Rahm Emanuel’s Fear of Clinton Failures Holding Back Gay Rights?

This bit in a Washington Post article about the challenges the Obama administration faces because of "ideologixal diversity" among Democrats spells it out pretty clearly:

Emanuel_obama "Maintaining a sense of common interest across the party is a paramount
goal. Early on, administration officials and Democratic leaders agreed
they would steer clear of controversial social issues such as abortion
and same-sex marriage. And to the discontent of many liberal Democrats,
Congress intends to remain generally silent on those fronts. 'They know the consequences of '94. It looms,' White House Chief of
Staff Rahm Emanuel said of the legislative debacles in President Bill
Clinton's early tenure that produced the 1994 Republican landslide. 'That division led to failure. . . . Our chances for success only come
about by unity. That, as a culture up there, has been enforced by
enough people that enough members believe.'" 

Of course, a lot of attitudes can change in five years and the culture is now way ahead of the White House on so many fronts.

(thanks, Pam)


  1. Rann says

    I have not trusted Rahm since the Clinton White house. Reading David Mixner’s book told me all I needed to know about him. He is not about gay rights. He does not care.

  2. RB says

    What the hell ever! Clinton was successful in making it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people for purposes of working in civilian government jobs, was re-elected by a landslide, survived a sex scandal and impeachment and went on to be one of the most popular presidents in years. Yeah, it sounds like he was a failure!

    Clinton from day one stood fast on his promises. He was faced with stiff opposition but he did what he said he would do! And in regards to mid-terms, Obama has gone so far left that the blue dogs cannot stand with him and he will face the same back lash in 2010 as Clinton did in 94.

    Excuses just more excuses!

  3. Mike says

    Oh brother… and can there be a more sinister picture of Rahm please? Seriously though, I understand the concept of wanting to govern from the center and reach consensus – but this is just bullshit. The country wants change, that is why Obama was elected. What part of the word change does he not get? We want universal health care, we want a REAL public option. We aren’t interested in lukewarm/cold insurance lobby options. We want gay people in the military – we demand equality for all of our citizens regardless of sexual orientation. The democrats need to get off their collective asses and do something, because we have a supermajority in the senate, the house and the presidency. There cannot be any excuses for not getting stuff done. Midterms are going to be a disaster. Ugh!

  4. NickC says

    As I pointed out in another comment yesterday, the Washington Post article with that quote from Emanuel was positioned right below the article on Obama’s Stonewall party at the White House, where the president promised action on gay rights. (See page A4 of yesterday’s print edition.)

    The juxtaposition of the two illustrated the administration’s total hypocrisy on equal rights. They’ll throw the gay community an occasional bone to try to keep us quiet, in the form of a party or an encouraging speech. But they’ve made abundantly clear that they won’t take any real action on the many promises made to us–unless we force them to do so.

  5. Gilbert Baker says

    Green is the new rainbow. After all these years why spend another moment or another dime on Democrats. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Move on.

  6. Ed says

    I have to say the comments on here just get uglier and uglier. WISE UP AND TAKE ACTION AND CALL YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE AND DEMAND ACTION!! Stop acting as if it is all Obama’s fault. He isn’t the only one “squeamish” about gay rights.

    And all the Clinton folks need to stop acting as if he helped us. I liked Clinton a lot but he set us back a long way.

  7. Ed says

    Also, that article wasn’t just about gay rights, it was about everything that we need to be demanding from Democrats. Like health care, a good energy policy, etc, etc.

  8. Freddy says

    Based on this electoral logic, we will have to wait until the second half of Obama’s second term for anything to happen, and by then the GOP will probably have taken control of the House or Senate!


  9. andrew says

    Obama never spoke to the gay community prior to his election. Ask the Philadelphia Gay News; they were snubbed repeatedly by his campaign. As a gay man I felt I had no choice but to vote for him given the alternative but he was then and remains a wolf in sheep’s clothing-yet another career politician.

  10. patrick nyc says

    The longer Obama drags this out, the worse it will be for Dems in both 2010 &2012. If Obama thinks I will buy his promise of next term, I am voting Green. Fuck him and Emanuel.

  11. DJ says

    Andrew, what are you talking about? There is plenty of video of him talking with the gay community.

    Patrick, it isn’t just about Obama. People seem to be ignoring the fact that Congressional Democrats need to get off their asses too. And the fact that people on the blogs only want to lash out at Obama. Well, lash out also at your members of Congress.

  12. patrick nyc says

    DJ my Congressman is 100% on board, if you think I’m going to lobby others good luck. Obama is our party’s LEADER. I’m just waiting on him to lead and keep his promise. We are, from his own words, on the back burner.

    To that I say screw him. Do I want the GOP to take over, no. But if it puts fire under his ass then yes. As for Obama being a man of his word, he even lies to his wife about giving up smoking. He is a typical politician. He will say anything to get elected. Fuck that.

  13. RB says

    Amen Andrew! Truer words could not have been said. He is NOT on our side. Ed, as pissed off as some of my posts have been in the past regarding the Clintons, Bill Clinton made it possible for ALL of us to work in civilian government jobs without fear of discrimination or being fired. Being able to work, pay the rent and eat are basic core values and Bill Clinton opened doors to the LGBT community that were simply NOT there before!

    And as for Patrick NYC, I never thought that you and I would ever agree on anything but I was wrong. Obama will not touch the gay hot potatoe and he will lose his super majority in 2010. I ask the most obvious question: How are the dems better for us?

    They have a majority in congress, senate and a left of left president and still they will not do right by the LGBT community!!!

  14. says

    Rahm is poison to our movement — and any other progressive cause. As soon as Obama hired him, we should have known this was the shit that would follow. Rahm just feeds into the worst aspects of Obama.

  15. patrick nyc says

    Obama and Rahm will look back at this as the turning point where they fucked up. The GOP will not take over, but will stop bleeding seats. The longer this festers the more damage and if Obama loses in 2012, good for him. You reap what you sow.

  16. Ed says

    RB, first off, Andrew is WRONG, plain and simple. There is video evidence of Obama speaking on the campaign about gay rights.

    As for your Clinton comments….please, you sound just like Michael, Leland Frances, et al. You are living in the past, as much as you accuse Obama and Rahm Emanuel of living in the past. You sound like a hypocrite.

  17. alinosof says

    Before DADT, there was a complete ban on homosexuals in the military and recruiters would prescreen candidates during interviews to eliminate homosexuals and bisexuals. Clinton kept his campaign promise and tried to lift the ban from the get go, but he was blindsided by former democratic senator Sam Nunn who had a big following in the party and Colin Powell. The environment in the 90s was hostile to the gay community with an ascendant republic party. Like some body said above, Clinton opened lots of doors for the gay community when the majority of the country was opposed to gay rights. Things are completely different today, the democratic Party controls the Congress with absolute majority, there is a democratic president and the republicans are decimated. Moreover, a large portion of the country favors gays serving freely in the military unlike the 90’s. So, what’s gives?

  18. Clay says

    Prior to DADT, there WAS a total ban on gays in the military leading to automatic discharges when discovered. Just like today.

    More people were discharged from the services under Clinton and DADT than any other President of the post-WWII era. Why? Because DADT streamlines the process of separation from the services. Let’s lose the rose-colored glasses about the Clinton years. In 1996 he actively campaigned, in the South, on having embraced DOMA and protected the sanctity of marriage. No one should get a free pass: Not Obama, Not Clinton, no one.

  19. RB says

    Actually Ed, I happen to be a fan of Leland Francis! However, you are not really familiar with my posts. I have been uber critical of the Clintons in times past. However, he made it “legal” for you and me to hold government jobs. It doesn’t matter how hypocritical I look/sound I still have the right to hold employment without discrimination thanks to Clinton. Whether I can ever get married or not, and I want to get married and not opening that can of worms, I CAN be employed without fear of being fired. There is freedom and then there is freedom and apparently you haven’t lived long enough to know real employment loss just because you are gay.

    Having said that, Leland you are awesome even when we disagree. And it is totally great to see Zeke back on Towleroad! Love you brother!

  20. Mike Pickett says

    I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rahm Emanuel until I saw the NBC special about the Whitehouse. After seeing that I came away not liking him at all. Can’t put my finger on it but what an “attitude”. I don’t think he is a friend of ours.

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