felt that it was worth talking about.

For all those who keep complaining as if Obama is the Worst. President. Evah. on LGBT issues, who would you rather have in the White House - one of those GOP fools who show such cavalier attitudes about basic respect for LGBT people or a President who shares your values? (imgsrc)

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i am with you 100% as to the thought that obama represents a quantum leap forward in how the lbgt community would be treated compared to any likely r administration...but it strains credulity to believe obama isn't watching these debates.

beyond that, the question of whether to engage is a tough one in any campaign where there's an incumbent, as that president doesn't want to admit they're on equal terms with anyone not yet nominated - but in this case, i don't think obama can wait until february or march of '12 to engage, as there is a lot of 1) "santoruming" ("bachmanning"? "perrying"? you decide) and 2) legislative "hostage-taking" between now and then - and he can't get whacked again, twice, without a fight, and really hope to hold his base in '12.

this was a smart move for obama: the timing's great, and the issue reverberates a lot farther than just the lbgt community.

it's been suggested that for future debates, the audiences might be ordered to shut up to prevent further "collateral damage" to the candidates; we'll see if that works or not.

by the way: i'm pretty sure it colbert who said last night that if that soldier were to turn into the incredible hulk...his arms would stay the same size.

and now that i mention it: did y'all grasp just how much of a culture shock it was for that audience to see a great big, hard-core, bad-ass, gun-totin', combat-fightin', GAY soldier who, as far as they could tell, looked just like a straight guy?

if it wasn't for the fact that much of the crowd was stunned into silence, there would have been a lot more booing, i'm guessing.

and one final comment about the hypocrisy of some of our conservative friends: how much you wanna bet that the second ted haggard saw that soldier on that video he was thinking about calling his meth dealer and settling in for a nice evening's fantasy?

just sayin'...

We should be using a lot more of this: video of bad ass gay soldiers and suburban gay couples with land rover, dog, and topiary. In the lull between elections, we should gin up a massive PR campaign. But as usual, the community picks our leaders by their looks instead of brains. And the current crop couldn't strategize their way out of a wet paper bag.

Rachel Bellum | September 28, 2011 8:25 PM

Not to be anal retentive or anything, but it was actually Stewart on the Daily Show. I tend to think of both shows as a unit myself and often confuse the two. I only noticed because I watched the episode on Hulu after I read this comment. :)

I would rather live in a democracy where I had a choice to choose a president who represented the people and not merely corporations.

I am so angry that LGBT issues have become this wedge issue. It serves as a very useful tactic to hide the fact that corporations and lobbyists run this country for their own betterment.

Yes I support marriage equality. But I think that the fact that the richest 1% of this country control our country is far more sinister and worrying.

Obama is 'better' than Perry on wedge issues like LGGT equality or abortion rights.

But Obama works for Wall Street to the same level that Perry would.

This has been a tough issue for me, too, Steve. It's not that Obama's not doing really well on LGB rights, because he's one of the best presidents we've had with regard to those rights. But I wish I could choose a politician who both supported LGBT rights AND didn't make me suspicious that he was a corporatist - one focused on poverty relief and balancing out the disgustingly disproportionate wealth distribution in the country. We don't have that option - at least not realistically. We have either Obama or we have a delusional, dangerous, far-right member of the GOP. It's one or the other, and that's upsetting.

Adam, I am also unhappy with the choices we get - and you very succinctly explain the dilemma.

There is no better candidate on the horizon, and even if one showed up, the fear that a better candidate would split the vote and saddle us with another Republican nightmare is enough for me to be willing to "settle" on keeping Obama in office.

At the same time, yes, I ahev to acknowledge that he is the best president we have ever had on LGBT issues. Ever. THat doesn;t take away from the corporatist stance he has taken on so many other things.

As Bill Maher recently pointed out, while showing a photo of the president - "this is the face of a moderate Republican."

Obama is not better than Perry on the question if same sex marriage equality. He's much worse. Obama actively and consciously sabotaged the fight against Prop 8 in 2008 in California to pander to bigots.

Perry or Romney would do the same but haven't had the chance... yet.

No of them are worth wasting a vote on, even a meaningless vote in a banana republic like ours.

This is one of the more foolish comments I've seen about Obama and Prop 8. He did not sabotage the vote - have you found the left-wing FOX news to get all your information? Because this is horse-shit of epic proportions.

If this is true, can you explain the motivation? Can you possibly synchronize this belief with his passage of DADT repeal and hate crimes or his push to repeal DOMA?

Let me answer - no, you can't without making up some warped, twisted bullshit logic that only Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson from Conspiracy Theory) could follow.

I get the people who are upset with Obama for one reason or another, but your rantings border on paranoid delusion, Bill.

Jerame, these are political questions and the facts are abundantly clear. The polls were showing us winning until Obama consciously went on MTV and attended BBF Warrens bigot fest to announce his opposition to same sex marriage because 'gawd's in the mix'.

What I said is true. Check out the Field Polls from spring until the election. We were winning, Obama blasted same sex marriage and sabotaged the fight against Prop 8, galvanized the bigot vote, the polls flipped and we lost.

As to Obama's motives, that's simple: he wanted to win the election. Josh Dubois, the bigoted (because he, like Obama, opposes same sex marriage) pentecostal minister who ran Obama's 'religious' outreach was trying, with some success to win the bigot vote away from Republicans, who'd built it up by pandering to bigots for years. See the Pew polling that showed Obama picking up catholic and evangelical votes in 2008.

President-elect Barack Obama made a concerted effort to reach out to people of faith during the 2008 presidential campaign, and early exit polls show that this outreach may have paid off on Election Day. He picked up lots of catholic votes and fewer evangelical votes for his efforts, but he did try. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

"Barack Obama doubles support from evangelical Christians... Barack Obama has made significant inroads into the white, evangelical Christians vote, detailed exit polls have revealed... The breakdown offers Democrats encouragement that they can make lasting gains among a voting bloc that has been largely off-limits for decades. He... received an extra five per cent across the whole born-again Christian population, which is described as quarter of the electorate. " Alex Spillius 07 Nov 2008 The Telegraph UK

Obama had some success and his loudmouthed anti-GLBT opposition to same sex marriage rights was part and parcel of that. So was his long legal defense of DOMA using vile bigoted language. So was his hopping into bed with scum like Warren and McClurkin.

No 'paranoia' there, just facts.

If you have some facts maybe you'll be so kind as to present them instead of describing Obama's detractors as paranoid. Thirty million people who voted for Obama abandoned him and his party in 2010. Were those thirty million voters all 'paranoid', or did they just figure out he was a hustler who'll tell us anything for a vote and then stab us in the back?

"Barack Obama doubles support from evangelical Christians... Barack Obama has made significant inroads into the white, evangelical Christians vote, detailed exit polls have revealed...


Noone is supposed to know that PBO can pick up white evangelical votes.

In fact, Obama picked up ~5% more white evangelical votes than Kerry in 2004.

No, he didn't pick up a 50% + 1 majority of white evangelical votes. But he picked up enough to win Indiana (that won't happen again), North Carolina and white evangelical votes gave him a nice cushion in Colorado.

Getting that little bigot cushion was the whole point, but it trashed the fight against Prop 8.

I'm not sure that I agree with that.

Frankly, I don't think that Obama cared about California one way or another; he was going to win California.

Obama cared about winning Florida, though. I mean, at least he did (rarely) state his opposition to Proposition 8.

Did he state his opposition to Amendment Two though. Florida was a state that he needed to carry.

I don't know if they did it for the California vote but I do think that his attack on same sex marriage was meant to garner bigots nationally and was part and parcel of his cult outreach program that began with his bigotfest with McClurkin. It doesn't matter if he's a slick political bigot or a rancid personal bigot.

Obama whispered his opposition to Prop 8 in a letter to a breakfast meeting of some SF GLBT Democrats. By contrast his appearances at BBF Warrens bigotfest and on MTV bellowed his bigoted opposition to same sex marriage.

It 's nothing new for Democrats or Republicans to use marriage as a wedge issue for a few more votes. Clinton was winning in 1996 when he signed DOMA and boasted about it because he really is a bigot, just a bigot who later recanted as a lot of them do when exposed.

I do not understand the logic behind voting for a perfect enemy to express displeasure with an imperfect friend.

Burning your house down to prevent a fire is an interesting technique, but I've never seen it work.

I'm sorry, I was unaware that third parties and write in candidates did not exist. If you live in a handful of areas, it could be argued that any non-Democrat vote helps the GOP, if you assume that the Democrats are entitled to it rather than being required to earn it. But, outside of a few states, it doesn't really matter much. For example, I live in Minnesota, a state that has voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate since 1976. I don't think that it's going to go Republican. Or, hell, even if I lived in Oklahoma, it still wouldn't matter. Or I could live someplace like Washington or Hawaii and the damn election is decided by the time I get a chance to vote. If I lived there I could vote for Scrooge McDuck and it wouldn't mean anything.

As long as we have the electoral college it's asinine to say that anytime a left leaning person votes something other than Democrat that it's a vote for the Republican. Not that I feel I can vote for a man who did not put a stop to torture and has ordered extra-judicial assassinations of US citizens. And I don't particularly care if the people being assassinated are guilty, it's a violation of due process and a core Democratic principle. If you violate a core principle, then you don't get my vote.

As an individual I am sure Obama supports poverty relief and social justice.

He is hampered by our wildly, primitive and undemocratic electoral system - a system designed in such a way as to ensure that there can never be any real change.

Think about it - we have 2 parties - Republicans and Democrats - despite all the massive social and racial and politicial upheavals of the last 200 years. The prospect of any other party gaining any traction in elections is virtually nil.

Quite simply that is not democratic.

Thanks to the undemocratic electoral system we have reached a situation where the super-wealthy minority in this country can employ expensive lobbyists to ensure that their financial interests are looked after. And there is no consequences for them.

While Senate and Congress and the President from both parties work tirelessly on behalf of Wall Street, they continue to emphasise wedge issues like LGBT rights; abortion rights; immigration etc to show that there are differences between the parties.

Yes I'd like to be allowed to marry if I felt like it. But I'd rather live in a country where healthcare is a right as fundamental as education. I'd like to live in a country where I know that a millionaire or billionaire is paying the same percentage of his income in tax as I am.

I agree with your comments.

More than just agreeing though, I sometimes find myself worrying that my concern for LGBT rights is almost part of the problem. Obama and other Democrats can stand up and say, "look what we're doing for LGBT rights," and often, people who are otherwise politically uninvolved but who care deeply about their gay or trans friend can respond with a "good! I knew I voted for the right guy." But the party's generally positive, "progressive" record on LGBT rights does not equate to a truly progressive party.

I'm sure that part of the problem is our campaign finance laws. It takes politicians tons of money to get elected, and in order to get that money, they need to make deals or promises with corporations, which put them in bed with those corporations. And then after they get elected, all that matters is reelection. That's a bad system. But how much could we fix with campaign finance reform? Is that enough to make real change?

Obama is trying to be the president of a country that his opposition is willing to destroy to gain political power. They block him from doing something, then blame him for not doing it. And the public buys it!

He's walking on a political ledge where he has to step carefully in his actions and speeches. The results don't play well with much of his constituency, but he's got very little freedom of movement. When we indignantly ask, "What has he done?" we should also ask "Was it even possible for him to do it?"

I remember reading an interview in a German-language news magazine. The interview was during the Bush maladministration. The political expert explained that the reason the interviewer couldn't quite grasp the dynamics of American politic is because the United States is a specific kind of democracy, a plutocracy. He said, "It's actually possible to buy power."

I remember reading an interview in a German-language news magazine. The interview was during the Bush maladministration. The political expert explained that the reason the interviewer couldn't quite grasp the dynamics of American politic is because the United States is a specific kind of democracy, a plutocracy. He said, "It's actually possible to buy power."

People have been voting for this or that 'lesser' evil for generations and it's gotten them nowhere. This time the choice is between the lesser of two Republicans.

Aside from the election of 1860, which signaled the beginning of the Second American Revolution, only two other elections, in 1936 and 1968, not only came in a time of severe crisis and radicalization, but were themselves a significant factor in deepening those radicalizations.

By 1936 the New Deal was a total failure and the depression was grinding down millions of workers and small farmers. The Democrats had no answers except to (temporarily) hire workers through the CCC and other New Deal agencies, most of whom were laid off almost immediately after FDR was reelected. The Republicans had even less to offer.

During the '36 campaign FDR and many Democrats moved left of their conservative 1932 platform and made concessions to unions, fearing a continuation of the general strikes in Toledo (autoparts), San Francisco (dockworkers) and Minneapolis (teamsters) and militant national strikes in coal, textile and steel.

The outcome of the 1936 and (1940) elections had no effect on the Depression or the huge radicalization and polarization it generated.

Another crisis occurred during the 1968 elections because LBJ, the Democrats 1964 'peace' candidate, was clearly seen by millions of students and GIs as a mass murderer. The Democrats destroyed themselves at their 1968 Chicago convention and the Republicans nominated Nixon, who likewise had no real plan to end the war except to threaten nuclear attack. He finally presided over the humiliating retreat of 1975.

Since the beginning of the current Depression in 2007 25 million people are more or less permanently unemployed or underemployed, real wages have tumbled, inflation in food and energy consumables have skyrocketed and millions have lost their homes and been pushed into poverty. In addition Obama is conducting wars of aggression and genocide in half a dozen countries.

Obama and the Democrats have utterly failed to do anything meaningful to address these problems and the Republicans are openly reactionary. Instead he's pretending to move left, but, like 2008, it's just more smoke and mirrors.

What characterizes the elections of 1936, 1968 and 2012 is the utter futility of voting for yet another lesser evil or thinking that they can do anything at all to solve crises. They won't and they can't. Instead of investing any effort at all in reelecting a political hustler like Obama or any Democrat or Republican we should be building unions, independent political groups like the AFL-CIOs Labor Party and mass movements to end the war.

Bill Perdue, have you ever been happy about anything in your life? Just curious.

Jerame, I presented facts and history and all you have are personal questions?

It that your best shot?

Bill, while Jerame and I are asking nosey questions ... when's the last time you got laid?

Oh, and Good Luck "building unions" during 9.1% unemployment and a foreclosure epidemic. How much are the union dues when one is unemployed and homeless?

When millions of new college grads hit 30 without finding decent work, we may indeed have a "mass movement" -- but it will look more like Tahrir Square or the '92 L.A. Riots -- or the French Revolution -- than it will a 1969 anti-Vietnam-War march.

Now I can't have you talking smack about unions, AJ - even if you're coming in to support me. LOL

Union membership can grow in a down economy. In fact, the smart people would be seeking union jobs and paying those dues gladly right now. Why? Because union contracts and collective bargaining can save jobs in an economic downturn. Union jobs also tend to have good severance policies when workers get laid off due to business downturns.

What's more, union jobs tend to pay better, have better benefits and you're not subject to the whims of greedy corporate paymasters to the same extent.

I have never been a member of a union, but I will always be a supporter of labor and labor unions. If you like your 40 hour work week, paid vacations, sick leave, child labor laws and other critical advances in workplace safety and conditions, you should too.

All this is true, but my point is, roughly, how many people are going to pass up a non-union job -- that is, hold out for a union job -- if the non-union job is the only one they have been able to find in the last 6 months? Or the last year?

You have to admit that "union building" during a tough economy like we have now is a difficult balancing act -- at best.

My comments are still in limbo because of the links. Here they are, probably rephrased a bit from the original.

Most Democrat politicians, beginning with Obama, and including Cuomo and Brown are union busters so it's hardly surprising that their supporters would chime in.

For those not actually against union organizing and collecting dues I should point out that unions are not static and that as the radicalization spreads, as the Madison events demonstrated, they'll change. Even now, the AFL-CIO is moving to spend money on organizing instead of wasting it on anti-union hustlers and scabs like Obama, Walker, Brown, Scott and Cuomo. They angry because of all the Democrats union busting and the Democrats failure to pass the AFL-CIOs Employee Free Choice Act, even though Democrats controlled both houses until 2010.

Every depression driven radicalization began with unions run by bureaucrats in bed with the bosses and every radicalization produced drives for more organizing and more democratization. Check out the websites of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, Railroad Workers United. ILWU and the NNU (National Nurses United) to see changes in the unions and the beginnings or their response to the radicalization.

And AJ, if your question about my sex life was a come on, give yourself a break and stop right there. I have impeccable taste in men.

It definitely was not a come-on ... and I'll leave it at that.

(But I will point out: Having impeccable taste in men and getting laid are two different things.)

"It definitely was not a come-on..." Thank Thor!

I note that you, like many Democrats, especially Obama, are bitterly anti-union and pro-boss. You are, of course, dead wrong.

The real action, the real revolution begins in the unions, in the fight of the unemployed and in the beginnings of a workers party.

Madison, not the Wall Street demonstrations, point the way to ultimate victory. The empty rhetoric of an unfulfillable promise to close down Wall Street by a few student/youth activists engaging in 'Days of Rage' will be see for what it is when the first general strike breaks out.

Workers and their unions are the heavy infantry of social change and the only group capable of defending the working class as the new depression deepens.

For those not opposed to union organizing I should point out that they're not static and as the radicalization spreads, as the Madison events demonstrated, they'll change. Even now, the AFL-CIO is moving to spend money on organizing instead of wasting it on anti-union hustlers like Obama, Brown, and Cuomo.

Every depression driven radicalization began with unions run by bureaucrats in bed with the bosses and every radicalization produced drives for more organizing and more democratization. Check out the websites of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, Railroad Workers United. ILWU and the NNU (National Nurses United) to see changes in the unions and the beginnings or their response to the radicalization.




If you're wondering when I got laid as a come on to a hook up keep in mind that I have impecable taste in men.

Are you seriously calling me anti-labor? That's both demonstrably false and quite offensive. You won't find a single person who knows me, knows about me or has had more than a cursory interaction with me who thinks I'm pro-boss or anti-labor. In just the past month, I've worked on projects to help union organizers better utilize online tools, to help unions message campaigns specifically to LGBT people and I've spent several hours doing message work on a variety of other labor and union topics. Probably more, but it's been a month - I do a lot of work. You know what I haven't done in the past month? A single thing that's pro-boss or pro-corporation.

I suppose this is yet another one of your unsupported, unfounded, but totally unassailable facts too, huh?

But that's how it works, right? You make bizarre snap judgements about someone and then label them so you can throw up straw men to argue about instead of actually proving your point, disproving theirs or having a rational conversation.

That comment was misplaced in the thread. It's obviously an answer to AJ, who is anti-union, as even you admit.

You'll get your answer as soon as they clear my comments, which includ union links.

Ascribing intent and motivations to someone when you 1) don't know them and 2) have zero proof is just completely of the rails. It's not a fact. You can't state as fact what you THINK were someone's motivations, so making the word fact bold doesn't really make your comment any more factual - it just reinforces all the reasons why so many people don't like engaging with you.

But still, Prop 8 was lost for many reasons. Obama's stance on marriage was probably a contributing factor, but the millions of dollars in Mormon money and the less-than-stellar Prop 8 campaign had far more to do with that loss than Obama's stance on marriage.

Let's also be clear that Obama's official and stated position was against Prop. 8. He split the baby with his "I'm against marriage, but I'm also against Prop. 8" stance and I agree it's a really stupid position.

What I don't agree with is putting the Prop 8 blame on Obama's shoulders. Studies of Prop 8's fallout have shown far too many factors played a part. Confusion over what a Yes or No vote meant, lack of outreach in the Central Valley, complacency in the leadership of the No on 8 campaign, millions of dollars in outside money, and a lying, but infinitely more effective scare campaign hitting at people's most basic fears were far bigger contributors to that loss.

This article, by Matt Coles - who was involved in Prop 8, who works for the ACLU in CA, and who has actually looked at the studies on Prop 8 has this to say:

Conflicted voters started to change their minds when the Yes on 8 forces successfully figured out how to inject children into the debate. They did that with the “prince/princess” ad and others that followed it. In that ad, a very young girl comes home with a book in her hand and says to her mother, “Mommy, guess what I learned in school today, a prince can marry a prince, and I can marry a princess.”

Not one word in that article mentions Obama as a cause for the loss.

What's more, I work with MANY of the people who worked on the ground for Prop 8. I've spoken directly with a good number of the people who led the fight as well. Few, if any, mention Obama in their top 3 or 4 reasons why we lost. A good number say he wasn't really a factor.

So, the real empirical evidence, as well as the anecdotal evidence, tells me you're wrong. Bolding your text and putting up quotes from sites with an unknown reputation and agenda isn't how you convince me that I'm wrong.

If you weren't in here trashing Obama at every opportunity, perhaps I'd take what you have to say with fewer grains of salt. At this point, you're battling against a whole salt mine's worth of doubt, Bill.

When you can find me a real study, backed by credible sources, that proves me wrong - please send it along and I'll be more than happy to admit I'm wrong. Until then, perhaps you should find another line of attack. This one is simply bullshit.

I don't have to know Obama to know that he's a bigot who threw us under the bus repeatedly to get elected.

Sorry to bust your bubble, Jerame but your discussions with other Democrats about Obama's culpability don't count for squat. They not facts, they're deeply partisan and warped opinions of other Democrats. Of course they're going to downplay Obama's rank bigotry. No one wants to admit they support a bigot.

The second burst bubble is that people just don't believe you Democrats any more than they believe Republicans. And for good reason. Partisanship is always the enemy of truth. Thirty million of them demonstrated that in 2010 by deserting your party.

These, to repeat, are the facts:

We were winning all through the spring and the early fall. (The only question, which I raised at the time, was whether or not the pools failed to reflect the hidden 'liberal' bigot vote which turned out be larger than I expected based on Obama's support for their otherwise unpopular bigotry.)

Obama launched his bigoted attacks on same sex marriage on MTV and at a debate sponsored by his BBF Rick Warren.

There wasn't any criticism of his ugly bigotry from No on 8 and California Democrats. None, not a peep. Where were you friends then, Jerame, the ones who now claim Obama's bigotry was such a 'minor' issue? Yes on 8, on the other hand seized on Obama's bigoted comments and issued millions of flyers and door hangers and ran a huge number of ads quoting Obama opposition to same sex marriage on superstitious grounds.

Obama launched his bigoted attacks on same sex marriage on MTV and at a debate sponsored by his BBF Rick Warren.

The polls shifted.

Obama picked lots of catholic and some EuroAmerican evangelical votes in Californis and more importantly for his campaign, across the country. Obama galvanized the bigot vote.

Obama won.

We lost.

Bill - I never said anything about talking to Democrats about it. I talked to the people who ran Prop 8. The people who actually were there, working to make sure it didn't pass.

Your interpretation of polls mean nothing to me. Polls change over time. Only by studying all of the factors, not just the ones you pick and choose to prove your point, can you accurately gauge why a vote went the way it did.

Correlation does not equal causation - perhaps you don't understand this very basic tenant of scientific study, but you probably should.

Tell me, Bill - in those same polls, did you look to see if there was an upward trend that changed after Obama's Rick Warren appearance? Or are you just picking that date to look at and going forward?

Just because we were winning one day and the next poll showed we weren't is irrelevant unless you can find corroborating evidence that shows this was the inflection point.

No professional that's looked at this, who I'm sure have more experience and education actually working on understanding why people vote how they do, do NOT point at that point as the inflection point of that campaign, Bill. No matter how many times you stomp your feet and toss your curls it won't make it true.

I'm not disputing dropping poll numbers nor am I questioning the reputation of any of your sources - I'm disputing the cause of those falling poll numbers and I'm saying, emphatically, I don't think you're remotely qualified to interpret raw poll data to figure out what millions of Californians were thinking.

Like I said, show me the proof. Don't show me polls and a timeline because they're meaningless without further study to provide context.

Until then, I'm gonna side with the professionals who were on the ground, the scientists who've studied this for two+ years and hope the conspiracy theorists find another bogey man under their bed to blame soon.

These 'professionals' were all Democrats, right? Are they from No on 8, the gutless wonders who refused to criticize Obama's bigotry? Are they 'professional' Democrats and 'professional' GLBT 'advocates'. Are they from sellout groups like HRC?

I rest my case, which, to repeat is that Obama is a bigot (whose reelection you support) who used bigotry to help win in 2008 at our expense.

The larger question here is the utter failure of your 'lesser evil' bs to change things for the better.

It's so absurd that now we're offered the choice of the lesser of two Republicans - Obama vs. whoever.

Marx was right: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." The silly idea that Obama is the lesser warmonger, the lesser bigot and the lesser lap dog of Wall Street is beyond farsical, it's pure fantasy.

I guess I don't know how you define Democrat. I don't know how everyone I've spoken to votes - as LGBT people and liberal Californians, and employees of various progressive organizations and so forth - yeah, I'd imagine many probably vote Democrat.

Does that make them party loyalists? Does that mean they'll sell out their principles and lie to me because they want to protect the party? I'm sorry, but that's WAY too far into conspiracy-ville for me. It's laughable to think, when all these people were looking for someone to throw under the bus so it was not THEY who got thrown under that they wouldn't be pointing fingers at Obama.

Like I said before, I can give you that I think Obama's Rick Warren comments were a contributing factor. But I wouldn't even put it in the top 5 of the actual factors that caused the Prop 8 loss. Especially when he did speak out against Prop 8 specifically afterwards (though, I also agree not enough.)

Yes - it was political. Yes - it was problematic. But it doesn't make him a bigot. It makes him a hypocrite, maybe. It makes him a politician, certainly.

But I think, if you honestly had a remote understanding of the sea change in policy at the administrative level, you'd understand how not a bigot Obama is. No bigot would go through the systematic and fundamental changes to the way government views, treats and interacts with LGBT people.

Ask anyone doing policy work with the agencies. I can tick off a list people working in various LGBT causes who've been shocked to have governmental agencies reaching out to THEM for meetings, instead of having to beg and plead to get on the calendar 6 months down the road.

And then there's Hate Crimes and DADT repeal. I seriously cannot believe I have to say these things to people.

But, I'm sure I'm utterly wrong and the truth is that Obama secretly burns a pride flag on the patio of the Oval Office every night as he curses us all for forcing him to compromise his truly bigoted ways and utter hatred of our very existence, right? Yeah - that's it.

"I guess I don't know how you define Democrat."

A democrat is someone who supports Obama, a bigot who panders left and right for votes and who still opposes, in action, same sex marriage, repeal of DOMA and passage of ENDA. Democrats could have accomplished all that when they controlled Congress were if not for the fact that so many Democrats, beginning with Obama, are bigots.

A democrat is someone who urges a vote for candidates who endorsed the torture of Brad Manning and who retained the Clinton-Bush polices of rendition, bureaucratspeak for kidnapping, torture and murder. Or the candidates whose policies lead to genocide against civilians and the wastage of the lives of GIs in wars of aggression in half a dozen countries. A Democrat is someone who supports the policies of candidates who are unrepentant lap dogs of Wall Street.

I'm sure you're right that Obama is desperately reaching out for votes - he's in deep trouble because he's sold out everyone but Goldman Sachs and BP. But that's not a sea change, it's SOP at election time and it fools fewer and fewer people.

I have no doubt that you believe Democrat party and movement bureaucrats like the ones in HRC and EQCA when they say Obama didn't sabotage same sex marriage. I don't believe them based on their long record of failure and betrayal.

Unlike you and your fellow Democrats I don't think a few temporary personnel replacements and a few White House policy announcements of good intent mean squat when compared to the years of wars, union busting and bigotry by Democrats and Republicans. Those parties are virtually indistinguishable when it comes to their actions, not their lies. Maybe you should try to explain your 'sea change' theories to the thirty million conspiracy theorists and voters who deserted you, Obama and your party from 2008 to 2010.

The Hate Crimes bill is, as I said, a minor victory. It has yet to be used in a case involving anti-LGBT violence. The end of DADT has more to do with the need for cannon fodder than anything else. Neither will count much with working class GLBT voters who want DOMA repealed and ENDA passed and who want an end to Obama's attacks on unions and our standard of living.

In 2012 many of them will refuse to vote for an antiunion scab like Obama or his Republican cousin. Like me and others we'll oppose the bigotry, wars and union busting of whichever hustler get elected. We aren't impressed by your sea change because we know it’s an election and both candidates are going to be lying and giving movement bureaucrats a reach around. That's the same as kissing babies on the head and everyone but you seems to know it.

You seem to be so blinded by Obama you can't see the forest for the trees. First after Obama got elected one of the major GLBT posted a list of things he could do for GLBT rights. They took it down after about a year because it was clear he was not going to accomplish even half of them. As Bil pointed out the Hate Crime law was passed in 2009. How many times has it been used to prosecute GLBT hate crimes? How many times has it been used period. The answer is they just got their first prosecution this week and it was not GLBT related.
As for DADT the administration with the backing of Winnie Stachelberg and the Center for American Progress wanted to kick it to the following year which would have failed. Luckily Congress took the bull by the horns and did not let it happen. Even when he did get behind it his administration had the non-discrimination language stripped from the bill.
And as for the issue with Prop 8. You don't think the opposition putting out flyers etc. touting that the man who is the Democratic candidate presidential was against marriage equality had little effect? Especially in the African American community. I am sorry but I think it had a much bigger influence than you are willing to concede.
President Obama has made some good steps for GLBT Americans but he has also made some horrible missteps. He would not lose many votes by coming out in support of marriage equality and in fact might energize his liberal base by doing so yet he chooses not to. I am ultimately on the fence right now on voting for him. I would never vote Republican but I have voted third party in other races.

I have no doubt that you question the reputation of the Pew Report, the California Field Poll and the UK's Guardian. After all, they're not run by Democrats.

PREDICTION: Obama will endorse same-sex marriage the morning after he wins the last major election of his life.

It's all politics.

Prediction that he will come out for marriage equality a few months after losing the 2012 election. He has done nothing to energize the base and many who voted for him in 2008 are less likely to vote for him or vote at all.

Aubrey Haltom | September 29, 2011 9:50 AM

@ B.P.,Jerame,

I'm probably somewhere in between your positions. I will probably vote Obama, but I'm concerned that Perdue is right in some respects.

e.g., if I keep supporting a candidate willing to go as far right as he can to garner this elusive independent vote, then what will happen if this candidate wins? Wouldn't that win support his rightward-leaning inclinations?

And if this candidate loses? Well, my sceptical self thinks Dems will only take that as proof they didn't go far-right enough.

Re: Obama's history - again, I'm worried that supporting this administration will only signal backing for all the wrong reasons. Obama has disappointed me in a number of ways, not only lbgt issues.

Guantanamo to immigration (more immigrants expelled in Obama's admin than in Bush's 8 years), Wall Street running the Treasurey Dept (so Wall Street biggies make bundles, while unemployment runs high), oh god, the list can go on and on...

And if we focus on lgbt matters - what a mess! From opposing marriage equality (because for Obama, god is against marriage equality), to Warren' inaugural prayer, to defending DOMA and DADT - trotting out Jarrett to nat'l media to explain why the Admin HAD to defend DADT and DOMA, to suddenly announcing the WH wouldn't defend DOMA in court (btw - I think Alex Blaze had an excellent post re: this change. When did DOMA suddenly become unconstitutional? and why?). To trying to maintain DADT's constitutionality (request for moot status on ruling).

Again, the list could go on and on.

What does Obama really think? Which words of his do we believe, and which are only political? Does it even matter?

So I'm torn. Obama's pitch to Dem voters seems to be 'if you think I'm bad, wait til the Reps get in here...'. Which might be accurate in some ways, but isn't the greatest incentive to vote for him (imo).

Since 1968 the Dems have only won 4 out of 11 presidential elections. 3 of those 4 wins came as a result of disastrous Rep presidencies and/or nat'l situations.

It's always been my impression that the Republicans have been able to offer a candidate who was fairly clear about what they believed. There was a definite set of convictions - you knew what you were going to get with most of the Rep presidential candidates.

Unfortunately, Dems seem to be scared of their own shadow. Afraid of their own principles, and not willing to commit to them.

How can Obama ask the country to vote for him and his agenda, if he doesn't even believe in his agenda?

Let me make my position on Obama vis-a-vis Prop 8 clear.

No, he didn't help in the Prop 8 campaign. Hell, he probably did do some damage to it because he was thinking about his own electoral prospects.

I don't exactly fault him for that; after all, he is a politician.

In part, my issue is the number of LGBT's that also prioritized Obama's election over the defeat of Proposition 8...maybe it was the early polls that showed Prop 8 going down to defeat...bnut the campaign should have never been approached with the expectation that Obama would be an asset.

It's at that point that LGBT's (esp. in California) are responsible.