"Hissy Fits"

John Cole thinks that some of my criticism of the president has been unreasonable:

I have no problem with people being mad that Obama has not issued a statement about the marriage equality issue in the state of Maine. I think he could and should do more, and won’t say a peep about people flaming the WH for not doing more. On the other hand, I think you are an insane crazy person if you flip out like Steve Clemons because Obama’s HRC speech was not up fast enough on the White House web site on a Saturday night.

I think you have lost your shit when you insist that the WH house release a list identifying all the gay people who came to a ceremony (maybe the WH can also demand they wear pink triangles on their jackets!). I think you have lost your ability to reason if you spend an entire day hyperventilating because the President did not use the word “gay” at a ceremony for hate crimes legislation that covers EVERYONE. I think you have serious issues if you point to an unsourced anonymous quote from John Harwood and then boldly announce to the world that the WH hates gays.

John misses the history here. There's a reason to be leery of a Democratic president who says he's for equality but actually isn't. John was not a gay activist under Clinton. A great deal of the anxiety right now is because we don't want to be played like that again. Yes, some small nitpicks get out of proportion. But here's some proportion: it does matter a little if the president refuses to use the g-word when signing legislation whose major component is to protect gays; it does matter if a White House source badmouths an entire civil rights march for being losers. Not much: but some.

And the point is that such criticism is also leavened with praise when merited. Like in the HIV Travel Ban.

John worries he may be being too soft on Obama as he believes he was on Bush. That's a fair worry. But some of us have other worries: that we will be too soft on Obama the way so many were with Clinton. The past haunts us. It also explains us.