No sooner do I post on yesterday’s march, thinking I’ve all but exhausted the topic that when reading two of my major sources for news and blog ideas, I chance upon the White House’s (apparently) strange reaction to the rally.
Quoting CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood, left-of-center blogger John Aravosis concludes that the White House has dismissed the protesters as a left-wing “fringe”:
NBC just did a piece about today’s gay rights march in Washington. For the political context of the gay community’s ire, NBC went to Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood. Harwood was asked if the White House was worried about “the left as a whole,” and concerns they have that the White House isn’t doing things that “the left” expected them to do. Harwood said the following:
Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the Internet left fringe.
Now, to be fair to the Administration, we don’t know what the White House officials (with whom Harwood spoke) actually. That correspondent was making a general observation and not quoting anyone in particular. Actual Obama spokespeople may not have so dismissed the rally, so I would caution* Aravosis against getting too worked about about this journalist’s observation.
That said, Aravsosis is onto something. The Administration seem to think they can “buy off” gay people by playing nice with the heads of various gay organizations (and prominent community activists), inviting them to the White House for cocktails, speaking to HRC’s dinner. They are aware of how gay leaders fawned all over Bill Clinton in the 1990s while that Democrat said all the right things, but, (almost) never did anything which he feared could hurt him politically, even when it meant breaking the promises he made to gay people on the campaign trail.
Seeing how many gay Democrats were lickspittles, more eager to support a Democrat than stand up for their issues, Obama’s team surely assumed playing nice would be enough. But, they didn’t take into account the bloggers. In 1993, when Clinton backpedalled on his promise to repeal the ban on gays in the military and in 1996, when he signed DOMA*, there was no blogosphere, that is, there were fewer means for gay people at odds with our (supposedly) “official” representatives to make themselves heard.
Now, there is. I have to say that while I do delight in mocking gay leftists for their sometimes seemingly slavish support of Democrats, I have been most impressed with the integrity of many left-wing gay bloggers. They haven’t marched in lockstep with an Administration, even one they helped elect. And it’s not just in dealing with a Democratic Administration. While most gay organizations have been silent on the persecution of our fellows living under oppressive Islamic regimes, many gay bloggers on the left have covered their plight, with one blogger even organizing rallies on behalf of gay victims of Islamofascism.
These bloggers are hardly a fringe of the gay community, indeed, they may well be representative of it. Nearly every gay Democrat I talk to has expressed the same frustration as do these left-of-center bloggers. They may agree with a number of things the President has done these past nine months, but they’re appalled at how he has failed to act on the promises he made to the gay community.
So, we should be grateful for the blogosphere–it may well be more representative of our community that the heads of the various gay organizations with their fancy offices and titles and more ready access to the mainstream media.
*Recall that HRC did not rescind its endorsement of Clinton after he signed that legislation.
My advice to the Gay Left is the same as my advice to the Tea Party Right — if you don’t like what “your” politicians are doing, quit donating to ‘em and run somebody against them in the primary. They’ll notice. And the Gay Left and Tea Party Right might even want to talk to each other; they may find they’ve got more in common than they realize. . . .
Andrew Sullivan also links and echoes my point, “Obama, it seems to me, has made a very dumb mistake: he thinks the Human Rights Campaign is the gay community.” I’ve been saying something similar for years (that HRC does not represent the gay community, but then, to Andrew’s credit, so has he.
*This post confirms he wisdom of that caution.