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Thread: Obama disregards laws he dislikes, unless it's about gays and then he's powerless.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry Obama disregards laws he dislikes, unless it's about gays and then he's powerless.

    Today's NYT notes that not only does the Obama administration continue to disregard laws that it finds objectionable, but it's doing so in a manner that's even less transparent than what George Bush did, and for which Bush was routinely castigated by, among others, candidate Obama:

    Obama Takes New Route to Opposing Parts of Laws - NYTimes.com

    At the same time, the Obama administration, and its apologists in Congress (Frank, Baldwin, Polis) and the Democratic Party (Tobias), have the temerity to lecture the gay community on how the President simply couldn't put a temporary stop to the two-a-day discharges of gay service members, couldn't provide federal employees with health benefits for their family members, couldn't permit the foreign partners of gay Americans to enter and stay in the United States, couldn't even argue against DOMA and DADT in a court of law - all because we simply must respect the rule of law, to hell with how 'wrong' we think that law is.

    Now we know that this was a lie. From the NYT:

    T]he approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard....

    [T]he administration will consider itself free to disregard new laws it considers unconstitutional....

    Mr. Obama, whose advisers sided with the latter camp, has characterized Mr. Bush’s use of signing statements as an abuse and pledged greater restraint.

    Mr. Obama nevertheless challenged dozens of provisions early last year. The last time was in June, when his claim that he could disobey a new law requiring officials to push the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to adopt certain policies angered Congress....

    Last year the Obama administration disregarded a statute that forbid State Department officials to attend United Nations meetings led by nations deemed state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has included that restriction in several recent bills.


    Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, and Andy Tobias have some explaining to do.

    All four have done a fine job defending the Democratic party's anti-gay actions over the past year. And make no mistake, it's flat out homophobia and bigotry that we have been witnessing from the White House and the DNC since President Obama assumed office. They were happy to make promises to our community in exchange for our votes. But now that they're in power, we're supposed to understand that our civil rights, our humanity, is just a tad too embarrassing for the Democratic leaders we put in office. We're supposed to understand why Frank, Baldwin, Polis and Tobias defend the Democratic party's recurring attacks on our community. (But hey, they did have a gay band in the inaugural parade.)

    No more.

    We have a serious problem. The Democratic party likes our money, and it likes our votes, but, as one commenter noted a few months back, whenever our civil rights come up in a public discussion, the White House, especially, comes down with a sudden case of political gay panic. Yet the rich gay funders continue to bankroll the Democrats. They continue to go to the party fundraisers. They continue to pay for the cocktail parties being thrown by the DNC and the White House to buy off our leaders. They continue to give the Democrats cover for their political homophobia.

    And for those who might argue that nothing is wrong, where is ENDA? We were told that it would be passed by the end of 2009. So where is it? Where is the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell? We were told that we should expect it to be passed by the spring of 2010. Yet now we hear that no planning is going on, whatsoever, to make that a reality. And as for President Obama's promise to repeal DOMA - a law he once called "abhorrent" - we are mocked by senior Democratic party officials for simply asking the President and the party to keep their promise. We are told that we're naive to think that DOMA could ever be repealed, and that it won't be this term. No. We simply believed Barack Obama when he promised to get it done.

    Via this blog, Joe and I have raised over $300,000 for Democratic candidates and causes (the exact figure is on ActBlue). Our allegiance to the party cannot be questioned. But at some point you have to ask yourself why you are helping put politicians in office who don't keep their promises, who don't put a high value on your own humanity. As Democrats, we routinely mock gay Republicans for supporting politicians that doesn't see them as fully human. We make perhaps too harsh comparisons to Jews who would be Nazis, and blacks who cozying up to the Klan. But how can we look at gay Republicans with a straight face, as it were, and tell them that they're selling out when our allegiance to our own party is not equally contingent on a basic respect for our own humanity?

    It's great that the Obama administration has hired 100 gay officials. As they should. 2010 is not 1994. Democrats do not get kudos for not discriminating against gays in their hiring practices. You do not get kudos for issuing the Pride proclamation equivalent of National Ice Cream Day. You do not get a pass on your promises on ENDA, DOMA and DADT simply because you gave a speech at the HRC dinner. We are not your grandfather's gay community - words and crumbs are no longer enough. We have matured in the past decade, and even in the past year since Prop 8 was repealed. Our party, however, is still stuck in the past.

    How else to explain President Obama's obviously uncomfortable comment to NBC's Brian Williams, in response to a question about the infamous DOMA brief, that the President believes gays should be able to visit their partners in the hospital? Yes, they should. How very 1994 of you to agree. And how 1974 of you to squirm when being asked a question about the gays.

    Our party is stuck in the past. And so, unfortunately, is much of the leadership of our community. How else to explain why Joe Solmonese, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, attended a hastily arranged Oval Office meeting intended to give the President political cover following the DOMA brief fiasco? At the time, Solmonese told Michelangelo Signorile that when the president calls, you come running.

    No, his dog comes running.

    The leader of the largest gay civil rights organization in our country, when asked to provide political cover for an incredibly homophobic act, does not come running until and unless he exacts a good pound of flesh in return. And a commitment to speak at an HRC fundraising dinner is not the quid pro quo we had in mind. Too many of the old gay guard seem incapable of fighting today's battles. They're too accustomed to the old days and the old ways, when simply being acknowledged (oh my God, he spoke to me!), or invited to the table (regardless of whether dinner was actually served), was enough. It didn't matter what we got out of the deal, so long as the new guy beat us less than the old guy (sure he keeps breaking his promises, but at least he's not ReaganBushMcCainPalin!). We promise to be good, and to accept whatever scraps were thrown our way.

    Democrats, and far too many of our own leaders, think that if the President meets the bare minimum of what was expected from a Democratic president nearly two decades ago - hiring gays in the administration (but not to too senior a position), giving a few speeches about your commitment to gay civil rights (but only to gay crowds), and signing a law that the President didn't lift a finger (or spend an ounce of political capital) to get passed - then that's all that is needed to buy our community's favor.

    It may be all that is needed to buy off our leaders. But our leaders are no longer "the community."

    With the advent of the Internet and modern communications, we are all HRC.

    Pam Spaulding is HRC. Mike Signorile is HRC. Dan Savage is HRC. Joe Jervis is HRC. Jeremy Hooper is HRC. Andy Towle is HRC. The 'Join the Impact' kids are HRC. And even Rachel Maddow is HRC.

    Our national organizations no longer have a monopoly on message or activism. And while the Obama administration and the DNC continue to control many of our leaders, our people become more angered by the day.

    I am not optimistic about the Obama administration keeping its promises on Don't Ask Don't Tell, DOMA and ENDA. And I am not optimistic that HRC, our rich gay donors, or most of the other national gay rights group will do what is needed to hold the Democrats responsible for their promises. I am however optimistic about the ability of a people to hold its leaders, both gay and straight, responsible for their actions. We have shown with this blog, and our new generation of gay leaders across the country have proven with their successful activism, that those who would stand in the way of our human rights cannot keep us silent by simply buying off our leaders. That they cannot forestall bad press, and the increasing ire of a core Democratic constituency, by simply keeping our traditional groups, and our representatives in Congress, at bay.

    The only way we are going to get our civil rights, the only way the Obama administration is going to keep its promises to repeal DADT and DOMA, and to pass ENDA, is by demanding them. The only way our party is going to care about what we say and what we think is by holding them responsible for their actions.

    Joe and I, along with a number of other Netroots leaders, including Markos Moulitsas, Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler, Bill Browning, Dave Savage, Mike Signorile, Jane Hamsher, David Mixner, Andy Towle, Michael Goff, Taylor Marsh and Paul Sousa, launched the Don't Ask Don't Give campaign just two months ago in order to make clear that we expected our party, and our President, to simply keep their promises before we gave them even more money in exchange for more broken commitments. Today, nearly 10,000 of you have joined our campaign, and more are joining every day.

    Make no mistake, we are proud to be Democrats. We simply expect our party to be proud of us in return.

    AMERICAblog Gay: President Obama continues to disregard laws he finds objectionable, unless the laws discriminate against gays - then he's fine with them.
    *waits for the apologists to come up with more excuses*
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    Elite Member lisalucy69's Avatar
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    What surprises me more than anything i read in the article is that so many people jumped on the bandwagon and thought Obama offerred only sunshine and rainbows. I know people who voted for him based on his looks, and because he was younger. They assumed he was going to be "the cool president" who turned everything around because "he promised". They didn't worry whether there was a plan, or care that he realistically couldn't change things with a promise alone. If that were possible then there would have been more changes in every presidency. During the whole campaign I just did not buy that he was going to be able to keep the promises he was making. He may have started out with good intentions, but he seemed to be making promises based on what would make people like him and vote for him. I did not vote for him, but I truly hoped he would do well. I have been pretty disappointed so far.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    It's a little hard to say Obama has done nothing for gay rights when he expanded hate law legislation to include gays along with every other minority group. And if that was so easy to do then why didn't any other president do it before him? He definitely needs to do more, but to say he did nothing is ridiculous.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I think when they get into office, reality sets in. There are some hot-button things that require time & soft handling. He went for the medical stuff first. He tries to do it all at the same time, he will get stomped down fast. Then he can't fix anything.
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    I agree, about pick your battles. But I would not have chosen health care to be the major push for the first year with the economy in the tank. I would have preferred BO to have concentrated more on getting the economy in better shape.

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Well you know how people are. They have their personal pet projects, and when the project isn't done first thing or in the first year, their panties get into a big wad and they decide that everything promised was a big lie, that it isn't being worked on at all at any level and they write blogs like this. I would bet my next paycheck that somewhere among the gazillion items Obama has to take care of - somewhere, someone is working on DADT, DOMA and ENDA within the administration.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I think when they get into office, reality sets in. There are some hot-button things that require time & soft handling. He went for the medical stuff first. He tries to do it all at the same time, he will get stomped down fast. Then he can't fix anything.
    Exactly. Out of control healthcare costs are a drain on the economy, so that needed to be addressed. Any Democrat who became president would have tackled healthcare, since it was a hotly-debated topic during the primaries.

    But, at some point, I would like to see Obama tackle gay civil rights issues the way Lyndon Johnson took on civil rights issues in the 60's.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    I agree, it's disappointing that he couldn't just wave a wand and fix everything and install all of his campaign promises already. It's a little disingenuous to say that he won't address everything. There are 4 years of a presidency and he hasn't even completed the 1st yet. If that makes me an apologist, so be it. I prefer to hope and perhaps be disappointed. I will say this, no matter what disappointments are evident about Obama, the alternative is/was unthinkable.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Not to mention the 8 full years of giant screw ups! That can't be fixed on one year. Not even by Houdini.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    It's a little hard to say Obama has done nothing for gay rights when he expanded hate law legislation to include gays along with every other minority group.
    HE actually had pretty much zero to do with that, it was already a done deal. All he did was sign it. That's the usual M.O.

    And if that was so easy to do then why didn't any other president do it before him?
    It actually WAS started during the last administration, like the lifting of the HIV travel ban. Obama didn't have to do ANYTHING except sign it when it came across his desk.

    He definitely needs to do more, but to say he did nothing is ridiculous.
    No, he actually did NOTHING. He expended NO political capital at all. It's not ridiculous, it's reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I think when they get into office, reality sets in. There are some hot-button things that require time & soft handling. He went for the medical stuff first. He tries to do it all at the same time, he will get stomped down fast. Then he can't fix anything.
    *rubs temples*

    He certainly found a lot of time to go out of his way to DEFEND all the anti gay bullshit like DOMA, DADT, and the rest. WENT OUT OF HIS WAY It's not a matter of 'he can't do everything at once'

    He's ACTIVELY working against gay rights. ACTIVELY. As in expending time and effort.

    That's what the article is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    I agree, about pick your battles. But I would not have chosen health care to be the major push for the first year with the economy in the tank. I would have preferred BO to have concentrated more on getting the economy in better shape.
    Erm, the people who have no rights have ZERO TIME for others to "pick their battles". It's easy to "pick your battles" when you don't have anything on the line.

    Also, 2009 was the ONLY year anything could have happened. 2010 is gearing up for election. 2011 is going to be shit, one or both houses will be lost. 2012, etc etc etc

    Pelosi already came out saying nothing controversial will be done for the rest of the term, and once Obama loses one of the houses that'll be all she wrote.

    President Fierce Defender was going out of his way to make sure anti-gay stuff was being defended vigorously by his administration because they didn't want to expend any political capital, per usual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brookie View Post
    Well you know how people are. They have their personal pet projects, and when the project isn't done first thing or in the first year, their panties get into a big wad and they decide that everything promised was a big lie, that it isn't being worked on at all at any level and they write blogs like this.
    Yes, people who have no rights and are second class citizens. How impatient of them to want Obama to actually do what he campaigned on in the only year he really had to do it, and instead got a mouthful of shit like being compared to incestuous pedophiles.

    I would bet my next paycheck that somewhere among the gazillion items Obama has to take care of - somewhere, someone is working on DADT, DOMA and ENDA within the administration.
    Actually no, nothing of that is being worked on at all. Zero. Nobody knows of any plans, the military has said nothing is being planned, congress is telling Obama he needs to get the ball rolling and so is the Senate, and Obama is pointing the finger back saying "no, you have to" Nobody is doing anything.. NOTHING. Zero.
    Last edited by Tati; January 10th, 2010 at 10:09 AM.
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