Why Didn’t White House Put Out Obama Gay Rights Speech?

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white-house-logo.jpgLast evening at the Washington Convention Center, President Barack Obama spoke before a crowd of 3,000 at the 13th Annual Human Rights Campaign dinner.
The event was covered live not only on C-Span but ran live on CNN and was covered in full by MSNBC. This was huge — an event committed to ending discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people ran live through two of the most important news and policy networks in the country. That is change.
But guess what. When it comes to White House internal priorities — Bo the Dog gets higher billing than the President articulating a human rights agenda before a GLBT audience.
The White House, thus far, has nothing about the President’s speech on its main site. Nothing at “Speeches and Remarks.”
And even on the official White House Blog, there is a suspicious gap between an entry yesterday titled “Happy Birthday Bo!” and a one-minute-past-midnight posting on the President’s weekly address on health care.
President Obama said to the assembled, powerhouse crowd of gay Americans, Tipper Gore, the cast of Glee, Matthew Shepard’s parents — Dennis and Judy, Lady Gaga, Frank Kameny, Office of Personnel Management Chief John Berry, US Ambassador designate to New Zealand David Huebner, and others:

I’m here with you in that fight.
My commitment to you is unwavering.

Great words from the President. Obama acknowledged those who feel that he has not yet done enough.
You can watch the speech here on MSNBC, but you can’t read those words on the White House website — at least not yet.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

What’s the issue here? Why is this Obama public statement being treated differently from other major statements he makes?
Last night at 5:30 pm, I called White House press and asked to make sure that I got an emailed copy of the remarks which would probably be time embargoed. I left email and phone number as the phone recording requested, but there was no follow up.
I ran into Brian Bond, the capable Deputy Director of White House Public Liaison, before Obama’s speech last night and was told that we would get the speech and not to worry.
Thanks to C-Span and MSNBC, folks can watch the speech — so it’s not completely out of public view, and the White House did distribute the “pool reporting” on Obama’s 25 minutes at the HRC Dinner in which he reported that he had really made it as the opening act for Lady Gaga.
But on a serious level, a speech of this magnitude should be distributed to the media and made available to the public in the same timely way that other Presidential speeches are. We who were writing about this should have received an embargoed copy of the remarks “as prepared,” and then a follow up set of remarks “as given.”
But nothing yet on the White House web page — and nothing in my in box about Barack Obama’s commitment to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and his commitment to pass an exclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which were hight points of his remarks.
This is meant to be a friendly critique — but while the gay community at the HRC dinner was enormously enthusiastic that Barack Obama was the first President since Bill Clinton in 1997 to speak at its annual event, we don’t want the important remarks the President gave hidden so as not to make the weekend news cycle.
Note to White House Communications office, please get the speech on the White House website and distributed to the media and American public.
Obama’s remarks were important.
I’ll be watching my inbox.
– Steve Clemons
Update: Finally received President Obama’s speech. It can be read after the break.


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
______________
For Immediate Release October 10, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN DINNER

Walter E. Convention Center
Washington, D.C.
8:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please, you’re making me blush. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Barack!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)
To Joe Solmonese, who’s doing an outstanding job on behalf of HRC. (Applause.) To my great friend and supporter, Terry Bean, co-founder of HRC. (Applause.) Representative Patrick Kennedy. (Applause.) David Huebner, the Ambassador-designee to New Zealand and Samoa. (Applause.) John Berry, our Director of OPM, who’s doing a great job. (Applause.) Nancy Sutley, Chairman of Council on Environmental Quality. (Applause.) Fred Hochberg, Chairman of Export-Import Bank. (Applause.) And my dear friend, Tipper Gore, who’s in the house. (Applause.)
Thank you so much, all of you. It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady GaGa. (Applause.) I’ve made it. (Laughter.) I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign for inviting me to speak and for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard in their jobs and care deeply about their families — and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)
For nearly 30 years, you’ve advocated on behalf of those without a voice. That’s not easy. For despite the real gains that we’ve made, there’s still laws to change and there’s still hearts to open. There are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors, even loved ones — good and decent people — who hold fast to outworn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; who would deny you the rights most Americans take for granted. And that’s painful and it’s heartbreaking. (Applause.) And yet you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make, and by the power of the example that you set in your own lives — as parents and friends, as PTA members and church members, as advocates and leaders in your communities. And you’re making a difference.
That’s the story of the movement for fairness and equality, and not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history who’ve been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship — (applause) — for all who’ve been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. It’s the story of progress sought by those with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion — and defiance — wherever and whenever they could.
It’s the story of the Stonewall protests, when a group of citizens — (applause) — when a group of citizens with few options, and fewer supporters stood up against discrimination and helped to inspire a movement. It’s the story of an epidemic that decimated a community — and the gay men and women who came to support one another and save one another; who continue to fight this scourge; and who have demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion in a time of need. (Applause.) And it’s the story of the Human Rights Campaign and the fights you’ve fought for nearly 30 years: helping to elect candidates who share your values; standing against those who would enshrine discrimination into our Constitution; advocating on behalf of those living with HIV/AIDS; and fighting for progress in our capital and across America. (Applause.)
This story, this fight continue now. And I’m here with a simple message: I’m here with you in that fight. (Applause.) For even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot — and we will not — put aside issues of basic equality. I greatly appreciate the support I’ve received from many in this room. I also appreciate that many of you don’t believe progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that, because it’s important to be honest among friends.
Now, I’ve said this before, I’ll repeat it again — it’s not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans petitioning for equal rights half a century ago. (Applause.) But I will say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I think it’s important to remember that there is not a single issue that my administration deals with on a daily basis that does not touch on the lives of the LGBT community. (Applause.) We all have a stake in reviving this economy. We all have a stake in putting people back to work. We all have a stake in improving our schools and achieving quality, affordable health care. We all have a stake in meeting the difficult challenges we face in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Applause.)
For while some may wish to define you solely by your sexual orientation or gender identity alone, you know — and I know — that none of us wants to be defined by just one part of what makes us whole. (Applause.) You’re also parents worried about your children’s futures. You’re spouses who fear that you or the person you love will lose a job. You’re workers worried about the rising cost of health insurance. You’re soldiers. You are neighbors. You are friends. And, most importantly, you are Americans who care deeply about this country and its future. (Applause.)
So I know you want me working on jobs and the economy and all the other issues that we’re dealing with. But my commitment to you is unwavering even as we wrestle with these enormous problems. And while progress may be taking longer than you’d like as a result of all that we face — and that’s the truth — do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach. (Applause.)
My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians — whether in the office or on the battlefield. (Applause.) You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman. (Applause.) You will see a nation that’s valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union — a union in which gay Americans are an important part. I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue fighting to achieve them.
And there’s no more poignant or painful reminder of how important it is that we do so than the loss experienced by Dennis and Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was stolen in a terrible act of violence 11 years ago. In May, I met with Judy — who’s here tonight with her husband — I met her in the Oval Office, and I promised her that we were going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill — a bill named for her son. (Applause.)
This struggle has been long. Time and again we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. But the Shepards never gave up. (Applause.) They turned tragedy into an unshakeable commitment. (Applause.) Countless activists and organizers never gave up. You held vigils, you spoke out, year after year, Congress after Congress. The House passed the bill again this week. (Applause.) And I can announce that after more than a decade, this bill is set to pass and I will sign it into law. (Applause.)
It’s a testament to the decade-long struggle of Judy and Dennis, who tonight will receive a tribute named for somebody who inspired so many of us — named for Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought tirelessly for this legislation. (Applause.) And it’s a testament to the Human Rights Campaign and those who organized and advocated. And it’s a testament to Matthew and to others who’ve been the victims of attacks not just meant to break bones, but to break spirits — not meant just to inflict harm, but to instill fear. Together, we will have moved closer to that day when no one has to be afraid to be gay in America. (Applause.) When no one has to fear walking down the street holding the hand of the person they love. (Applause.)
But we know there’s far more work to do. We’re pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. (Applause.) For the first time ever, an administration official testified in Congress in favor of this law. Nobody in America should be fired because they’re gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. It’s not fair. It’s not right. We’re going to put a stop to it. (Applause.) And it’s for this reason that if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support, because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms. (Applause.)
We are reinvigorating our response to HIV/AIDS here at home and around the world. (Applause.) We’re working closely with the Congress to renew the Ryan White program and I look forward to signing it into law in the very near future. (Applause.) We are rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The regulatory process to enact this important change is already underway. And we also know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia. Jeffrey Crowley, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, recently held a forum in Washington, D.C., and is holding forums across the country, to seek input as we craft a national strategy to address this crisis.
We are moving ahead on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. (Applause.) We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. We should be celebrating their willingness to show such courage and selflessness on behalf of their fellow citizens, especially when we’re fighting two wars. (Applause.)
We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford — for our military’s integrity — to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. So I’m working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That’s my commitment to you. (Applause.)
It is no secret that issues of great concern to gays and lesbians are ones that raise a great deal of emotion in this country. And it’s no secret that progress has been incredibly difficult — we can see that with the time and dedication it took to pass hate crimes legislation. But these issues also go to the heart of who we are as a people. Are we a nation that can transcend old attitudes and worn divides? Can we embrace our differences and look to the hopes and dreams that we share? Will we uphold the ideals on which this nation was founded: that all of us are equal, that all of us deserve the same opportunity to live our lives freely and pursue our chance at happiness? I believe we can; I believe we will. (Applause.)
And that is why — that’s why I support ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country. (Applause.) I believe strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away and passing laws that extend equal rights to gay couples. I’ve required all agencies in the federal government to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as the current law allows. And I’ve called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. (Applause.) And we must all stand together against divisive and deceptive efforts to feed people’s lingering fears for political and ideological gain.
For the struggle waged by the Human Rights Campaign is about more than any policy we can enshrine into law. It’s about our capacity to love and commit to one another. It’s about whether or not we value as a society that love and commitment. It’s about our common humanity and our willingness to walk in someone else’s shoes: to imagine losing a job not because of your performance at work but because of your relationship at home; to imagine worrying about a spouse in the hospital, with the added fear that you’ll have to produce a legal document just to comfort the person you love — (applause) — to imagine the pain of losing a partner of decades and then discovering that the law treats you like a stranger. (Applause.)
If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that there are too many who do not yet know in their lives or feel in their hearts the urgency of this struggle. That’s why I continue to speak about the importance of equality for LGBT families — and not just in front of gay audiences. That’s why Michelle and I have invited LGBT families to the White House to participate in events like the Easter Egg Roll — because we want to send a message. (Applause.) And that’s why it’s so important that you continue to speak out, that you continue to set an example, that you continue to pressure leaders — including me — and to make the case all across America. (Applause.)
So, tonight I’m hopeful — because of the activism I see in this room, because of the compassion I’ve seen all across America, and because of the progress we have made throughout our history, including the history of the movement for LGBT equality.
Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford. It was 1:00 in the morning, and it was the police. Now, her son, Morty, had been at the Stonewall the night of the raids. Ever since, he had felt within him a new sense of purpose. So when the officer told Jeanne that her son had been arrested, which was happening often to gay protesters, she was not entirely caught off guard. And then the officer added one more thing, “And you know, he’s homosexual.” (Laughter.) Well, that police officer sure was surprised when Jeanne responded, “Yes, I know. Why are you bothering him?” (Applause.)
And not long after, Jeanne would be marching side-by-side with her son through the streets of New York. She carried a sign that stated her support. People cheered. Young men and women ran up to her, kissed her, and asked her to talk to their parents. And this gave Jeanne and Morty an idea.
And so, after that march on the anniversary of the Stonewall protests, amidst the violence and the vitriol of a difficult time for our nation, Jeanne and her husband Jules — two parents who loved their son deeply — formed a group to support other parents and, in turn, to support their children, as well. At the first meeting Jeanne held, in 1973, about 20 people showed up. But slowly, interest grew. Morty’s life, tragically, was cut short by AIDS. But the cause endured. Today, the organization they founded for parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gays — (applause) — has more than 200,000 members and supporters, and has made a difference for countless families across America. And Jeanne would later say, “I considered myself such a traditional person. I didn’t even cross the street against the light.” (Laughter.) “But I wasn’t going to let anybody walk over Morty.” (Applause.)
That’s the story of America: of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating and advocating for change; of hope stronger than hate; of love more powerful than any insult or injury; of Americans fighting to build for themselves and their families a nation in which no one is a second-class citizen, in which no one is denied their basic rights, in which all of us are free to live and love as we see fit. (Applause.)
Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.
I believe the future is bright for that young person. For while there will be setbacks and bumps along the road, the truth is that our common ideals are a force far stronger than any division that some might sow. These ideals, when voiced by generations of citizens, are what made it possible for me to stand here today. (Applause.) These ideals are what made it possible for the people in this room to live freely and openly when for most of history that would have been inconceivable. That’s the promise of America, HRC. That’s the promise we’re called to fulfill. (Applause.) Day by day, law by law, changing mind by mind, that is the promise we are fulfilling.
Thank you for the work you’re doing. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
END 8:35 P.M. EDT

Comments

39 comments on “Why Didn’t White House Put Out Obama Gay Rights Speech?

  1. Outraged American says:

    These aren’t necessarily Arab-Americans, but Americans who have
    learned Arabic as part of their military training.
    There are statistics on how many translators who can speak Arabic
    have been kicked out of the military by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
    If you do a web search on Arabic translators don’t ask don’t tell
    you’ll get some idea of how stupid the entire thing is.
    Not that I think we should be in Iraq at all except to loot her
    antiquities, but at least having people who know how to say “Don’t
    shoot, I surrender” as opposed to mistakenly muttering “I slept with
    your sister last night” might help some of our GIs communicate
    successfully with “the enemy.”

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    “Plus we’re losing all our Arabic translators with the insanely
    stupid “Don’t ask, don’t tell.””
    I didn`t know that all Arab speaking Americans were gays. I learn
    something new every day.

    Reply

  3. Outraged American says:

    Dan, believe it or not, I’m with you on this one. We kept our
    vote in California (legally) to vote NO on Prop 8.
    I believe very strongly that that the church the couple belongs
    to, if any, rather than the state should make the decision to
    marry them or not. And if the couple is not religious civil
    marriage ceremonies between same sex couples is an innate
    human right.
    Plus we’re losing all our Arabic translators with the insanely
    stupid “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
    However, I do think that Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, did
    the “progressive” movement a huge disfavor by legalizing gay
    marriage in 2004. It gave the clowns running Cheney’s re-
    selection campaign a huge rallying point for their equally as
    clownish base. And that’s going to happen with this, while
    Obama does attempt to push through some legislative reform,
    although this health care bill is a joke. Single payer only.
    Right at this moment these issues are too divisive to touch. Not
    because many Americans don’t believe in gay rights, but
    because the GOP has a rabid base, that will use this to stick a
    fork into other important issues before they are even brought to
    the table.
    I think that Obama genuinely cares about this issue, but right
    now is not the time to bring it to the forefront. I do think that if
    Obama is successful with other issues, he will push it and get it
    all passed.
    Questions, I don’t run our finances, but we paid taxes last year
    in CA/ Los Angeles County so however that money was divvied
    up between the feds, the state and the city/ county of LA, is how
    it was taken and spent.
    Now you’re going to force me to see how our money was spent:.
    From the National Priorities Project (Geez- LA is getting off light
    compared to Phoenix, must be because Ahnuld will threaten to
    terminate the federal government)
    Taxpayers in Los Angeles, California will pay $9.8 billion for
    total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the
    same amount of money, the following could have been
    provided:
    4,020,404 People with Health Care for One Year OR
    17,404,246 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
    174,507 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
    137,991 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
    1,467,997 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
    1,825,804 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR
    29,239 Affordable Housing Units OR
    3,651,376 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
    1,168,427 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
    140,295 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
    123,373 Port Container Inspectors for One year
    http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

    Reply

  4. Steve Clemons says:

    Susan – you need to calm down or move on. You are inaccurate. Friends at Politico, The Advocate, the New York Times, the Economist, and other reporters were all in the same bind I was. They believed the speech was handled differently than normal. I have a background comment from a senior White House press person who was also annoyed with its late distribution and admitted it was handled differently and should not have been. This person said it was human error and not by design. It still missed the news cycle to be relevant for the Sunday morning media and producers. You are just inaccurate.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    David, it has nothing to do with civil rights issues in particular. I just believe in setting priorities and sticking to them.
    Health care reform, no matter which legislative package is eventually adopted, will constitute the most complex and sweeping progressive legislation to be enacted in a generation. It affects a huge proportion of our economy, and a large chunk of the federal budget. Passing health care reform legislation was one of the very highest priorities for the people who elected Obama – probably the highest domestic priority. It was the highest priority even back in 1994 when it failed, and now we are finally getting a second chance after 15 years. Moving this forward is requiring all of our energies to fight off an almost hourly barrage of fierce lobbyist and Republican attacks.
    When the Defense of Marriage Act is eventually put on the table for legislative reappraisal and action, it is going to occasion a riveting, emotional and white hot national debate. There is simply no way we can conduct the all-engrossing health care debate and push forward that agenda while at the same time having an intensive hot button culture war debate on DOMA.
    It is also going to be very hard for the administration to get committed support from centrist Democrats on gay marriage issues if they haven’t succeeded in delivering on health care first. There are only a minority of districts in the country where, “Voted for gay marriage but failed to enact health care reform” constitutes a winning re-election campaign.

    Reply

  6. David Billington says:

    Dan Kervick,
    Are you raising a general objection to action on civil rights
    whenever Congress and the White House confront important
    domestic issues and the prospect of a growing war?
    I’m not sure I understand why you can’t have both action and
    proper attention to the other things.

    Reply

  7. Tahoe Editor says:

    GLENN GREENWALD:
    Reality: “The ban on openly gay men and women in the military should be repealed, American voters say 56-37 percent” and “Voters reject 58-35 percent, including 56-39 percent in military households, the argument that allowing openly gay men and women to serve would be divisive…” and “57% of Americans support the idea of allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships to protect their rights.”
    I have no idea who the person is who said this to Harwood or how influential or obscure s/he might be, but WHOEVER IT IS, THAT PERSON IS ANYTHING BUT UNUSUAL OR ABERRATIONAL. QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
    Greg Sargent reports that the White House, on the record, is denying that the anonymous comment reflects their view of blogs and the gay protesters. Did anyone expect them to do anything else? Greg also says that the White House has taken steps which show that they recognize the importance of blogs. That’s true; they’re willing to harness the power of blogs to help advance the President’s agenda, and that’s smart. But the issue is how they view criticisms from Democrats and the left of the President, not whether they’re willing to use blogs to support Obama.
    Adam Serwer argues that this stray, anonymous comment, standing alone, is too vague and insignificant to provide much meaning about anything. That’s true. I doubt anyone disagrees with that. Indeed, I said that myself. But it’s simply part of a larger record — one composed of other similar comments and, more important, repeated actions from the White House and Democratic establishment — that reflect indifference to criticisms of this sort (see here for THE WHITE HOUSE’S ACTIVE OBSTRUCTION OF EFFORTS TO REPEAL DADT). Serwer is right that THE COMMENT IS SIGNIFICANT ONLY BECAUSE IT ILLUSTRATES WHAT HAS LONG BEEN APPARENT. The issue isn’t whether “blogs” are respected but, rather, how the Party views complaints from their base that they are abandoning and violating what they claim are the party’s core values. The recent history of Democrats couldn’t be any clearer on that score.
    It’s often forgotten or obscured, but the central political fact now is that the Democratic Party controls everything in Washington — from the branches of government to favors doled out to lobbyists to the policies that Congress and the President enact. Wars that are fought and bills that are or are not passed and policies that are maintained are, by definition, Democratic actions. The dreaded Right can’t dictate or stop anything. That’s the burden of having massive majorities in all areas — everything that happens is the result of what the Democratic Party does, and that’s why the divisions and conflicts that truly matter are ones with the party itself. The “right v. left” and even “Democrat v. GOP” drama dominates most of our discourse, yet at this point it is a distracting and largely irrelevant food fight. It’s the Democrats who have won the last two elections by large margins and wield all the power, and increasingly the defining conflict is between those whose overarching allegiance is to Obama and the Party as ends in themselves, and those who see those things as mere means to more important ends.”
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/10/12/fringe/index.html

    JOHN CLOUD, TIME MAGAZINE:
    Obama’s Gay Outreach: All Talk, No Action
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1929687,00.html?xid=rss-fullnation-yahoo

    No try your own Obama Mad Lib:
    Obama’s ______ _______ : All Talk, No Action

    Reply

  8. Dan Kervick says:

    By the way, Harwood clarifies:
    “My comments quoting an Obama adviser about liberal bloggers/pajamas weren’t about the LGBT community or the marchers,” he wrote. “They referred more broadly to those grumbling on the left about an array of issues in addition to gay rights, including the war in Afghanistan and health care and Guantanamo — and whether all that added up to trouble with Obama’s liberal base…”

    Reply

  9. Dan Kervick says:

    Tahoe, what are your personal opinion on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act? I assume you have some of those personal opinions in there somewhere in your link saturated mind.

    Reply

  10. Tahoe Editor says:

    Andrew Sullivan:
    “The president gave a speech he could have given at any point in the last three years. No one in that room could disagree with any of the things he said. And he said it well and movingly. Like we didn’t know he could do that.
    “But the point of electing a president who pledged to actually do things is to hold him to account, and to see if he is willing to take any risk of any kind to actually do something. I had a few prior tests of his seriousness or signs that he gets it, a few ways to judge if this speech had anything new or specific or clear. He failed every test.”
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/much-worse-than-i-expected.html
    BONUS TOON: Kervick on his therapist’s couch:
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/0d53e193-35b9-43bd-81fe-a3db4c45c0d2.html

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    That’s a lie Tahoe. The official never said “gays” as a group are part of the internet left fringe.
    But it doesn’t surprise me that wingers have just as much difficulty distinguishing “All F are G” from “Some F are G” as they do in mastering all the other principles of logic.
    But this is another example for all to see of the right’s new tactic of spreading lies and misrepresentations to sow discord among the left by pretending to care about issues in which they really have no interest.
    Next Tahoe will be sending us messages on how Obama hasn’t accomplished enough on income redistribution.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    “We paid $90,000 in taxes….
    In income taxes, in property taxes? What, where? To Arizona, to Phoenix, to, is it Maricopa County? to the feds?
    If you paid it to the feds, it would never come back to you without pork. Blame your senator. If it was in property taxes, that went to the schools and local city services. If was state tax, that went wherever your state sends money. If it was Maricopa County, it went to that Arpaio idiot so that he could arrest more desperate people and fuck them over on chain gangs or whatever.
    So be clearer on the “we paid…” issue….
    And did you pay this in one year or in 9? And do you really think without a war, you’d get to keep a penny? Wasn’t most of the war money “borrowed” by selling T-bonds anyway? So really, near as I can tell, you don’t have much of a point.
    Finally, when did I ever say I support the Iraq war? When did I ever say anything about Afghanistan other than that there are competing demands we have to work through, and a third way strategy of some undetermined structure is likely reasonable?
    Sometimes OA, I really wonder….

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    OA,
    With the political culture in Arizona, you wouldn’t have gotten your swimming pool anyway.
    Divide that money over all the years and all the taxpayers….
    You can cite numbers all you want, but give some context so they have some meaning. You’re a theoretical math major. Do the math…. Then do the politics since you’ve interviewed so many people. What are the chances you’d have been “saved” by no war spending? And what a sad excuse of an argument against war — MY SWIMMING POOL…. Yuck.
    Why don’t you scream at McCain for his anti-pork stance. That probably costs you way more than the sum you’re bitching about. His strategy is piss-poor game theory. He does the “upstanding” thing and it’s utterly irrational and it costs his constituents. Dumb.
    OMG.
    If you want a swimming pool, build your own. You’re a libertarian, after all. DIY.
    ****
    And Dan,
    your piece, sorry to say, is utterly fitting with a very interesting part of Rawls’s Theory of Justice! Regarding civil disobedience, he notes that there’s a time and place for everything and that people, even those suffering injustice, need to pick a reasonable time to protest. We can’t all go out at the same time and make demands. We have to take turns. Just thought you might like to know!

    Reply

  14. arthurdecco says:

    Dan Kervick, re: Oct 11 2009, 10:48PM
    You’ve written a passionate political op-ed celebrating rationality and an old-fashioned form of loyalty. If there was any justice in the world this piece would be the focus of a modernized version of an antique pamphlet distribution campaign utilizing the internet instead of, as was originally done, 18th century men in dark taverns under the noses of the Hoarders of Power.
    I don’t always agree with you, Dan, but here I’ve witnessed you singing like only the best singers can – believing both in the story told and in the melody needed to be sung if opinions are to be swayed in any meaningful way.
    For the record – I don’t agree with everything you’ve said, just as POA admits. But who cares whether I agree with you or not when what YOU believe is worth respecting.?.
    Magnificent post! I am humbled and made more thoughtful by your efforts.

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    I do feel better POA. Now back to stuck-up prig mode.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    See now Dan, doncha feel better??? Its all well and good to feed us whats in your brain, but once in a while its damned liberating to tell us whats in your gut, ain’t it?
    Great post, even though I disagree with some of it. If you and I could infect our nieghbors with that kinda passion, maybe we could take this country back.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    dan, thanks for your latest post here.. it says a lot and i really relate to most all of it…

    Reply

  18. Dan Kervick says:

    The problem isn’t that Obama doesn’t have enough time to do more things. It is that he can’t possibly be effective at accomplishing *anything* if he is trying to promote *everything* at the same time. If there are too many messages, they all get drowned out. And when that happens, the stakeholders in the status quo win every time.
    The President doesn’t pass legislation – Congress does. The president helps by leading the charge, marshaling public attention and using the bully pulpit. But it doesn’t work if you are out promoting *fifteen fucking things at once*. So you make a list of priorities, and you move through them a few at a time.
    It seems to me that there were three major items on the LGBT agenda: hate crimes legislation, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act. They have pretty much passed the Matthew Shepard Act in the teeth of, predictably, obstreperous Republican obstruction. And Obama is going to sign it. So one down. But the others haven’t hit the top of the agenda yet. Well, tough. There are a few dozen other problems the country is facing.
    People might have noticed that the White House is in the middle of a demolition message derby crack-up this week. The White House planned for Friday to be the day that they renewed the push for their Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Guess what? The Nobel Peace Prize Committee threw them a curveball. Then the White House discovered to their chagrin that this was the week when Democrats would decide they were going to start amplifying neoconservative talking points, and instead of defending their guy for winning a prize he never sought, they would instead join in with the open and contemptuous right wing mocking, and in the process help demean and disparage the international initiatives they supposedly support.
    So then the White House actually had to engage in damage control with the *home team* for winning the Nobel Fucking Peace Prize!
    I mean, I understand why Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Fred Hyatt and friends aren’t terribly impressed by nuclear non-proliferation, since the only nuclear weapons they are concerned about are the non-existent ones that Iran might have some day, but doesn’t have now. They are pretty much cool with the only genuinely nuclear power in the region keeping their few hundred nukes. And they sure don’t want the US diminishing their beloved nuclear “hegemony.” And I can see why Nadine and WigWag want to jump on this particular bandwagon. But what’s with all the Democrats joining in the fun?
    Then I read that the Washington Post editors seriously suggested that the prize should have gone to … get this … Neda. She should have won it for standing on the side of a street and getting shot. You know, I don’t recall many people in the pro-Palestinian community promoting Rachel Corrie for the Nobel peace prize when she got squished by a god damn Israel bulldozer. But this is the kind of frivolous drivel that passes for serious debate in the paper of record in the nation’s capital.
    Now while Obama is allegedly dropping the gay ball this week by not ending DADT and unpassing the Defense of Marriage Act, he has had two marathon meetings on the War in Afghanistan, which is suddenly blowing up and killing a lot more American soldiers, at the same time Obama faces an upstart commander who decided to bigfoot his Commander in Chief with a leak, and then a brassy speech in London, assisted by a coordinated political campaign by hawks in the UK government and neoconservatives in the US to preempt any attempts at presumptuous Oval Office thought processes, a campaign that charges Obama with “dithering” for daring to think things through and evaluate current national security strategy, and for not being a good boy and automatically rubber-stamping his generals’ soldier request.
    I’m sorry HRC picked a bad weekend to turn into Gay Agenda Week, but this is what America was waking up to in the NY Times today:
    “Eight years later, Mullah Omar leads an insurgency that has gained steady ground in much of Afghanistan against much better equipped American and NATO forces. Far from a historical footnote, he represents a vexing security challenge for the Obama administration, one that has consumed the president’s advisers, divided Democrats and left many Americans frustrated.”
    Now forgive me for thinking that Americans might be a little more concerned this week about why their sons are still getting killed in Afghanistan by *Mullah Omar* and a resurgent Taliban after what appears to be eight years of a big fat fucking *nothing* in Afghanistan. And forgive me for thinking that they might be a little more worried about why we are losing an eight-year war and why our guys are still getting killed than they are about why more of the guys who are getting killed aren’t gay.
    But maybe Obama can muddy the waters even further on the Afghanistan brouhaha by saying, “Oh yeah, General Petraeus and General McChrystal, I also decided to cancel Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this week while I was just sitting around “dithering” about Afghanistan. Hey, maybe he can sign a DADT stop loss just in time to ship a bunch of gay soldiers to Afghanistan to get buggered by your embassy party boys, and then get fragged or get their asses blown off!”
    We’re also down to crunch time on health care. Obama told Congress this week to get a god damn move on with a health care debate which has dragged on for months. Nevertheless, the prospects for progressive success are looking stronger than they have in a long time, and it now looks like the centrists are close to being overpowered by serious popular support for a public option of some kind. But sure, maybe the Democrats should now just drop everything to initiate a Congressional debate and culture war on the Defense of Marriage Act.
    By the way, I hear some of the Americans with health care needs are actually gay.
    But great move, Beltway phony-Dems. Perfect week to play “Let’s shit on Obama.”
    I’ll also note that Steve has apparently decided recently that he should support every gay politician out there, no matter what their politics. So long as they’re gay, it apparently doesn’t matter. Right wing Republicans? You betcha! Right wing German politicians? Sure, vhat da hell? As long as they have the right sexual orientation, the more the merrier! So while Democrats are working their asses off to pass progressive health care legislation, and are trying to fight off the massive army of wealthy health care stakeholder interests, Steve is out leeching off the usual fat cats and promoting politicians who are working to destroy the progressive agenda (including closeted hypocrites who are even out to kill the LGBT agenda for the sake of political promotion.) Do you have Obama’s back Steve? If not, why do you expect him to have yours?
    And now what is it today? “Thanks Democrats for passing the Matthew Shepard Act?” Nah, it’s “Where’s my goddam transcript?!” Are you telling me gay activists weren’t prepared to discuss the speech today because they didn’t have a freaking transcript? I watched the speech last night, and then watched a lengthy discussion of the speech on CNN. It was on at 8:00pm. It’s on the internet. The speech was promoted for a couple of days before-hand. I’m sure every serious gay activist in America was ready to go this morning with a point by point commentary. Hell, even I could have discussed it. Your insinuation that the speech was somehow hidden away and intentionally suppressed doesn’t hold water.
    You know after watching that speech, I was pretty fired up and inspired, and filled with enthusiam for the LGBT causes. But after seeing some of the petty, tunnel-visioned blowback today from squeakiest wheels in the LGBT community, my enthusiasm has been dampened a bit.
    This week was a new low in Democratic self-hatred and foot-shooting. Man, there is almost anything I would rather be than a Democrat … except a Republican!

    Reply

  19. four camera diy at home security system kit says:

    Andrew Sullivan shines, too: “He says he will end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but he has done nothing.” But, like POA notes, he hasn’t done anything else either–unless you call borrowing money to pay Wall Street’s gambling debts doing something.
    But actually, the critics are wrong. Obama is doiing something. He made another good speech. And, despite some delay, he managed to get the speech posted on the White House web site.
    So why’s everyone complaining? It seems that he’s doing exactly what is expected of him by those who paid all that hard gambled cash to get him where he is–he’s not rocking the boat that Bush built.

    Reply

  20. Susan Farris says:

    HuffPo censored my comment. So, I’m posting it here:
    Steve you are misleading on this issue. You are insinuating that this speech was handled differently than ALL of his speeches and that is just NOT TRUE. Ridiculous. First, President Obama’s speech was broadcast live on more than one channel. Second, he basically didn’t say anything in the speech that he hasn’t been said before in tens of gay rights speeches. Finally, the speech he gave on health care in Indiana was late in getting posted to the Web site and late getting distributed to the media. Human beings work in the White House – not robots. People make mistakes.
    I hate it when you do this. And you do it all the time. Is it about gaining publicity for your web site????

    Reply

  21. Outraged American says:

    Taxpayers in Phoenix, Arizona will pay $3.3 billion for total Iraq
    and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount
    of money, the following could have been provided:
    744,689 People with Health Care for One Year OR
    2,823,673 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
    73,611 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
    75,185 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
    691,550 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
    616,061 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR
    25,092 Affordable Housing Units OR
    1,460,133 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
    424,186 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
    74,442 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
    39,255 Port Container Inspectors for One year
    We paid $90,000 in taxes and Questions is criticizing me for
    wanting a public swimming pool, which I would have to share
    with the hoi polloi?
    I just posted that on another thread but it bears repeating.
    I’m going to retreat to my inner aspect and nourish it for a
    second before I wall paper the outside of the house with dollar
    bills, which is what UsRael’s been wallpapering tanks with.

    Reply

  22. TonyForesta says:

    What POA says.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a warining to Tehran on Sunday saying that the world “will not wait indefinitely” for it to meet its obligations on its nuclear plans. “The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations,” Clinton said after talks in London with Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
    continues…
    Well, the media picked this up quick enough, didn’t they? I wonder, did anyone in the media have the presence of mind to ask this warmongering Israeli pawn what “international obligations” Iran is not living up to? I guess adhering to the terms of the NPT doesn’t qualify as “cooperation”.
    Where the hell is this “change” we heard so much about?

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Somehow, Obama “hasn’t lived up to his promises” because he hasn’t repealed DADT yet — because he’s been trying to save the economy and get health care reform passed”
    You mean when he’s not doing a photo op, or running off to Copenhagen to sell Chicago???
    To advance the premise that he’s “too busy” with matters of “real import” to address DADT is pure stupidity, or blind hero worship.
    Something tells me you’d be worshipping this guy no matter how far down the road Obama goes in selling all of us out. I will undoubtedly see if I’m right, because its obvious Obama has no intention of honoring ANY promise made out of simple political pandering. And that, apparently, would be almost ALL of his promises thus far.
    But Dan’s theory is interesting, that failing to post this speech was simply because the White House staff was out whoring for the evening. Who knows, maybe he’s right. It would be perfectly reasonable to expect junior White House staffers to be practicing the finer techniques of being a card carrying member of the Washington Elite.

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    Andrew Sullivan shines, too: “He says he will end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but he has done nothing.” But, like POA notes, he hasn’t done anything else either–unless you call borrowing money to pay Wall Street’s gambling debts doing something.
    But actually, the critics are wrong. Obama is doiing something. He made another good speech. And, despite some delay, he managed to get the speech posted on the White House web site.
    So why’s everyone complaining? It seems that he’s doing exactly what is expected of him by those who paid all that hard gambled cash to get him where he is–he’s not rocking the boat that Bush built.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “See, this is what I mean. Somehow, Obama “hasn’t lived up to his promises” because he hasn’t repealed DADT yet ..”
    No. He “hasn’t lived up to his promises” because his rhetoric about a “new transparency” was bullshit, he has not held anyone accountable for the crimes of the Bush Administration, he has escalated, rather then scaled back, our military adventures, we are still torturing prisoners, he sold the Palestinians down the river, his AG is just another ass licking pawn of the Presidency, he is using “signing statements” in the same manner Bush used them, he is feeding us the same exact kind of bullshit propaganda about Iran that Bush fed us about Iraq, and so on.
    But go ahead, Cat Thief, accuse me of being a closet “right winger” for pointing all of this out. BTW, are you aware of Taylor Marsh’s site? May I suggest you check it out? You would make the picture perfect Marshmellow.

    Reply

  27. Steve Clemons says:

    Folks — bottom line is that President Obama’s speech was important and worth putting out to the media before the Sunday talk shows. That would have been “standard operating procedure.”
    Standard operating procedure, however, was not followed — and either intentioned or an accidental glitch delayed distribution.
    The speech is now out, and the blog helped raise awareness of its importance.
    Best, steve

    Reply

  28. brigid says:

    Some of the commenters here seem to belong to that same school of thought that if you verbally assault and insult political parties and leaders, and members of your own political coalition, they will somehow come around to your point of view and support your cause. In the last year I have seen the most vile and hateful language on the blogosphere from gay activists ( much worse than from tea baggers) directed towards the president and the Dem. party, towards Christians, towards African Americans, towards Mormons, towards anyone who is perceived as somehow not respecting them in the way they deserve to be respected. It’s a puzzle to me how a person wins respect or support to one’s cause by shouting divisive obscenities, and insults, especially at those who you want to be your supporters. The premise here seems to be that acting out your alienation will win support to the policy you desire.

    Reply

  29. CathiefromCanada says:

    See, this is what I mean. Somehow, Obama “hasn’t lived up to his promises” because he hasn’t repealed DADT yet — because he’s been trying to save the economy and get health care reform passed. And lets not forget what a terrible job he’s doing there, too! Ohhhh, stone him, stone him now!!!!
    Merely a convenient coincidence how well that attitude would work out for Republicans come next year’s midterms, isn’t it?

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, now we even have cat thiefs posting here. I don’t care if they’re from Canada or not, stealing cats is simply wrong, by anyone’s book. I hope Dan will get a missive off to Hodes, ASAP.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….could not have been written by anyone who was actually gay, or actually a Democratic supporter….”
    Naaaah, everyone knows that Democrats, and gays, loooove to be fucked over. Of course the post can’t be from a gay person, actually upset that Obama doesn’t live up to his promises.
    And what is Steve, chop suey? Must be a RW mole, masquerading as a gay progressive/realist.

    Reply

  32. CathiefromCanada says:

    Rightwing ratfucking strikes again! Has anyone noticed that recently, every time Obama and the Democrats do something forward-thinking or impressive or brave, we see comments in the comment threads of progressive blogs from all sorts of people who claim to be Democrats but who are trashing-talking whatever Obama is doing? The comment above is a perfect example — “Better a right wing Republican telling us we are going to burn in hell, then a lying Democrat pretending they are with us while they stab us in the back!!!!” could not have been written by anyone who was actually gay, or actually a Democratic supporter.

    Reply

  33. valwayne says:

    Obama & the Democrats have completely lied to and betrayed every gay man and woman in the country. Yet the hoyty toyty line up to listen to Obama betray them, and us, and cheer him on. We’ve heard these promises, and been betrayed before. Remember 1992 and President Clinton? Here we are 17 years later and nothing has been done. Gay men and women have put Democrat after Democrat into office with our money and votes. What have gotten?….promises and speeches, more lies and betrayal! Democrats have the power. If they want they can pass a bill tomorrow ending discrimination against gays in the military and marriage right…..at least allowing civil unions nation wide. Yet Obama is still the Discriminator in Chief! Its time to hold them to account. If 2010 arrives and all we have is the current complete and total betray gay men and women need not only to withold ever penny, but support the opponent of every Democrats running for Congress or the Senate. Better a right wing Republican telling us we are going to burn in hell, then a lying Democrat pretending they are with us while they stab us in the back!!!! Until the Democrats know that the gay community will punish lies and betrayals at the polls they will continue to betray us. Too many lies! Too many betrayals from the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi from SFO should be the first to go if the promises aren’t kept this time! It’s Time to stand up and move to the front of the bus!!!!

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The message from the GLBT activists these days to anyone who doesn’t put them first, “screw you!””
    Well, maybe this empty suit Obasma shouldn’t have made a bunch of empty promises to them, eh? But then again, he lied to everyone else, why exclude the gays?

    Reply

  35. brigid says:

    Yup, Steve, DADT trumps everything, Health Care, Economy, Afghanistan, Reform of Financial Markets, Global Warming.. and the fact the speech isn’t up on the website is a sure sign that once again gays are being dissed and ignored by Obama and everyone else. Because after all, they are the most important people. When a minority does everything possible to alienate the majority, how do you expect the majority to be supportive of just change, and to address righteous grievances? The message from the GLBT activists these days to anyone who doesn’t put them first, “screw you!” Just how smart is that?

    Reply

  36. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, you might be right Steve. But wouldn’t a more mundane and less suspicious explanation be that, on Saturday nights, young staffers in the White House Communications Office are out getting drunk and getting laid like a large proportion of the other young people in America? This is also a holiday weekend, so more folks than usual might have taken PTO.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why Didn’t White House Put Out Obama Gay Rights Speech?”
    Because he was doing what he does best, pandering to his audience, without conviction or honest intent, with as little political risk as possible.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    More noble intentions from Obama, change which I happen to agree with.
    But why can’t Obama end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about the United States ambitions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why we’re have been threatening Iran for 30 years, whether they had a nuclear program or not.
    Isn’t it finally time to bring American foreign policy out of the closet? We’ve looted the Social Security Trust Fund to raise a $trillion to wage war, and no one will provide any kind of official reason for their behavior, at least one that bears scrutiny.
    Are American motivations so awful that they can’t be brought out of the closet and exposed to the light of day?

    Reply

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