Well, just as I predicted, last night when he the addressed the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the all but de facto gay auxiliary of the Democratic National Committee, the President got his “standing ovation“.* The “cheering crowd” gave the Democrat a warm welcome even as he acknowledged “some policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.“
Christine Simmons of the Associated Press summed up the evening:
He expressed strong support for the Human Rights Campaign agenda — ending discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people — but stopped short of laying out a detailed plan for how to get there.
Promises, promises, but not a plan. That’s not enough for many gay activists, but it will win over the Washington-based leadership of HRC and other gay groups, ever eager to sing the praises of a politician with a (D) after his name who says the right things to their audiences. Of course, to those activists, with highfalutin language and that (D), it really doesn’t matter what he does.
Once again, it was typical Obama, lofty words with little to show for them. But, this time, even the New York Times noticed that some gay activists aren’t buying the swill the Democrat is trying to sell them:
Bil Browning, a blogger for Bilerico Project, a Web site aimed at a gay audience, said moments after the speech ended that the site was flooded with critical comments by people who said they had heard nothing new. “I could have watched one of his old campaign speeches and heard the same thing,” one wrote.
Even inside the room, reaction was mixed. Terry Penrod, a real estate agent from Columbus, Ohio, said some gay rights advocates were being impatient with the president, while Raj Malthotra, 29, a management consultant from Washington, said he thought the speech was a rehash of Mr. Obama’s past promises.
“For him, it’s buy more time until he needs our votes again,” Mr. Malthotra said.
It’s nice to see that some gay people, particularly those on the left, see through the President’s hollow rhetoric. On Facebook, a left-of-center friend commented that in his speech, the President neither mentioned the upcoming gay marriage initiative in Maine nor even mentioned the word, “marriage.”
The sad thing is, with even a majority of conservative favoring a repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, he could probably move legislation doing just that if only he indicated it was a priority. Instead, all we’ll get is Hate Crimes legislation which will do nothing to improve the lives of gay people in America nor to repeal the most egregious discriminatory law still on the books.
*UPDATE: According to Politico, the President received “a series of rousing ovations“, That (D) does do wonders in gay crowds.