( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Today the Obama administration will attempt to make amends to the GLBT community by granting Federal Benefits to the partners of Federal Employees who are involved in same sex relationships. This, as far as it goes, is a good thing. The problem is it is a case of too little, too late. The mounting fervor in the GLBT community over what is, rightly, perceived as a lack of priority on this communities issues has been a bit of a wake up call for the Obama Administration. The problem is they are just rolling over and hitting the snooze button, instead of waking up.
“Originally posted at Squarestate.net”
The Dog has some sympathy for the President here; he has critical issues ranging from the economy to the wars to Iran. The problem is we were told by then candidate Obama that he would be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. This makes his massive and obvious failure on GLBT issues across the board so much more galling to those in the community and their supporters.
It is strange to the Dog that a candidate who was capable of running such a sterling campaign should be so bad at keeping his coalition happy once the goal was attainted. Still if there were a group the Dog would have predicted the President would be most likely to ignore on the premise they have no where else to go (and lets face it we really do not have another party or group who will do better than this president right now) the GLBT community is the one.
Let’s take a look at his record on this; early in the campaign President Obama held a rally with “ex”-gay Rev. Donnie McClurkin, even though it caused an uproar. There was his talking point about not supporting gay marriage. There was his silence on Prop 8. There was his having Rick Warren at this Inauguration, against the strong protests of the GLBT community. He has not stopped the enforcement of DADT, even though it is within his power as Commander and Chief.
Now we can argue if these were the things he needed to do to get elected or not, but it is besides the Dog’s point. It does not matter what the President’s view on these issues are in his heart of the hearts, what is clear is that in each case he is willing to throw the GLBT community under the bus if it means he gains grounds with other groups he needs. It is politically pragmatic in the short term, but in the long term it has lead to this place. The GLBT community has become the stand in for all the groups who are not getting what they expected out of this administration. Even those of us who expected to be disappointed (it is in the nature of politicians that they must disappoint you from time to time) are starting to have a problem with the number of places, which we view as critical, the president either seems to be going to the wrong way or putting too low a priority on.
During the campaign the Presidents opponents tried to make an issue of the Change meme. It fell flat because the nation was ready for change and by putting that front and center it brought a lot of groups together to work for change. The problem is once you unleash this meme groups who need change whether it is health care or civil rights are going to expect you to come through on it. They have already been waiting as fast as they could and they will not take a low priority.
The wake up call here is the fact the GLBT community is kind of a poster child on the left for issues which our Democrats have been less than aggressive about. We are unlike the Republicans who vilify the citizens with minority sexual orientation, believe all citizens should have equal civil rights. It is core to the nature of our Party. With the upcoming fundraiser by openly gay members of Congress starting to come apart at the seems (the HRC is pulling out as are other high profile GLBT folks) it has become clear the Obama Administration needs to do something.
That something turns out to be this new memo extending rights to the partners of Federal employees. It is something the Administration should have done on day one along with the closing of Guantanamo. The fact they did not suggests the grubby hands of Chief of Staff Emmanuel. This is just the kind of thing he would want to keep in his pocket. It is also very like him to expect it would be enough to quell the raising tide of discontent. He is wrong on this, the GLBT community has pretty much had enough of being second class citizens, has had enough of waiting for equality and is poised to press the issue.
So we come to the point where the President hits the snooze button and hopes to buy a few more weeks (or months) of forbearance form the GLBT community .The Dog thinks it would be a mistake to allow him to have this. To allow the President the choice of ignoring any section of his coalition is to make sure he will only be the most centrist of Presidents. While this may have been the change he envisioned and campaigned on, it is not the change most of his most ardent supporters envisioned and worked to put him in the White House to achieve.
This disconnect is frustrating, but it is also an opportunity. While President Obama’s inclinations may be to govern from the center, we need to remind him we have given him a mandate to govern from the center-left and we expect him to use that mandate. In the end there is no where else for us to go, this is a fact. This fact, however does not mean we have to be meek or quite about it. We will achieve our goals only through Federal action and to do that requires a President. We have a President, it is time to put the pressure on him to be the inspirational figure he held out to us during the campaign.
The floor is yours.