Reaction to Obama’s speech

Andrew is not impressed.

8.56 pm. More campaign boilerplate. This speech could have been made – and was made – a year ago.
8.53 pm. His major achievement – the one thing he has actually done – is invite gay families to the Easter egg-roll.
8.51 pm. Again, more of a campaign speech. I’ve called on Congress to repeal DOMA. Does he think we’re fools? He has done nothing to advance this.
8.50 pm. Now we get the campaign speech on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Does he not realize he is now in office? “I’m working to end this policy. I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Solmonese has given us the timeline: 2017. This is bullshit.

Pam Spaulding:

I’m fresh off of SiriusOutQ’s coverage of the HRC Dinner, and I have to tell you, the low expectations I had regarding LGBT policy were unfortunately met on that account. If you’re an activist or citizen looking for timelines, actions, use of the bully pulpit, ANYTHING that would indicate to the community that our President was serious about moving on the laundry list of LGBT issues any time soon, you would call it a fail.

Dan Savage:

My reaction: a friend has been sending me ecstatic emails about the speech. I just watched it—the speech is every bit as good as the ones candidate Obama gave, as the performance candidate Obama delivered at the HRC/Logo Democratic Primary Debate, as the open letter to the LGBT community that candidate Obama released before last November’s election. Imagine all the wonderful things this guy is going to accomplish if he ever actually gets elected president. In other words: sorry, folks, nothing new to see here. Pledges, promises, excuses. Lip service.

NYT says even some people attending the dinner were criticizing Obama.

Washington Post:

Obama did not offer specifics on how he would advance the cause of allowing gays to serve openly in the military, or of same-sex marriage, two areas where his inaction as president have disappointed many gay supporters….

Just days after winning the presidency, Obama vowed that he would be “a fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans.”

But nine months later, many in the community say he has done little to make good on that statement. They accuse the president of putting their agenda on the back burner — behind Wall Street regulation, health care, climate change and a series of foreign-policy issues. And although his sweeping rhetoric is appreciated, many are concerned that he has so far offered little beyond the symbolic and the incremental.

Politico:

President Barack Obama wowed a crowd of gay rights activists Saturday night with an impassioned defense of equality for gays and lesbians, but he offered no new commitments to assuage concerns that he has given a low priority to issues critical to the gay and lesbian community.

Associated Press:

Obama publicly has previously committed himself to repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they don’t disclose their sexual orientation or act on it. But Obama hasn’t taken any concrete steps urging Congress to rescind the policy, and his national security adviser last weekend would only say that Obama will focus on overturning it “at the right time.”

Obama also pledged during the campaign to work for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. But lawyers in his administration defended the law in a court brief. White House aides said they were only doing their jobs to back a law that was already on the books.

And don’t forget. While President Obama told the folks attending the HRC dinner that he was busy working with the leaders in Congress to repeal DADT, Harry Reid just sent Obama a letter imploring him to show leadership on DADT, which directly contradicts what Obama told the gays last night.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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