I know it sounds like the bad beginning of an even worse joke. And you’re tired of hearing about the wicked witch of the west coast. But this is really a story about Barack Obama and whether he’s smart enough to avoid the coming buzz saw.
Today, Donald Trump – who is possibly the only person in America a bigger media whore than Miss California (well, okay, not counting Chuck Schumer) – jumped in to the fray and invoked Barack Obama, no less, in an effort to defend (read: get some of the media attention from) the beauty queen turned religious right pin-up girl who simply wants a chance to flash her breasts for Jesus.
In a press conference with the embattled Miss California, Trump invoked President Obama to the beauty queen’s defense. Specifically, Trump – and Miss C herself – both cited Obama’s supposed views on gay marriage:
At a press conference addressing Carrie Prejean’s disputed title in the Miss USA competition, pageant owner Donald Trump compared Prejean’s stated views on gay marriage to Obama’s.
“It’s the same answer that the president of the United States gave,” Trump said. “She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart.”
In her own remarks moments later, Prejean echoed Trump’s statement, telling reporters: “The president of the United States, the secretary of state, and many Americans agree with me in this belief.”
Let’s put aside for a moment the utter idiocy of Trump’s comments. The controversy isn’t about Miss California being anti-gay. It’s about her posing for nudie photos and lying about it, about her joining up as a spokesperson for an organization just this side of a hate group, while shirking her official duties as Miss California, and about her being quite possibly the biggest sore loser in beauty queen history. But putting even all that aside, is Trump now saying that no future pageant judge can vote against a contestant if she invokes God in her answer and the judge disagrees? Or that anyone who invokes a position that Barack Obama also holds will be forever exempt from criticism?
But hey, far be it for me to get between Donald Trump, a blonde’s fake breasts, and a camera.
Much more important is the comparison to President Obama. It’s part of a pattern that started last year during the Prop 8 battle over gay marriage in California. The religious right, at that time, invoked Barack Obama’s “opposition” to gay marriage as a reason to vote for their cause. Since that time, the comparisons to Obama have only grown louder. I was on CNN recently, and conservative talk show host Dennis Prager invoked Obama on gay marriage. In today’s Washington Post, Obama’s opposition to gay marriage is compared to crack-smoking convict Marion Barry. And then we have Donald Trump and the beauty queen. (It’s happened a lot more often than that, I just don’t have all the cites.)
What does this mean and why am I writing about it? Because we’ve come to the point where Obama can no longer duck the question. Gay civil rights are roaring ahead like a runaway freedom train, and it’s only a matter of time before the Obama administration, whether they like it or not – and it increasingly looks like “not” – are going to have to start answering some questions, if not actually do something, about their commitment to gay civil rights.
Will Obama and his staff reiterate his past (supposed) opposition to gay marriage when asked about the hateful comparison the religious right is making between their own prejudice and America’s first black president? If so, then Obama will appear to be validating the comparison and agreeing with some of the most hateful bigots in American society. Let me assure you, that won’t go over well at all. Why? Because, while gays might have cut Obama some slack a long while back, a series of poorly-resolved gay bimbo eruptions have dogged Obama from the campaign to the White House.
From Obama’s embrace of anti-gay activist Donny McClurkin, to his choice of anti-gay bigot Rick Warren to give the inauguration invocation, to the bizarre disappearance of most of the gay civil rights promises to the White House Web site, to the continual backtracking on the President’s commitment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to the upcoming firing of more gay service members, to the fact that the White House Web site still has not restored the President’s public commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, to the White House’s obvious reticence to choose an openly gay person for Obama’s cabinet, the list goes on and on. And gay Americans continue to go from hopeful to skeptical to bitter. The goodwill, along with Elvis, long ago left the building. What could have been a disagreement with a friend is quickly heading towards a major, damaging showdown.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I don’t for a minute believe that Barack Obama is opposed to gay marriage. Nor do I believe that most Democratic politicians are. It’s politically expedient to be for gay rights, but not for gay marriage. I get it. But at some point, expediency can bite you in the ass. And Obama is quickly approaching the ass-biting phase of the gay rights debate.
To paraphrase the bigots who incessantly like to quote our President for support: The storm is coming. Let’s hope that someone in the White House realizes it before it’s too late.