The Obama reelection campaign’s LGBT strategy: Defend DADT and DOMA

Let’s be realistic. One of the biggest concern of any first term President is reelection. That effort pretty much starts when the person is elected. But, it will get into high gear after the midterms. Obama’s hopes ride on fixing the economy. But, what will campaign manager Jim Messina’s do to engage LGBT voters. More importantly, what will Messina and the reelection team do to garner money from the LGBT community?

Let’s review.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its notice of appeal in the two Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases in Massachusetts. Over the next couple of weeks, the First Circuit Court of Appeals will issue a briefing schedule for those appeals. Sometime in 2011, DOJ will file its briefs in those cases. That’s when DOJ will lay out its arguments that DOMA is constitutional. At one point, candidate Obama called DOMA “abhorrent.” Soon, his administration will argue that the decisions finding DOMA unconstitutional are wrong. There will be an oral argument in these cases after GLAD and the Attorney General of Massachusetts file their briefs. Then, we’ll get the decision and face a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. So, a good chunk of 2011 will be devoted to DOMA.

On DADT, we expect DOJ to ask the Ninth Circuit for a stay of Judge Phillips’s decision finding DADT unconstitutional and forbidding the federal government from any further investigations or discharges, probably today. The DOJ will have 60 days from yesterday, until December 12, to decide if it will appeal. DOJ will appeal. The Pentagon report on DADT is due on December 1. Congress should, but won’t, act on the Defense Authorization bill during the lame duck. So, we won’t see a legislative repeal, this year, as promised. Instead, DOJ will be on the path to appeal the ruling that DADT is unconstitutional. That process will play out through 2011, too. Briefs will be filed. Arguments will be made.

In other words, while the Obama campaign is asking us for help — again — the Obama administration will be in court arguing against our civil rights. There will be no legislative accomplishments besides Hate Crimes, which already passed both the House and Senate in 2007 — it wasn’t the President’s leadership that got it passed again this time. Given the prospects for the 2010 elections, we won’t be passing anything positive in the next Congress.

So, Obama will be asking us for our time, our money (especially our money) and our votes while he’s working against our equality in the courts. And, he’ll probably stick with his new talking point that marriage is between a man and a woman (Obama was for marriage equality before he was against it). “God is in the mix,” after all.

I guess the best argument Team Obama will have is that he’s not ___________(insert name of GOPer here.)


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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