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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The Faustian Bargain of the Second Term

President Obama Talks to the Crew of Atlantis ...

Our longtime blogcrush Rod2.0 has a great piece on the White House's piss-poor efforts on LGBT issues, and the Obama Administration's ever-increasing distance from equality...specifically, the idea that gay issues are "second term issues," meaning that Obama's promises to the community will only be carried out if he is again supported by the community, whether he comes through or not, and is re-elected in 2012.

Hmmm. I'm not sure Barack has ever sounded more like a Republican in his life.

Regular readers of this blog know that I championed Obama in the election last year, believing his desire for change was more than political maneuvering. I took a lot of heat for my support, and frankly, it turned me off blogging...the vicious nature of the e-mails and comments not from Republicans, but from Democrats, specifically supporters of Hillary Clinton. For my part, I believed (and still believe) that she would make an excellent President, but is a product of the past...at a time when our future needed a different direction.

So I come to this moment, watching the President I believe(d) in, caving pretty shamefully on health care and spending wildly on bailouts for the wealthy. Fine. I'm not an idealist like some liberal bloggers, and I know that the politics of pragmatism usually rule our country.

But now comes this insidious idea of "the second term," and the implied threat it carries. Yes, I said "threat," because that's what it is...an implied shot over the bow to the Democratic base. It means that change is not a comin', after all. Change, in fact, will wait. Change will only happen if you elect Obama AGAIN, to do what he originally promised he would do the first time, that he would do now if he had the courage. The "second term" is a political move, to placate the right. It means that promises can be held ransom, that dreams can be deferred. Frankly, it's shocking, a naked grab for power by the Obama Administration. It says: support us again no matter what, or you'll never get your rights, your freedom, your equality, your environmental law, your health care, etc. You're stuck with me, even when I refuse to keep my promises.

So I feel, after almost a year of troubling behavior by the president, that it's time for me to eat some crow. To say to the supporters of Hillary...maybe I was wrong. Maybe Obama is indeed just another shallow, self-interested politician. Maybe he lied about taking care of the poor and the middle class. Maybe he's a fraud. Maybe we should have gone the other way. From all of us who voted for Obama to everyone who voted for Hillary, I say...we may have picked the wrong person for the job.

I'm not certain about this, and hindsight is a fool's game anyway. But I AM unquestionably certain of one thing. Obama is NOT entitled to a second term at this moment, and we are not required to vote for him...and if he refuses to keep his promises, it is incumbent upon us to find another candidate.

If Obama wants to be re-elected, he'll need to KEEP his promises to his constituents, no matter how difficult he perceives that effort to be. And specifically, if he screws the LGBT community over in this current four-year period -- regardless of empty promises about what he'll do in a "second term" -- I don't see how any self-respecting gay person can vote for him in 2012.

Because if we're going to have record deficits, rich benefiting off the sweat of the poor, no equality, continuing wars, out-of-control military spending and no health care...well, frankly, we could have stayed with Bush.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the Rovian Game plan plays out as conceived.
Lack of Patience has killed us in the past and will do so again.Waterloo comes as predicted. Good Job.

8/26/09, 8:07 AM  
Blogger xolondon said...

Don't start idealizing Hilary now. She has just as many issues as Obama, who may be guilty of a lack of understanding of how many messages he could roll at one time. I agree that the honeymoon is over, but time and gain he has shown strength of character at key moments. This happens to every new president and now is the time to stick together as the right wing shows more mindless vehemence than I remember in recent history.

I will say that Dems need to vote out their ranking Senate and House leaders. I have not forgiven Pelosi for her bullshit in the final weeks of the last session.

8/26/09, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

I think Obama has been disappointing on a number of issues. He seems unwilling or unable to stand up for real change - of the financial system, health care, extending protections for the LGBT community.

What he's done so far just seems kind of cosmetic. I'm disappointed that he doesn't seem to have the courage or maybe the intestinal fortitude, to really follow through.

You know, he came into office with an enormous amount of goodwill and political capital and he seems so unwilling to use it. As the first African-American president he had such a great opportunity, a great position of moral authority, to talk about things like hate-crimes legislation and repealing DOMA and DADT, to talk about how the struggle for civil rights and equal rights for all Americans isn't over yet.

Honestly, I expected more. Maybe I was unrealistic. Maybe he doesn't care as much as I hoped he'd care. He needs to lead, on this and many other issues.

8/26/09, 8:17 PM  
Blogger jerry said...

patience...come on..hes only been in there less than a year and god knows what kinda mess george w. left!! lets give him at least 2 (maybe 3) years out of his presidency i still believe he will come around to our issues!

8/28/09, 7:22 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Howard Dean has been right all along. And yet he's treated like some kind of lunatic.

8/29/09, 1:58 PM  

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