Barack Obama | Gay Rights | News | Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner: 'It Would Be a Mistake for the Left to Turn On Obama'


Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner is inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on gay rights because he has a lot on his plate.

"I'm very much inclined to be extremely patient right now...I feel that given what he's up against, the reality of what his administration has to address is so overwhelming and quite possibly, impossible...I have no problem whatsoever with extending a tremendous amount of good faith in his direction."


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  1. Kushner has a point. Obama has a huge mess to clean up. But there are a few things Obama DOES have the power to do right now and yet stalls for what reason? He's not taking a stand on important issues like Bush did. He's still the community organizer that wants us all to hold hands and get along. That's not the DC way.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 26, 2010 1:26:03 PM

  2. think the title should read
    "Obama and democrats turn on the left"!

    Posted by: steve | Jan 26, 2010 1:26:11 PM

  3. Nicely put; I concur.

    Posted by: Rad | Jan 26, 2010 1:26:37 PM

  4. how bout if lgbt's just turn on democrats in general?

    that would work for me

    Posted by: steve | Jan 26, 2010 1:30:14 PM

  5. Ugggh! This victim mentality that seems to permeate throughout sections of the gay community has really past the pathetic stage and moved into Full-On DESTRUCTIVE. Its sad to see so many gay men with no pride willing to sell off not only their dignity but our equality as well, just so they can bow down to the alter of Obama worship. Until we view ourselves as truly equal and demand to be treated as such - Equality will not come.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jan 26, 2010 1:34:44 PM

  6. No Tony it's NOT obvious that he's in favor or same-sex marriage. it's screamingly obvious that President "God is in the mix" ISN'T.

    "The HRC -- an organization I have a lot of problems with"

    But he doesn't.

    WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 26, 2010 1:35:16 PM

  7. The liberal elite ($$) has spoken. Thanks but no thanks Tony.

    What people like Mr. Ku$hner fail to understand is that there are many more middle and working class LGBT folks for whom equal treatment under the law (health care, etc), would improve their standard of living. But guess you don't mix with many of those folks, do you?

    Posted by: qjersey | Jan 26, 2010 1:43:48 PM

  8. Kushner's a smart guy-- his points are salient. I too am losing patience with the people already screaming from his head. And, it's so NOT "screamingly obvious" that the president is anti-marriage equality. Even when he said that he thought "marriage" was between a man and woman, he added the caveat that he might be wrong about it. If anything, he's been playing it safe.

    Posted by: Jeff | Jan 26, 2010 1:44:35 PM

  9. David, he's awake. He just doesn't have the courage of his convictions.

    The left didn't turn on Obama's administration. The administration turned on us.

    To quote the late great Molly Ivins, "Ya got to dance with them what brung ya."

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 26, 2010 1:45:29 PM

  10. THis is the view more of us should take... we have FOUR YEARS. Eight if we're lucky. He will come through.

    Posted by: Drew | Jan 26, 2010 1:47:18 PM

  11. I wonder if the queens that were getting beat down and thrown into the police paddy wagons during the raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969 had just decided they were "inclined to extremely patient" instead of fighting back, would we even have had a modern gay rights movement? The time for playing pathetic victim and playing the apologist game is long since past. History has proven equality must be DEMANDED. It is the only way.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jan 26, 2010 1:50:08 PM

  12. "he added the caveat that he might be wrong about it."

    Oh well that changes everything. He's not only a liar HE'S AN ASSHOLE AS WELL!!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 26, 2010 1:50:38 PM

  13. Obama's playing it safe? So ignoring every single state fight on marriage equality and refusing to advocate at all on the issue of equality, let alone be the "fierce advocate" he promised to be, is now what they call "playing it safe"? And I here I thought the term "cowardly betrayal" was far more apt.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jan 26, 2010 1:56:59 PM

  14. He's an idiot.
    I always think of this when I read this Dem-worship crap: "This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." From MLK's Letter From a Bormingham Jail

    Posted by: Shane | Jan 26, 2010 2:03:29 PM

  15. I've been arguing for patience for the last nine months (complaints about Obama failing to move on lgbt issues first started coming out last summer!). Unfortunately, more than half the country (most all Republicans and a large share of Democrats) is REACTIONARY and will be against ANYTHING & ANYONE that hasn't moved in favor of their issues. For example, a Republican just won the Senate seat from Massafreakinchsetts.

    Posted by: Rodney | Jan 26, 2010 2:09:08 PM

  16. Having second class citizens in a country where we are suppose to be the land of the free should be TOP priority... I still do not understand why gay democrats like this guy, he has said over and over he is against same-sex marriage, yet u still voted him in....

    Posted by: David B | Jan 26, 2010 2:11:28 PM

  17. Too late Tony.

    Posted by: Marco | Jan 26, 2010 2:13:58 PM

  18. The problem with Kushner's statement is, it's not just the LGBT community President Obama's failing, and it's not just the left. His proposed flexible spending freeze will hurt a lot of ordinary Americans in favor of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. I was willing to cut Obama some slack on LGBT issues while he got the economy going again and fixed health care. The stimulus may have stabilized the economy, but the focus has been away from neccesary infrastructure projects and unemployment continues to rise beyond the "lagging indicator" timeline. Meanwhile, Obama has allowed his health care plan (which wasn't all that great to begin with) to become eviscerated and even THAT is unlikely to pass.

    Repealing DOMA is not just some bone to be thrown to political contributors. It affects the lives of ordinary citizens. Both my partner and I make a decent living. We are living the American dream -- to the extent that we can in a country that does not recognize our relationship: we bought a nice fixer-upper in a decent suburb, we can take a moderately priced vacation once a year. Nothing fancy, no McMansions, no circuit weekends. Our nest-egg took a hit in 2008 but is slowly recovering. But without the benefits that are conferred to heterosexual marriage, if one of us dies, the other is absolutely screwed financially. The dream will become a nightmare.

    We elected Obama to help us and he has largely failed to do so. And history shows that Presidents need to get the controversial items enacted within the first two years of their administration or nothing will happen.

    In short, he's taken the goodwill he was swept into office with and pissed it away.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 26, 2010 2:18:14 PM

  19. Tony,
    May I call your attention to your own, Angels in America? Where is your rage now? Are you saying we should sit patiently by as we are denied our civil rights, stand silent as soldiers face careers destroyed, and as Uganda cries out for genocide, while Obama, with his full plate, keeps his mouth shut? Proctor, your character in Angels, screams and fights with all his strength against how he is treated and he rallies the heavens until he is heard and never shows the slighted bit of patience as he fights for his life. Does your play still carry relevance to our lives? Silence=Death. Remember?

    Posted by: Riverdal | Jan 26, 2010 2:22:00 PM

  20. Well, gay people are NOT a monolith, are they, now?

    If you've got some of your leading gay artists, thinkers, politicians & community leaders disagreeing about how to approach this President & his party, and the "next phase" in the push for gay civil rights, then we'll have to respect (or atleast accept) diverse opinions among gay folks on how to proceed.

    So, drop the term "self-hating gay" when another gay person disagrees with you about direction of the gay civil rights movement. The phrase don't mean shit... except that you're judgemental and...uh, easily excitable.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 26, 2010 2:23:39 PM

  21. It means something when we're talking about YOU Derrick

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 26, 2010 2:28:48 PM

  22. @Riverdal: That's Prior, not Proctor. Although Roy Cohn was as much of a witchhunter as any of the elders in "The Crucible."

    Posted by: Thomasina | Jan 26, 2010 2:45:39 PM

  23. "Oh, David,"he said in his best Barbara Stanwyck immpersonation, "I can think of some gays I've learned to hate much more than me."

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 26, 2010 2:46:48 PM

  24. "If anything, he's been playing it safe. "

    He should be doing the right thing, not the safe one.

    Posted by: Trasker | Jan 26, 2010 2:51:27 PM

  25. @THOMAINA: I stand corrected. Thank you.

    Posted by: riverdal | Jan 26, 2010 2:52:58 PM

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