“The chair of the Democratic National Committee said Tuesday she would “certainly consider” spending money to combat anti-gay constitutional amendments next year in Minnesota and North Carolina.”
Time to step up to the plate and walk the walk, Democrats.
The Democrats’ sloppy and so far inadequate attempts at repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have led to all sorts of dramatic commentary: Repeal is dead! Obama is finished! He won’t run for re-election!
Repeal may or may not be dead, but let’s at least allow Sen. Harry Reid and the rest of the Senate to finish the lame duck session before making such dire pronouncements. Reid on Monday reiterated on the Senate floor his intent to push repeal during the lame duck; the administration must by now understand it needs to deliver a high-profile victory to its progressive base. The votes are there, all that’s needed is enough time to debate the full defense spending bill. So Reid and President Obama should demand that the Senate stay in session until their work is done.
Watching this process unfold over the past few months hasn’t exactly inspired confidence in the Democrats’ strategic prowess. Say what you want about George W. Bush, but if he’d wanted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and had Republican majorities in Congress, he would have just bloody done it.
Contrast that with Obama’s foolish, naïve inclination to seek common ground and friendship with everyone and you can’t help but wish the Democrats had their own decider-in-chief right now.
The Republicans have been clear from the very beginning of this presidency that they care about one thing: ensuring Obama is a one-term president. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell admitted it in an October interview. Achieving that goal supersedes all else, including salvaging the economy. But Obama keeps giving the GOP the benefit of the doubt.
Consider that a day after the much-hyped White House meeting with the new GOP House leaders that was supposed to signal a new era of cooperation between the parties, McConnell announced that all 42 Republican senators would oppose any legislation unrelated to tax cuts.
What will it take for Obama to understand that all the campaign rhetoric about changing the tone in Washington is just that — rhetoric? It’s a hopeless task, at least as long as McConnell and his ilk are in charge.
The result of waiting around for Republicans to play nice is squandered opportunities and a laundry list of priorities that are now frozen for at least two year. Let’s hope “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t on that list, but the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Uniting American Families Act and Defense of Marriage Act repeal certainly are on it.
There is much blame to go around for the sorry results delivered by this Congress: Obama for failing to lead and lobby lawmakers; our national advocacy organizations for the failed and now totally discredited strategy of aligning exclusively with Democrats; our supposed allies in Congress who continually demanded we wait for change rather than deliver on their promises. The fat lady has yet to sing in this Congress, so it’s premature to start calling for mass resignations within the LGBT movement leadership.
But if Congress doesn’t repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this month, then LGBT people across the country have a right to an explanation: How did the Democrats manage two years of wide majorities (remember they had those elusive 60 votes until Sen. Kennedy died) without repealing the gay ban or even holding hearings on ENDA?
The enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans in the first midterm elections of President Barack Obama’s presidency is no myth – and his party may suffer hugely in two weeks because of it.
Just half of those who voted for Obama in 2008 say they will definitely show up Nov. 2 while two-thirds of those who voted for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in the last election say they’re certain to vote next month, according to an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll.
The difference in the excitement level between the two parties is buoying Republicans, who are poised for big electoral gains, and worrying Democrats, who are seeking to hang onto majorities in Congress as well among governors. Obama’s party hopes its superior get-out-the-vote operation, updated from his groundbreaking campaign, can overcome Republicans’ energized supporters to mitigate expected losses across the board.
Nearly two years after putting Obama in the White House, the survey also found that one-quarter of those who voted for the Democrat are defecting to the GOP or considering voting against the party in power in November. Yet in a reflection of broad dissatisfaction with politics, just as many people who backed McCain are either supporting Democrats now or still considering how to vote.
To find out how the electorate’s political views have changed since the 2008 election, the AP and Knowledge Networks re-interviewed the same 1,254 people who were part of a random sample of Americans surveyed up to 11 times throughout the 2008 campaign by the two organizations and Yahoo News.
While no president can be expected to fully rally his supporters when he’s not on the ballot, the survey illustrates the wide scope of Obama voters’ disappointment with the president and his policies almost halfway through his first term – and two years before he’s likely to seek their backing again.
“He’s not listening to the majority of the people who elected him. It’s like he’s ignoring his base,” said SaraSue Crawford of Jacksonville, Fla., who points to Obama’s health care overhaul law. She’s deciding whether to support Republicans in the hopes of “shaking up the status quo” and restoring a balance of power in Washington. She says she may back Obama in 2012 – if he changes course by listening more.
Disillusionment with Obama was evident in the survey.
In a reversal from 2008, it found that Obama backers who expected change in Washington – 63 percent – now think nothing ever will happen. Just 36 percent still think Obama can do it, while a majority of McCain supporters now say things can change if the right person is elected.
“I was hoping we’d get some more civility up in government. That was implicit in his promise, along with some change. It turns out that he was driving more toward the changes rather than civility,” said Gerry D. Kramer, 70, of Georgetown, Texas. He’s among the Obama voters who are likely to vote Republican. Still, he’s not hot on the GOP either, or politics.
Such pessimism among Obama’s supporters is deep elsewhere.
On the dominant issue of the 2010 campaign, just 40 percent of Obama supporters who are fleeing Democrats say he’ll be able to improve the economy over the next two years. Those who are sticking with Democrats are more optimistic: 70 percent say Obama’s policies will help the nation recover from the recession.
Like many others, Aaron Bonnaure doesn’t blame Obama for the nation’s woes. But he wants Congress to keep the president in check. That’s why this 23-year-old moderate from Pittsburgh who voted for Obama now is looking at Republican candidates.
“He ran as a centrist. I don’t think he’s a centrist at all. … His whole economic platform is the more government spends, the better things are,” Bonnaure said. “We have a far-left government. The answers are in the middle.”
Among the survey’s key findings:
-73 percent of Obama voters now approve of how he’s doing his job, 13 percent don’t approve and 13 percent have mixed feelings. Nearly half have a very favorable impression of the president, down from two years ago, when two-thirds felt that way.
-40 percent say they’re frustrated by his presidency, 20 percent say they’re excited, and 26 percent say they are proud – a marked turnaround from Election Day 2008. Still, 59 percent say they remain hopeful – a reason for optimism as Obama gets ready for his likely re-election campaign.
-30 percent of Obama voters say he is living up to his promises to change Washington, while 19 percent say he’s breaking those promises. Half think it’s too soon to tell.
-76 percent of Obama voters say they will support the Democrat in their House district, while 8 percent plan to back the Republican and the rest are undecided.
-71 percent of McCain voters say they will vote for the Republican in their House district, while 9 percent plan to get behind Democrats and 20 percent haven’t chosen a candidate.
To a certain degree, Obama’s woes are a consequence of his 2008 campaign, when he was a blank slate and many people attached their hopes to him. Now, two years in, liberals, moderates and conservatives alike who supported him are disappointed for various reasons.
His challenge in the next two years is to figure out how to pull the disillusioned back into the fold – with a record of governing that critics alternately call too liberal or not liberal enough.
Obama voters who are voting for Republicans or are undecided are especially doubtful about the Democratic Party’s ability to handle the economy. That said, only 11 percent trust Republicans to do better. Nearly half say that neither party has the answer.
They also doubt the ability of Republicans and Democrats alike on the deficit, taxes, the environment, health care, immigration, energy policy, gay marriage and more.
The interviews were conducted online by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif. Respondents for the study were first selected using traditional telephone polling methods and were followed with online interviews. Participants without computers or Internet access were provided with the means to take online surveys at no cost to them.
The survey, which contains interviews conducted from Sept. 17 to Oct. 7, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Yesterday, president Obama was heckled once again during a fundraiser. Again he was heckled over the issue of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ and funding for HIV/AIDS.
President Obama is a much better man than I am, as I wouldn’t have even of acknowledged the protesters existence. I’m not sure when it became so popular to be disrespectful to the president, but I suppose in a country where people once bought pet rocks, anything is possible.
I am upset that DADT still exist. I’m not happy that marriage is not a right everyone can enjoy. I don’t like the fact that I was fired once for being gay and there’s nothing I could do about and that’s still possible today. However, I don’t blame President Obama for my second class citizenship.
I blame John McCain, Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Michele Bachmann and every other homophobic lawmaker there is for not supporting equality for ALL Americans.
I blame the tax exempt religious organizations like Tony Perkin’s Family Research Council which sent out a celebratory email after McCain and other Republicans managed to filibuster the Defense Spending Bill to prevent the repeal of DADT and the passing of the Dream Act, part of which reads as follows:
[The defeat of the Defense Bill is] a thrilling, public victory. FRC’s strategic team and your prayers and financial support won the day!
Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted down the Defense Authorization Bill — with its candy box of treats for radical liberals. The outrageous amendments to the bill included repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and turning every military installation into an abortion clinic.
This is a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform–at least for now they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda.
The Wall Street Journal credited FRC with “[leading] the opposition to a repeal.”
These are also the same people who want to cut spending on HIV/AIDS prevention and research and spend millions upon millions to make sure that all LGBT Americans are kept in a second-class status.
Now the question I have, why aren’t people like John McCain and Tony Perkins being publicly heckled? It’s not like they’re in hiding and don’t make public appearances. Is it easier to heckle President Obama? Is it more productive to heckle President Obama? Is President Obama really the reason DADT hasn’t been repealed?
I have no problem with activism and I often times promote it, yet I don’t agree with these disrespectful tactics that only provide our opposition with more ammunition. Those who oppose gay rights now get to point their fingers and say look, the f*gs don’t even like President Obama as he tries to push his agenda for radical social change that includes giving ‘homoSEXuals’ rights and ’special’ privileges.
I understand the frustration, yet the response and reactions are quite misguided. If you feel the need to be vocal and disrespectful, try channeling that towards those who deserve it…the one’s who are preventing progress, not the ones trying to be the catalyst for change.
Click the link above to watch the video.
By David Mixner
Listen up. People start early voting in many states in about 25 days. That is right. In less than a month the future of our country once again goes to the polls. Every two years it seems we struggle with a complex world filled with “the lesser of two evils” choices. Sometimes life is not fair and sometimes our choices just stink.
Especially in this year of the Tea Party nominating in Republican primaries for Congress some really extreme candidates who have even put the fear of God into traditional Republican conservatives. The temptation is to go into panic mode and just support anything the Democrats want you to do in an effort to stop this craziness. The desire to keep the nut jobs out of the Congress is a legitimate one and we must do our part.
Now I know there are those who have had it with the Democratic Party and in many cases with good substantive policy reasons. Certainly the LGBT community can legitimately feel rejected, deceived and abused by the Party this year. With a vastly Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, the results for our community are pitiful. Some of that can be chalked up to a failure of leadership in our own national organizations. There is no question after the elections it is time to look at the results of the last year and hold our leadership accountable.
As a result, many of you are tempted to stay home or vote Green. There is a lot to be said to use a vote to increase the presence of the Green Party but I do not believe that is an effective strategy in a case it could either cause the defeat of a ‘full equality Democrat’ or elect a total destructive nut job like Sharron Angle to the United States Senate. As for you LGBT Republicans, I hope you will continue to get prominent Republicans on the full equality bandwagon. You have done an amazing job recently. Continue to put your resources to build those bridges to our community. Please stay away from those Palin crazies.
However, if you choose to vote Democrat, then this year you most certainly have choices and some good ones. This is a year we can be good citizens, participate in the battle for the best government we can achieve in these times and not blindly support any old Democrat. Here are some guidelines on those choices.
1. Vote. For any person of any ideology not to vote is just criminal in my mind.
2. Contribute to those candidates who support ‘full equality including marriage equality’ who are in tough races. I will do my best over the next weeks to point these tough races out to you. We have a number of US Senate races and Congressional races where the Democratic nominee supports us 100%. We should be there for them.
3. Contribute to openly LGBT candidates who have a real shot either directly or through the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
4. Do not contribute to Democratic Party entities. Do you want your money to go to Senator Ben Nelson or Congressman Ike Skelton who oppose us to the hilt? If you contribute to the Party establishment then you are contributing to them.
5. Do support organizations that only support candidates for full equality. If they are supporting candidates with less than full equality then don’t give to them.
6. Also the battles in states like New York, California and Minnesota for marriage equality should be on the top of our lists. The Governor and Attorney General races are crucial to us. Organizations like FightBackNY and ESPA deserve our support in New York.
There is a lot we can do to help as LGBT Democrats in this year’s elections without being blackmailed or guilted into supporting horrible conservative blue dog Democrats. So if you are Democrat, don’t bitch, sit on the sidelines, relinquish your rights to participate and not vote.
It’s one thing to be a conservative Democrat. It’s another thing to act like you don’t want to be a Democrat at all.