Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Promises, Promises

Barack Obama just promised us that if he becomes president, he's going to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and get ENDA passed. It was a bit surreal. I'm sitting at a fundraiser for the No on 1 effort in Maine (that Obama didn't even bother to mention), and we were all just speechless (actually, hardly speechless - and I thought yelling at the TV was long since over). Obama repeated his campaign promises. That was it.

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? Even General Jones last week said we can't do DADT because we're at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But President Obama claimed today that precisely because we're at war it is important to lift the ban now.

I think this point at the end really hits it on the head:
All in all, the evening was a disappointment, but not unexpected. President Obama doesn't do controversy, and we, my friends, are controversy.
Between the talk of pushing back EFCA to protect congress from "tough votes", or willingness to ditch the public option and anything good from the health care bill to make it bipartisan, the White House has a really unfortunate habit of viewing things through David Broader colored glasses.

And as long as the administration is wedded to that brand of "conventional wisdom" on political issues such as these that it's hard to see much movement on gay rights for the time being.

The message seems to be that we won't have Don't Ask Don't Tell by 2017. And that's great as long as you're not one of the 200+ service members who have been discharged since Obama took office. Repeating campaign pledges probably doesn't have much of an effect on them.

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