That’s the gist of Kerry Eleveld’s new piece. Everything the President has done for us has been notoriously safe. He doesn’t seem willing, or able, to spend any political capital in order to do the big stuff.
At a recent policy discussion, one mainstream journalist framed Obama as “a reluctant warrior” who needs to be pushed into a corner before he comes out swinging. Nothing demonstrates this better than health reform, where the administration let the bill slide toward the brink of destruction for an entire year before swooping in to rehabilitate the effort.
For those who declare hospital visitation a major victory, I do not disagree. This week’s memorandum will surely bring invaluable comfort to average couples across the country in a critical time of need.
But I would add a note of caution: This president has never responded to carrots, and a presidential memorandum is only as good as the next administration.
President Obama has two glaring opportunities to create lasting change this year: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Passing either one of them would mark the single biggest advancement for LGBT equality in this nation’s history, but that window of opportunity narrows with every passing day.
I unequivocally applaud the president’s action, but I also never witnessed a campaign rally where Obama told a roaring crowd of supporters, “And as president, I will confer certain benefits on same-sex couples!”