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Obama reaffirms committments to the GLBT community
October 10, 2009 9:10 PM   Subscribe

While Obama strongly reaffirms his promises to the GLBT community, not everyone is convinced.

"Lane Hudson, a blogger and activist who attended the Human Rights Campaign event, said while Obama's speech was well-received, it probably would not erase doubts about his commitment to fulfilling his campaign promises.

"It was the kind of feel-good speech we are used to from the president," Hudson said. "It lacked any specific details on fulfilling his promises and he failed to say anything new at all.""
posted by VikingSword (258 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was hoping for a MeFi thread discussing this, but not a 1-link WaPo newsfilter post. :(
posted by iamkimiam at 9:17 PM on October 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Got Dashed Hope?
posted by Balisong at 9:20 PM on October 10, 2009


Time will tell, I suppose. But I think that line about

you will [look back to] see a time when we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians, whether in the office or on the battlefield.

Is definitely over the line into "saying what you want to hear" territory. We aren't going to see a stop put to discrimination. What we might see under Obama is the removal of legal and systematic discrimination.
Which, don't get me wrong, would be plenty enough for one president to accomplish. But I think this is the sort of language that makes people wonder whether Obama is really serious, or whether he's just giving a "feel good speech." Less promises and more details would be better, and we've seen that Obama's certainly capable of giving those sorts of speeches as well, on matters that he's serious on.
All in all, I just don't feel like this is a speech anyone can hang conclusions on with any certainty.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:21 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Andrew Sullivan:

Oh, yes, we'll get a lovely Obama speech. Like that costs him anything or proves anything.

There is nothing Obama can say at this self-satisfied, well-heeled Rotary Club dinner that he hasn't said before. ...

If Obama wants to support gay equality, he knows what to do. ...

So spare us the schmoozing and the sweet-talking and do it. Until then, Mr president, why don't you have a nice steaming cup of shut-the-fuck-up?

posted by Joe Beese at 9:21 PM on October 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yeah, that's the take away from this.

Fucks sake...
posted by Artw at 9:22 PM on October 10, 2009


I don't get the Obama-hate here. DADT is probably the only gay-related issue that he has direct control over, and he's promised to fix it, and at great political risk to himself.

He can't give everybody golden unicorns with lasers on their heads that poo and pee rainbows overnight, and certainly not without the consent of Congress. Give the dude some props for what he's done and hope for the best.
posted by Avenger at 9:24 PM on October 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yeah, we have to share! I'll take one of those unicorns when you're done with it.
posted by Balisong at 9:27 PM on October 10, 2009


Give the dude some props for what he's done and hope for the best

The point is that he's not done anything yet more than promise to fix it. People are just concerned that promises are all they are ever going to get on this issue. And while tempers on this issue do sometimes run a bit high, I don't think that noting this lack of actual movement qualifies as "hate." It's just a critique.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:29 PM on October 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I may actually hate the whiners worse than freepers.
posted by Artw at 9:29 PM on October 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


So he basically recycled one of his old campaign speeches for us, huh? I'm joining the chorus of people saying that someone should remind him that he actually WON the election and can actually do things now.
posted by hermitosis at 9:30 PM on October 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


and at great political risk to himself.

I don't buy it. Obama couldn't say he wanted to end DADT enough when he was campaigning and the electorate responded by putting their balls in John McCain's mouth. He'd get rage from the morons, but (and this makes it unlike the rage the morons are currently expressing over letting poor people go to a doctor) it would be impotent rage. He could just do it, and wrap himself in the flag while he does it too, so what the hell's stopping him?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:30 PM on October 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


He can't give everybody golden unicorns with lasers on their heads that poo and pee rainbows overnight

It's almost scary how much less we would actually settle for at this point.
posted by hermitosis at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Avenger: "DADT is probably the only gay-related issue that he has direct control over, and he's promised to fix it..."

The fierce urgency of "eventually".
posted by Joe Beese at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Great political risk to himself? Huh? I don't see it. What I DO see is a "don't worry your pretty little head about it" placatory speech that offers no specifics. Color me disillusioned.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:33 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't get the Obama-hate here. DADT is probably the only gay-related issue that he has direct control over, and he's promised to fix it

I take his promise to end the Iraq occupation because he has a timetable for withdrawal. What's his timetable for ending DADT?
posted by dirigibleman at 9:33 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I take his promise to end the Iraq occupation seriously because he has a timetable for withdrawal.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:34 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Be careful about what you wish for. When Obama was on the campaign trail, he insisted loudly that indefinite detention was against both American law and custom, and he fully intended to fix the problem once he took office.

He did indeed try to fix the problem -- by trying to change the law to make indefinite detention legal. And when that didn't fly with Congress, he retreated to the Bush position that he can hold anyone he wants, as long as he wants, based purely on his administration's unproven assertion that someone is dangerous.

If he handles his promises to gays in the same way, all he'll get rid of is "Don't Ask".
posted by Malor at 9:34 PM on October 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


I was hoping for a MeFi thread discussing this, but not a 1-link WaPo newsfilter post. :(

Well - I had a whole little link fest assembled before I posted, advocate.com, sullivan etc., then before hitting the button, I decided that really anybody half interested in the topic can hit the usual suspect websitewise, and it would be a very pro-forma kind of collection of links - the main interest here is, let's face it, the story, especially in view of the recent discussion on the blue of Obama's accomplishments. Had I come across some unique commentary in some obscure and unexpected place, I'd have posted it, but didn't want to insult the savvy and smart community here with the usual suspects. Less is more sometimes. Apologies, if some nonetheless find it thin.
posted by VikingSword at 9:36 PM on October 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


But, no, seriously, narrowing it down to the most negative focus possible is outstanding work.
posted by Artw at 9:37 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


He did indeed try to fix the problem -- by trying to change the law to make indefinite detention legal.

That's a fair point. I'd say that DADT is different because he doesn't really need Olympia Snowe's help to make that change. Congress would have to overrule his change in policy, and there's no chance in hell of that happening in this congress. Really. I know they piss us of no end, but the majority could filibuster an attempt to overrule Obama on this point.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:39 PM on October 10, 2009


Great political risk to himself? Huh? I don't see it. What I DO see is a "don't worry your pretty little head about it" placatory speech that offers no specifics. Color me disillusioned.

In this particular case, I think the "great political risk" may come from the military, rather than the GOP. Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed. America is supposed to be a democratic republic, but the military can still influence politics, even unofficially.
posted by Avenger at 9:42 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ooh I'm excited about another Obama promise.
posted by xmutex at 9:47 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


He could just do it, and wrap himself in the flag while he does it too, so what the hell's stopping him?

Because he's a Democrat, and the Armed Forces aren't that fond of Democrats, so he's treading lightly. It's not cowardice: it's simple practicality. He inherited two wars: a quiet revolt in the ranks, with sabotage and backbiting aplenty, would be a disaster.

But that's not the same as "not doing anything" - he's expressed his policy preference to the Armed Forces and he's letting them do it. Joint Forces Quarterly just published a paper that was favorably reviewed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that totally trashes DADT. The policy is on its way out: the younger generals all hate it, and a lot of the older generals either don't care or are willing to follow the CiC's lead so long as he doesn't act like he knows better than them (even if he does).

It's just a matter of time. And not much time.
posted by mightygodking at 9:48 PM on October 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'd say that DADT is different because he really needs cooperation from The Military to make that change. And you know how forward-thinking and tolerant the American Military is these days, with how easily women are doing with their male colleagues, and the major efforts by organized knuckle-draggers and Holy Warriors to take control of parts of the Pentagon. I have suspected from day one of his administration that most of his non-decisive-inaction on issues military was based on an unwillingness to bring on a Coup. (yes, it can happen here) The President, sadly, does not have as much power as you may think (then again, that fact likely prevented the Last Administration from destroying the world).
posted by wendell at 9:54 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


He can't give everybody golden unicorns with lasers on their heads that poo and pee rainbows overnight

You know what really sucks? Pointing out that GLBT rights are constantly put up to the whims of mob rule in the 21st Century is somehow equivalent to wanting poo-pee-rainbow-unicorns. How fucking condescending.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on October 10, 2009 [68 favorites]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

I'm sure they felt that way in desegregation times too. If they are so opposed to what America is supposed to stand for that they'll decide not to defend her when she actually ACTS on it, then I find it unlikely we want them defending her in the first place.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:54 PM on October 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Avenger and mightygodthing said it much better than I can tonight. Goodnight, everybuddy!
posted by wendell at 9:55 PM on October 10, 2009


Doublewhiskeycokenoice: "what the hell's stopping him?"

Well...

I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.

When a politician explains his opposition to gay marriage by saying that it makes the baby Jesus cry, I proceed on the assumption that he's a bigot. As do all of you... at least when they're a Republican.

Any time Obama wants to prove me wrong by, say, taking a minute out of his busy schedule to sign an executive order suspending dismissals of GLBT service members pending... oh, I don't know... "further studies", he can.

Until then, I'm sticking with "bigot".
posted by Joe Beese at 9:56 PM on October 10, 2009 [19 favorites]


Super, it's been well over 24 hours since I got to hear about how the only reason I have reservations about Obama's record to date is because I'm a fucking simpleton who expected him to perform miracles. Unicorns! Rainbows! Magic Wands! Jesus Christ! Throw in some scatalogical references to really underline what a fucking jerk I am! Your hilarious rhetoric is fresh, original, and irreproachable in its impeccable logic.
posted by nanojath at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


But, no, seriously, narrowing it down to the most negative focus possible is outstanding work.

That's a bit mean. There's nothing terribly skewed about this post. The linked story is fairly neutral--Obama gets a standing O but acknowledges the impatience himself--and a blogger rightly points out that the speech didn't present any new details. That doesn't strike me as the most negative focus possible. It simply seems true to the story.
posted by Beardman at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2009


Assemble the circular firing squad!
posted by mkdg at 10:06 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Super, it's been well over 24 hours since I got to hear about how the only reason I have reservations about Obama's record to date is because I'm a fucking simpleton who expected him to perform miracles. Unicorns! Rainbows! Magic Wands! Jesus Christ! Throw in some scatalogical references to really underline what a fucking jerk I am! Your hilarious rhetoric is fresh, original, and irreproachable in its impeccable logic.

I don't see where anyone called you a "fucking simpleton" or a "fucking jerk". How about we dial it back a little before this thread is completely worthless?
posted by Mikey-San at 10:11 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


The President, sadly, does not have as much power as you may think (then again, that fact likely prevented the Last Administration from destroying the world).

In 1948, the late President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to force racial integration of the Armed Forces, bypassing a Democratic Congress that would have voted to maintain segregation. Doesn't this sound awfully familiar?

President Obama has both the legal power and the public mandate — given to him by GLBT voters and men and women serving this country who were a considerable part of his electoral success — to right these wrongs.

I don't want to hear that Obama doesn't have the power. History shows that that argument is garbage. He just doesn't have the will. But if he wants to be reelected in 2012, he better grow a backbone and soon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on October 10, 2009 [27 favorites]


Assemble the circular firing squad!

Aw, fer christ. Look, I'm down with Obama's agenda for the most part and I can see his argument for being slower than we'd like with this on an objective level. I just don't see how is arguments are really significant enough to merit such a delay.

What, every officer is gonna resign over this? The military establishment will go on every cable news program and say that they don't agree with the tack the president is taking? WELL THEN FUCK THEM. If they had tried to pull that shit during Bush's presidency they'd have been fucking waterboarded. Obama could grow a pair and literally force the military establishment to go along with him if he wanted.

Oh wait, I can't let this one slip pass. It's true that a ton of the military establishment won't take kindly to an uppity black man telling them how to run their marine corps. Good. I hope they choke on the bile that rises in their throats.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:20 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's become something of a truism in certain quarters that every Obama campaign promise comes with an expiration date.

He's real big on promises, real small on delivery.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:22 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

Talk is cheap. Surveys show otherwise.
posted by fatbird at 10:22 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So spare us the schmoozing and the sweet-talking and do it. Until then, Mr president, why don't you have a nice steaming cup of shut-the-fuck-up?

I'm sorry, someone is apparently recommending that the President no longer talk about an issue until they simply have solved the associated problems?

That is some pure unadulterated stupid right there.
posted by namespan at 10:26 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


In 9 months, Obama has aggressively tackled the biggest depression in 75 years, reversed US policy on global warming and is in the middle of pushing through a bill on that, is tackling health care which has been stalled for 65 years, is restarting Mideast talks on a much more solid basis, is dealing with a completely fucked situation in Afghanistan handed to him by Bush, has made huge progress getting us out of Iraq, and is dealing with serious nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea. As a result his approval rating has dropped to 50%.

Is that a timid agenda? Which of these issues is less important than DADT and should be dropped in favor of it?
posted by msalt at 10:27 PM on October 10, 2009 [22 favorites]


It's become something of a truism in certain quarters that every Obama campaign promise comes with an expiration date.

Apparently 9 months. Who knew?
posted by namespan at 10:27 PM on October 10, 2009


But if he wants to be reelected in 2012, he better grow a backbone and soon.

Cue the cries of "Who are you going to vote for, the REPUBLICAN?"

No, that's not what we're going to do. But maybe we will simply refrain from casting any presidential ballot. Maybe gays and lesbians and sympathizers all over the country will refrain from casting presidential ballots at all. Maybe we will have block parties and huge, sumptuous orgies. Maybe we will march on White House on election day. Maybe we will just grit our teeth and vote for Obama again and then go home to our families which aren't recognized or represented by the country we live in and pay taxes in, and feel like shit.

Or maybe by then he will have grown a backbone -- and I don't mean necessarily that he'll do all he promised. I mean maybe he will finally admit that we aren't on his radar at all and never were.
posted by hermitosis at 10:29 PM on October 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

Fantastic! If true, it would be wonderful on so many counts. We need to cut down on the military monster anyhow. It's way too big. The ratio of officers to grunts is too high anyhow. A top heavy military is not really effective anyhow. We could do with leaner and more efficient.

And most importantly - you're telling me the homophobic bigots would purge themselves from the military? Oh, if only it were so!

Sadly, I'm afraid this is yet again, more bluster than anything. Whatever happens with the DADT, there will be very few resignations, I bet. Unfortunately.
posted by VikingSword at 10:30 PM on October 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

Oh no, we'll lose the military genius of people who think that the gender traits which you find attractive affect your ability to fight! What a blow to the mighty American military!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 PM on October 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Which of these issues is less important than DADT and should be dropped in favor of it?

It's a fallacy to suggest that Obama would have to drop anything to deal with DADT. Have a staff member draft the presidential order rescinding the discharge of openly gay soldiers, sign it one morning right after breakfast. Actual time spent by Obama, maybe 10 minutes.

Don't play that "he doesn't have the time" canard. It isn't attractive.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 PM on October 10, 2009 [21 favorites]


Just before Super Tuesday, I realized I needed to make a choice, and decide which Democratic candidate to contribute to in the primary.

I didn't think Hillary Clinton could win the general election, and even if she could have, I didn't want to see the Clinton apparatchiks back in power. So I had to chose between Obama and John Edwards.

I liked Edwards's fiery populism better. Obama seemed to have a better ground game, but I worried that not only hadn't he been tested, but that he'd never really taken a tough stand, had never really stood up for something controversial and politically risky.

Ultimately I choose Obama, because it looked like he had a better chance to beat Hillary, and I felt that if we didn't beat Hillary in primary, she'd be beaten by the Republican candidate in the general.

I explained it to a friend this way: Obama might or might not deliver, but a Republican would definitely keep us in Iraq, might well get us into Iran, and would further push the Patriot Act police state. So I had to put my money on "maybe", because "maybe"'s better than "no chance in hell". I had to gamble on Obama.

But Obama doesn't gamble. He plays it safe.

I kept giving Obama money until that summer, when he reversed his position, voting for the FISA bill. And while he's still better than McCain would have been, it's been all downhill from there.

Obama's not willing to take risks. He says pretty things, he understands the intricacies of policy, he's a consummate politician and a good administrator, but he lacks the courage to take risks, and so he'll never be one of the great presidents.

LBJ gave us the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and thus the Vietnam War, but he also passed Medicare, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, accomplishments that fundamentally reshaped this country (and which, as Johnson knew they would, lost the Democrats the South for at least a generation).

Obama's an incrementalist concerned doing the safe thing that allows him to retain what he has, not a gambler going for great gains at great risk. This in fact is the narrative of his primary victory: he never won the big states, but he accumulated enough delegates in the smaller caucus states to convince enough super delegates to side with him to eke out a close win over Hillary.

Obama -- he's no LBJ. He's inspirational but not transformative. Incremental rather than game-changing. He'll be remembered for being America's first black president, but not as one of the greats. He's too cautious to be great.
posted by orthogonality at 10:50 PM on October 10, 2009 [20 favorites]


It's a fallacy to suggest that Obama would have to drop anything to deal with DADT.

If we're going to deal in nuanced thinking, then I expect we'll also be repudiating ideas like "The only reason he hasn't done it is that he doesn't have the will" and "we aren't on his radar and never were."
posted by namespan at 10:52 PM on October 10, 2009


Color me disillusioned.

Why would you want to be "illusioned"?
posted by philip-random at 10:55 PM on October 10, 2009


Obama -- he's no LBJ. He's inspirational but not transformative. Incremental rather than game-changing. He'll be remembered for being America's first black president, but not as one of the greats. He's too cautious to be great.

Damn you to hell orthogonality - why are you so openly expressing my fears? I prefer to think I'm a lone pessimist with unrealistically dark views. I prefer to be an optimist. And so I say to myself, it'll be better than this. And I remain hopeful (at least during daytime).
posted by VikingSword at 10:56 PM on October 10, 2009


Damn you to hell orthogonality - why are you so openly expressing my fears?

I should probably have chosen "Cassandra" for my username.
posted by orthogonality at 11:01 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama's not willing to take risks.

Yeah, I get the sentiment, I could wish he was more dynamic on my hot-button issues too. But if this were strictly true, he'd still be a Senator, waiting for at least a term or two of seasoning and a further consolidation of connections and influence before reaching for the Presidency.

Obama's an incrementalist

It might be worse. He might be a genuine centrist and negotiator.

he'll never be one of the great presidents.

You're kidding, right? He's already won a Nobel Peace prize!

What's that you say? The committee may have rushed their judgment?
posted by namespan at 11:06 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

Oh please. Obama's inaction on DADT is not because of some military officers making noise. I have no doubt that when it comes down to it, those officers would choose employment over homophobia. Obama is the one with the power to sign a piece of paper and cease prosecution of DADT cases - I'm blaming him for not doing it, not anybody else.
posted by lullaby at 11:08 PM on October 10, 2009


Forgive my insistence on facts as opposed to simply roasting effigies all over the place, but I don't believe that DADT is within the president's purview. There is a federal law in place (which can only be overturned by the two branches of government that don't include the president) which institutes the policy.

Admittedly, the president could order the armed services to simply ignore the law, but that is so incredibly stupid that I can't believe that anyone bothered to think of it. Do you really want the military to have to choose between obeying orders given by congress and orders given by the president?

So no, Obama has no direct control over DADT. Or DOMA. He has to go to congress and herd them like a clowder of cats to do what he wants. And right now, he's trying to push them towards healthcare, or funding more troops in Afghanistan, or getting troops out of Iraq, or fixing the economy, which are all frankly just more important than either DADT or DOMA.

So I really don't know where this ridiculous hatred towards Obama is coming from. His tenure so far has been marked by a series of actions taken to keep the US from falling down around our ears and to try to make us a responsible member of the international community again. Once fixing all the really, really awful bad stuff is done with and Obama still hasn't made steps towards DADT, then I will be out with pitchfork in hand marching with you kids. Until then, I'm going to sit back and trust. Because, while some of his decisions are suboptimal, he's doing mostly good, responsible things to help this nation, and I see no reason to believe that he won't continue.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:16 PM on October 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


Anyone have a list of major, sweeping policy changes made by other presidents in their first 8 months? All this complaint seems overly premature and immature. If it were McCain/Palin, this wouldn't even be up for debate. Keep things in perspective people.
posted by o0o0o at 11:31 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


He hasn't cleared a damn bit of brush.
posted by Artw at 11:34 PM on October 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


o0o0o - Well, they did seem to be angling to get the US into a fight with China for a bit. Sadly we'll never know how that would have gone.

Sadly might not be completly the right word there.
posted by Artw at 11:36 PM on October 10, 2009


Do we not have enough on our political plate at the moment?
posted by GilloD at 11:39 PM on October 10, 2009


I've never understood why there has been such an emphasis placed on DADT, as if it is the bellwether for the progress for gay rights. It seems to me that the following might be more important than the right to serve in the military:

1) Hate crime legislation - which just passed the House and will pass in the Senate (and which as a bonus covers both sexual orientation and gender identity)

2) Expanding civil rights protections - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is likely to be passed during this Congressional session (it too would cover both sexual orientation and gender identity).

3) Repealing DOMA - this is something Obama said he supports, but he has not offered any concrete timelines for getting this done. The Respect for Marriage Act, that would repeal DOMA, has been introduced in the House, but there appears to be significant resistance, even from within the Democratic Party. Even Barney Frank opposes this legislation.

4) Immigration equality - allowing same-sex couples to petition to bring their partners into the country.

I understand that DADT is distinct from these other issues because Obama arguably has the authority to rescind DADT unilaterally, without Congressional action, but I am still confused as to why so much more pressure is put on him, when it is really Congress that holds the keys to providing full civil rights to the LBGTQ community.
posted by thewittyname at 11:50 PM on October 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


You know what really sucks? Pointing out that GLBT rights are constantly put up to the whims of mob rule in the 21st Century is somehow equivalent to wanting poo-pee-rainbow-unicorns. How fucking condescending.

I would like to underscore this with a goddamn rainbow flag. Tens of millions of people are denied their basic civil rights EVERY. FUCKING. DAY. in this country. To characterize those of us who demand an end to one of the defining injustices of America in the 21st century as children demanding a magical pee-pee unicorn is grotesque.
posted by scody at 11:56 PM on October 10, 2009 [18 favorites]


It's a fallacy to suggest that Obama would have to drop anything to deal with DADT. Have a staff member draft the presidential order rescinding the discharge of openly gay soldiers, sign it one morning right after breakfast. Actual time spent by Obama, maybe 10 minutes.

First, you're wrong -- he can't revoke it by executive order. It's a congressional law. Second, the issue isn't minutes and hours, it's political capital, focus and backlash. Clinton's entire presidency was set back by prematurely pushing this issue. Jumping the gun on gay marriage in 2003 caused dozens of states to pass consitutional amendments against it. GO GO GO is a dumb and counterproductive strategy.
posted by msalt at 12:18 AM on October 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


Suggesting that Barrack Obama isn't a magical leprecaun who could make the world the way you like it by snapping his fingers is grotesque.
posted by Artw at 12:21 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, who here didn't pay attention to the primary? Lots of you, from the sound of it. Obama is cautious, methodical, slow to start, makes his progress difficult to track, and is completely unstoppable because he got his ducks in a row beforehand.

To be honest, I don't think we'll see a lot of progress on progressive hot-button topics until after the mid-terms, because that's the strategy. Retain as much of a majority in congress as possible by playing the middle. In the meantime, let's look at what he's accomplished:

1) Stabilized the equities markets - the indices are at a 52 week high, with the dow flirting with 10,000. When you consider it was brushing the 6000 mark a month after inauguration, this is absolutely worth something. He ram-rodded through a stimulus package that will be paying off in terms of economic benefit for years to come. Geitner works under the radar, and Bernanke takes his lead from the Administration - this was clear after Obama re-nominated him.

2) Saved the domestic auto industry. GM and Chrysler were a month away from folding. They're still not doing well, but they're no longer on death's doorstep. Extensive government intervention was what did the trick.

3) Got Iran to agree to send its uranium to Russia for processing and to shut down its domestic uranium enrichment programs, going so far as to reveal a site that had eluded western intelligence completely, as a good faith measure. Russia agreed to do this, because...

4) He negotiated with Moscow to remove our (largely useless, mostly symbolic) land-based missile defense systems and replace them with (proven, economical and flexible) ship-based anti-missile systems. The Russians are OK with this, because they believe they have a good enough navy to counter this (tho they don't.)

This is a pretty good track record for nine months in office...

With regard to the ending of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - he has got two full scale wars on his hands that already have our volunteer army stretched to its limit. There is a very large conservative contingent in the military, and they will resign, retire or just opt not to re-up if they feel they're being shit on. Like the conservatives or not, they make up too large a part of our armed forces to ram-rod anything like this through - I don't think they'll revolt. They'll just quit. Right now, that would be disastrous. This is the moderate, center-right view, which is what Obama is. His strategy will be to commit to the change, to let everyone, left and right, know it's coming, but be cautious and methodical in rolling it out. If that's not good enough for you, campaign harder for Kucinich next time, because I'll bet you a cookie Hillary wouldn't have handled it differently.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:32 AM on October 11, 2009 [21 favorites]


orthogonality: "Obama's an incrementalist concerned doing the safe thing that allows him to retain what he has, not a gambler going for great gains at great risk."

Is health care reform really that safe or that incremental? People are going nuts over it.
posted by kathrineg at 12:44 AM on October 11, 2009


You know what really sucks? Pointing out that GLBT rights are constantly put up to the whims of mob rule in the 21st Century is somehow equivalent to wanting poo-pee-rainbow-unicorns. How fucking condescending.

Blaze, I'm posting this publicly because you've disabled MeMail.

You know that I am a staunch supporter of equal rights for all Americans and you know that I'm gay as well. I think if you re-read my comment in a more generous light, you would see that I'm making a facetious comment about people who expect Obama to deliver on promises which he cannot single-handedly deliver (specifically without the consent of a conservative Democratic Congress, as I stated) -- rather than assuming that I'm comparing my own quest for equal rights to the quest for a non-existent mythological animal.

I don't harbor any ill-will towards you and I'm sorry that you felt my remarks were condescending. That was not, however, the vein in which they were spoken.

To the issue at hand, I would say that people who strongly desire equal rights need to be broadly open to political pragmatism at all levels and to have an awareness that certain nation-wide political goals are, for all practical purposes, probably unattainable in the next few months to years. This is not the same as admitting defeat -- rather it's an impetus to work harder (and smarter) for equal rights rather than engaging in the endless internecine warfare which plagues liberal politics in the United States.

Anyway, hope you had a good Saturday.
posted by Avenger at 12:56 AM on October 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm blaming him for not doing it, not anybody else.

Yes We Can!
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:02 AM on October 11, 2009


Which is to say, at least partially, that I'd like to do more, especially locally here in my very new hometown of Tucson, and in Arizona in general too.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:12 AM on October 11, 2009


Is that a timid agenda? Which of these issues is less important than DADT and should be dropped in favor of it?

That's a false dichotomy.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:14 AM on October 11, 2009


Is health care reform really that safe or that incremental?

Not if it's Single Payer. But Obama took that off the table preemptively, before negotiations even began. Obama didn't even come up with a plan, leaving it to Harry Reid and Max Baucus.

What's emerged is basically a plan to force every American to buy from the existing insurance companies -- with no or meaningless regulation to ensure we get what we're forced to pay for. For American who can't afford to pay, the rest of us will be taxed. And Big Insurance and Big Pharma and Big Hospital Corporations will be guaranteed their profits.

Other than the idea that we'll curb some waste by limiting unnecessary medical procedures, there's no fundamental change. The real waste, which comes from insurers hiring people to scrutinize and deny claims, forcing doctors and hospitals to hire billing experts to get claims paid, won't go away.

The Wall Street bailout was even worse; again, the taxpayers foot the bill to bail out the people taking the profit, and no fundamental change was made. No greater regulation, no realization that sending the best minds to Wall Street to come up with ever more arcane and unregulable "financial products" means that we fall beyond in real innovation, in medicine, industry, and science.

In both cases, Obama had the opportunity to change the game, to undermine the people who own DC and who steal from the people. And each time, Obama's thrown away that opportunity, choosing instead to work with the powers-that-be.

Yes, Obama's health care reform is really safe (for insurance companies) and entirely incremental.
posted by orthogonality at 1:16 AM on October 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


The only possible positions to take are that Obama is the second coming of Jesus or that he's a lying sack of shit, right?
posted by empath at 1:20 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


In both cases, Obama had the opportunity to change the game, to undermine the people who own DC and who steal from the people. And each time, Obama's thrown away that opportunity, choosing instead to work with the powers-that-be.

Obama has never had the power to change anything. He won office with a bare majority of the popular vote, and he hasn't spent decades building a power base in washington before he took office like LBJ and FDR did. Nobody owes him anything, so the amount of leverage over anyone that he has is minimal
posted by empath at 1:24 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Although I am polyamorous and involved with two women, I also consider myself bisexual... albeit one that isn't currently doing anything about it.

So, I can say with all certainty that Andrew Sullivan is a rude assh*le who lets his hotheadedness interfere with... well... pretty much every decision he makes, really.

"I'm angry at the terrorists that attacked us, so let's attack Iraq!"

"I'm angry at the Republican bigots I sided with, so let's attack them!"

"I'm angry that HRC raises funds and increases exposure to help increase GLBT influence in the political process, so let's attack the organization that did much of the groundwork to pass hate crimes legislation through the House, and that is doing much of the work for advancing the overturn of DADT!"

"I'm angry that President Obama is speaking to HRC -- the nation's largest GLBT civil rights organization -- and that I didn't get my faux Democratic self invited to personally tell him that *MY* community should come before urgent yet painful economic policy, before health care, even though lack of health care kills people every day... and clearly, it should come before the generals have been consulted on how best to implement a policy in order to make it clear just what tolerance of their fellow soldiers means, in a way that avoids straight soldiers beating gay soldiers or raping lesbian soldiers in middle-of-the-night acts of "retribution"... so he should go f*ck himself!"

Seriously... who is Andrew Sullivan?! What has he *ever* done for the GLBT community... other than embarrass it? Where does he get off?!

The simple fact is, President Obama has done more for the GLBT community in seven months than any other president in history. He has made it clear what he intends to do, and how he intends to do it... but idiots like Sully apparently want people's rights hanging on easily overturned, policy and protection-weak executive orders that can be easily overturned, rather than enshrining the fundamental rights of individuals in law.

What a counter-productive, self-defeating ingrate. Once more, he lacks common sense for not only policy and how politics works, but also for what matters most. Life, above all.

Around 2003, I saw Lani Ka'ahumanu doing a Q & A, and she was asked, what is the most immediate, pressing issue for the gay and lesbian community. She responded unexpectedly, but with considerable wisdom.

"The wars we are in," she said.

Which is worse, really... GLBT soldiers having to fight in two unnecessary military occupations, or getting kicked out of the military? Once again, Andrew Sullivan shows zero wisdom and no sense of priority, propriety, or proportion.
posted by markkraft at 1:29 AM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Obama's health care reform is really safe (for insurance companies) and entirely incremental."

I have appreciated many of your comments before, orthogonality, but I am very disappointed by the basic ignorance displayed by your comment. It is fundamentally, verifiably wrong.

Obama's health care reform... isn't Obama's health care reform.

You are complaining about the Baucus bill, I presume... which is no more Obama's health care bill than any other Senate bill, or than the bills that the House are debating over.

Has it ever really occurred to you that the decision-making process here is just a wee bit bigger and more complicated than what the President wants?

The simple fact is, there will be a House bill... and a Senate bill... and then, there's going to be a compromise bill, based on what Democrats feel will get enough votes to pass. The White House will try to influence that final compromise, but for now, there is little that they can really do... or make any other Democrat do.
posted by markkraft at 1:52 AM on October 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


But if he wants to be reelected in 2012, he better grow a backbone and soon.

Cue the cries of "Who are you going to vote for, the REPUBLICAN?"


Nader.
posted by rodgerd at 2:08 AM on October 11, 2009


Maybe I'm a more pragmatic faggot than I used to be, or maybe it's just because I've become such a jaded, cynical fuck when it comes to national politics. Regardless, I'm pretty pleased with the general direction we're heading with Obama (with some notable exceptions regarding Unitary Executive doctrines).

Given that he has to maintain as much of a coalition as possible while he can to deal with things that I honestly think are at a more critical stage right now, I think his priorities are generally on the mark. If we are able to pass, in the next 6-8 months, public option health care legislation and also close Guantanamo, it'll be an good move forward and will make his presidency completely worth it, regardless of what else he does.

I also fully expect him to engage more directly in the LGBT issues (hate crimes legislation, ENDA, DOMA, DADT, etc.) in the second and third year of his administration. I still expect Congress-driven legislation to repeal DADT within the next 12 months. If I don't see something more tangible by late 2010, of course, then I'll be disappointed. But for now, I'm generally okay with the way things are developing in the first year of his Presidency.

Now, what would really be cool is if we could replace a retiring winger on the SCOTUS sometime in the next few years.
posted by darkstar at 2:16 AM on October 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Here's the difference between largely ineffectual anger-driven passion, and actual knowledge of how politics works:

WASHINGTON - Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, has some advice for gay rights supporters: lobby, don't march.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Frank called the demonstrations in Washington this weekend "a waste of time at best" and "an emotional release" that does little to cause change.

"The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.

Frank said their activities in Washington aren't likely to have much impact with lawmakers, because most are back in their states or districts for the Columbus Day weekend.

"Call or write your representative or senator, and then have your friends call and write their representative or senator," Frank said.

"That's what the NRA does. That's what the AARP does," he said, referring to the two most effective interest groups - the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Organizers of Sunday's march say it's only part of a broader effort that includes the kind of lobbying Frank is urging.

"We hear Congressman Frank when he says this is about getting back into your district and doing the work there," said Kip
Williams, co-director of the march.

But he said the march in Washington "is about building community and building a network who will go back and do that work."

posted by markkraft at 2:33 AM on October 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Okay, speaking here as one from the other convict continent - which makes us like brothers - can any Americans here elaborate on what it is, exactly, President Obama has done? What have you seen change in your day-to-day life, and is it comparable to the changes you may have seen under Bush? What I mean is, are things getting better on the surface, or behind the scenes? Are they staying the same? I know it's only been ten months, and don't get me wrong, I like the guy and I'm not having a go, but how long can people go on saying "He's only been president for x amount of time, what do you expect?" Well, frankly, from his inauguration speech, a lot of us have been expecting quite a bit, but good ole boys are still getting blowed up overseas and our dollar is close to overtaking yours, which tells me that things aren't going great economically (not his fault, I know, I'm just saying) and I just feel like he's not kicking as many asses and taking as many names as maybe we expected him to. Again, I'm an outsider, I'm not having a go, I like the dude, and in the end I guess I don't care, but Obama's just seeming a little...vapourware-ish.

Has he made the difference you were all looking forward to?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't harbor any ill-will towards you and I'm sorry that you felt my remarks were condescending

I don't harbor you any ill-will, either, but your comment used language that marginalized the discrimination that a number of Americans are suffering right now, yourself included.

Holding Obama to his promises is not the same as asking for "golden unicorns with lasers on their heads that poo and pee rainbows overnight". It is condescending to make that connection. I see it too many times in every Obama thread on Metafilter and it is aggravating.

His work on the issues he promised to address for the people who voted for him has been middling to, frankly, damaging to civil rights. For someone too busy to fulfill his promises, he has set aside time for folks like Rick Warren.

Questioning his promises and contrasting them with his actions is our responsibility and our right. As you're gay, I hope that you re-read your initial comment and perhaps give some thought to this. I can understand wanting to give Obama more time for reasons of "pragmatism", though I admit my impatience. But reducing someone else's concerns, in the meantime, to a ridiculous request for rainbow-shitting unicorns is offensive.

The need to defend civil rights is legitimate and as high a priority as anything else this country faces, if not, perhaps, more important. This is the very stuff that this country is founded on. Yes, George W. Bush fucked up this country and parts of the world very badly. Yes, Obama has a lot on his plate. But Bush's fuck-ups do not mean Obama is off the hook for his promises and does not mean we should not closely scrutinize his actions, and how they contrast, sometimes drastically, with repeated promises.

In good faith, I hope you had a good Saturday, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was afraid he dropped the issue altogether and that it'd just be put off for the next liberal administration.

Still, he really should show some real action soon.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:32 AM on October 11, 2009


I suggest everyone, whether happy or not with Obama, visit the Obameter about once every two weeks. He hasn't been in office a year yet. He's made some progress on his promises. And if you track them, I think he's playing a two-term strategy. Everything he has done so far seems consistent with someone who is conserving as much broad political capital as he can by doing the safe things most want, and doing them up front.

Assuming nobody just up and shoots him (which seems increasingly likely), he's probably learned the Carter lesson — if you come out of nowhere and you do not play ball, your own Congresspeople will work to stymie your every effort. And despite your best intentions, you will be viewed as an ineffectual president.

Would I like to have seen, oh, a press conference a week after his swearing in, where he says "We will be investigating and prosecuting crimes of the Bush administration" while ax-carrying guys in black hoods line up behind him? Yup, yup, I would. But he talks about going forward instead of looking back and then one of his minions stumbles across something that cannot be ignored, and the people clamor for justice, and he just says, "Well, that's their job." He is not seen as going after the Bush administration but my guess is that some heads are going to roll anyway. The showy stuff burns through political capital like nobody's business.

He's probably going to get Americans back to being sleepy and contented, oh, and not in two wars, before he shakes up the military, too, hopefully in his second term. The second term would be where I expect the gloves to come off — he can't get re-elected and so he no longer has to worry. And he must worry, quite a bit. The last non-WASP President got shot, in the head. He does not have a long track record, or decades of wheeling and dealing. His popular majority margin was slim, and it was against a guy who looked a lot like Bush-Lite. He walked into office knowing he'd have a two-front war, a plunging economy, and a bunch of other little messes to contain.

I'd be cautious, too.
posted by adipocere at 6:37 AM on October 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think he's playing a two-term strategy.

That's obvious. It couldn't be more clear that what Obama tells himself in bed every night is, "Ok, remember: second term!"

Whether that's smart is another question entirely.
posted by mediareport at 6:47 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Obama doesn't deserve criticism for this. When was the last time a sitting president actually recognized GAY AMERICANS? I mean, the most powerful leader of the free world actually expressed interest in our cause. This is a bridge you DO NOT want to burn. I am gay, and this is something I never thought would happen in my lifetime.

Also, anyone who is gay should understand that America is a pretty damn homophobic place compared to most western democracies. Despite the political liabilities involved, Obama has decided to confront that homophobia just like we do, and he didn't have to. And you know what - it's fucking frustrating and slow. Cut him some slack. People's attitudes don't change overnight. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
posted by Acromion at 6:57 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Obama's health care reform... isn't Obama's health care reform.

You are complaining about the Baucus bill, I presume... which is no more Obama's health care bill than any other Senate bill, or than the bills that the House are debating over.


Yes, that's true. But that's what I'm complaining about: Obama didn't lead on this; noting that when the Clintons lea on the issue by asking Congress to pass a specific bill, that tactic failed in '94, the Obama Administration decided instead to let Congress take the lead. That was a mistake. The other mistake was to preemptively take Single Payer off the table, so it wasn't even used as a bargaining chip.

Obama doesn't have the temperament to lead: he exhorts ("Yes we can!"), but he's moist comfortable with the this consensus-finding tactic, in which he lets both sides rant, then shows up as the calm guy who states each side's case, and shows he can understand everyone's fears and angst, and then proposes some safe middle course.

He did this brilliantly with the Reverend Wright brouhaha: Wright rants ("God Hates America for what's been done to the black man!), the right-wing critics pounce ("Rev. Wright is a racist hater!"), then Obama shows up and acknowledges that yes, the black man has had it bad but even his own grandmother finds young black males scary, and Obama can understand and empathize with everyone. Which is a great tactic, and does bring people together, but it's not the "I have his pecker in my pocket" forceful Johnsonian leadership needed to bring down a heath care industry that spends 1.5 Million dollars a day of self-interested lobbying.

(And yes, LBJ was referring to Ho Chi Minh's pecker in the most famous version of that quote, and it turned out the forceful Johnson was tragically wrong about whose pecker was whose pocket.)
posted by orthogonality at 7:13 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


It does seem fairly obvious to me that Obama is playing this as a two-termer. And part of me is glad that he's got the foresight to plan ahead through the 2012 elections.

And another part of me wishes he would just put his shoulder to the wheel and DO IT NOW and fuck the political repercussions because hey! He got elected! He can do what he wants to do! Screw political capital - if he actually follows through on his campaign promises, well, awesome. He can campaign on THAT next time around. And if he loses the next election? Well, too bad for him, but he will have done a lot of good for the country (and isn't that the point?) and hey, he will be able to say that he got a lot done.

But then I remember that the other option last time around included Sarah Palin and I ultimately conclude that I'm glad, for now, that he's playing the long game and not the short one.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 AM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've never understood why there has been such an emphasis placed on DADT, as if it is the bellwether for the progress for gay rights. It seems to me that the following might be more important than the right to serve in the military:

1) Hate crime legislation - which just passed the House and will pass in the Senate (and which as a bonus covers both sexual orientation and gender identity)

2) Expanding civil rights protections - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is likely to be passed during this Congressional session (it too would cover both sexual orientation and gender identity).

3) Repealing DOMA - this is something Obama said he supports, but he has not offered any concrete timelines for getting this done. The Respect for Marriage Act, that would repeal DOMA, has been introduced in the House, but there appears to be significant resistance, even from within the Democratic Party. Even Barney Frank opposes this legislation.

4) Immigration equality - allowing same-sex couples to petition to bring their partners into the country.

I understand that DADT is distinct from these other issues because Obama arguably has the authority to rescind DADT unilaterally, without Congressional action, but I am still confused as to why so much more pressure is put on him, when it is really Congress that holds the keys to providing full civil rights to the LBGTQ community.


1) No, because hate crime legislation is probably unconstitutional. Such things are almost always applied overbroadly in a way that punishes speech and free exercise, violating the First Amendment. The first time some two kids get into a fist fight after school and it turns out one of them had a Leviticus 22:11 shirt on and ends up getting Federal prison time out of it, I will be writing to every damn member of Congress to get that pile of horse shit repealed - and possibly starting a preliminary conflicts check. It's also a violent crimes bill, which is not within the powers of the Federal government. Also it's unnecessary because assault and battery is already a crime.

2) Non-discrimination is important qua non-discrimination, but ENDA is less important because a helluva lot of gays live in states or cities with non-discrimination laws already.

3) Repealing DOMA is an idiot thing to do. If it were done today, chaos would ensue. When 13 states have approved gay marriage legislatively or by referendum, and we can be absolutely sure a federal marriage amendment won't be the result of repealing DOMA, then it will be time to repeal it. Right now DOMA serves only to give each state their own jurisdiction over the gay marriage question. DOMA (a) ALLOWS Massachusetts et al. to do their thing despite the federal definition of marriage being inconsistent and (b) means Mass et al. gay marriages won't be forced on Texas, cutting out the knees from any populist fed marriage amendment movement. The shrill activists yelling for an end to DOMA are playing with seriously messed up voodoo they do not understand.

4) This affects such a ridiculous minority of gay people that including it on this list must have been facetious.

Can you point out to me a gay person whose assault cannot legally be prosecuted? Who cannot legally live in a place with sexual orientation non-discrimination or gay marriage or civil unions? Who cannot legally spend time with their partner and petition for immigration (on other grounds)?

Because gay men and women absolutely cannot legally serve in the armed forces.
posted by jock@law at 7:44 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, anyone who is gay should understand that America is a pretty damn homophobic place compared to most western democracies.

Objectively false. Compile a list of all the countries in the Western Hemisphere and Europe to the eastern edge of the EU. You want to compare the U.S. to Poland, Romania, the Balkans, Czech Republic, and almost all of Latin America?

Oh, I see. You meant rich western democracies.
posted by jock@law at 7:49 AM on October 11, 2009


DADT is probably the only gay-related issue that he has direct control over, and he's promised to fix it, and at great political risk to himself.

I agree with those upthread who've said that Obama is the type to get all his ducks in a row before he moves on something, and it's a good strategy. This, though, isn't really true; something like 70% of Americans, including a sizable chunk of Republicans, favor repealing DADT. It would rile up the tea party contingent, but they're already upset, and Obama's long-term strategy looks to involve stirring the hornets' nest periodically to make sure he has plenty of crazies to contrast himself against anyway. It wouldn't be particularly risky politically, except among people who would never, ever, ever vote for him.

It seems pretty clear to me that Obama's outlined one major policy proposal to push through for each year of his presidency. This year, health care reform, next year, immigration reform. I think we'll see a serious push on gay rights by the end of his first term. But by all means, keep pushing and prodding and calling the White House about it. Stuff doesn't get done in Washington unless pressure gets applied.
posted by EarBucket at 8:04 AM on October 11, 2009


Yes, you guys are right. Obama is worse than hitler and stalin combined.

Now don't we all feel better.
posted by Allan Gordon at 8:43 AM on October 11, 2009


The Battered Wife Syndrome Of The Human Rights Campaign (Andrew Sullivan)
posted by Craig at 8:45 AM on October 11, 2009


maybe this and maybe that. Let the actions that follow the speech give a true answer. Any further delay will not do him any good at all.
posted by Postroad at 8:48 AM on October 11, 2009


Bill Maher: Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Because It Will Make Rush Limbaugh "Explode" (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2009


Video: Obama's HRC Speech [24:48].
posted by ericb at 9:07 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Retired military leaders have spoken loudly of "mass resignations" in the officer corps if DADT is repealed.

Screw the retired leaders.
• 73 percent of military personnel are comfortable with lesbians and gays (Zogby International, 2006).

• One in four U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan or Iraq knows a member of their unit who is gay (Zogby, 2006).

Majorities of weekly churchgoers (60 percent), conservatives (58 percent), and Republicans (58 percent) now favor repeal (Gallup, 2009).

Seventy-five percent of Americans support gays serving openly - up from just 44 percent in 1993 (ABC News/Washington Post, 2008).

• In 1993 RAND Corp. concluded that openly gay people in the U.S. military do not negatively impact unit cohesion, morale, good order, or military readiness.

• Several other military-commissioned and GAO studies have concluded that open service does not undermine military readiness, troop morale or national security.

• Studies of the militaries in Australia, Israel, Great Britain and Canada have shown open service to have no adverse effect on enrollment or retention.

• The total number of countries allowing openly gay service is 24. The US and Turkey are the only two original NATO countries that still have bans in place.

• Today, there are at least 65,000 gay Americans serving on active duty and one million gay veterans in the United States, according to the Urban Institute.

• The CIA, FBI, State Department, the Defense Department on the civilian side, and defense contractors do not discriminate based on sexual orientation.*
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on October 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


A roundup of reactions to the speech (AmericaBlog Gay)

Joe Solmonese Insists He Didn't Tell Obama to Wait on DADT. (Queerty)

HRC: Obama gets until 2017 to keep his promises, and don't criticize him until then (Americablog Gay)

Reid Appeals Directly To Obama: Help Us Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Huffington Post)
posted by Craig at 9:14 AM on October 11, 2009


Admirals, Generals: Let Gays Serve Openly -- "More than 100 call for repeal of military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."
posted by ericb at 9:16 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


In related news:
Straight Guys Tell
"You’ve heard the threats -- about how gay men in the shower might bring down the U.S. military with a wink, a pinch, or a flick of a wet towel. But where’s the truth in that? What’s it really like to serve alongside gay and lesbian service members?"
posted by ericb at 9:20 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


CNN: Roundup of reactions - Gay Activists Heated Debate About Obama's Gay Rights Speech. Part 1, Part 2 (Youtube video)
posted by Craig at 9:26 AM on October 11, 2009


Joint Forces Quarterly just published a paper that was favorably reviewed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that totally trashes DADT.

Yep. Rare Source of Attack on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The article "which...was reviewed before publication by the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff": The Efficacy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [PDF].
posted by ericb at 9:30 AM on October 11, 2009


If I don't see something more tangible by late 2010, of course, then I'll be disappointed. But for now, I'm generally okay with the way things are developing in the first year of his Presidency.

I'm glad, for now, that he's playing the long game and not the short one.


Yes and yes.
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on October 11, 2009


TypographicalError: "So I really don't know where this ridiculous hatred towards Obama Bush is coming from. His tenure so far has been marked by a series of actions taken to keep the US from falling down around our ears safe from terrorists and to try to make us a responsible leading member of the international community again. ... I'm going to sit back and trust. Because, while some of his decisions are suboptimal, he's doing mostly good, responsible things to help this nation, and I see no reason to believe that he won't continue."

See what I did there?

Slap*Happy: "Obama is cautious, methodical, slow to start, makes his progress difficult to track, and is completely unstoppable because he got his ducks in a row beforehand. "

Which is why Chicago will be hosting the 2016 Olympics.

markkraft: "Which is worse, really... GLBT soldiers having to fight in two unnecessary military occupations, or getting kicked out of the military?"

Unless you mean "have to" in the economic sense, I observe that ours is a volunteer army. Which has not been involved in necessary military action - as I define it - for the last 64 years. So, in my callous opinion, any GLBTs distressed to find themselves at risk of dying for our current imperial misadventures ought to have been paying more attention.

adipocere: "I think he's playing a two-term strategy. Everything he has done so far seems consistent with someone who is conserving as much broad political capital as he can by doing the safe things most want, and doing them up front. "

This is what has become known as "11-dimensional chess". Formerly known as "Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?"
posted by Joe Beese at 9:58 AM on October 11, 2009


I normally disagree with a lot of Andrew Sullivan says, and I normally disagree with those who think that Obama is moving too slowly, but I am starting to get disillusioned. As Sullivan wrote last night, Obama isn't offering a time certain for anything. Not only that, Joe Solmonese of the HRC is sending around a message saying, in effect, that he's content with waiting till January 19, 2017 to hold Obama accountable for anything, which is, pardon my French, total bullshit. We don't know whether Obama will be in the White House in 2017. We don't know whether he will still have a Democratic House or Senate in a year. The time to make potentially unpopular changes is now, not four or eight years from now.

And no, don't tell me to cut him some slack. Not if that means waiting until Congress is no longer in Democratic hands. Forget any of these sweeping changes after that point. Seriously, just forget it.

Obama is great at placating and at employing soaring rhetoric, and last night was no exception. But decisive action and taking unpopular stands are what's needed, and he's not doing that, for whatever reason, at least not on these issues. I know that there are who will say that it's absurd to ask for any timetable when he has so much else on his plate, and that there are more important matters that take priority right now. I can't disagree.

But there could have been one thing -- anything -- even a token, like making a time commitment to implement an end the HIV travel ban (an overturn of the ban was already passed by both Houses and was signed by his predecessor), on which he could have made a promise for movement last night with a timeframe attached, and he firmly chose not to do that. That bothers the hell out of me, no matter what the HRC thinks that I should think.
posted by blucevalo at 10:10 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, because hate crime legislation is probably unconstitutional.

Bullshit.

The Matthew Shepard Act extends the already enforced 1969 United States federal hate-crime law. The principal changes to the existing 1969 law would be:
Gender, disability and sexual orientation would become additional protected classifications [added to those classes already covered -- race, color, religion or national origin].

The six federally protected activities would be deleted. A victim would be protected by the law at all times, not just when they were doing specific activities, like being at work, voting, or attending a public school.
The scope of the law would include:
Both men and women would be protected if the assault or threat of assault was gender-based.

Quadriplegics, paraplegics, and persons who are blind, deaf etc. would be protected from attacks from individuals because of their disability.

Heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals would all be protected from crimes motivated by hatred of sexual orientation.
Such things are almost always applied overbroadly in a way that punishes speech and free exercise, violating the First Amendment.

Bullshit, again.
"Social and religious conservatives generally oppose the bill. Many ignore the protections that the bill would give to women, men, the disabled, and heterosexuals. They appear to be concerned almost exclusively with protections given to persons of one sexual orientation: homosexuals. They are concerned that a person who verbally attacks gays or lesbians could be charged under the act if any violent or criminal act resulted from the speech. This appears to be a misinterpretation of the bill, because it could only be applied to a person who has actually committed a crime. Speeches attacking gays and lesbians are not a criminal behavior; they are protected speech under the First Amendment."*
The Free Speech argument is old, lame and specious.
posted by ericb at 10:10 AM on October 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also -- HR 1592 contains a 'Rule of Construction' which specifically provides that "Nothing in this Act...shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution."
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2009


He won office with a bare majority of the popular vote, and he hasn't spent decades building a power base in washington before he took office like LBJ and FDR did.

Popular vote totals:

2008: Obama 52.9% McCain 45.7%

2004: Bush 50.7% Kerry 48.3%

1996: Clinton 49.2% Dole 40.7%

1992: Clinton 43.0% Bush 37.4% Perot 18.9%

That doesn't look like a "bare majority" to me. And in January, Obama and all of his administration were saying that they had a "mandate for change." That's not language that someone with a "bare majority" would use.
posted by blucevalo at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama does bring people together, but it's not the "I have his pecker in my pocket" forceful Johnsonian leadership needed to bring down a heath care industry that spends 1.5 Million dollars a day of self-interested lobbying.

Lyndon Johnson went from mastery of Congress and the biggest landslide election victory ever in 1964, to abandoning his doomed re-election campaign in 1968 after trying to do too much in his first full term (War on Poverty, Vietnam, civil rights, forced busing). The result was 8 years of Richard Nixon and 24 years of Republican dominance.

Are you sure that's the example you want to use?
posted by msalt at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Can you point out to me a gay person whose assault cannot legally be prosecuted?
"Every act of violence is tragic and harmful in its consequences, but not all crime is based on hate. A hate crime or bias motivated crime occurs when the perpetrator of the crime intentionally selects the victim because of who the victim is. A bias motivated crime affects not only the victim and their family but an entire community or category of people and their families. A study funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics released September 2000, shows that 85 percent of law enforcement officials surveyed recognize bias motivated violence to be more serious than similar crimes not motivated by bias.

Hate crimes are destructive and divisive. A random act of violence resulting in injury or even death is a tragic event that devastates the lives of the victim and their family, but the intentional selection and beating or murder of an individual because of who they are terrorizes an entire community and sometimes the nation. For example, it is easy to recognize the difference between check-kiting and a cross burning; or the arson of an office building versus the intentional torching of a church or synagogue. The church or synagogue burning has a profound impact on the congregation, the faith community, the greater community, and the nation."*

"According to FBI statistics, of the over 113,000 hate crimes since 1991, 55% were motivated by racial bias, 17% by religious bias, 14% sexual orientation bias, 14% ethnicity bias, and 1% disability bias.

The [Matthew Shepard aka Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention] Act is supported by thirty-one state Attorneys General and over 210 national law enforcement, professional, education, civil rights, religious, and civic organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the NAACP. A November 2001 poll indicated that 73% of Americans favor hate-crime legislation covering sexual orientation." *
posted by ericb at 10:25 AM on October 11, 2009


The result was 8 years of Richard Nixon and 24 years of Republican dominance.

The result was also civil rights legislation that is still one of the cornerstones of our democracy 45 years later. And the result was not 24 years of Republican dominance. Carter won the election in 1976. Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress following the same election.
posted by blucevalo at 10:28 AM on October 11, 2009


I'm as impatient as the next person, but I'll repeat what I said since the election: the time for pitchforks to come out is after mid-term elections. That's the time to really start beating the drums day and night and not stop until there are results and not words.

My reasoning is partially influenced by the experience of seeing gay rights activism (especially Newsom & gay marriage) blamed (unfairly) for hobbling Democrats in elections etc. - it was 100% bullshit, but it caused a lot of internecine fights. I'd like to avoid even a hint of these issues in the future. SO - let Obama have his time to "deal with big problems", let him have his mid-terms without people being able to use gay rights advocacy as a way to justify whatever happens to the majority count. At that point, Obama will be judged on his record and "gay rights" will not be used as an excuse real or imagined (Clinton and the origin of DADT) for why his overall agenda has been derailed (should that happen). The deck will be clear, come January 2011. Then it will be time to set up tents on the White House lawn, and not leave until gay americans are full citizens. There will at that point be a full 2 years and the cudgel of accountability in the pres. elections of 2012 to get the work done. Which is not to say that I wouldn't love to see it all happen much sooner, but that's my real-politik schedule.
posted by VikingSword at 10:33 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"that's what I'm complaining about: Obama didn't lead on this; noting that when the Clintons lead on the issue by asking Congress to pass a specific bill, that tactic failed in '94, the Obama Administration decided instead to let Congress take the lead. That was a mistake. The other mistake was to preemptively take Single Payer off the table, so it wasn't even used as a bargaining chip."

So, what you're saying, then, is that the tactic which failed so badly in 1994 that it led to a huge Republican landslide in the House and Senate -- trying to force through Single Payer Hillarycare socialized medicine program like the one in Cuba, which gets between you and your doctor, takes your choice of doctor away from you, allows government death panels to kill people -- both old and young -- in order to save money, and was opposed with nonstop ads from the AMA and all the other major medical groups -- that should've been Obama's starting position? My way or KilleryCare?!

What... do you think I am being unfair with my depiction of such a starting position?! Because I can assure you the Republican Party wouldn't be as generous.

You don't get it. Obama was doing his best to rob Republicans of their strongest straw man arguments. He was also profoundly aware that the idea of the President trying to force things through Congress lost Clinton's plan votes, to the point that nearly 50% of Democrats in Congress opposed the plan.

You basically lay out the failed position of the past, and say that it's Obama's fault for not wanting to go anywhere near it. You try to make incremental progress a dirty word, and yet fail to point out that it is oftentimes the best possible tactic, and that this country paid a huge price for the Democrat's 1994 defeat in the polls.

Early Clinton era progress, such as cutting taxes on 15 million low-income families and 90% of small businesses, offering training-to-work programs, and increasing the minimum wage, led to strong, sustained economic growth, putting what was, essentially, government stimulus in the hands of people who would spend it, and businesses who would create the most jobs. Millions of minorities moved into the middle class. Well, the Republican landslide ended those policies, which were replaced with Republican pro-business policies and financial deregulation.

Humane, yet smart economists like Robert Reich were out, while "centrist" triangulating pollsters like Dick Morris were in.

The simple fact is, the Republican Party has been moving this country's policies to the right for much of the last thirty years, to the point that Reagan-era taxation / "trickle down" economic policies seems goddamn progressive in comparison to what we have today. To ignore that fact and say that the current President should blow his wad in an orgiastic spree of handouts to special interests, followed by another decade or two of Republican Congressional policies is idiotic and irresponsible.

Playing "the long game" will work... if Democrats don't get stupid and stop going to the polls to vote. The real risk, frankly, aren't Repubicans offering better choices. It's foolishly impatient "progressives" who ignore the fact that progress is, by definition, taking steps towards a goal.

Maybe they should start calling themselves Hail Maryists, or Deux ex Machinists, as its far more accurate than anything that sounds remotely like individuals who might make an honest assessment of the difficulties involved, and actually start exploring ways that they can get their policies both passed and appreciated by the public for a few years, so that it will be politically inexpedient for the other side to gut them.
posted by markkraft at 10:35 AM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Joe Beese: "I don't have an actual argument, so I'm going to strikethrough what you said and replace it with Bush to demonstrate that you're a naive person."

Bush was not doing things which were even remotely close to optimal for the nation, nor do I believe that he was performing those actions in good faith. Bush constantly demonstrated a lack of understanding of the nuance that goes into running a country, whereas Obama seems to bathe in it. They're just completely different.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2009


Many folks have hit it spot in in talking about the simulataneous and incredibly delicate political balance our President is currently negotiating. The descriptions of Obama as a consensus-builder are, I believe, spot on as well. He isn't the type of man to shove things through the process, because he believes in the process and the idealistic (perhaps) struggle to achieve consensus.

I'm as pro-gay rights as the next person in theory, but I have to say this: Without the steps he has taken already wrt the financial markets, and the steps he and the Democrats are attempting to take wrt healthcare, there simply would not be an America (as we know it) in which to fight for gay rights, or any other incredibly important issues. We were about 4 hours from total financial collapse, and if we don't fix healthcare everyone except the incredibly wealthy will be dead, dying, or broke in about 9 years.

It sucks to have so many important issues tabled for more pressing ones, but it's the only practical way to ensure that we are both alive as a country and still with progressives in office to enact those changes once the hemorrhaging stops.

The bonus is, when the President and the Democrats pass health care reform, they will have so much political capitol that I believe rapid-fire change to any number of issues will occur at a much faster rate.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:49 AM on October 11, 2009


Carter won the election in 1976. Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress following the same election.

In fairness, both of these things happened immediately after Richard Nixon utterly disgraced both himself and his party with Watergate. The more relevant statistic (ie: it predates the full knowledge of Watergate) is that, when re-elected in 1972, Nixon carried 48 of 50 states.
posted by philip-random at 10:52 AM on October 11, 2009


tiny american flags for some, second-class citizenship for others
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:53 AM on October 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Non-discrimination is important qua non-discrimination, but ENDA is less important because a helluva lot of gays live in states or cities with non-discrimination laws already.

Unbelievable. Last time I checked one of our founding documents states:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"Currently, it remains legal to fire or refuse to hire someone for being lesbian, gay or bisexual in 29 states, while transgender workers can be denied or refused jobs in 38 states." *
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


...repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from forcing states to recognize gay marriage.

Fuck off, Washington Post.
posted by Bokononist at 11:00 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


This post marked the second time ever, and both within 24 hours, that I've seen (or at least noticed) "GLBT" rather than "LGBT". It seemed as if the term had morphed overnight, or (more likely) I was misremembering what I had always seen it as.

Then, in the comments of this post, I saw "LGBTQ". I didn't know what "Q" was.

All of this prompted me to look it up on Wikipedia:
Many variants exist including variations which merely change the order of the letters; however, LGBT or GLBT are the most common terms and the ones most frequently seen in current usage. Although identical in meaning, “LGBT” may have a more feminist connotation than “GLBT” as it places the “L” (for “lesbian”) first. When not inclusive of transgender people it is sometimes shortened to LGB. LGBT or GLBT may also include additional “Q”s for “queer” and/or “questioning” (sometimes abbreviated with a question mark) (e.g., “LGBTQ”, “LGBTQQ”, or “GLBTQ?”). Other variants may add a “U” for “unsure”; an “I” for intersex; another “T” for “transsexual” or “transvestite; another “T”, “TS”, or “2” for “Two‐Spirit” persons; an “A” or “SA” for straight allies; or an “A” for “asexual”. Some may also add a P for pansexual or polyamorous, and an O for omnisexual or other. The order of the letters has not been standardized; in addition to the variations between the positions of the initial “L” or “G”, the mentioned, less‐common letters, if used, may appear in almost any order.
LGBTQ?UITTSSAAPPO
posted by Flunkie at 11:19 AM on October 11, 2009


I'm as impatient as the next person, but I'll repeat what I said since the election: the time for pitchforks to come out is after mid-term elections.

Seems to be me that at that point Obama will be gearing up for the 2012 election and will be retreating to the center where you promise everything to everyone when you are in front of them, but don't do anything because it could be held against you.
posted by smackfu at 11:21 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


TypographicalError: "Bush was not doing things which were even remotely close to optimal for the nation, nor do I believe that he was performing those actions in good faith."

Obama's escalation in Afghanistan - his first one, I mean - and his attempts to legalize the Cheney gulag are also not "remotely close to optimal for the nation".

And I submit that your assessments of "good faith" amount to nothing more than whether you like the politician in question.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:22 AM on October 11, 2009


msalt: Is that a timid agenda? Which of these issues is less important than DADT and should be dropped in favor of it?

It's not a zero-sum game, and it's not as if the staff that's working on one issue are the same staff that's working on another issue.

markkraft: Well, that's sort of ignoring the fact that each day these laws are in place, real harm is done to LGBT people as a result of them. I'll just point to MLK's very passionate argument that there is never a convenient or easy time to deal with this. And given the majorities in favor of some form of marriage equality and repeal of DADT, it's hard to argue that now is not a convenient time.

But anyway, congress has taken the initiative in introducing the Respect for Marriage Act and started the DADT repeal. So it's moving forward.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:26 AM on October 11, 2009


Many variants exist including variations which merely change the order of the letters; however, LGBT or GLBT are the most common terms and the ones most frequently seen in current usage. Although identical in meaning, “LGBT” may have a more feminist connotation than “GLBT” as it places the “L” (for “lesbian”) first. When not inclusive of transgender people it is sometimes shortened to LGB. LGBT or GLBT may also include additional “Q”s for “queer” and/or “questioning” (sometimes abbreviated with a question mark) (e.g., “LGBTQ”, “LGBTQQ”, or “GLBTQ?”). Other variants may add a “U” for “unsure”; an “I” for intersex; another “T” for “transsexual” or “transvestite; another “T”, “TS”, or “2” for “Two‐Spirit” persons; an “A” or “SA” for straight allies; or an “A” for “asexual”. Some may also add a P for pansexual or polyamorous, and an O for omnisexual or other. The order of the letters has not been standardized; in addition to the variations between the positions of the initial “L” or “G”, the mentioned, less‐common letters, if used, may appear in almost any order.
LGBTQ?UITTSSAAPPO


Ya know what? When everyone, no matter their background has equal rights, and does not face discrimination, and is not disadvantaged, maybe there will be less need to focus on a given group and give it a special name or abbreviation so as to deal with the horrendous problems they face - so that instead of everyday having it thrown in their face "you're different, and worse", their identity can be merely an afterthought. At that point, when we assemble all the letters, it'll simply read: HUMAN. Until then, deal.
posted by VikingSword at 11:31 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


ericb: none of your posts have been responsive to mine. hate crimes legislation is unconstitutional if it punishes people because of their speech or beliefs, which it often does. the example in my post was about violence accompanied by speech; your rant about speech alone is utterly nonresponsive. my concern is not that a preacher is going to be charged with a crime for his speech. my concern is that stupid schoolyard fights that would ordinarily result in a suspension and possibly some community service - as they should - are going to result in juveniles and young adults getting federal felonies on their records for no good reason. furthermore, in 29 states it is legal to discriminate, yes, but that means that in 21 - almost half - people are protected. people have the legal ABILITY to move to one of those states. but they DO NOT have the legal ability, under ANY circumstances, to join the armed forces. that's why DADT is objectively, measurably, undeniably more important than ENDA.

put the reverse glenbeckianism away now. your kind of emotional and ignorant ranting brings down the level of discourse on metafilter, in politics, and in the world. sit down, would you please, sir.
posted by jock@law at 11:34 AM on October 11, 2009


Until then, deal.
Wow, um, I'm not sure what I said that made you think I was having a difficult time "dealing", but I apologize that I inadvertently touched a nerve, apparently.
posted by Flunkie at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2009


"As Sullivan wrote last night, Obama isn't offering a time certain for anything."

Ok then. I am hereby making you the theoretical president. Congratulations, Mr. Theoretical President.

You have been briefed by your generals, who have instructed you about the difficulties and risks involved in DADT, the concerns about people leaving, the need for training, education, and policies to handle this carefully, so that those who "come out" don't get attacked by their fellow soldiers or start pushing to leave the military.

They make it clear to you that if you insist on overturning DADT, it should be done gradually, with a small mountain of policy changes. Your advisors tell you that the best way to handle this is through legislation, especially since it would prevent any later Republican president from overturning it, but your advisor in charge of handling health care is concerned that introducing it before health care has passed may increase the noise level from the right, and scare Blue Dog Democrats who are up for reelection in 2010. Several of these Democrats are currently expecting to lose, are pushing back against the attack ads run in their state by progressive PACs, and may be willing to consider defecting to the Republicans in order to avoid losing power... but we *think* we can get them to agree to not support a Republican fillibuster of health care, allowing us to pass the legislation, even if they won't support the legislation itself.

Rep. Patrick Murphy has been doing solid work on DADT legislation, and expects to have it ready soon, but others are encouraging him to get the legislation right, with protections in place for gays and lesbians in the military, so as to provide a smooth transition that won't allow Republicans to scapegoat gays in the military as causing numerous confrontations and people leaving the military. This legislation will require considerable training and a change of policies throughout the military. It is commonly established practice, for example, for Drill Sargeants to use the tactic of insulting new recruits based on their weakness and lack of effort as homosexuals. This will need to change, as will numerous other military policies from counseling to benefits.

Again, it is *absolutely vital* that we have a smooth transition on this, as any problems or violence relating to the transition will be greatly inflated by the opposition party, threatening Democrats in the next election, undermining the policy and spreading increased disruption and disorder within the ranks, at a time when we cannot afford it.

With that in mind, Mr. theoretical President, it has been requested by some that we give a public date for when DADT will pass. I know it's coming up... but do you have a specific date in mind?

"Joe Solmonese of the HRC is sending around a message saying, in effect, that he's content with waiting till January 19, 2017 to hold Obama accountable for anything"

Actually, that's an untrue characterization of what he's said... but suffice it to say, Joe Solmonese of the HRC has the ear of the President's closest advisors, and knows far more about the President's strategy on how to best pass GLBT policies and when that is likely to occur than you do.

The fact of the matter is, the Obama Administration has been entirely honest, upfront, and truthful with the HRC thus far, and things are progressing as planned even before Obama took office. Joe Solmonese is very unlikely to raise a stink unless the President breaks his word... and there is no timeline on that.
posted by markkraft at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Aravosis:

What's particularly disturbing is how President Obama contradicts himself, and his own administration, when talking to a gay crowd. The president claimed that he's for treating gay couples just like married couples. Then why is he against letting gay couples marry? The president claimed that it doesn't matter if we're at war and working on health care and lots of other important issues, we must forget ahead on gay civil rights. Then why is Obama's own administration putting out the talking point that they can't move ahead on gay rights until the wars are over, until health care is over, until Obama has less on his plate?

posted by Joe Beese at 11:40 AM on October 11, 2009


First off, Fuck Andrew Sullivan

The man is a good and interesting writer whom I read on a weekly basis but the man has never produced anything of substance, he lives his life as a bomb thrower. This is a man who JUST THIS FUCKING WEEK had to apologize AGAIN for playing a major role in killing off health care reform last time around (and he ended that apology by saying it's all really Hillary's fault anyways). And we're listening to him on policy questions? What the fuck does he know about policy? He called anyone who opposed the Iraq war on substantive measures a fifth column!

The man can only destroy, not create. In issue after issue he jumps up and down and laments that people don't adopt his position right away, damn the consequences. But does he offer a way forward? Does he lead? No, he only shits on everyone from his lofty ideals while he does and risks NOTHING. Fuck him. Oh, and the most important issues in the world are always the ones that affect him personally (gay marriage/HIV travel ban), whereas similar issues that affect others (abortion) are icky and he'd prefer if they not happen.

Second, fairly or unfairly I am in the "Obama has a lot on his plate right now" camp. I'm sorry, but when even Barney Freaking Frank (I love that guy) says to give Obama a little space and time on the issue, then maybe it's time to give him some time and space.

Don't let up the pressure by any means, don't stand down, don't stop calling your congresspeople and telling them it's time to get a move on, but understand Obama is on your side and has a plan to get this done. You might not like the timeline, and that timeline can be changed through pressure, but don't think for a second that we're not making progress.
posted by slapshot57 at 11:45 AM on October 11, 2009


When the end of DADT comes, it will be because a military panel recommended it.

When gay marriage comes nationally, it will be because a majority of the states enacted it, and the Supreme Court backed it up.

I don't think the President is going to be the primary mover on either of those actions. Keep in mind that if it's possible for Obama to change those two things with the stroke of a pen, it'll be possible for the president after him to change it back. If you want lasting change, it has to come from the bottom up, not the top down.
posted by empath at 11:53 AM on October 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


but understand Obama is on your side and has a plan to get this done.

Really, I'm with you there. I just don't see what he's scared of though.

Any attempt by congress to reenact DADT after he repeals it would be laughed out of the room. The same argument for why Obama is moving slowly on this works just as well when congress tries to waste its time debating the repeal.

And soldiers who quit because of it? Those guys? They are soldiers who would abandon their brothers and sisters in arms because of politics. They stood with these people and faced death and then abandoned them for petty and stupid reasons. I was under the impression that military service required a stricter standard of resolve and commitment then you would expect from just straight up mercenaries. But no, apparently the volunteer army has attracted some fair weather friends. At least if we repealed DADT we'd effectively be Asking the rats to Tell us who they are.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saving up for the second term seems unwise to me, because I don't think Obama is necessarily re-electable. The American mainstream doesn't work that way -- it has already expiated our white guilt by electing a black man to the presidency in the first place, so there will be far less incentive to re-elect. He won't be shiny and new anymore and the people who crossed party lines to vote for him will have retreated after four years of wondering whether they made the right choice. Unless a real clunker nabs the Republican nomination, I don't think Obama will catch fire like he did last time.
posted by hermitosis at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


...but that means that in 21 - almost half - people are protected. people have the legal ABILITY to move to one of those states...

Last time I checked it was the UNITED STATES of America. Civil rights is for ALL, not SOME.

This afternoon -- Cleve Jones, creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and a protege of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk: "We're not settling. There's no such thing as a fraction of equality."
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


*Civil rights are...*
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on October 11, 2009


...hate crimes legislation is unconstitutional if it punishes people because of their speech or beliefs, which it often does.

Bullshit!
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2009


The hate crime legilation that has been in place since 1969 has never punished anyone "because of their speech or beliefs."

BTW -- with the extension of the legilation to include sexual orientation heterosexuals are also provided protection, as well.
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on October 11, 2009


...but they DO NOT have the legal ability, under ANY circumstances, to join the armed forces.

Gays and lesbians active in our armed forces today. They joined legally. As long as they "don't ask, don't tell," they can serve.

"Today, there are at least 65,000 gay Americans serving on active duty and one million gay veterans in the United States, according to the Urban Institute." *

FYI -- "Since 2001, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' discharges have declined by almost half."*
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2009


*extension of the legislation*
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2009


put the reverse glenbeckianism away now. your kind of emotional and ignorant ranting brings down the level of discourse on metafilter

Ranting? The majority of my posts are links to information that counters your postion. Ranting? I think you are a bit touchy in that I have exposed your position to be false and in error.
posted by ericb at 12:38 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


eric, no, they did not join legally. and "don't tell" means "don't tell anybody." any gay person who has come out to their doctor is banned from military service. you really don't know what you're talking about.
posted by jock@law at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2009


hate crimes legislation is unconstitutional if it punishes people because of their speech or beliefs, which it often does.

Can you please provide examples? Cites?
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2009


you really don't know what you're talking about.

I very much do know what I'm talking about.
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think Obama is necessarily re-electable.

He'll be the incumbent. Never underestimate the great power of inertia. It's much harder to get a bad politician out of office once elected than it is to get a good one in.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:41 PM on October 11, 2009


you really don't know what you're talking about.

I very much do know what I'm talking about.


Uh, guys? If you know what you're talking about can you maybe back it up instead of turning this into sandbox fighting? I mean, I love flinging sand as much as the next guy, but this isn't doing a damn thing to raise the level of discourse around here and stop the impression that we're, well, a bunch of jerks in a sandbox.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:42 PM on October 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Gay Men and Lesbians in the U.S. Military: Estimates from Census 2000 [PDF]
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on October 11, 2009


"Then why is Obama's own administration putting out the talking point that they can't move ahead on gay rights until the wars are over, until health care is over, until Obama has less on his plate?"

If you're going to insist on citing a blogger who claims that Obama's people are saying that gay rights will have to wait until after the wars are over -- very far fetched -- I insist that you either find such a citation from someone in the Obama administration... or at least admit the high probability that the author in question, John Aravosis, is acting like an intellectually dishonest drama queen, and that linking to his screeds might not reflect very well on you either.

Oh, and btw, I *LLLOOOOVE* it that John Aravosis used to be a lawyer for corrupt Republican Senator Ted Stevens. That shows a real lifelong commitment to somethingorother.
posted by markkraft at 12:45 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you know what you're talking about can you maybe back it up ....

I have and will continue to do so.

And, furthermore, I will refrain from my recent behavior of engaging jock@law personally. Sorry.
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on October 11, 2009


10 days ago: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Appeals Directly To Obama: Help Us Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

A Mormon on our side!
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on October 11, 2009


"A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations: ... That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts." 11 U.S.C. § 654(b)(2).

Any communication, whatsoever, that a person is gay or bisexual precludes them from military service. A little google-fu should turn up news reports - from shortly after the policy was implemented - on the phenomenon of servicemembers' families being called and asked if the servicemember had ever admitted being gay. It's less blatant now, but things like medical records - which are required by the military - can be used to discharge or prevent service. As some of you know, I have some experience in domestic violence cases - the number of DV cases where victims beg the prosecutor not to charge DV because of DADT is heartbreaking.

If the President insists on an incremental policy change, amending DADT and possibly HIPAA to prevent the use of those kinds of records in DADT discharges or refusals would be a good first step.
posted by jock@law at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2009


Obstacles ahead for Obama's gay rights goals.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) predicts Obama will succeed at overturning military ban on gays.
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2009


Why Nobel Laureate President Obama's Speech to the Gays Matters
"At first, I thought there was nothing new in President Obama's speech about lesbian and gay civil rights, but then I thought again.

...Then my partner and I took a taxi home. Our taxi driver asked us how the speech went, which led to a further conversation. Our taxi driver was a man from a country in Africa called Eritrea. He talked at some length about how happy he and others in his country were about President Obama's receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and how meaningful our country's electing President Obama was to the world outside of the United States. He talked about how America was hated during the years of the Bush administration and its war-mongering unilateralism -- and how, now, people feel free to love and look up to America once again.

...As much as we continue to endure the harms created by the inequalities we face here in the United States, our freedoms and protections are indeed immense compared to many in other nations. Imagine what the knowledge of President Obama's support for civil equality for LGBT people will mean to those lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in countries like Eritrea. Imagine the impact of his unequivocal support for our community on the content of international human rights dialogue. In other words, imagine the impact of this speech on the world, not just on Americans.

Taken in that context, Nobel Laureate President Obama's speech committing himself to the achievement of full civil equality for LGBT people and full and equal protection and recognition under the law of our relationships and our families is indeed new. And newsworthy."
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2009


If you want lasting change, it has to come from the bottom up, not the top down.

Exactly!
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2009


Worst. President. Ever.

amirite???
posted by jabberjaw at 1:09 PM on October 11, 2009


Well, here's an interesting question. Since the president has passed the buck to congress, and congress is, in fact, starting the momentum for repeal of DOMA and DADT, should we still give Obama credit for something that's not really his play at this time?

There's been backroom politics going on around these issues for decades. It's all bullshit until it becomes law or policy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:29 PM on October 11, 2009


The American mainstream doesn't work that way -- it has already expiated our white guilt by electing a black man to the presidency in the first place, so there will be far less incentive to re-elect.

Seriously? Obama's two greatest weaknesses as a candidate were inexperience and unfamiliarity. Neither of those will be in play in three years. Also, check out Obama's favorability rating (53.6% - 37.6%) versus three of his front-running competitors: Mike Huckabee (38% - 34.7%), Mitt Romney (33.5% - 37.4%), and Sarah Palin (37.5% - 50.7%). Three years is, as ever, an eternity in politics, but he should certainly be considered something like a 2-1 favorite to win at this point.
posted by EarBucket at 1:45 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


White House Press Secretary Robin Gibbs on DADT, from a January 15th, 2009 article by CNN:

In a response to a question on the Web site Change.gov asking whether Obama would get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, "There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.

"So not everything will get done in the beginning but he's committed to following through."


Yet another very clear example that the White House had said early on that overturning DADT would not happen right at the beginning. Add that to the President's personal letter to Sandy Tsao where he mentioned Congressional legislation was needed, and discussions with the major GLBT orgs in late Nov. 2008 when he was still President Elect, in which it was mentioned that DADT may have to wait until 2010, and you get a clear notion of what he has promised the community on DADT, how he intends to do it, and by when he expects it should be done.

Please note, Hillary Clinton also refused to commit to an executive order to repeal DADT, and even suggested that it might not be possible.

""I don't know what the legal framework would be because you remember that, in the face of what Bill was trying to do in '93, the act, by veto-proof majorities made prohibitions on doing that. So whether the president has authority to do it by executive order or not, I'm not sure. But I have been committed for more than nine years to eliminating 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

The simple fact is, the Obama administration was honest, up front, about the delays they expected on DADT. They could've blown smoke up your ass, but they didn't. President Obama has consistently promised he will do something about this, but even before he was elected, it was clear that the legislation would require congressional action, and might have to be attached to legislation like the Defense Appropriations budget in order to pass the Senate.

So, given his administration has indicated it won't be immediately, due to the need for Congressional legislation, I strongly sugggest people pay attention to what one of the GBLT org leaders said in that meeting they had with the Obama people in Nov. '08:

"I think 2009 is about foundation building and reaching consensus." - Aubrey Sarvis, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Seriously... stop trying to let air out of the tires, swearing at the driver, and shouting "are we there yet?"

The rest of us would like to get there, but you aren't helping. Sit down, shut up, and get on the goddamn bus.
posted by markkraft at 1:45 PM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Oh, and keep an eye on John Thune for the GOP nomination. I think he's seriously underrated as a dark horse candidate.)
posted by EarBucket at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2009


turgid dahlia: "can any Americans here elaborate on what it is, exactly, President Obama has done? What have you seen change in your day-to-day life, and is it comparable to the changes you may have seen under Bush? "

Flunkie: "LGBTQ?UITTSSAAPPO"
posted by kathrineg at 1:53 PM on October 11, 2009


Uh, what? That was an accident. Anyway, flunkie, I was going to say that it sounded a bit like you were mocking the amount of thought that goes into these terminology/acronyms, which is a sensitive point when coming from someone outside of the community.
posted by kathrineg at 2:05 PM on October 11, 2009


markkraft: The rest of us would like to get there, but you aren't helping. Sit down, shut up, and get on the goddamn bus.

And sit in the back no doubt.

Seriously, if you want to be a party whip, then be a party whip. But don't preen, posture, and pose about how "progressive" you are and then post bullshit like this. Because it's abundantly clear you don't have a clue as to what that means when you tell people to shut up about their constitutional rights, and put progress towards reelection above human rights.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:12 PM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


"can any Americans here elaborate on what it is, exactly, President Obama has done? What have you seen change in your day-to-day life, and is it comparable to the changes you may have seen under Bush? "

I'm no longer terrified of my own government, so that's good.
posted by kathrineg at 2:13 PM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


If indeed everyone is on the same page that federal gay rights initiatives are important and urgently needed, then there shouldn't be any issue with people continuing to point out that they are important and urgently needed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:19 PM on October 11, 2009


Oh, and keep an eye on John Thune for the GOP nomination. I think he's seriously underrated as a dark horse candidate.

Well, he's a member of The Family aka The (self-titled) Christian Mafia, so yeah, they're probably hoping to get one of their own in the race.
posted by hippybear at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2009


KirkJobSluder: There is no constitutional right to serve in the military. Seriously, y'all are setting off my faecebovemeter pretty hard here.
posted by jock@law at 2:50 PM on October 11, 2009


kathrineg: you were terrified? terrified? really? i think they make meds for that.
posted by jock@law at 2:53 PM on October 11, 2009


I'm no longer terrified of my own government, so that's good.

Me too. Unfortunately, I'm more terrified of many of my fellow citizens, so there's that.
posted by scody at 3:00 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


furthermore, in 29 states it is legal to discriminate, yes, but that means that in 21 - almost half - people are protected. people have the legal ABILITY to move to one of those states.

Oh, that's rich. I am overjoyed to know that I have the "legal ABILITY" to move to one of the 21 states where my rights are protected!

I didn't know that being a US citizen entailed an abridgement that says "but only in 21 states if you're a homosexual," but jock@law has educated me on that point. Let me pack my bags tonight and move out of the unprotected state in which I currently live, because apparently I don't belong here unless I don't care about being discriminated against!
posted by blucevalo at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2009


you were terrified? terrified? really? i think they make meds for that.

The fact that you were apparently unterrified speaks volumes.
posted by blucevalo at 3:06 PM on October 11, 2009


jock@law: "kathrineg: you were terrified? terrified? really? i think they make meds for that."

Classy!
posted by kathrineg at 3:09 PM on October 11, 2009


furthermore, in 29 states it is legal to discriminate, yes, but that means that in 21 - almost half - people are protected. people have the legal ABILITY to move to one of those states.

Shockingly close to the "you feel like you're in a minority because you live in a flyover state? well then move to a liberal urban center" conversation we hashed out here on MetaFilter recently.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yep. I've lived in liberal urban centers most of my life. I have nothing against living in one. The urban center I currently live in is great, as well. But it's in a state where there are no gay rights protections. The urban center in which I live recently passed protections for city employees, which is great, but I'm not a city employee. In other words, I'm screwed if I ever enter a situation in which it matters that I have the protections that I had when I lived on the left coast. I don't think that's acceptable.
posted by blucevalo at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


kathrineg: you were terrified? terrified? really? i think they make meds for that.

Man, San Francisco dodged the biggest bullet in the world by managing not to have an earthquake during Bush's eight years. After seeing what happened with Katrina, I shudder to think what my city would have been like if it had been leveled while Bush was at the helm. Yes, this is a real thing I was worried about.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


And no, "Move back to the one of the 21 states where you're protected" is not an answer.
posted by blucevalo at 3:22 PM on October 11, 2009


jock@law: "people have the legal ABILITY to move to one of those states. but they DO NOT have the legal ability, under ANY circumstances, to join the armed forces. that's why DADT is objectively, measurably, undeniably more important than ENDA."

Objectively, measurably, undeniably? The ENDA will provide protection to many more millions of people.

Yes, they could move to another state; but then again, they could just not join the military.
posted by kathrineg at 3:26 PM on October 11, 2009


bluecevalo: yeah, it just turns into an underground railroad for queers fleeing the Jim Crow-style state-approved enmity for safe zones. It wasn't a good solution then, and it isn't in this instance, either.
posted by hippybear at 3:28 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


katherine, that's simply false. DADT limits the freedom of ALL gay Americans. Legal discrimination in 29 states limits the freedom of SOME gay Americans. ALL is greater than SOME, no matter how you slice it.
posted by jock@law at 3:49 PM on October 11, 2009


blucevalo, sarcasm doesn't become you. I never said that ENDA wasn't important. I said it was less important than DADT.
posted by jock@law at 3:51 PM on October 11, 2009


It limits all gay* Americans who want to get a job in Texas, just like it limits all gay Americans who want to get a job in the military.


*I say gay with no intent to exclude other classes of people who lack deserved civil rights protections
posted by kathrineg at 3:52 PM on October 11, 2009


that should be blucevalo. my apologies for not spelling your name correctly.
posted by hippybear at 3:53 PM on October 11, 2009


kathrine, that's a disingenuous comparison and you know it. "military" is an entire industry sector, not a location. i'm increasingly convinced that you're doing this on purpose.
posted by jock@law at 3:55 PM on October 11, 2009


jock@law: "kathrine, that's a disingenuous comparison and you know it. "military" is an entire industry sector, not a location. i'm increasingly convinced that you're doing this on purpose."

You might not understand it because you seem to have trouble looking at this with nuance, but it's not disingenuous.
posted by kathrineg at 4:08 PM on October 11, 2009


blucevalo, sarcasm doesn't become you. I never said that ENDA wasn't important. I said it was less important than DADT.

Serious discussion doesn't become you. I'm quoting what you said. If you said that ENDA was important, I haven't seen it in this thread. Again, I'm just going by what you yourself said, which is that ENDA's "less important" because some jurisdictions already have employment protections in place. And you yourself said that gay people have the "legal ABILITY" to relocate to places where they are protected if they don't like living where there are no protections.

Where have I misrepresented what you said? Tell me.
posted by blucevalo at 4:25 PM on October 11, 2009


ALL is greater than SOME, no matter how you slice it.

Actually, to be precise, ALL is not greater than SOME. ALL entails SOME. Perhaps logic isn't your strong suit, but if ALL gays are discriminated against, then SOME gays are discriminated against. Since this point seems to be IMPORTANT to your debate, I thought I should CLARIFY it for you.
posted by tractorfeed at 4:34 PM on October 11, 2009


Okay, let me back off and retract. jock@law, I apologize.

I was thrown by your statement that 21 states have protections in place and I got a litle worked up.

I'll concede that you were talking about ENDA in the context of its importance relative to DADT. I don't agree with you that one is less important than the other, but I don't see that you're arguing that ENDA is unimportant.

I apologize, again.
posted by blucevalo at 4:48 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft: "If you're going to insist on citing a blogger who claims that Obama's people are saying that gay rights will have to wait until after the wars are over -- very far fetched -- I insist that you either find such a citation from someone in the Obama administration... or at least admit the high probability that the author in question, John Aravosis, is acting like an intellectually dishonest drama queen, and that linking to his screeds might not reflect very well on you either.

Oh, and btw, I *LLLOOOOVE* it that John Aravosis used to be a lawyer for corrupt Republican Senator Ted Stevens. That shows a real lifelong commitment to somethingorother.
"

Oh, well if you insist...

GEN. JIM JONES (RET.), NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president has an awful lot on his desk. I know this is an issue that he intends to take on at the appropriate time. And he has already signaled that to the Defense Department. The Defense Department is doing the things it has to do to prepare, but at the right time I'm sure the president will take it on.

Do you do a lot of insisting in meatspace? And if so, how does that work out for you?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2009


If you want lasting change, it has to come from the bottom up, not the top down.

I thought Change was versatile.
posted by orthogonality at 5:12 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which is why Chicago will be hosting the 2016 Olympics.

Obama got Chicago 18 votes it, quite frankly, didn't have before he got involved. The USOC has been giving the IOC a big, cheek-spreading moon for more than a year now.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:00 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"it's abundantly clear you don't have a clue as to what that means when you tell people to shut up about their constitutional rights"

I agree with jock@law... there is no constitutional right that prevents the military -- indeed, especially the military -- from establishing their own employment criteria.

And no, I'm not telling people to shut up about their rights, constitutional or otherwise... although I would differentiate that how the community is treated in the military is probably not more "their" rights than the "rights" of our soldiers to be sent into war only when required for defending their country, the "right" to health care, or the "right" to have good jobs and a good future. Indeed, these other percieved rights -- ones I frankly agree with, in principle, if not legally -- are far more important to not only the GLBT community, but also to the future of our country as a whole.

I'm tired of hearing a far less impacting issue like DADT be viewed like an urgent priority, and hearing people complain it's been "put on the back burner". First, I would argue that it hasn't, in that it cannot be rushed, especially since it would've probably have to be inserted into defense spending legislation in order to avoid a Senate fillibuster.

(Please note that the Matthew Shepard Act was inserted into the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. Isn't it entirely possible that the Obama administration talked to the various GLBT orgs and said "Shepard Act or DADT... pick one to go in", and that they judged the Shepard Act to be the most important?)

Secondly, even assuming that DADT *was* on the back burner, is that a bad thing, considering how important the legislation has been which is on the front burner? The legislation on the front burner is FAR more important to the GLBT community.

As for telling anyone to "shut up", it is in reference to the clearly inaccurate, insulting, harmful, and oftentimes personal attacks that people in the community are slinging at both the President and the Democrats. I am most certainly not telling people to not advocate for their rights, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do so. Going after Obama personally on DADT is pretty unless it's pretty clear that he doesn't intend to do anything about it in 2010. What is necessary right now is to lobby Congress directly.

As far as "sit down, shut up, and get on the goddamn bus" being anything like "the back of the bus"... well, let's just say that the bus I was thinking of doesn't have any unequal seats, and goes to a place we'd all like to be.
posted by markkraft at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2009


Oh, well if you insist...

Did you mean to quote something else, because he says nothing about waiting until the wars are over.
posted by empath at 6:17 PM on October 11, 2009


Joe Beese:

As you cited, "The president has an awful lot on his desk. I know this is an issue that he intends to take on at the appropriate time."

Please explain to us, Joe, how is "the appropriate time" is the same as "after the wars are over", as John Aravosis, the blogger you cited, claimed.

Can't you just admit that his rhetoric makes him sound like an "intellectually dishonest drama queen"?

And yes, Joe... if you post intellectually dishonest, factually incorrect bullsh*t, I'm going to call you on it, even if you're not the one who wrote it... unless, of course, it's clear that your intent was to point it out as a prime example of aforementioned bullsh*t.

There's no excuse for any real activist -- left, right, or special interest -- to adopt such tactics. It invariably weakens and damages their own cause.
posted by markkraft at 6:21 PM on October 11, 2009


I really wish people would refrain from terms like "drama queen" and "hysterical" in gay rights discussions.
posted by empath at 6:29 PM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


As an aside, is there anyone other than me who feels pretty good that the President Obama's National Security Advisor knows he intends to take on the issue... and do so at "the appropriate time"?

Because, really... this tells me the following:
- The President will get personally involved with this issue.
- He is going to move forward with this in a smart, strategic way, at a time when he judges it most likely to pass and when it will -- deservedly -- have his and the public's focus and attention.
- Obama's military commanders and advisors are deferring to their Commander-in-Chief on this issue, and are not going to publicly rebel or undermine his policies, regardless of any strong personal feelings they may have regarding the matter.

Really, given the potential for this to become a huge wedge issue for the Republicans to use against the Democrats, and the potential for acts of violence within the military as a result of this policy, shouldn't we want Democrats to tackle it at the appropriate time?

Are we to believe that an inappropriate time be better?
posted by markkraft at 6:43 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft, the big issue here is that we have no idea what is going to happen...right now we have little but speculation. You speculate one thing, other people speculate another, but you really have no idea that they will do anything at "the appropriate time".
posted by kathrineg at 6:46 PM on October 11, 2009


Or what "the appropriate time" could even be.
posted by Malor at 6:56 PM on October 11, 2009


"I really wish people would refrain from terms like "drama queen"

As someone who is part of the larger GLBT community, I kinda feel entitled to call John Aravosis one, but in the interest of fairness, I'll settle for this.
posted by markkraft at 7:00 PM on October 11, 2009


Exactly. So we have a lot of infighting for what reason? It seems pointless and if you really think things will go well, and they do, then everyone will be happy, including skeptics. I know it's frustrating to hear people be negative and cynical when you feel hope, but this situation is so opaque it's hard for me to fault anyone.

And yes, I have to say that it is better to avoid "drama queen". I think it's specifically aimed at people who society classifies as feminine, and it's hurtful.
posted by kathrineg at 7:01 PM on October 11, 2009


Well, the appropriate time will be apparently be any time that doesn't have to be defined.
posted by blucevalo at 7:07 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you define an appropriate time when there are numerous factors affecting it, including a war, the actions of several military leaders, congress, other initiatives for equal rights, etc.?
posted by kathrineg at 7:11 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft: "Please explain to us, Joe, how is "the appropriate time" is the same as "after the wars are over", as John Aravosis, the blogger you cited, claimed.

Can't you just admit that his rhetoric makes him sound like an "intellectually dishonest drama queen"?

And yes, Joe... if you post intellectually dishonest, factually incorrect bullsh*t, I'm going to call you on it, even if you're not the one who wrote it... unless, of course, it's clear that your intent was to point it out as a prime example of aforementioned bullsh*t.
"

Just "please"? You're not "insisting" this time?

The National Security Adviser didn't define "the appropriate time" - beyond, of course, "not now". He didn't say, for example, "by January 2010" - as Obama did when promising to close Guantanamo. (btw, how's that going?) So we're left to speculate. Aravosis has his speculation, I have mine, and you have yours.

It's clear that you think I should care about your opinion of the latter two. But I admit I have no idea why.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:14 PM on October 11, 2009


How do you define an appropriate time when there are numerous factors affecting it, including a war, the actions of several military leaders, congress, other initiatives for equal rights, etc.?

Well, if that's the set of criteria, how do you do anything? How do you not curl up on the floor of the Oval Office in a fetal position babbling incoherently?

It's not my job to define it. It's the Administration's job to define it. My point is, for whatever reason, they haven't. And I don't want to wait until the next election for them to do it.
posted by blucevalo at 7:25 PM on October 11, 2009


"markkraft, the big issue here is that we have no idea what is going to happen"

Of course you don't. It hasn't happened yet, because the time is not right... and the Democrats aren't giving the Republicans any more ammunition than they need to until the time is right.

What you do have is a promise that the President WILL get rid of DADT, the knowledge that it's not easy to pass, but that it will be handled in an opportune manner -- quite possibly by embedding it in other legislation -- in order to get it passed, and the knowledge that the leadership of the major GLBT orgs have been told it might take until 2010 to pull it off.

All those things are more than speculation, even if the actual date and time are vague. And clearly, things are starting to happen. Legislation almost ready in the House. Senator Reid calling for action.

To me, this sounds a lot like Democrats working with leaders in the major GLBT orgs, in order to set the stage and create a groundswell of support for tackling this issue.

This time should be both exciting and united... not divisive.
posted by markkraft at 7:27 PM on October 11, 2009


the Democrats aren't giving the Republicans any more ammunition than they need to until the time is right.

The Democrats aren't giving the Republicans any more ammunition than they need to until the time is right? It seems to me that they've given the Republicans plenty of ammunition on other matters, whether the time was right or not, and that you're giving them far more credit for firmness of control over the political process than they actually deserve.
posted by blucevalo at 7:34 PM on October 11, 2009


This thread is a perfect example of why I'm no longer involved in politics with anything like my previous passion. Even the people ostensibly on he same side as you in an issue can be difficult to work with. And the people who aren't on the same side as you can be utter dicks.

I look at Andrew Sullivan and John Aravosis and, I swear, my stomach turns a bit when I think they're "representing me" in the national discourse on gay civil rights. But I just can not muster up the energy to get out there and wade around in this shitstorm with them. I feel that the crapweasels on both side of the debate aggressively shoulder out calmer, more nuanced voices from the debate. So, aside from writing the occasional letter to my Congressman or newspaper and advocating to my friends and family, I generally try to avoid the corridor of rotating knives that is public political discourse on these topics.

More power to the blowhards, I guess. As long as they're belching vitriol - whether it's justified or not - then I suppose the issue stays in the news (and that's good). Meanwhile, I honestly think we're on the right trendline with Obama and am excited to see what the coming few years will bring.
posted by darkstar at 7:50 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


blucevalo: "Well, if that's the set of criteria, how do you do anything? How do you not curl up on the floor of the Oval Office in a fetal position babbling incoherently? "

I'm not saying he shouldn't do it, but I do think that it's weird to insist on a specific timeline from the President when he has limited influence. I think it would be misleading for him to suggest otherwise.
posted by kathrineg at 7:57 PM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think we're talking about the same thing. When you say "I'm not saying he shouldn't do it," what are you referring to when you say "it"?

All I'm saying is it would be great if he gave a timeframe on something, anything, one thing. One thing. One insignificant thing that won't upset anybody. One minor piece of legislation, one symbolic act, anything. Not everything. He hasn't even done that.
posted by blucevalo at 8:05 PM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


President Obama promised to set a national goal to provide re-screening for all 2-year-olds for developmental disorders.

What is he waiting for?! I know we're in a budget pinch right now, and he's a bit busy, but why hasn't the President put forward a timeline and a detailed plan on how and when he will re-screen two-year olds for developmental disorders?!! He said he was going to do it, but where are the specifics?!

Traitor! I hear him and he's all blahblahblah. He should STFU!

If I don't see action soon, I'm not going to vote anymore!
posted by markkraft at 8:07 PM on October 11, 2009


markkraft, Joe Solmonese says it's okay for us to wait till January 2017 for Obama to do anything. I'm saying I don't want to wait till then. I'm saying I don't want to wait until 2010, when Congress could easily change hands with the way things are going. I don't think my position is unreasonable. Clearly you do. We disagree.

If you want to ridicule my position, go at it. Your ridicule is not going to change my mind and make me all joyful and excited and super-unified the way you say you want everybody to be, though.

And the thing is, as I said above, I was one of the people arguing the position you hold up until this weekend, so your ridicule is truly enormously beside the point.
posted by blucevalo at 8:16 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"markkraft, Joe Solmonese says it's okay for us to wait till January 2017 for Obama to do anything"

Can you cite the exact quote for this?
posted by markkraft at 8:21 PM on October 11, 2009


"I've written that we have actually covered a good deal of ground so far. But I'm not going to trot out those advances right now because I have something more relevant to say: It's not January 19, 2017." -- Joe Solmonese, Weekly Message, October 9, 2009
posted by blucevalo at 8:26 PM on October 11, 2009


I'd like to point out, also, that while people are saying that we must be patient with the delicate system of political machinations that is Democratic Party control of the legislative and executive branches, Republican politicians are using the gay rights dinner last night as campaign fundraising fodder.

Here's what that means. The more money they raise on this basis, the easier it will be for them to take back the House and/or the Senate in November 2010 and put a stop to any movement forward.

An example is John Oxendine's fundraising post here. He's a leading candidate for the Georgia governor's office in November 2010. A direct quote from that post:

The family is under attack, and in Washington DC this weekend, so is the President. The GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender) community is hosting an Equality March on Washington to let the President know that between solving the healthcare crisis in America, writing his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and taking over car companies, he needs to come through on some of the promises he made to the gay lobby during the election.
posted by blucevalo at 8:32 PM on October 11, 2009


Nevermind, here is what he said, in full:

"Sometimes life moves so quickly that you can forget how much is changing around you. But this weekend we will have a powerful reminder: President Obama's appearance at HRC's national dinner. His joining us that night says that although last year, we were outsiders to our own government, this year, we are a part of its vision.

It shouldn't be difficult to see why the president of the United States speaking to the nation's largest LGBT rights group is a good development for LGBT people. But at this point in time, it is hard for many among us to see. The substance of the feeling is this: he promised us the world, and we gave everything we had to elect him. But what has he done?
I've written that we have actually covered a good deal of ground so far. But I'm not going to trot out those advances right now because I have something more relevant to say: It's not January 19, 2017.

That matters for two reasons: first, the accomplishments that we've seen thus far are not the Obama Administration's record. They are the Administration's record so far. If you ask "is that all" my question to you is "is that all you think we're going to push for?" It isn't.

More importantly: today, and for the next seven years and three months, Barack Obama is the most powerful person in the world, with the largest bully pulpit, and the most power to effect change. To do the work, we hav e to work with our supporters in Congress and with the Administration. Whatever you think of the Administration's first nine months, you don't pass laws by sitting out. You pass laws by sitting at the table.

And you don't get to the table at the expense of your principles. You don't get the President's ear at the expense of your expectations. In June I wrote a letter to President Obama describing HRC's disagreement with his decision to defend DOMA in federal court, and with the offensive and inaccurate arguments the government put forth. It's hard to read such a letter—a public one—from an ally.

But when the President signed a memorandum providing family protections and an inclusive non-discrimination policy for federal employees—policies for which HRC and our sister organizations had advocated—I was proud to be present. Our disagreement about DOMA did not require me to ignore a step forward for transgender federal workers and for same-sex partners. In turn, the President invited me because he recognized HRC's accomplishments in promoting those fair policies, and because he would not exclude a civil rights advocate for speaking up about our community's rights.

Those protections were a good first step. Passing the hate crimes law is a monumental one. I continue to believe that with this president, we will do much more. As we prepare to dedicate HRC's Edward Kennedy award, I know that this president shares his mentor's commitment to promoting justice for LGBT people.

I predict great things coming out of our work with this President, but that does not mean that I am satisfied today. Our community cannot be satisfied so long as DOMA is on the books and an inclusive ENDA is not. This is something we share with all those who advocate for civil rights. No civil rights advocate can be satisfied as long as there are children who eat their only meals in their failing schools each day. No civil rights advocate should be satisfied until all of us have health care and no one has to declare bankruptcy because of a hospital bill. We are not satisfied until this country keeps its promise to everyone.

Advocates for health care, education, LGBT rights and other civil rights issues are getting used to this new landscape, where passing our legislation is possible, but still hard. We've learned that end of life counseling can be twisted into "death panels" and hate crimes into "pedophile protection." We've come to understand that we didn't win it all in November but that we can win now.
I am sure of this: on January 19, 2017, I will look back on the President's address to my community as an affirmation of his pledge to be our ally. I will remember it as the day when we all stood together and committed to finish what Senator Kennedy called our unfinished business. And I am sure of this: on January 19, 2017, I will also look back on many other victories that President Barack Obama made possible."


As he clarified later

"Here’s something from what I wrote that the authors didn’t include in their pieces: “I predict great things coming out of our work with this President, but that does not mean that I am satisfied today. Our community cannot be satisfied so long as DOMA is on the books and an inclusive ENDA is not.“ I am not satisfied.

HRC is not satisfied.

Our community is not satisfied and that’s why thousands of LGBT people and our allies are in Washington this weekend to demand more.

That’s our position. Stopping here would mean losing. But stopping here is not what we intend to do.

We are pushing for much more. It is our job to dog them, but it is also our job to make sure that success is possible. As I wrote, “To do the work, we have to work with our supporters in Congress and with the Administration.

Whatever you think of the Administration’s first nine months, you don’t pass laws by sitting out. You pass laws by sitting at the table.” Do I believe we’ll have a good track record by 2017? Yes. But the President can’t deliver on his promises alone. It will take all of us working together."

posted by markkraft at 8:35 PM on October 11, 2009


HRC is not satisfied.

I don't get the impression that the HRC could ever have a dissatisfied bone in its collective political body.
posted by blucevalo at 8:44 PM on October 11, 2009


I predict great things coming out of our work with this President, but that does not mean that I am satisfied today.

No, but you'll be happy to wait to be satisfied until January 2017.

Bravo!
posted by blucevalo at 8:47 PM on October 11, 2009


"Republican politicians are using the gay rights dinner last night as campaign fundraising fodder. Here's what that means. The more money they raise on this basis, the easier it will be for them to take back the House and/or the Senate in November 2010 and put a stop to any movement forward."

In other words, you're admitting that the President -- and numerous other Democrats -- showed real political courage by attending the gay rights dinner, right?!

Sure sounds like a good argument for the GLBT community to throw their support -- both financial and otherwise -- behind the President and the rest of the Democrats then, doesn't it?!

I mean, you're talking about at least 10% of the nation's population... and unlike the bigots, we've got our rights on the line. Clearly, we can stay competitive with them, can't we?! They're only a subset of the 20% national support that the Republicans have, after all.

(On the other hand, if we undermine the Democratic leaders who include us in their consultations, and have promised to help us, and if we attack the leaders of our largest national organizations by paying attention to divisive fools in our ranks who either misquote those trying to help us or take their words completely out of context, perhaps we can't do it after all.)

Really... where does *OUR* responsibility rest in this matter? Because what Joe Solmonese said seems both fair and responsible. He never advocated not trying for more, or letting anyone off the hook.
posted by markkraft at 8:54 PM on October 11, 2009


"No, but you'll be happy to wait to be satisfied until January 2017."

Like he did for Obama's promise to order his generals to review their policies and come up with a plan for implementing the removal of DADT?

Oh, sorry... He didn't wait for that one.

Or the presidential memo that provided family protections and an inclusive non-discrimination policy for federal employees?

Nope, not that one either.

And what about the hate crimes law that just passed the House and the President will sign into law?

Gee... looks like he's not going to have to wait for that one either.

So, eight months in, and Joe Solmonese and other major GLBT organization leaders are routinely, publicly communicating with the President of the United States.

And what did you get from Bush in the last eight years? Or Clinton in the eight years before that?!

The fact is, President Obama has done more in eight months for the GLBT community than the prior two presidents have done in sixteen years. And Joe Solmonese wants -- and will demand -- more, but isn't as cynical as you, because he *KNOWS* the progress, can see it happening, and feels pretty damn good about the historic levels of cooperation he is receiving from the Obama Administration.

He *KNOWS* that more is in the works and is going to happen... so much so that he already feels confident about the legacy that will be left behind.

(Clearly, this is a good reason for you to engage in cynical, out-of-context smears, right?!)
posted by markkraft at 9:10 PM on October 11, 2009


In other words, you're admitting that the President -- and numerous other Democrats -- showed real political courage by attending the gay rights dinner, right?!

I didn't admit any such thing, because I never argued that Obama and other Democrats who attended the dinner were not showing courage. But what terrific straw man talents you've got!

Sure sounds like a good argument for the GLBT community to throw their support -- both financial and otherwise -- behind the President and the rest of the Democrats then, doesn't it?!

Two straw men in a single comment. You're on a roll!

I mean, you're talking about at least 10% of the nation's population... and unlike the bigots, we've got our rights on the line. Clearly, we can stay competitive with them, can't we?!

You'd think so, wouldn't you? But we couldn't in California, where Prop 8 passed.

And your insinuations that not supporting the HRC is not supporting gay rights, and that the HRC is "us," are not accurate.

If I'm a divisive fool, so be it. I've been called worse. I don't quite get, though, what goal you think is served by trashing me, when a week ago I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. Maybe you think you are persuading me by insulting me. It's exactly the opposite.
posted by blucevalo at 9:20 PM on October 11, 2009


"Clearly, we can stay competitive with them, can't we?!

You'd think so, wouldn't you? But we couldn't in California, where Prop 8 passed."


Not true.

$44M was raised to oppose Prop. 8, as compared to $38M to support it. Too bad that most of that money was spent preaching to the choir, and not enough was spent on Spanish-speaking and black-oriented broadcasting.

I never said that the HRC is "us", but the fact remains that they are the largest GLBT civil rights group in the country, and they have the ear of the President and his staff. They have a seat at the table, and have an inside view of real progress being made. We can either repudiate them at our own peril, or realize that working through the system is actually yielding concrete results this time around, with more in the pipeline.

That doesn't mean don't fight for issues... but really, considering the Republicans and the fencesitting Blue Dogs out there, don't you have better people to fight with?!
posted by markkraft at 9:38 PM on October 11, 2009


Details on the Prop 8 fundraising.

We beat the entire Mormon Church on fundraising for a statewide issue.

Not bad, considering.
posted by markkraft at 9:40 PM on October 11, 2009


Do you really want the military to have to choose between obeying orders given by congress and orders given by the president?

Where in the chain of command is Congress?

First, you're wrong -- he can't revoke it by executive order. It's a congressional law.

This is just fallacious. There is a federal law which should make a crime to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it's not being enforced by DOJ. They can just ignore this, it's bad law anyway, like barring atheists from office in Arkansas.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:53 PM on October 11, 2009


markkraft, Joe Solmonese says it's okay for us to wait till January 2017 for Obama to do anything.

Lie. I know you are lying because you posted exactly what he said and it is the opposite of what you say he said.

You are not only not helping, you are actively hurting the cause you claim to promote through your lies.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:33 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A free and equal people do not tolerate priortization of their rights. They do not accept compromises. They do not accept delays. And when we see leaders and those who represent us saying 'You must wait again' -- we say NO. No. No longer will we wait.... No more compromises. No more delays. We are one country, one constitution -- it's called the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution, and it promises all of us equal protection under the law, in all matters governed by civil law, in all fifty states."-- Cleve Jones, 10/11/09
posted by scody at 11:02 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga (of all people) speaking at the Gay Rights rally in DC. It's not the best speech in the world, but she's wearing (mostly) normal clothes, and she screams at one point!

I think she does, though, capture the disjointed rage-hope that young people have when it comes to shit like this.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:30 PM on October 11, 2009


Oy, just don't read the Youtube comments (as usual).
posted by dirigibleman at 11:31 PM on October 11, 2009


I recall being in a political activist discussion in meatspace, once, where the rage at not having gay civil rights instituted right now was threatening to derail the stepwise approach to change that many folks advocated. One fellow said something I will always remember. I will not do it justice, I fear, but I'll try to repeat what I remember of his statement.
"We all carry with us a deep sense of injustice and anger at how we have been treated - individually and as a group - simply because we were different. These feelings are entirely justified. But I sometimes think we allow ourselves the luxury of indulging our feelings when the situation calls for us to do something much more challenging. Namely, to channel some of our emotion and impatience for justice in favor of being very methodical and clever about how we approach change. We still have a long way to row to cross this ocean together. Somehow, we need to let our anger and sense of injustice animate our actions, but not let them become waves that swamp our boat and ruin what we're all working toward."
The problem we face is that some of us are so enraged by a lifetime of injustice - and a legitimate rage it is - that we are willing to hurl grenades at anyone, even our allies, who does not act with enough alacrity to assuage their sense of justice. The passion and outrage is merited and needed in this struggle, but succumbing to the temptation to denounce our allies because they aren't moving fast enough for us can be pretty destructive.

I say this as someone who has paid my dues on these issues. I was forced to forfeit a full-ride ROTC scholarship and a career in Naval Intelligence because I'm gay. I was fired (or technically, "allowed to resign") from a later job as a senior executive because I refused to sign a "Morality Affidavit" assuring my company that I wasn't gay. If there were a way I could vent every scrap and fume of my outrage and indignation at these injustices and many others, and how they have affected my life, as well as the injustices I've witnessed some of my friends have to deal with, in a single fulminating scream at Obama and have that permanently change things in our country, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

But we're talking about making lasting, cultural and sociopolitical change. Change that won't be undone when the next election comes. I can't speak for anyone else, but that's why I'm interested in methodical, stepwise progress. And what I see in Obama is our best chance in the history of the nation to achieve it.
posted by darkstar at 11:54 PM on October 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think you're right, darkstar. My main complaint is that I just don't see the big scary backlash that's supposed to happen when DADT gets repealed. I mean, I see it, I just think that the rage would be so impotent and so easily marginalized using that group's own tactics that it just doesn't seem all that scary.

But the more I think about it the more I think that the "do it quickly" ship has sailed. If Obama had just done it, then every Republican in congress who raised a stink could've just been told "Hey, he said he was gonna do this, he got elected, we're trying to do grownup work right now. Piss off." But now that Obama has basically said that this is a Great Issue for Our Time we can't really say that anymore can we? We now actually have to explain to these morons why DADT is a stupid fucking idea, and that's kinda depressing. But, whatever, I guess we just gotta do it so here goes, right?

I mean in the long run, I'm with ya. I just think this was a bad move because it (and this is like the whole single payer thing, only a little worse) conceded a point that didn't need to be conceded.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:15 AM on October 12, 2009


"If Obama had just done it, then every Republican in congress who raised a stink could've just been told "Hey, he said he was gonna do this, he got elected. . ." But now that Obama has basically said that this is a Great Issue for Our Time we can't really say that anymore can we? We now actually have to explain to these morons why DADT is a stupid fucking idea, and that's kinda depressing."

At the same time, I think the idea of actually getting 6/10ths of the US Senate to agree that it's morally unacceptable to -- quite literally -- talk and talk and talk for hours on end in order to prevent someone's equality under law, and that it's a moral imperative that gays and lesbians be treated as equals... that, to me, is fundamental, irreversible change. An executive order may be easier -- although it may be constitutionally questionable -- but it simply would not amount to the same thing.

Really, if the Democrats can't get sixty votes for whatever reason, they should insist that the Republicans keep talking... as long as it takes to bring widespread shame and derision upon them.

Only then, if some of the Republicans don't come around, would an executive order really seem an appropriate way to break the deadlock. I imagine it would also seem much more justifiable to the American people, under such circumstances.

I'm tired of justice denied myself, even though I, as a polyamorous bisexual, will not get equality, even if gays and lesbians do.

My idea of equality is that my love and partner of five years should have the same rights and protections as my love and wife of eleven years... that she shouldn't feel ashamed of her non-status... that she shouldn't feel less than equal, or afraid of what the landlord might do if he knew. That she could marry me with pride, without her parents worrying so much, and ideally getting over that our love is just a stage that she is going through.

My idea of equality means that all of my partners and myself should be free to have other legal partners, without fear of discrimination, persecution, and regardless of sexual orientation. It means I should be able to marry consenting adults, and that nobody should have the right to discriminate against us because of it.

Obviously, this is more than many gays are willing to support, but the idea that bisexuals should "pick a side" -- an immensely rude and hurtful thing that practically every bisexual has heard at one time from our gay friends who, of all people, should know better and realize that their particular cookie-cutter definition of "equality" makes as much sense to us as the notion that they somehow have "equality" because they have the same right to marry a woman as any straight male.

So, while I think DADT is a fringe issue that only impacts a very small minority of the GLBT community, there's no denying that it's also one that cuts straight to the heart of what it means to be equal. Not fully equal, perhaps. But still, equal in the context of being a soldier.

I, for one, am tired of the idea that so-called equality should be decided by judges or granted by an executive deus ex machina. Equality should be granted by our leaders, because we are entitled to be equal.

Shouldn't we be excited by actually earning our equality by virtue of being equal human beings, rather than having it handed down to us like table scraps?
posted by markkraft at 2:32 AM on October 12, 2009


markkraft: And no, I'm not telling people to shut up about their rights, constitutional or otherwise...

Except that you just did when you wrote: Sit down, shut up, and get on the goddamn bus. That's what really bugs me about this whole thing, the insistence that we should put our activism in the hands of a political party that has more to gain by appeasing anti-gay Blue Dogs than our rights.

I'm tired of hearing a far less impacting issue like DADT be viewed like an urgent priority, and hearing people complain it's been "put on the back burner".

You keep talking about this as if it's a zero-sum game, when the fact of the matter is that the people who work on health care are not the same people who are needed to get repeal of DADT and DOMA out of committee. But here again, it looks like Senate and House leadership is actually doing the leadership on this issue, so given that Obama keeps punting on to congress on this issue, it is really a good idea to keep hailing him as our best friend in Washington?

As for telling anyone to "shut up", it is in reference to the clearly inaccurate, insulting, harmful, and oftentimes personal attacks that people in the community are slinging at both the President and the Democrats. I am most certainly not telling people to not advocate for their rights, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do so. Going after Obama personally on DADT is pretty unless it's pretty clear that he doesn't intend to do anything about it in 2010. What is necessary right now is to lobby Congress directly.

Ohh, bullshit. Because most of what you are responding to is legitimate concern that the empty promises might be forgotten in 2010 when it comes time to duck and cover for the upcoming election. Promises and $5 will get you a cup of coffee and that's about it. The more promising developments involve a willingness to address the issue in congress. Privileging glad-handing and promises over actual legislative action seems a pretty strange definition of "progress."

Really, given the potential for this to become a huge wedge issue for the Republicans to use against the Democrats, and the potential for acts of violence within the military as a result of this policy, shouldn't we want Democrats to tackle it at the appropriate time?

Well, I'll just point to MLK's criticisms of waiting for rights until the "appropriate time." The problem is there is no "appropriate time." If you buy the backlash theory of anti-marriage activism, they responded to actions that happened a full year before the election. And meanwhile, are you really saying that the people in the Congress who are putting DOMA and DADT on the agenda this year are acting inappropriately?

And of course, other than the relatively benign and uncontroversial (supported by a majority of Republicans even) action of suspending, or at least reducing prosecutions under DADT, I don't think anyone is expecting overnight change. But expecting evidence of a change process other than glad-handing and promises is quite reasonable, as is support of existing moves winding their way through Congress.

This time should be both exciting and united... not divisive.

It's only divisive because certain people are telling activists to shut up and sit in the back of the Democratic party bus. If indeed everyone is on board with the need and urgency of these actions, then there is no reason to say that activism regarding those urgent needs is at cross purposes to the President or Democratic majority.

And what did you get from Bush in the last eight years? Or Clinton in the eight years before that?!

I think the willingness to accept that Clinton was our man in Washington resulted in some significant weakening of activism. Taking for granted that a politician will act in our best interests has proven to be a very bad idea.

I, for one, am tired of the idea that so-called equality should be decided by judges or granted by an executive deus ex machina. Equality should be granted by our leaders, because we are entitled to be equal.

Issues of equality are almost entirely under the domain of the judicial branch of government.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:51 AM on October 12, 2009


You are not only not helping, you are actively hurting the cause you claim to promote through your lies.

For someone who insists that specific actions "hurt the cause," you seem to be drawn to juvenile namecalling, intimidation, and enforcing orthodoxy, none of which help the cause.
posted by blucevalo at 7:02 AM on October 12, 2009


Now for what the Obama administration really thinks of the struggle for gay rights...

And for a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn't take this opposition one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:43 AM on October 12, 2009


Joe, you mean 'what they really think of bloggers'.

"Take off your pajama's" refers to blogging from your bedroom.. it's got nothing to do with gay anything.
posted by empath at 7:44 AM on October 12, 2009


No, that's not what it means.

LESTER HOLT: John what we saw in that protest today, was it simply frustration or does it represent a serious problem the President is having with an important part of his base?

JOHN HARWOOD: Sure, but if you look at the polling, Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the “internet left fringe” Lester. And for a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.

posted by blucevalo at 7:48 AM on October 12, 2009


Meanwhile, the HRC building was vandalized this morning by a group calling itself Queers against Assimilation.
posted by blucevalo at 7:53 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


More righteous condemnation for our "intellectually dishonest drama queen":

It took courage for John Aravosis to call out the HRC on this. It would have been easy to sit back and let someone else do it, but his criticism is important — it has added impact because he is a prominent gay rights activist. His commitment to the cause he believes in transcends the personal, professional and financial ties that he risks for doing so. His willingness to step forward like this is commendable and until others are willing to follow suit the White House will do nothing about DODT and DOMA. They’ll just keep putting on shows.

Proud to know you, John.


I await markkraft's stern admonition of how badly linking to Jane Hamsher will reflect on me.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:02 AM on October 12, 2009


one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.

An unnamed advisor paraphrased in an off-the-cuff tv interview with a reporter? I think you might want to take that 'quote' with a grain of salt.
posted by empath at 8:19 AM on October 12, 2009


markkraft: I have to agree with your point about the filibuster threat. The Democrats have been spineless when it comes to being confronted by this threat, and they should demand that the Republicans follow through on that threat, force them to take to the floor and talk and talk and talk. Let the American public be presented by the stalling tactic in the flesh, not in the abstract, and force the Republicans to keep someone on the floor talking non-stop while that stalling takes place. At some point, they will want to go home to for the weekend, or will want to take a holiday break, or something else will come to a head, and they will be forced to abandon their filibuster and then we can get some real work accomplished.

But this "oh, gee, we don't have sixty votes, we can't RISK a filibuster" bullshit has got to end.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 AM on October 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Certainly, I think democrats should court a fillibuster. Anything that makes the Republicans look like obstructionist morons is a good thing at this time.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:50 AM on October 12, 2009


empath: "An unnamed advisor paraphrased in an off-the-cuff tv interview with a reporter? I think you might want to take that 'quote' with a grain of salt."

Greenwald:

... Pam Spaulding notes with exasperation the excuses and denials flying around everywhere, with all sorts of people expressing doubt that anyone in the Obama White House could possibly be capable of such an ugly sentiment, particularly in light of the President's eloquent, on-the-record commitment to gay equality (other than marriage). As is true for all instances of reckless and petty uses of anonymity like this, it's impossible to know how reflective it is of administration sentiment generally -- was this a senior White House official or some obscure low-level aide? -- but how could anyone who has paid any attention at all to the way Washington functions be doubtful that this sentiment is pervasive or find this at all unusual?

...

Adam Serwer argues that this stray, anonymous comment, standing alone, is too vague and insignificant to provide much meaning about anything. That's true. I doubt anyone disagrees with that. Indeed, I said that myself. But it's simply part of a larger record -- one composed of other similar comments and, more important, repeated actions from the White House and Democratic establishment -- that reflect indifference to criticisms of this sort (see here for the White House's active obstruction of efforts to repeal DADT). Serwer is right that the comment is significant only because it illustrates what has long been apparent. The issue isn't whether "blogs" are respected but, rather, how the Party views complaints from their base that they are abandoning and violating what they claim are the party's core values. The recent history of Democrats couldn't be any clearer on that score.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:56 AM on October 12, 2009


Greenwald needs to get out of his pajamas. Amirite?
posted by blucevalo at 9:03 AM on October 12, 2009


You realize that when you're just reflexively anti-Obama on every issue, it makes it impossible to take your criticisms seriously, right? I find it difficult to believe that you actually are upset about an anonymous comment by a random staffer and aren't just using it as another handy cudgel to beat on the administration about. That's the kind of attack-dog gotcha bullshit that Michelle Malkin does.
posted by empath at 9:12 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


By that I mean, it's not an argument about policy or anything that's actually like, you know, IMPORTANT. It's just grabbing anything you can as a weapon to use for your five-minutes hate. It's outrage-of-the-day crap that'll get you all worked up for half a day until you forget about it when tomorrow's mini blog-scandal grabs your attention.

It's fine to make arguments about policy and whether he's moving fast enough to enact his campaign promises, etc. But if you're constantly looking for secret agendas and hidden conspiracies everywhere -- anything that confirms your view that Obama is BAD BAD BAD, you're basically a left wing version of Glenn Beck, from my point of view.
posted by empath at 9:20 AM on October 12, 2009


Plum Line:
"Asked for comment, White House senior communications adviser Dan Pfeiffer emailed: 'That sentiment does not reflect White House thinking at all, we’ve held easily a dozen calls with the progressive online community because we believe the online communities can often keep the focus on how policy will affect the American people rather than just the political back-and-forth.'"
posted by ericb at 9:26 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vitriol, invective at the speed of light
"Vitriol and invective stain American political history, but falsehoods, half-truths and innuendo now spread with the speed of light across partisan airwaves and the Internet — the din drowning out the country's moderate political center."
posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on October 12, 2009


Obama's two greatest weaknesses as a candidate were inexperience and unfamiliarity. Neither of those will be in play in three years. Also, check out Obama's favorability rating (53.6% - 37.6%) versus three of his front-running competitors: Mike Huckabee (38% - 34.7%), Mitt Romney (33.5% - 37.4%), and Sarah Palin (37.5% - 50.7%). Three years is, as ever, an eternity in politics, but he should certainly be considered something like a 2-1 favorite to win at this point.

2-1 favorite? The story those numbers tell me is that not only was Sarah Palin clearly preferred by Republicans over clearly more qualified candidates like Romney and arguably even Huckabee, but that her support level was actually very close to Obama's.

I don't find that at all reassuring. We were and maybe still are apparently a lot closer to Sarah Palin's America than any of us would like to think.
posted by namespan at 9:47 AM on October 12, 2009


2-1 favorite? The story those numbers tell me is that not only was Sarah Palin clearly preferred by Republicans over clearly more qualified candidates like Romney and arguably even Huckabee, but that her support level was actually very close to Obama's.

What? Obama is viewed favorably by 53.6% of voters and unfavorably by 37.6% of voters. Palin is viewed favorably by 37.5% and unfavorably by 50.7%. In what universe are those numbers very close?
posted by EarBucket at 10:10 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


They don't need to be close to be frightening. What we have here is a crazification factor of 37%. That's a 10 percent increase in just a few years.
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2009


I don't find it frightening at all. And I don't think you have to be crazy to support Sarah Palin, the way you would need to be as an Alan Keyes supporter. You have to be a little ignorant, sure, but as I said last year, the fact that one in seven non-insane people like Sarah Palin isn't surprising at all. Besides, if you look at the chart, her numbers are not exactly going in an encouraging direction for her presidential ambitions.

Roughly a third of the country is pretty much always very conservative. That's nothing new, it's not surprising, and it's not a number the right can win elections with. They're either going to have to tack back toward the center to attract moderates, or find themselves a regional party with a permanent minority in Congress and a handful of states in the mountain West and deep South in the electoral college. Based on these numbers, in a hypothetical match-up today, Barack Obama would defeat Sarah Palin by something like ten to fifteen points. That's a massive, Reagan-style landslide. I'm comfortable with that.
posted by EarBucket at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2009


"I await markkraft's stern admonition of how badly linking to Jane Hamsher will reflect on me."

Ok, Joe... here is goes. Here is a summary of where Jane Hamsher's post fails her and her readers.

She argues, basically, that HRC is selling out their agenda and shielding President Obama from attacks, protecting his ability "to say one thing and do another". And that Aravosis is trying to make Solmonese choose "between allegiance to power and allegiance to principle."

Except, of course, I have repeatedly documented that President Obama has kept his promises on DADT, with their people indicating that it might have to wait until as long as 2010, in order to get it inserted into Congressional legislation that can pass a fillibuster... but that it will get done. I have also pointed out that they have systematically advanced issues and are passing legislation important to the GLBT community.

Secondly, the idea, as stated by Hamsher, that Solmonese's choice is one of "power vs. principle" is insulting and naive. Rather, it's a choice between working through the system, or raging against the system.

She cites the ACLU as independent, and HRC as choosing power over principle, and claims that the main reason HRC is whipped and working hard to oppress their own people is that "they aren’t easily financially crippled by one or two phone calls from powerful people to big donors".

She does nothing to actually *show* that the ACLU can't be badly hurt if they lost a few of their biggest donors, of course... but that's because she is engaging in a gross oversimplification of the issue.

If you Google HRC, you'll get the following text:
"Works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights by lobbying the federal government, educating the public, participating in election campaigns..."

...whereas if you Google the ACLU, which Hamsher views as a group that isn't shielding the President, it will tell you that they advocate, litigate, legislate, and educate.

In other words, the ACLU don't focus as much on lobbying the government, participating in elections, or being involved in the process. Their focus is through law and the courts, and not through the system.

Basically, what Hamsher is advocating is that a group whose primary focus is on working through the system to bring about change stop doing so, even when they are seeing unprecedented successes and finally have the ear of those in power.

If they are theoretically told, in consultations with Democratic leaders, that it will be hard to pass their legislation without inserting it into defense bills, and that trying to do everything at once is unlikely to get past a fillibuster, and could hurt the President's larger agenda... so that the issue becomes "What goes into the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill?" and "What goes into the 2011 Defense Appropriations Bill?", we are supposed to believe that gradual yet very significant prioritized steps towards equal rights, that could absolutely change everything by the end of the Obama administration is a betrayal of our issues, and some kind of "dirty backroom politics", as opposed to... y'know... just strategy and basic common sense.

The fact is, strategy on how to pass legislation *ALWAYS* occurs behind-the-scenes. That doesn't defeat the system. Your elected leaders still make their votes in public, and can still be reached on the phone, in person, by mail, etc.

Really, it's a bit like insisting that there be a cameraman in the quarterback's huddle, and a live audio feed to the coach's mic. It makes the game more interesting to the audience for a minute or two, until it becomes painfully clear that the opposing coach is watching television too.

It's simply wrong to suggest that private strategy should be banned from the game of politics, just as it is wrong to suggest that verifiable progress that is achieved by working through the system is a betrayal of everything we would like to see in the future, but are unable to achieve right this second.
posted by markkraft at 2:46 PM on October 12, 2009


Thank you, KirkJobSluder, for telling me what I meant to say.

I know that I specifically pointed out the context of my statement to you, and made it clear -- through my own obvious frustrations about the fundamental unfairness of the issues we are facing and the difficulties involved in bringing about lasting change -- that I talked about what we should stand for, and about the issues that matter, but clearly, it was my intent to insist that you and all others in the GLBT community stop speaking out about these issues, as opposed to... say... making angry, naive, factually incorrect statements about people who are actually starting to accomplish some things for a change, albeit not as rapidly as anyone would like to see.

By smearing the people you want to help you -- or at least might want to help you -- while not actually engaging with those opposed to helping you at all, well... let's just say that your championing of misdirected anger is an inspiration to others.

I also want to thank people like John Aravosis, Andrew Sullivan, and Jane Hamsher for telling us what Joe Solmonese really meant, and making it clear to us that HRC, the largest group in the United States for working through the political system to change minds and get results, is betraying us by working through the political system to change minds and get results.

The proof of this is transparently clear, as minds are changing, and results are starting to come in at a regular pace. Indeed, the President cannot even attend a public event with the GLBT community or honor an event like Stonewall or the most recent march on Washington without another damn government policy change or piece of legislation. (Sell out!)

Now, more than ever, when the GLBT community has this historic opportunity, it is vital that we withdraw from the political process, take to the streets, set fire to people like Barney Frank and Tom Amiano -- in effigy, if we can't catch them first, and burn down the overly gentrified status quo, starting, of course, with the Castro.

If we turn on ourselves and destroy what we have worked hard for now, then others won't be able to do it to us later. Only through an orgy of self-destruction, can we possibly achieve empowerment!
posted by markkraft at 3:44 PM on October 12, 2009


Sounds like the White House is approaching Joe Lieberman as a possibility to introduce legislation to repeal DADT. It'll be unpopular with the lefty blogs, but it'd be a brilliant move politically.
posted by EarBucket at 6:43 PM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft: If we turn on ourselves and destroy what we have worked hard for now, then others won't be able to do it to us later.

As far as I can tell, you are the one telling other people to sit down and shut up. So the question is, why are you turning on the gay community and trying to destroy the communities and grass roots activism we've worked so hard to build?

I don't feel it's a smear to say that Obama has two mutually antagonistic political agendas on his plate between the gay community and the evangelical congregations, and that continued pressure is likely to be needed to keep the needed reforms for DADT, DOMA, and ENDA moving.

Furthermore, the insistence that we treat Obama as the progressive Moses leading us to the promised land baffles and disgusts me. I'm perfectly capable as a man pushing 40 to agree with a politician on some issues, and disagree on others, while having a generally high regard for him. If you will recall, I'm among the few who think that he legitimately deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for making normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba and Iran an option worth considering in American politics. I frankly reject the false dichotomy that you keep proposing here that we either must support or vilify him.

In regards to the HRC, well, I don't think it's a smear either to point out that after a decade of selling themselves as an inclusive organization, and raising funds as an inclusive organization, they chose to sell out their own patrons for a symbolic vote on ENDA. But the HRC doesn't need or want my approval. The largest group working for equality are the millions living their lives out of the closet. The HRC can do their thing and I can do mine.

I also don't understand your conception that we must support only one political process. Pushing the needed reforms through a sluggish and reluctant federal political system is one process. Taking to the streets is another process. Engaging in discourse about whether presidential stump speeches actually change anything is another process. I don't see these processes as mutually exclusive, and they all need to happen at the same time (along with educating in our social networks, creating safe spaces for people who need help, HIV/AIDS prevention, legal activism, activism within congregations, and a dozen other needs.) Again if we are all in agreement that these reforms are needed and urgent, then there is no reason for you to continue to pick fights over that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:46 PM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"As far as I can tell, you are the one telling other people to sit down and shut up."

About attacking our organizations, our friends, and our potential allies, yes.

" So the question is, why are you turning on the gay community and trying to destroy the communities and grass roots activism we've worked so hard to build?"

Did I paintball the front sign for "Human Rights Campaign"? No. They are my community, and I defend them. Hell, I have zero respect for anyone who would attack anyone's human rights organization in such a manner.

It's as unacceptable as radical leftwing Jews attacking and defacing the Simon Wiesenthal Center because they're too pro-Israel. It's simply indefensible, because the organization was built by the GLBT community, by my money and the money of many others, and that organization isn't one person. It's a community that tries their very best to protect people who have died, who have been beaten and tortured and left to die.

So, when you say I am turning on the gay community, I say, as a member of the larger community, "Shame on you." And I'm saying that your grass roots activism means worse than nothing, if it targets the wrong people.

You aren't the community. Former Republican conservatives Andrew Sullivan and John Aravosis are not the community. The community isn't one of us, a few of us, or even all of us... because you can certainly have a lot of people hiding in the dark, and not have a community.

The community is what we all choose to share, what we choose to build together, the space that we create together for ourselves and those who are our friends, and something many of us choose to defend. It's certainly a lot bigger than a few hotheaded individuals who use words and deeds in an effort to damage it, and to tear it down.

You don't own it, and you're not helping it by attacking it in such a senseless manner. How dare you attack others who are trying to defend it?
posted by markkraft at 9:03 PM on October 12, 2009


"after a decade of selling themselves as an inclusive organization, and raising funds as an inclusive organization, they chose to sell out their own patrons for a symbolic vote on ENDA."

You mean, if ENDA passes -- which seems likely, because of the legislation its attached to -- it's symbolic, but if DADT were to be overturned, it's not?! And for one to pass right this second, but not the other, because there isn't enough support to guarantee that both would pass at the same time, or because there's an upcoming opportunity to overturn DADT without possibly turning the 2010 elections into a referendum on Obama's "gay agenda" and electing more bigots as a result... that's a sell-out?!

If there is anything "symbolic" about ENDA -- a piece of legislation that protects the vast majority of the GLBT community -- it's that the HRC, through their Corporate Equality Index, and their organized grassroots efforts, have already played a leading role in getting over 260 of the nation's largest employers to support full employment non-discrimination policies and practices.

HRC is inclusive. You can join it, volunteer to help it, and get involved in order to effect its policies at the ground level. What you can't do is expect to hijack their policies.

Like any other organization you might support in life, you may not always agree with their choices. But then again, they could know a helluva lot more than you, and have some very good reasons for their choices.

You have to admit, frankly, that it's quite likely you will be proven wrong in your self-defeating cynicism, while they, by virtue of their greater knowledge of what Obama and the Democrats plan, will, by working within the system to bring about change, be proven right.
posted by markkraft at 9:30 PM on October 12, 2009


Also, note that the right wing is running a vicious smear job on one of Obama's top gay political appointees and he hasn't buckled.
posted by empath at 11:23 PM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft: About attacking our organizations, our friends, and our potential allies, yes.

Well again, it seems that you are leveling the harshest and most ideologically-charged attacks.

Did I paintball the front sign for "Human Rights Campaign"?

Um, pardon? I'm not exactly certain how a recognition that I and the HRC have different priorities and agendas and we should do our separate things constitutes an endorsement of paining their sign. I can respectfully disagree with the HRC, I can respectfully disagree with all of your positions except your insistence on yelling "shut up."

So, when you say I am turning on the gay community, I say, as a member of the larger community, "Shame on you." And I'm saying that your grass roots activism means worse than nothing, if it targets the wrong people.

I'm starting to wonder if you understand the concept of shame. First you turn on the gay community by telling people (including Sullivan and Aravosis) to "shut up, sit down, and get on the bus." Then you are treating disagreement as shameful. I am emphatically not a fan of Sullivan or Aravosis, nor do I endorse vandalism, but I recognize that those are opinions that need to be heard within our community.

You don't own it, and you're not helping it by attacking it in such a senseless manner. How dare you attack others who are trying to defend it?

Of course I don't own it. But from my point of view, you are the one who is engaging in senseless attacks by telling people who disagree with you to "shut up, sit down, and get on the bus." I'm comfortable with a community that includes you, Avarosis, Sullivan, the HRC, and radical queers, while you apparently are not.

You mean, if ENDA passes -- which seems likely, because of the legislation its attached to -- it's symbolic, but if DADT were to be overturned, it's not?!

I'm talking about very recent history here, the choice of the HRC two years ago to abandon a decade of inclusive campaigning to endorse the exclusion of transgender people from an ENDA that had no hope of passing anyway. Now, both the HRC and Barney Frank appear to be supportive of an inclusive ENDA. But I think the debate surrounding that decision was influential in shaping the current position.

You have to admit, frankly, that it's quite likely you will be proven wrong in your self-defeating cynicism, while they, by virtue of their greater knowledge of what Obama and the Democrats plan, will, by working within the system to bring about change, be proven right.

So I'm cynical now in that ENDA and repeal of DADT and DOMA are politically possible if we keep highlighting the need and urgency of those reforms? Huh?

Possibly. But I plan on being a part of this issue for at least a few decades after Obama and the current congress. Obama and the HRC are not the alpha and omega of LGBT politics, and I have absolutely no qualms about investing my political dollars in other fights that need to move forward. But by all mean, you are more than welcome to lecture me on how I'm attacking the community by supporting ballot fights and the Trevor Project.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:28 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find it a bit too much to ask that after a lifetime history of punching ballots for "lesser evil" democrats that we should be happy, happy, happy, about our legislative prospects as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:40 AM on October 13, 2009


The HRC has helpful forms to petition your congresscritters to co-sponsor ENDA, overturn DOMA, and support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. Are the people in congress acting inappropriately for introducing this legislation in the current term? And is the HRC acting inappropriately for issuing action alerts to pressure congress for action in the current term?

In what way are we bad queers for advocating a strategy that the HRC liberally endorses?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:04 AM on October 13, 2009


HRC's Joe Solmonese: The Last Thing We Should Do is Wait.
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2009


And heck, Obama openly endorsed queer activism in his speech. So the argument that we should just sit back and wait for him to play out his political chess game doesn't hold much water.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on October 14, 2009


So the argument that we should just sit back and wait for him to play out his political chess game doesn't hold much water.

I don't think anybody suggested that, only that the personal attacks on his character were uncalled for.
posted by empath at 3:42 PM on October 14, 2009


I don't think anybody suggested that, only that the personal attacks on his character were uncalled for.

I think it's clear that just about anything can and will be treated as a personal attack on his character.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:29 PM on October 14, 2009


Frankly, there is so much equivocation and shifting of semantic goalposts, not to mention strawmanning, in this discussion that it's hard to keep track of exactly what people are arguing about/against. Discussions like this make my skin crawl because my forensics gene wants me to get out a big whiteboard and diagram people's positions and point out where they just jumped a rail and fine people points for faulty syllogism or something.

I guess we're back where we always were: some folks scream and shout and protest loudly while others prefer to work methodically with less overt drama and pyrotechnics. The former think the latter are simply not principled or passionate or courageous enough to demand the immediate change they deserve, while the latter think the former are not methodical or considered or strategic enough to plan and work for the change they are so craving.

Every political change that was ever accomplished in history was probably achieved through an uneasy cooperation between these two kinds of factions. Both feel their approach is the best way, but I suspect the preferences have less to do with political strategy than it does with personality of those involved.
posted by darkstar at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2009


I think calling Obama a bigot right up in the beginning of the thread counts as a personal attack on his character by any measure.
posted by empath at 6:00 PM on October 14, 2009


empath: Sure, but pointing out that Obama's gay rights agenda puts him in conflict with his evangelical outreach agenda is not.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:18 PM on October 14, 2009


Meanwhile, as long as we're talking about signs of progress for the LGBT community and all, the House just passed the Shepard Hate Crimes amendment, playing hardball by attaching it to a must-pass $680 billion defense bill.

"President Obama, unlike his predecessor, George W. Bush, backs the legislation. Attorney General Eric Holder has urged Congress to act so the government can prosecute cases of violence based on gender and sexual orientation."
posted by darkstar at 1:43 AM on October 16, 2009


Slight erratum: that link points to the discussion of the Senate bill, which is coming up for a vote in the next few days. The House passed their version last week. Obama is expected to sign it into law right away.

The LGBT community could have a very nice October surprise this year.
posted by darkstar at 1:50 AM on October 16, 2009


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