Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?
The Human Rights Campaign, which likes to tout itself as the nation’s largest gay rights organization, today endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2012. Which pretty much leaves the President no reason to do anything that he perceives as controversial for us at least until 2013, if he gets re-elected. The news that HRC is endorsing him comes on the heel of a rumor flying around town that a very senior HRC official is being talked about for a senior position in the White House (because White House relations with the community weren’t on thin enough ice).
While an eventual endorsement of Obama by HRC is inevitable, expected, and fine, there’s a dance that’s expected where both sides get something. And the expectation should be for gay rights advancements, not appearing at your dinner or giving you a job. (HRC may be the only folks in town worse at negotiating than the White House itself. ) But now that HRC has already given the President the prize he seeks, what incentive does the President, who claims he’s “evolving” on marriage, evolve before the election? He has no need to.
HRC clearly hasn’t learned the lessons of the first two years of the Obama presidency. You don’t get anything for being nice to the man (well, anything of substance – I’m sure that HRC dinner invite is now locked in). If anything, he looks down on people who are nice to him. The only thing this President respects are people who stand up to him. The President didn’t finally start moving on DADT, and finally stop defending DOMA, because HRC was nice to him. He did it because this blog, GetEqual, Dan Choi, the larger Gay Netroots, and a very few organizations like Servicemembers United and SLDN stood up to the man. (Had HRC had its way, we’d still be debating the DADT repeal legislation in the Congress today.)
Sadly, there are few organization on the left who do stand up to President Obama, and that’s why so many of the President’s promises to the left have been broken or unfulfilled. The man abhors a cheap date. And in the minds of far too many of our community’s leaders in Washington, we’re little more than just that.