NBC’s First Read seems to grasp what’s really going on today at the White House:
Also today, at 5:45 pm ET, Obama signs a presidential memo granting same-sex benefits to federal workers. This move, however, seems mostly about placating gay-rights advocates who have been angered by 1) the administration’s hesitance in overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; 2) its brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which Obama has promised to repeal; and 3) Obama’s invitation of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at the inauguration. In fact, some wealthy gay supporters of Obama have become so mad that they’re taking their names off an upcoming Biden fundraiser. Of course, the Obama White House has been very reluctant to get involved in cultural issues, and it seems intent on avoiding all the early mistakes Bill Clinton made (like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”). Yet today’s presidential memo is a reactive attempt to quell the anger coming from the gay community. But even the memo doesn’t seem to go far enough for gay-rights advocates. For one thing, as the New York Times notes, the benefits for same-sex couples won’t be extended to health care.
The obsession with not repeating the mistakes of 1993 has resulted in a huge mistake in 2009. Somehow, despite all the progress and the massive shift in public opinion on gay issues since the early 90s, at the White House, the conventional wisdom on gay-related issues has been dialed back to 1993. The very top staffers at the White House have either fomented that perception or let it fester. There’s a part of me that feels like this was a very cynical political ploy — almost as if they want to have the gay community upset with them. It has been one thing after another and we’re always told how smart everyone at the White House is. So, it really feels deliberate. They only decided it was a problem when the gay ATM started to shut down.
This is part of a bigger problem with progressive causes and the professional Democrats in DC. During campaigns, they want our money, our support, our blog posts, but once they win, we’re not needed. Even worse, they view us as a problem. Many of them forget that they have their tax-payer financed jobs and benefits because of the work so many of us did. That has to stop. Democrats need to remember who their friends are even after they are elected and stop kissing the butts of those who work to defeat them.
And, one note to NBC: I don’t consider my rights, or lack thereof, to be a “cultural issue.” That’s demeaning.