The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever, Ctd.

The Advocate turns up the heat on Obama:

After eight years of George W. Bush, we were sick of being excluded, sick of being hated. [...] [Obama] talked to us -- and about us -- more, and more explicitly, than any nominee before him. And not just when he had to. Not just at Human Rights Campaign dinners. At black Nobama churches, in his stump speech, on the night he was elected: He said the word that every major candidate before him had found every excuse not to say. He named us. He said gay.

[...] And during his first months in office, while he worked with Congress on the economic stimulus package and the wars, and laid groundwork for legislation to protect the environment and reform health care, we were on our best behavior, waiting for him to reveal his plans to keep his promises to us.

Momentum for gay equality kept building -- in the courts, in legislatures, and in culture. Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine legalized gay marriage -- which was, significantly, also endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Dick Cheney too announced his support for marriage equality, as did top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain’s presidential campaign. Polls showed clear majorities supporting repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” even among conservatives and churchgoers -- constituencies that had long been in favor of the antigay military policy. Still, through all of this, one word was conspicuously absent from the president’s vocabulary.

The hero was a player after all.

I understand the sentiment, but I also think it's premature. We are absolutely right to be angry at the contempt shown our cause by some in the political department of the White House. More than most of us believed, they have brought with them the Clintonian smell of fear into the White House. They seem terrified of an increasingly marginalized and extreme right, rather than energized by the groundswell of support for real change that occurred in the last election.

But it's been six months, guys.

He inherited the worst depression in modern times and trillions in credit-card spending by the fiscally insane Republicans. He inherited two failed and failing wars, a climate crisis almost too late to tackle, a healthcare system bankrupting private business and the public finances, and a Middle East on the brink of triggering a third world war (if Israel attacks Iran).

I'm no sap, but be fair. Keep up the pressure - like HRC's superb tour of fired servicemembers and their effort to bring ordinary Americans into local congressional offices around the country. (Yes, I can praise them when they are doing good work). Keep making the arguments. And focus on the Congress as much as Obama. Much of what we want can only be achieved in the Congress and the states. Obama does not have a magic wand. It's Pelosi and Reid who should be the brunt of the criticism.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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