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The Rights that were Left.
December 7, 2011 11:03 AM   Subscribe

On December 6th, 2011, International Human Rights Day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in front of the United Nations proclaiming freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (transcript included).

"Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."
posted by seanmpuckett (71 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
OB Rick Perry Statement
posted by tittergrrl at 11:10 AM on December 7, 2011


Rick Perry can bite my ass.
posted by blucevalo at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2011 [36 favorites]


I take it she is not planning on running for office again.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2011


That statement from Rick Perry is vile.
posted by asnider at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2011 [31 favorites]


"I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it."

First take: Hillary Clinton/Obama, you make me proud sometimes. This is something that the imaginary McCain/Palin presidency would never have done.

Second take: $3 million? I mean, it's nice that you're doing it. But $3 million?
posted by jaduncan at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


oh hey lookit rick perry being gross, again
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


“I have proposed a foreign aid budget that starts at zero. From that zero baseline, we will consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money."

Foreign aid starting at zero? Wow. He actually makes Bush look internationalist.

Third take: Please, $DEITY and/or $FATES, do not let us have a Perry presidency.
posted by jaduncan at 11:14 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll believe it when you start passing laws that treat LGBT folks as humans with the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Talk is pretty, and cheep.
posted by strixus at 11:15 AM on December 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


That statement from Rick Perry is vile.

It really is. I wonder how people have room for so much hate sometimes.
posted by odinsdream at 11:15 AM on December 7, 2011


Foam Pants: "I take it she is not planning on running for office again."

Maybe not but this was Obama's policy decision and he is running.
posted by octothorpe at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


From Rick Perry:

Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights.

American values:

In 1977, 56% of Americans said homosexuals should have equal rights ine mployment. By 1992, that number had risen to 74%.

In a 1993 U.S. News and World Report poll of 1,000 registered voters, 53% said they knew someone who is gay of these, 73% supported equal rights for gays. 46% said they do not know someone who Is gay or lesbian; of these, 55% supported the same rights.

Public support for gay marriage has increased about 1% annually over the last two decades.

Statisticians predict a majority of Americans will support gay marriage by 2012.

Rick Perry: Not only out of touch with American values, but badly out of touch with American values.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2011 [41 favorites]


i think the Perry Oops meme is pretty funny
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2011


As much as I think Hillary is too divisive a figure to have beaten McCain ... and as much as I disdain the "landing under sniper fire" bullshit, in retrospect, I think she'd have cut a better presidential figure than Obama, specifically on the seemingly leaderless Congress.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rick Perry: Not only out of touch with American values, but badly out of touch with American values.*

*NB: This may not apply if American==Republican primary voters.
posted by jaduncan at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2011


I'll believe it when you start passing laws that treat LGBT folks as humans with the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Talk is pretty, and cheep.

The executive branch doesn't pass the laws.
posted by blucevalo at 11:22 AM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Neither Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton specified how to give the initiative teeth. Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council’s deputy spokeswoman, said the administration was “not cutting or tying” foreign aid to changes in other nation’s practices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:22 AM on December 7, 2011


...in retrospect, I think she'd have cut a better presidential figure than Obama, specifically on the seemingly leaderless Congress.

I agree, but I have to wonder if she's genuinely freer in her position to say these things than Obama is. (Not to excuse Obama.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2011


I wonder how people have room for so much hate sometimes.

He's got all that space that's not being taken up by brains or simple human decency.
posted by elizardbits at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


Fuck Rick Perry. If someone were to claim that their religion requires the death of the callously ignorant, would he volunteer for the gallows?
posted by notsnot at 11:25 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Talk is pretty, and cheep.

Especially as an election nears...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


As much as I think Hillary is too divisive a figure to have beaten McCain ... I think she'd have cut a better presidential figure than Obama

You believe a person you don't think capable of being elected would be a more effective President? Do you ever think about these things or do you just write them down?

Anyway, cheers to Secretary Clinton and the POTUS.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:26 AM on December 7, 2011


I'll believe it when you start passing laws that treat LGBT folks as humans with the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Talk is pretty, and cheep.

Obama signing the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Those are some smiley politicians!

Obama signs bill that extends hate crime to include violence against LGBT individuals. Those are some clappy politicians!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:26 AM on December 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah but Obama has pretty clearly come out against gay marriage... So it's a weird kind of paradox.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:28 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the Austin Lounge Lizards (YouTube), as usual, strike the perfect note with regards to Rick Perry's idiotic comments.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:30 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah but Obama has pretty clearly come out against gay marriage... So it's a weird kind of paradox.

Obama on gay marriage, 10/4/11:

Obama said that there is "no doubt" he is seeing friends, families and children of gay couples "thriving" and that his observations affect his posture toward the issue.

...

Asked on Monday if his stance on gay marriage could be expected to change ahead of the 2012 election, Obama said, "I'm still working on it."


I'd rather his position had evolved, rather than still be evolving, but, between the two, I expect Obama will do more for gay people than Perry.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:32 AM on December 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


The response in Hilary's speech to men like Rick Perry is beautiful and worth quoting

"The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.
"
posted by Blasdelb at 11:43 AM on December 7, 2011 [39 favorites]


You believe a person you don't think capable of being elected would be a more effective President? Do you ever think about these things or do you just write them down?

I don't necessarily agree with CPB on Hillary's electability, but: yeah, I can think of any number of people who'd be very good presidents who aren't electable. In fact, having to be "electable" in the contemporary sense is one of the criteria that eliminates a lot of really interesting potential candidates.
posted by penduluum at 11:45 AM on December 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is Perry correct that Gay rights shall influence foreign aid decisions? If so, that's awesome, but Clinton says nothing about foreign aid.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:46 AM on December 7, 2011


There is still a lot that could be better, of course, but I am deeply grateful for Clinton both acknowledging that fact, and for raising awareness of this issue at this level. There is still a long way to go, but every journey has to start somewhere, and I think this piece serves as an excellent starting point for a new leg on this particular journey. This initiative is, as Clinton says, on the right side of history.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.
posted by harujion at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though it may be seem like an easy snipe, I have to say that U.S. pronouncements on human rights will echo further after Guantanamo has been shut down.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also: yay for Sec. of State Clinton, and yay for this awesome statement. Perry's line about "from that zero baseline, we will consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests" is completely insane on its face.
posted by penduluum at 11:49 AM on December 7, 2011


You believe a person you don't think capable of being elected would be a more effective President?

I don't see AT ALL how you can't understand this. I can think of many, many people that couldn't reasonably have a chance of being elected, that could, in theory, be more effective.

Lots of people have skeletons in their closet that make them unpalatable to wide swaths of the populace, yet they still have the skills to govern. You know, people that can actually do the job. Hillary is only one example.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:05 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


1) Fuck Rick Perry.

2) I'd be a lot happier about the US celebrating Human Rights Day if my government weren't simultaniously pushing really hard against human rights (indefinite detention without trials anyone? Torture? You know, tiny stuff that only the professional left cares about).

3) Also, the fact that Obama is still opposed to gay marriage and allowed his justice department to defend DOMA with arguments comparing gay people to pedophiles makes a pretty revolting backdrop for all the self congratulatory talk.

4) Still, very nice speech.
posted by sotonohito at 12:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


"As much as I think Hillary is too divisive a figure to have beaten McCain ... and as much as I disdain the "landing under sniper fire" bullshit, in retrospect, I think she'd have cut a better presidential figure than Obama, specifically on the seemingly leaderless Congress."

Yeah, despite my reservations about her being a hawk on Iraq and a couple other things, I still kinda hope she'll be president come 2016.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's only talk, but this was a thorough, comprehensive argument for universal equality. I didn't notice one wrong note. It's an awfully thoughtful message broadcast from an awfully loud position.

At the same time, the message is seriously undercut by Obama's own failure to endorse universal equality in the US. When your administration supports equality in some cases and opposes it in others, you can't say that you think being LGBT is "Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority." If you really thought that, gay rights wouldn't be a tough call. The best you can honestly endorse is the lesser equality of second-class citizens.

Step up, Obama. I know you read Metafilter. Make us proud.
posted by Honorable John at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'll believe it when you start passing laws that treat LGBT folks as humans with the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Talk is pretty, and cheep.

By that measure, Obama has amassed a pretty good record with LGBT issues, especially if you focus on the legislative, executive, and judicial actions that his administration has taken, and ignore backwards and self-contradictory rhetoric about "evolving positions" and such.

Just off the top of my head: passing DADT and the Hate Crimes Bill, having his DOJ drop the defense of DOMA in the courts, as well as using the administration's executive authority to end the HIV/AIDs travel ban, force hospitals to give visitation rights if they want to receive Medicare patients, extending federal benefits to same-sex partners, and eliminated discrimination in housing (via HUD) and employment opportunity within the federal government (via the OPM.)

There is still a lot left on the table (ENDA, a true repeal of DOMA), and a lot of unpopular execution and implementation with regards to some of the stuff that did happen (defending DOMA initially with some pretty egregious legal language, defending DADT even after the Repeal was already passed, the study period for the Pentagon), but by the end of his first term the LGBT community will have made up a lot of progress that had been stalled under Bush. He easily takes the title of most gay-friendly president, as low a bar as that is.
posted by Weebot at 12:48 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Foreign aid starting at zero? Wow. He actually makes Bush look internationalist.

True dat, jaduncan. Here's item #652 that gripes me about Republican candidates: they'll say literally anything to appeal to their idiot constituents. Perry makes this ridiculous, infantile, kneejerk claim about what he'd do as POTUS; no one over the mental age of 15 believes that's even remotely feasible for the POTUS (nor within his scope of powers, for that matter). Gingrich is claiming to be a Washington outsider - a man who clearly could navigate DC's sewers by sense of touch alone. And, of course, Bachman-Palin-Overdrive will say anything, and mean it, because the two of them are nearly devoid of factual insight.

Honestly, what keeps Republicans with a brain stem Republican in these days? Where are the Republicans they look up to? Nonracist, non-lowest-denominator-bating politicians that are educated on current world events just don't seem to be out there in the "(R)" field.

I'm not even a Democrat; I'd just prefer barely-competent, semi-corrupt, own-foot-shooting idiots in power to openly evil, divisive, hatemongering idiots.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah it's like 3am and the bar is closing and the only people left are the ones that don't even look good through beer goggles but you have to pick one because you can't go home alone. So you take the ugly one who can tell a few jokes because at least you can laugh about it in the morning. Ergo: Romney.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2011


Lots of people have skeletons in their closet that make them unpalatable to wide swaths of the populace, yet they still have the skills to govern

This is true, yet few, if any, of those people govern as President. It's true, too, that there are lots of smart, good people who might try to do smart, good things, who couldn't get elected. Still, it doesn't seem to stretch credulity too much to suggest that for better or worse—worse, probably—a candidate who can't navigate the demands of an Presidential campaign or court the voters isn't likely to excel at the cajolery and the negotiations necessary to get Congress to work with their White House. (Exhibit A, Gerald Ford, is submitted.)

In the case of Clinton, your assertion is that she was too unpopular or too incompetent to beat the old man and his dingy sidekick, but that she would've made a fine President—or, as you wrote, "she'd have cut a better presidential figure." The former seems unlikely, if your assessment of Clinton is accurate. I don't even know what you mean by the latter—looked better in the Presidential pantsuit?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2011


It seems to take a lot these days to get me to feel patriotic, at least while I'm living in this country and see its problems all around me, but its moments like this when our Secretary of State says things like,

"And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people."
posted by Blasdelb at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


4) Still, very nice speech.

But, no teeth, and therefore entirely inconsequential — and it's somewhat hypocritical, to boot, for this lecture to be given, given the history of the administration's actions and inactions on GLBT rights here in the United States.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


And such small portions!
posted by octobersurprise at 1:18 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think their actions have been extraordinary so far. More needs to be done, sure, but I couldn't imagine these things even being considered under W.
posted by agregoli at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


still working on my Perry/Romney slash fiction

gonna send it to campaign headquarters when the tenth chapter is finished

(the one with the balloons)

expect I'll be getting a thank you note back, probably a visit

<3 love you Ricky P. <3
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still kinda hope she'll be president come 2016.

Isn't Hillary currently 63 years old? In 2016 she'd be 68, approaching 70.

I'd love for her to be president but there are many reasons I don't really think that would work out well. Especially because the woman should be retiring at that age and enjoying life, she's probably one of the few in this country who can actually afford to do that.
posted by Malice at 1:22 PM on December 7, 2011


In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.

A-freaking-men! Well said, Mrs. Clinton, and thank you to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for their leadership on this!
posted by darkstar at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good grief I'm looking forward to when hearing my elected officials say something like this (so obviously fundamentally clearly simply true) without equivocating isn't surprising.
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2011


Just off the top of my head: passing DADT and the Hate Crimes Bill, having his DOJ drop the defense of DOMA in the courts, as well as using the administration's executive authority to end the HIV/AIDs travel ban, force hospitals to give visitation rights if they want to receive Medicare patients, extending federal benefits to same-sex partners, and eliminated discrimination in housing (via HUD) and employment opportunity within the federal government (via the OPM.)

Actually, for being off the top of your head, that's a pretty encouraging list, weebot! Just to paraphrase and outline it all again:

1. Passing DADT
2. Passing the Hate Crimes Bill
3. Having his DOJ drop the defense of DOMA in the courts
4. Using the administration's executive authority to end the HIV/AIDs travel ban
5. Forcing hospitals to give visitation rights if they want to receive Medicare patients
6. Extending federal benefits to same-sex partners
7. Eliminating discrimination in housing (via HUD) and employment opportunity within the federal government (via the OPM.)

Taken together with this latest gesture and speech, it's damn encouraging and inspiring, really.
posted by darkstar at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I couldn't imagine these things even being considered under W.

A comparison with that administration is probably not particularly illustrative of a genuinely progressive outlook by this or any other administration, as such.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on December 7, 2011


True, so it's all the more telling (and sad) that the Log Cabin Republicans are hearkening back to Dubya to divine some putatively good example of human rights support from a Republican leader.
posted by darkstar at 1:40 PM on December 7, 2011


Wow, I just took the time to read through the whole transcript and it actually brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:55 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what, though, Blazecock? It's progress, and its happening because of the Obama administration. I commend them for that, and I celebrate it. They've done more than any other administration in recent history.
posted by agregoli at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2011


But, no teeth, and therefore entirely inconsequential

One thing I've learned as I get older: "inspiration" counts.

It's hard for me to imagine a gay kid, hearing or reading such a speech from a US rep at the UN being unmoved in any way... it's all anecdotal, of course, no way prove either way... but still, hard to imagine ENTIRELY INCONSEQUENTIAL.
posted by victors at 2:13 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously, they haven't changed everything in the US so why are they talking to and about other countries? We should be ignoring all of that because we have problems here!
/hamburger
posted by inigo2 at 2:24 PM on December 7, 2011


"Actually, for being off the top of your head, that's a pretty encouraging list, weebot! Just to paraphrase and outline it all again:

1. Passing Repealling DADT
2. Passing the Hate Crimes Bill. . .

. . .Taken together with this latest gesture and speech, it's damn encouraging and inspiring, really."
Well, if I'm the Democrats' base,* then consider me sufficiently pandered to.



*Decidedly not the Democrats' base in any way other than I firmly believe gay people are actually humans and thus gay people more likely than not should be treated like human beings.
posted by midmarch snowman at 2:39 PM on December 7, 2011


That was a beautiful speech.

And you know what? Talk isn't cheap. Talk loses elections. This speech doesn't mean everything's going to be perfect from here on in, but it means kids who are struggling with this at school can see their identity being defended on an international stage. It means people who were previously unsure about all this will be forced to re-examine their feelings once again. It means this issue is becoming more and more mainstream, and we're that tiny step closer to the day when people won't even understand why it was ever an issue at all.

Sure, it's only words, but so was the letter from Birmingham Jail, so was Kevin Rudd's "Sorry" speech, so were any number of things that have had meaning despite lacking immediate action.
posted by twirlypen at 2:52 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Admittedly, a lot of political capital was spent on Obamacare in his first year in office. The right-wing astroturfing demagoguery against that helped the GOP set up a completely obstructionist approach that has allowed them to stymie a lot of other progress, including more meaningful progress on LGBT human rights.

But I think it was a good prioritization on Obama's part. And I like to think that a lot of animus from the Dem base about Obamacare (i.e., that it wasn't enough, etc.) is becoming a bit more diluted as the provisions start to kick in and people are seeing it as a positive step forward.

As an example, this woman's struggle with being uninsurable with a cancer diagnosis, and her subsequent apology to Obama:
Fortunately for me, I've been saved by the federal government's Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It's part of President Obama's healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It's not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it's a start, and for me it's been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the "h" on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, "Got nope" instead of "got hope." I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

So this is my public apology. I'm sorry I didn't do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I'm sorry I didn't realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I'm getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says "Got nope." It will say "ObamaCares."
Is it the public option or single payer? No. But it is meaningful progress and something far better than what we had.

Baby steps -- in health care and in human rights -- can be really frustrating. But we live in a country that is geared so that big step changes are extremely difficult given the financial resources that can be arrayed against them. And five conservative SCOTUS Justices saw to it that this is even more problematic with their ruling in Citizens United.

So, although I wish and hope and work for more, on the whole, I'm pretty pleased with Obama's trajectory so far. I'll be voting for him gladly next November. Another couple of SCOTUS appointments and four more years of incremental progress in the right direction may not sound like a "big, fucking deal" to some, but it's definitely change I can believe in.
posted by darkstar at 3:01 PM on December 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


As much as I think Hillary is too divisive a figure to have beaten McCain ... I think she'd have cut a better presidential figure than Obama

This is backwards. Either Democrat would have one in 2008 after the financial collapse in late summer (not to mention the terrible McCain campaign). But in office, Clinton would have had no more, but probably a lot less, success than Obama.

The grass-is-always-greener-ism misses the fact that Republicans would have tried to torpedo any Democrat. There as no special negotiation skills Obama failed to implement; the GOP was not going to give any Democratic president want they wanted. But Clinton would have lacked the strong personal approval numbers that are helping Obama to weather the bad economy. Plus, this has been, from a media perspective, a scandal-free presidency. (Neither Bradley Manning or Fast and Furious have caught on as mainstream narratives.) Even if Clinton was a saint while in office, the GOP would drag everything out from the Ninties.

If you want counterfactual scenarios that lead to a more liberal political climate, you'd have to look to the Senate elections in 2008 and 2010, where the so-called Democratic super-majority came to be build on Lieberman and Nelson, meaning the Democrats were never able to truly overcome a filibuster.
posted by spaltavian at 4:00 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gingrich is claiming to be a Washington outsider - a man who clearly could navigate DC's sewers by sense of touch memory alone

Fixed.
posted by Gelatin at 4:25 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: "Yeah it's like 3am and the bar is closing and the only people left are the ones that don't even look good through beer goggles but you have to pick one because you can't go home alone. So you take the ugly one who can tell a few jokes because at least you can laugh about it in the morning. Ergo: Romney."

Speaking from experience?
posted by symbioid at 4:48 PM on December 7, 2011


This is good news. Inspiration counts. We can all aspire to be better to one another and treat each other as human beings.
posted by arcticseal at 7:50 PM on December 7, 2011


Interesting how much this speech seems to be about Uganda without ever mentioning the country by name.
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

as long as you are not part of Occupy Wall Street :P
posted by liza at 10:58 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how people have room for so much hate sometimes.

It usually is an indication of what they most fear about themselves. I mean, how many homophobic preachers have we seen happened to have a wide stance on the issue themselves?
posted by DreamerFi at 11:26 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love that woman
posted by cman at 1:36 AM on December 8, 2011


darkstar My problem is not so much baby steps in the right direction (though I'll admit freely I'd much rather have bigger steps), but giant steps in the wrong direction.

Yes, Obama has, so slowly and annoyingly and with so many concessions to the "values" of the evil bigoted scum on the other side that it pissed off his entire GLBT base, sort of made progress on some GLBT issues. He went from having his DoJ defending DOMA with the argument that gay marriage was equivalent to pedophilia (note, no DoJ staffers have been fired for that argument yet), to (eventually, after defending it for years) having the DoJ drop the defense of DOMA. Whoopee.

So yeah, baby steps are better than nothing and we take what we can get. And I'll take baby steps in the direction of cheering that.

But that doesn't really change the fact that on other human rights issues Obama has not taken baby steps in the right direction, but huge, giant, steps in the wrong direction.

Obama declared that some of the Guantanamo detainees would never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, get trials or charges. Note that here I'm not objecting to baby steps in the right direction, but rushing headlong in the wrong direction.

Similarly, Obama's vaunted claims to want to "close Guantanamo" apparently referred only to the physical facility in Cuba, and he simply wanted to continue the Guantanamo policies here in the USA. My objection here is not that he's taking baby steps in the wrong direction, or that he was unable to overrule Congress, but that he's charging off in exactly and precisely the wrong direction.

Or how we saw the Obama administration explicitly reject any possibility whatsoever of ever prosecuting, or even investigating, the crimes of the Bush administration. But at the same time the Obama administration is aggressively investigating and prosecuting the whistleblowers who allowed us to know what little we do about the crimes of the Bush administration. Note that, as with the other problems, I'm not objecting to Obama failing to act quickly or decisively enough in pursuit of a positive agenda of human rights, but rahter I'm objecting to Obama acting very quickly and decisively in pursuit of an agenda diametrically opposed to the very concept of human rights.

Or the decision, by Obama, that as President he has the power to simply order the CIA to assassinate an American citizen without ever bringing charges against that citizen or ever proving to anyone that is accusations are valid. My objection, again, is not to the fact that Obama is taking baby steps in the right direction when I'd prefer giant leaps, but to the fact that Obama is taking giant leaps in exactly the wrong direction.

As for ObamaCare, I'm still very unhappy. And explicitly because of the lack of a public option.

Right now the crown jewel in ObamaCare is the individual mandate. My problem is that, since there is no public option, that means the government is forcing me to give my money to a private, for profit, bunch of evil parasites. It is no different from Obama passing a law to end hunger by mandating that everyone buy a cheeseburger from McDonald's.

The government should never be in the business of ordering me to give my money to a private corporation. This is not a monarchy, the government should not be establishing fiefs. But thanks to Obama if you're an evil health insurance industry scumbag you are now guaranteed profits, forever, by the government. That's so obscenely wrong and evil I can't even imagine how anyone can support it.

If there was a public option I'd be able to escape corporate serfdom. But Obama sold us out on the public option, he pretend to be for it while secretly negotiating to kill it, and thus guaranteeing that I'm always and forever a serf to a bunch of evil parasite Health Insurance Industry scum.

Again, that's not an objection to a baby step in the right direction, but an objection to a huge leap in the wrong direction.

Sorry if that's too long. I just get very tired of the defenders of Obama pretending that we on the true left are simply crybabies who are throwing a tantrum because we want everything right now and we're not smart enough to understand that sometimes the grownups have to take things slowly.

Yes, I'd like faster, bolder, steps in the right direction. But I'll tolerate baby steps in the right direction, that's not my objection to Obama.

My objection to Obama is that he is deliberately and with apparently malice aforethought rushing headlong in exactly the wrong direction. No baby steps towards evil, just a huge and unchecked plunge.
posted by sotonohito at 7:07 AM on December 8, 2011


I voted for Obama, in th primary and the election and I don't for a moment regret it. And as Secretary she shines.
posted by emhutchinson at 7:22 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


He went from having his DoJ defending DOMA with the argument that gay marriage was equivalent to pedophilia (note, no DoJ staffers have been fired for that argument yet), to (eventually, after defending it for years) having the DoJ drop the defense of DOMA. Whoopee.

Seeing as that could lead to the end of DOMA, I'm generally of the mind that this is actually a huge deal, even with initial misstep.
posted by Weebot at 11:08 AM on December 8, 2011


I've got one word to say to you Kim: Lip Service.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2011


sotonohito, I came very close to adding a caveat statement to my last comment along the lines of "of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't decisions Obama has made that really tick me off" and enumerating a few as you have that really bother me. So I agree with you on those points.

I don't think I intended to imply that you're a crybaby or not a grownup, etc., so I apologize if my comment came across that way. I simply pointed out that many folks, including myself, are seeing more positives in Obamacare than they may have, originally and, for whatever objections we have to it, it's proving to be a (life-saving) positive for many folks.

Similarly, I'm not sure you intended to imply that I'm not actually a member of the "true Left" just because I'm happy with the progress we've made under Obama. It's just that what Obama has done has resonated with me on a much more deply personal level than the things which he hasn't done (or in which he has erred).

The end to DADT is something that, for deeply personal reasons, I am ecstatic to see the end of. The same goes for legally mandated access to affordable health insurance for those who have pre-existing conditions. I've mentioned before how I'm gay and had to give up a full-ride NROTC scholarship to an ivy league university and my dream of a Naval career because of it. Also, how I've recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and all the unfortunate drama that goes along with that as well as being stuck in a mediocre job because of health benefits, etc..

The result is that these two policy improvements under Obama have massive, MASSIVE life-enabling impact on perhaps tens of thousands of people over the coming few years. I am upset about Guantanamo and the expansion of executive powers, but mainly for the possible damage those policies could cause people in the future (which I admit could be significant). But when I weigh them against policies that have such a huge personal and broad-based impact on so many peoples' lives, it's overall very positive.

(I will go ahead and include the caveat, though, that I'm hoping that we can close Guantanamo and peel back some of the executive branch overreach we've seen under Bush and continued under Obama...)
posted by darkstar at 2:38 PM on December 8, 2011


Need more vagina penetrators
posted by growabrain at 9:53 PM on December 9, 2011


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