Socarides: Will Obama Continue Treating Gays as Second Class?

Richard Socarides, special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior White House adviser on gay rights from 1997 to 1999, writes on Obama's approaching decisions on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in the Wall Street Journal:

Dadt Many wonder when their president will show the same kind of concern
for the constitutional rights of gay American service members as he has
for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay. Many wonder what the
administration's willingness to treat gay Americans as second-class
citizens says to Uganda and other countries that are considering laws
that would subject gays to imprisonment and even death.

Gay Americans have been among the president's most ardent supporters.
Their enthusiasm, and that of their families and friends, could be
crucial in this year's elections. The president's action—or inaction—on
Don't Ask Don't Tell will be noticed.

An increasingly frustrated bloc of gay voters—angry over marriage
setbacks in California, Maine, New Jersey and New York and emboldened by
Ted Olson's and David Boies's high-profile effort to declare
unconstitutional laws that prohibit gay marriage—are growing impatient
for equality. As Mr. Olson said in federal district court in San
Francisco recently, discriminatory laws serve only to "label gay and
lesbian persons as different, inferior, unequal and disfavored."

Politico calls Socarides' column "a shot across the administration's bow."  Certainly there have been plenty.

Ask Obama About Don't Ask, Don't Tell [wsj]

Comments

  1. Marc says

    Well, here we go again. I am not apologist for the Obama Administration, I don’t work for them, I voted for him but wish they could move on GLBT issues more swiftly. But our community needs to stop demonizing this man.

    It was reported over the weekend that the chairmen of each respective Armed Services Committee in Congress are raising doubts whether they will let the DADT be repealed in the upcoming appropriations bill the White House is proposing, knowing that even Republicans would be likely unwilling to vote against funding for the military.

    Chairmen of congressional committees are extremely powerful. If they decide not to include something in a bill, it does not get in–at all!! Ike Shelton and Carl Levin, the chair of the House and Senate committees respectively, are extremely powerful in Congress. Plus, the military issued a report recently that they do not want DADT repealed. Obviously, I disagree with the military’s stand on this issue. But Levin and Shelton will listen to the military leaders and give their opinion considerable weight.

    So it is not the White House that we need to fear or convince. Socarides should know this!! We need to be calling Shelton and Levin’s offices and letting them know to support the White House’s move to include DADT’s repeal in the appropriations bill.

    Finally, I should note that some people have a lot of nerve calling out someone working to undo the damage done while they were in office and had a chance to change the very policy they themselves were instrumental in crafting. This is the height of hypocrisy, Mr. Socarides!!! It’s like the Republicans decrying the national debt, which they produced almost half of over the past decade and now call Obama fiscally irresponsible. We, Democrats, need to be more mindful and careful not to fall into the same hypocritical stance.

  2. nic says

    @MARC,

    how is asking for fairness demonizing the prez? it is a simple proposition, really. some gay people want to serve in the military. why should they be prohibited?

  3. Rocco says

    Hi Marc,guys….
    It’s Ike SKelton, who is a Blue Dog from Missouri. I think it is a fairly safe(for him), largely rural, district he has represented for decades. He’ll probably be in office until he croaks or retires. I’m not sure how “move-able” he is, but why not try?

  4. says

    I have a grave concern that any progress made on DADT or marriage equality will ultimately be overturned when brought before the Supreme Court with it’s current make-up. The liberal/progressive Justices are ancient, so the situation will only get worse if Obama doesn’t get his full 8 years.
    I’m disappointed in the Administration and the Democratic Party too, but if the GOP regains power, kiss all our issues goodbye for another generation.

  5. says

    Contrary to your denials, Marc, you’re not only a volunteer apologist for Obama Inc., you’re worse at it than most.

    You give yourself away immediately, of course, by characterizing Socarides’ tough talk as “demonizing.” That’s one of the first weapons in the Obambots arsenal: try to immediately drown the topic with exaggeration.

    Obambot Tactic #2: “Change The Subject. Insist that the problem is not He Who Can Do No Wrong Obama but Congress, the military, Republicans, the price of tea in China, ad infinitum. ‘The buck stops [anywhere but with the President]’.”

    Obambot Tactic #3: “Rewrite His Job Description. Insist that He Who Can Do No Wrong, aka the President of the most powerful nation on earth, aka the Commander-in-Chief of the US military, aka the fuctional head of the Democratic Party, really has no power or responsibility himself except to sign bills. Amplify by rewriting the US Constitution such that it seems the military runs the country, that the President and Congress report to them.”

    Obambot Tactic #4: “It Was On Fire When He Sat Down On It. Sure, He Who Can Do No Wrong has been ‘in office’ [see #3] for a year now but He still has no responsibility for [fill-in-the-blank] because He didn’t start it, ‘he inherited [fill-in-the blank]’. Sure, He campaigned as the Great Firefighter, the one who, if we trusted Him, gave Him our votes, would put out the fire but someone else is preventing Him from doing that [see #2].

    Obambot Tactic #5: Shoot The Messenger.

  6. Strepsi says

    @MARC:
    So far, President Obama has let his Press Secretary do the talking, mostly lowering expectations. I understand that he is not all powerful, but is speech is powerful, and heeded. Why not a strong statement? It’s like his position on DOMA and marriage equality: so weak that it was effectively used BY THE OTHER SIDE.

    Obama and the Democrats need to stop “reaching across the aisle” to the hatemongers on the other side, because they end up all being appeasers, and offering up solutions that are half-hateful.

    Democrats, grow a pair of balls and a spine!

  7. walter says

    The worst part of all this is everyone said give Obama time but time is not on our side . Fierce advocate not even We were told that healthcare and the economy needed first priority Healthcare is on life support and the republicans have already made the first move on making the democrats the minority party how much longer do we have to wait. a great opportunity was wasted

  8. Chitown Kev says

    @Marc

    If there is any area that the President does have considerable sway and leverage over Congress, it would be in his capacity as Commander and Chief.

    “Don’t demonize the man” my black ass, and this military is willing to accept open skinheads, racists, and gangbangers but is not willing to allow openly gay men and lesbians to serve their country.

  9. Marc says

    Asking for fairness is not demonizing Obama. Expecting him to speak on the issue in fair-minded terms is not demonizing Obama, and is, in fact, fair game.

    I was speaking to the expectations game we progressives continue to play, expecting Obama the Messiah to swoop in and save the day as if just by talking about the issue (which he has done repeatedly–so I don’t know where people who claim otherwise have been).

    I want equality and I want it now, just like everyone else. But screaming at the top of our lungs hasn’t really worked all that well for us, has it? Perhaps a different approach is demanded. We start by screaming at Levin and Shelton, working to elect progressive leaders and educating them. Not everyone who disagrees with us is a bigot. And simply because you’re not aware of the fight behind the scenes doesn’t mean it isn’t being waged. All I’m saying is Socarides should know this well. In fact, he would probably argue that’s exactly what the Clinton administration was doing when they were trying to change this policy.

    It’s harder than we know, even for people who might gravitate toward us on the issue. Cut these folks a break. Let’s ensure we are holding all of the right peoples’ feet to the fire. Obama cannot do everything under the sun alone, which it sometimes seem our progressive friends expect him to do simply because the numbers marginally favor us.

    As someone astutely pointed out, we don’t want Republicans working on this issue back in the White House and we lose an opportunity to work the issue (military leaders, like-minded Republicans in Congress, and the rest of the country, etc.). Even a tried-and-true progressive like Paul Wellstone, whom I loved, would have a hard time with this issue. Democratic presidents generally all want to do the right thing by our community; but there are other forces at work that we need to, if not entirely respect, at least acknowledge.

  10. Landon Bryce says

    Wow, David Kaufman.

    Eighteen months ago Towleroad was full of people who labeled as bigotry any criticism of Barack Obama. They screamed most of us who had doubts about Obama into silence. Most of those people have been shamed by Obama’s antigay behavior into silence, although very of them have made the apologies that they need to.

    So– other than the fact that he criticized Obama– what makes gaylib a bigot, David?

    And why shouldn’t I despise you for calling him one?

  11. says

    @landon bryce

    despise away, my friend

    Pres. Obama is not a homophobe and calling him that gives power to the real homophobes who are out to take LGBTs down.

    It’s reckless that @gaylib is even allowed to say things like that on this site.

    But then recklessness is all the “movement” seems to be able to muster these days

  12. Chitown Kev says

    @David

    Considering his soaring pro-gay rhetoric during the campaign and juxtaposing that with his relative silence on gay issues and even anti-gay rhetoric coming from his Administration (the DOMA brief, military leaders even DISCUSSING the segregation of gay troops) I would say that the Obama Administration is politically homophobic.

    Whether he is personally homophobic is of little or no consequence, given that.

  13. Chitown Kev says

    @Landon Bryce

    Consider the source.

    Kaufman is the same man who out and out called David Mixner a “bigot” for Mixner’s simple opposition to Harold Ford’s possible candidacy for the NY Senate seat.

    In spite of Ford’s on the record votes on gay issues (including 2 votes for FMA).

    Kaufman’s sole purpose, it seems, is to race bait and scream “racist” at every conceivable argument or disagreement with the GLBT community against the actions of this Administration. (granted, some of the commenters here at towleroad can make that easy, sometimes).

  14. says

    Marc, perhaps you should try not pouring beer on your Captain Crunch in the morning. There’s only one other explanation for your incoherence and self-contradiction, e.g., now denying that you were equating Socarides’ comments to demonization.

    But there’s less point in cutting through your ball of rhetorical knots just because one could than responding to your fantasies.

    The first involves combining Obambot Tactic #1: Histrionic Hyperbole [“screaming”] with #Obambot Tactic #6: Insist He Hasn’t Been Given Enough Time combined with Obambot Tactic #7: Claim There’s A Secret Plan.

    Obama applied for this job and wrote a contact with us that we signed with our votes:

    “[To] achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country … we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership.” – Job candidate Barack Obama, February 28, 2008.

    On no part of his frequent job applications to us/contract with us was he more explicit about what he would do and when he would do it than re DADT. Wrote job candidate Barack Obama on November 29, 2007 [emphasis mine]:

    “As president, I will work with Congress and place the weight of my administration behind [repeal].

    I will task the Defense Department and the senior command structure in every branch of the armed forces with developing an action plan for the implementation of a full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    And I will direct my Secretaries of
    Defense and Homeland Security to develop procedures for taking re-accession requests from those qualified service members who were separated from the armed forces under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and still want to serve their country.

    That work should have started long ago. IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE. America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. ALL THAT IS REQUIRED IS LEADERSHIP.”

    Full statement at: http://www.leonardmatlovich.com/barackobamaspromise.html

    To the contrary, a year has passed since he took office and no evidence has been OFFERED by him that he has DONE anything positive other that “start conversations” with the Pentagon and Congress. Rather than the “weight of his Adminstration,” all he’s thrown is a one-sided rewritten contract that he will deliver sometime before the end of his administration, i.e, sometime in the next presumably seven years.

    His only justification for trying to shove this new, longterm expiration date down our throats is that “Congress must act before I can do anything” and “it’s a generational problem.”

    And if one can equate insulting our intelligence with pouring salt on our wounds this former Constitutional law prof has explicitly done that by 1. claiming he has no power from Congress to stop discharges unilaterally when he DOES [and no less than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ASKED him to do], and, 2. claiming that DADT has been declared constitutional when it has NOT.

    In contrast to his failure to keep his promises to immediately set in motion his legislative representatives and Dept. of Defense to end DADT, he has continued to discharge people [some 700 since he took office] AND allowed his “Justice” Department to defend DADT in court in the same homophobic terms used to pass it in 1993; attacking efforts TO HAVE IT DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Ike Skeletor is a lost cause, but his homophobic opposition to ending DADT is surmountable, in addition to the fact that the Defense Budget does NOT come out of HIS committee. And in June of last year, his Senate counterpart Carl Levin [one of the few Dems to have tried to have stopped DADT from being implemented in the first place] stated the solution to the gridlock” “Presidential leadership.”

    If Obama RETURNED to his 11/29/07 action plan, and delivered it to the American people who already support out gays in the military wrapped in the red, white, and blue of what is necessary for helping make their families more safe in the war against terror, ANYONE who continued to oppose it would be putting their redneck on the block to be choppped off as “unpatriotic.”

    There IS a way and it wouldn’t be hard. The fair question is why has the person we gave the job lost the will?

  15. Marc says

    Hey, Chitown Kev,

    There is a saying in politics, “One campaigns in poetry and governs in prose.” This is what Obama is trying to navigate, I think.

    The campaign and speeches are where he stands. Enacting laws, however, are much harder and nowhere near as eloquent. He got to write his own speeches; he doesn’t get to write his own laws! Our political system ensures this. If you want an even better example, look at the healthcare issue. Can anyone doubt Obama wants a healthcare bill passed? Yet, speaking up on the issue hasn’t made come to fruition. And as everyone has seen, writing laws is messy and downright delirious sometimes. Yet, we still don’t have healthcare reform yet. And this is on an issue hardly anyone should disagree about, let along GLBT issues.

    I am not apologizing for Obama. I think during the first half of last year, his administration made mistakes (e.g., the brief by the Justice Department, not speaking to the issue until the HRC dinner, and not ordering the Secretary of Defense to undertake a year-long study of how to GLB folks–sorry the T isn’t going to happen–into the military). I understand the frustration. I think there are some things he could have done to smooth over the edges and show he is moving forthwith on these issues. But he is human and he errs, too.

    But this whole questioning about where his heart lies is way over the line, destructive not constructive, and underlies why Democrats often lose elections. We want everything…NOW!!! We don’t care if you have to save our economic system from utter collapse, fight two wars–one that was waged stupidly and the other waged incompetently, save the auto industry, create jobs, repair our world image, and try to provide healthcare to every American while reducing the cost of everyone else’s health insurance against some of the most intractable elements our political system has ever unleashed on one president. Not to mention a deficit that one president accumulated, which more than every president before him had accumulated combined. “But I’ll get right on the GLBT issues as one of my first 10 things–since that’s what the country is in dire need for right now!!”

    Cut the freakin’ guy a break.

  16. Chitown Kev says

    @David Kaufman

    Actually, I would leave it there, it just seems as if you are not able to.

    Now, everyone here at towleroad knows that I don’t defend nonsense coming from either of my communities and I have no problem criticizing either. I’m not looking for brownie points from either community by trolling and shucking and jiving around the blogosphere.

    If the pumps fit, bitch, then you need to wear them.

  17. Landon Bryce says

    Marc:

    I wonder to what extent you followed the Clinton presidency. Many of my reactions to Obama’s actions are based on feeling that we are getting no more than Clinton offered then, despite the tremendous changes in public attitudes towards gay people. We are advised to be patient then, and most of us complied. And what we got was DADT, DOMA, and eight years of George Bush. Seriously. We did that once. We can’t wait until for those who didn’t start politics seriously until Clinton was out of office to get burned by Obama and wise up.

    And, David Kaufman, I did not say gaylib’s post was charming or accurate. It is neither. I don’t agree that Obama is a homophobe. I asked you what gaylib said that bigoted. Answer that, please, or explain why it is okay for you to lob the charge of bigotry at a post that was annoying for different reasons.

    Thanks, Kev. You make me feel sane. Not an easy feat.

  18. Marc says

    Landon,

    I follow politics very closely. I followed it closely in the Clinton administration. I understand the need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. We went eight years with the Clintons all we got was DADT in the first place. My point is that the criticism is rich coming from someone who perpetrated DADT in the first place. And Clinton didn’t have nearly the number of problems presented to him when he walked into the Oval Office as Obama did.

    I am not saying let him off the hook, but to temper our expectations and timeline in totality with the rest of the country’s problems. Lower our expectations on the timetable for him to get stuff done. He’s been elected for four years, and he will need our votes if he wants to get reelected. Give him some breathing room to run, and one year is not enough especially the ginormous problems he inherited.

  19. Chitown Kev says

    @Marc

    But how much speaking up has Obama specifically done on the health care issue? Sure, there’s been plenty of stuff going on behind the scenes but basically, as far as the public record is concerned, he more or less told the Congressional Dems to work it out. He never stated a bottom line as far as what he would NOT sign. And now, the Dems are so desperate to sell a pile shit and call it HCR that they are ready to delete the provisions for coverage with those with pre-existing conditions from the bill (that is if you’re older than 19).

    And where is the job program? Unemployment is still at 10%, unemployment in Massachusetts is at a 32-3 year high?

    I do understand that part of what Obama is attempting to do is to restore the proper balance between the legislative and executive branches of government that got horribly out of balance under the Bush Administrration.He’s gone too far the other way, acting more like a laissez faire Chicago School type od President than anything. While I applaud his attempt to restore that balance, he’s gone too far the other way.

    I think Obama’s handling of LGBT issues can be seen, somewhat, in his handling of other issues, especially health care. Now emotion, no passion, it’s all an exercise of 35 dimensional chess to him.

    And whether it’s “gay issues” or “black issues’ (and Obama has been horrible on those as well) or HCR, it’s Clinton redux, and landon bryce said. And that’s not the change that I voted for. And when someone…lies to me about important matters, then, yes, I DO take that personally.

  20. Chitown Kev says

    @Marc

    Well, I usually DO give any President a year to learn the damn job…every President makes mistakes in their first year.

    But neither he nor the Democratic Party has set a tone any different from the Clinton Administration; what it took to get the 60th vote on the health care bill is evidence of that. And not to say that that isn’t business as usual (or that Hillary would have done better). Obama was the one that raised the expectations to a large extent, he needs to work with us to temper them as well.

    And, as it pertains to GLBT issues, Obama and the Democrats need to work with the homophobic constituents, representatives, and senators in their own party. While, yes, our community DOES need to do a much better job with coalition building, the Democrats are taking our money and our votes and talking the good shit about our issues. Therefore, I do judge the Democratic Party more for their lapses on GLBT issues.

    And as far as breathing room, we have given Obama Donnie McClurkin, Rick Warren, the DOMA brief, “gawd in the mix,” etc. Considering those strikes on his record…

    Oh, and nice to see that David Kaufman took time out of his busy schedule to come grade papers today.

  21. says

    I was trying to play nice, sticking to pointing to Obambot tactics rather than deconstructing Obambots personally, but after stepping in your third pool of pseudo intellectual drool, Marc, I see no reason not to take off the gloves.

    Simply put: you’re a simpleton who, in addition to repeatedly saying something, then denying you said it, doesn’t know shit from Shinola either about facts or grammar.

    “Enacting laws…nowhere near as eloquent”??? “writing laws is messy and downright delirious sometimes.”

    Mary, “delirious” applies to you.

    You think you’re being accomodating by complaining of Obama “not ordering the Secretary of Defense to undertake a year-long study of how to [let] GLB folks…into the military”?????

    Moronia, HOW THE FUCK would that be good for us? And why “year-long”? Why not “six-month” or “four-year”?

    The Study Ship sailed LONG ago, repeatedly, in fact; first, over 50 years ago, with the Navy’s Crittenden Report; then, again, in the late 80s with the two PERSEREC reports; in the 1992 GAO study, and the 1993 Rand Corporation Study which most definitively of all stated that gays per se created absolutely no service problems and that success of out gays serving was in direct proportion to….wait for it….”LEADERSHIP” from senior military and civilian personnel.

    If you had paid as much attention to Clinton’s effort to lift the ban AS YOU CLAIM you would know this, for the Rand study was commissioned by his Secretary of Defense Les Aspin [then ignored because Aspin didn’t really support gay integration].

    Again, handled properly and forcefully in terms of leadership and framed in the narrative of strengthening national defense, convincing Congress to fast track lifting the ban would be a walk in the proverbial park contrasted with health care and the economy. And there is a significant ECONOMIC case, backed up by statistics in these studies, to make for repealing DADT, too. Cumulatively, hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted training closeted gays as linguists, pilots, ad infinitum, then having to spend the same amounts AGAIN to train their replacements when they’re involuntarily discharged or choose not to re-enlist.

  22. Landon Bryce says

    But, Marc–

    The appointments have really already been made, so the argument that Obama should be given more time on gay issues really doesn’t make sense to me. There are no open gays or lesbians on Obama’s cabinet, and I do not understand how any gay person is willing to tolerate that. I do not understand why any gay org is willing to speak to the President or say anything positive about him publicly until this historic injustice has been corected. I do not accept that anything other than some degree of hostility toward gay people on the President’s part explains his utter indifference to our issues when choosing the people who would be making decisions for him.

    We see this not only in his lack of LGBT people but in his willingness to put notable homophobes like Tim Kaine in positions of power. And the DNC, which settled out of court the suit brought by a gay man fired days after his partner advised other gays not to donate to Democrats immediately before Kaine became its head, has become even more hostile to gays under Kaine. The DNC under Dean partnered with Stonewall Democrats to produce materials to distribute at Pride Events. This is one of the first things axed when he came in as party leader.

    And, of course, Kaine is a conservative Catholic who has ratcheted up the power of the Catholic Bishops on legislation such as health care. I am sure he is one of the voices urging no action on gay and lesbian issues.

    I don’t think the DNC should be headed by a man who has serious reservations about gays adopting. This problem is more upsetting to me because I don’t see anyone in positions of power in the Obama Administration who is likely to be as adamant in advancing our cause as bigots like Kaine and pragmatists like Emmanuel are in holding us back.

    So– the players are all chosen. Obama gave us no one on the field and gave our enemies some powerful slots. How is more time going to do anything but allow this rotten situation to fester?

    And why am I the only person upset about this?

  23. Marc says

    Michael,

    You have so much anger, it’s not really worth entering into a debate with you. I apologize for the grammatical mistakes. I should proofread my statements, but I have a job that I tend to during the day.

    One of the things I think the election of ’08 was about was the sheer incompetence of the Bush Administration and Bush himself. Facts, laws, rules, true bipartisanship had no place in our country or in the world. It was his way, or f*ck you all.

    One of the refreshing things about Obama was he used less “gut” and more intellect in his decision-making process. We knew he was not terribly emotional about many things when we elected him. This didn’t mean he cared less. It did not mean he failed to understand issues. But I think what the electorate–the majority of us, anyway–was hoping that we could recreate some modicum of intellectualism in our goverment’s decision-making. We could elect a leader who could tend to the Nation’s problems somewhat dispassionately, but with excellent dispatch.

    I think that’s what Obama was trying to achieve with Rick Warren. (I agree it was probably futile for him to try to bridge such a large divide with someone like Warren, but at least he gave it a try. I cannot, and will not, defend the McClurkin fiasco–although I think that was terrible staff work, but Obama led the campaign and so deserved some culpability for that mistake. I would note that Obama’s No. 2 campaign manager was Steve Hildebrand, a defiantly openly gay man. Perhaps he missed this, too–or more likely the case on this site will be seen as self-hating gay man.)

    I think almost every effort of Obama trying to show the country could govern itself in a bipartisan fashion has been thrown back in his face. No House Republican votes on anything this past year. Scant few Republican votes in the Senate. So we blame him for even trying? Perhaps he was naive; maybe we all were. But I sense some historical revisionism going on now in hindsight.

    But the other thing I think the election was about was dismissing minority groups’ opinions and needs in this country, including our GLBT community. However, while I think the country is marginally open-minded to GLBT issues, it takes little to close that door. Discussions don’t open the door all that wide. Presidents have to prepare the Nation in order to advance any social cause. And even when we think the argument should be settled, like healthcare, there is still enormous pushback. And healthcare, arguably, is nowhere near as controversial as GLBT issues are in many corners of our country, I would say.

    So yes, the President needs to prepare the country for some of the changes he and we seek. That’s is why I think a year-long study would have foreclosed the very argument the Pentagon is now making: that they haven’t had time to study the issue and, consequently, repealing DADT would be harmful to the military. We know their argument is a crock of sh*t, but we should also know by now that that doesn’t necessarily win the political argument anymore. Maybe it should have been only six-months, maybe a year–whatever. The point was to prepare your change action like you preparing a court case–suffocate the oxygen out of your opponents’ arguments. Undertaking such a study for a good period of time, so the military cannot argue it didn’t have enough time to study the issues properly, would have gone a long way. No, it would not have settled the matter for the extreme loons, of which there are many. But I think it would have significantly advanced the argument.

    I am aware of the Rand Study that Aspin commissioned, but that study was done nearly two decades ago. You know what the military’s argument would be to it now–we all know: they would have questioned its validity and conclusions as antiquated. Hell, the President could have had the Pentagon review the findings of the Rand Report to start with and ordered them to determine whether its conclusions were still valid or needed updating and defend their conclusions about the need for updating.

    Doing this would facilitate a smoother transition to a more aggressive posture with the military, which Obama has shown he is willing to take. Now I fear this will failure will set us back more. Such a study also would have given cover to some of the politicians, especially in the House, who will have to campaign in purplish districts and will be pilloried on this issue if they vote the way we hope they will.

  24. Lonnie says

    Of course Obama will continue treating gays as second class. That’s a stupid question. so long as the majority of the lgbt community refuses to liberate itself and instead wastes its time support the second most homophobic political party in this country, we will remain second class citizens. To paraphrase Bette Midler from the 70s, don’t you queers get tired of people shit on by the Democratic Party? So long as the answers is “No”, we’ll be losing.

  25. Marc says

    Landon,

    You’re not the only one upset about. Clearly!! I am upset about it. The question I keep asking is where does the anger get you? We were angry at Clinton, after all he gave us DADT and DOMA. We were angry at Bush because, well, he was Bush; there was much to be angry about, frankly. Now we’re angry at Obama. By my count, that’s 17 years of anger. And we still have nothing to show for it. We’ve been so angry for 16 years of nothing, that we’re taking it on Obama because he couldn’t get all of our issues passed in his first year of office. Trust me, I understand the anger.

    But I think Obama is trying to do it right, with some mistakes made along the way (which I addressed above). Social change does not happen overnight, as 17 years of angry waiting should have taught us. So do we do about it? We elect more progressive politicians to have Obama’s back. Reflexively, we want to turn away instead of turning inward. Martin Luther King and Gandhi didn’t achieve social justice by themselves!! And no, Obama is neither of these seminal leaders on their respective issues. But I think there is more there if we gave him more weapons–i.e., progressives in Congress willing to stand by his side. Until then, Presidents, even one as aware as Obama, are not likely to get ahead of his party or electorate. Their is a limit to leadership at the presidential level. The rest must come from us.

  26. Chitown Kev says

    @Marc
    “Presidents have to prepare the Nation in order to advance any social cause.”

    See, here, you’re missing my point.

    The Democrats needed to educate and work with their OWN Party (reps, senators, constituents) on the subject of gay rights. They should have been doing it if they were also courting the GLBT community as well. But they haven’t. It’s the opposition coming from within the Democratic Party that’s intolerable.

    It’s the same thing the Dems did under Clinton, though (remember, progressives like Paul Wellstone voted for DOMA).

  27. TANK says

    “That’s is why I think a year-long study would have foreclosed the very argument the Pentagon is now making: that they haven’t had time to study the issue and, consequently, repealing DADT would be harmful to the military.”

    Well, we don’t need another study to expose this as a lie. There are literally dozens of studies that exist right now in circulation which demonstrate this very fact. Another study would be a waste of taxpayer money and time, and moreso, give credence to the pernicious lies propounded by pentagon elites who are rabidly antigay evangelical psychopaths.

  28. Landon Bryce says

    Marc:

    Am I wrong or did you again refuse to deal with the entire issue of appointments?

    I do not see how you can claim that Obama is trying to “do it right” by us when there are no significant LGBT appointments (we only carry out policy, we have no voice in the rooms where it is made). If I were in charge of the HRC, we would not have allowed Obama to speak at our banquet with no gays in the Cabinet and both Kaine and Emmanuel in place.

    One thing that the Warren debacle makes me believe is that Obama prefers homophobes to gay people. I know he thinks Rick Warren is wrong on the issue of gay rights, but I know that he does not believe that Warren’s attitudes toward gay people makes the preacher a bad person. The president believes that most of the people who are bigoted against gay people are otherwise good people. He does not view homophobia as an indicator that a person is morally questionable.

    There is no doubt that the President has many close friends and advisers who despise gay people. There is no doubt that he has no gay friends or advisers (now that he is in the White House) as close to him as some bigots are.

    And I think if all of us stood up on that one issue– an LGBT activist on the Cabinet in a relevant place– it would happen. And I think if it did happen, the incremental change we both believe in would be possible. Without that, I do not see possibility that gay equality will move forward in any significant way under Obama.

  29. Marc says

    Landon,

    Obama has appointed more gay people to his administration than any other president in history, including trans. And other such appointments are in the works, which I know of.

    Mary Beth Maxwell was under consideration to become Secretary of Labor. Ultimately, he opted to go with Hilda Solis. There have been a couple of other GLBT folks considered for Cabinet positions. Check out the glli.org Presidential Appointments Project which lists almost every GLBT appointment Obama has made. And frankly, the jury is still out on Shaun Donovan and Janet Napolitano. He may be respecting their wishes to not disclose their sexuality. I don’t know. He’s appointed the first openly gay U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal, the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank (who was under consideration for Secretary of Commerce), etc. I believe there are a couple of potential federal judge nominations being vetted. So I hardly think on appointments any president can hold a candle to Obama on this one. He may be wrong on other issues for our cause, but appointments–I don’t think so.

  30. Landon Bryce says

    But, Marc–

    Closeted people are much less likely to push for gay rights than straight people, so the closet cases in the White House (whoich have always been there) do us much more harm than good.

    And, yes, Obama has appointed more gay and lesbian people than any other president. I think he lags eons behind Clinton, however, in his willingness to push the envelope on gay appointments. Again, given the change in attitudes toward us, there is simply no excuse for Obama’s failure on this. Yes, he claimed to consider LGBT people for many posts. Do you honestly think it is a coincidence that he always ultimately chooses the straight?

    I still think you have not dealt with the substance of what I have written.

  31. CHRIS says

    Well if Obama is a bigoted homophobe then what are The Clinton’s???

    HIM: Signed D.A.D.T & D.O.M.A
    HER: Says “She doesn’t believe in Gay Marriage”

    Sounds Homophobic to me
    But with alot of you kids it would’nt even matter. Just continue with your dreams that some 3rd pary person is coming to save you and call me when they do.

    Until then gurls………..

  32. CHRIS says

    And by the way it’s amzaing all these damn Clintonites are coming out of the woodwork questioning this shit. When that motherfucker signed it and THEY ALL WENT ALONG WITH IT.Really WTF????

    But since Hillary lost we continue to hear from these full of shit hypocrites who wants to keep the gay community angry with Obama!

    Oh well…..

  33. Landon Bryce says

    Yeah, Chris. It’s those damn CLINTONS. They are responsible for Obama’s DOJ comparing gay relationships to incest. They’re the ones who forced them to ignore a judge’s ruling and refuse to give any benefits to spouses of gay people employed by federal courts. It’s the CLINTONS who forced Obama to campaign with Donnie McClurkin and get inaugurated with Rick Warren. Bill and Hillary forced him to back away from all of his campaign promises to gay people.

    Chris, most gay people that I know think Bill Clinton’s presidency was a disaster for gay people. That doesn’t excuse your hero’s shitty treatment of our community. It’s pathetic that you think it does.

  34. Chitown Kev says

    @Landon Bryce

    I’m with you on this.

    How many people on this thread 9which is now off of the main page) are defending the Clinton’s?

    I’m saying that Obama is just LIKE Clinton as regards to the gay rights sweet talk and that’s not a good thing.

    So I don’t know the “all of you kids” that the race baiting bitch is referring to in this instance. Obviously, she’s willing to use charges of racism to defend her man, like the good Obamabot that she is.

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