Okay, I’m game. Openly gay Democratic members of Congress Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank, and Jared Polis said this weekend that we shouldn’t be criticizing President Obama for doing absolutely nothing to advance the cause of ENDA passage, and the repeal of both Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA. We should instead be focusing our pressure on Congress.
Although gay activists have criticized President Barack Obama for not moving more quickly on their concerns, both Polis and Baldwin said the pressure should be directed at Congress because the president can not act alone.
“LGBT leaders need to be focusing in on the people we need to win over instead of just trying to talk to our friends and being angry they haven’t delivered,” Polis said.
Okay, great. I’ll bite. Putting aside the absurdity of the implication that the President of the United State of America, the leader of the free world, has next to no power to influence the course of legislation in the Congress – because he is, after all, just the President of the United States – let’s take Jared at his word. That’s it’s all up to Congress.
So what has Jared done to get these three things done?
Has Jared come up with a legislative, lobbying, grassroots and media strategy to get ENDA passed, and DADT and DOMA repealed? Where is it? Has he been holding strategy meetings with the groups, the grassroots, the Netroots, activists, the gay press, key big-gays-in-town and around the country? Where’s the target list of members we need to pressure? Where are the TV and radio and Internet ads? Where are the public events? And what’s the strategy for using the President in all of this, since, we all actually know for a fact that the President is hugely important in terms of the legislative process on the Hill? The White House is holding strategy meetings with immigration activists and fundraisers to plan out a strategy for passing immigration reform next year – when are they going to hold those kind of meetings with gay advocates, funders and activists?
If Jared, Tammy and Barney are going to provide political cover for a president who is using the power of his office to defend hateful anti-gay laws in court, and to continue discharging two gay service members a day at the same time he’s surging troops in Afghanistan and admitting that they’re stretched thin, then I’d like to hear what Jared, Tammy and Barney are actually doing, since apparently they’re running the show.
Anyone who actually knows how legislating works, knows that everything I described above is absolutely necessary as a precursor to the passage of legislation (and little of it is happening). Jared, Tammy and Barney know this. But I have the distinct feeling that they’re hoping you don’t.