The Hate That Dare Speak Its Name

In a generally good Frank Rich column, this bit of Bill Clinton hate from a gay supporter of Barack Obama struck me:

[Gay Obama supporter] McCarthy added that it’s also time “for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.” And “for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.”

A free pass for Obama on Warren and a nasty swipe at Bill Clinton for good measure. Par for the course from some these days. If and when Obama does nothing about DOMA, you think Rich and McCarthy will have a damn word to say about it? Me neither.

Speaking for me only

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    Well, doesn't this: (5.00 / 12) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:33:51 PM EST
    A free pass for Obama [. . .] and a nasty swipe at Bill Clinton

    describe Frank Rich for the past year?

    all-time favorite (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by lilburro on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:55:50 PM EST
    from "McCain Channels His Inner Hillary"

    "In desperation to land some knockout punch, some McCain supporters, following the precedent of Clinton surrogates, are already invoking Mr. Obama's race, middle name and tourist snapshot in Somali dress to smear his patriotism. The idea is to make him a Manchurian candidate, a closet anti-Semitic jihadist trained in a madrassa run by, say, Louis Farrakhan."

    Another goodie.  


    Yes, Frank (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:23:38 PM EST
    always finds way to get a nasty swipe in at President Clinton, and if not, Mrs. Clinton.

    I kind of wish he'd stuck with drama (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:47:11 PM EST

    Please remind us. What promises (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:04:53 PM EST
    did Obama make to the campaign to the GLTG community?

    he promised (none / 0) (#32)
    by TimNCGuy on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 03:03:21 PM EST
    Obama promised:

    to repeal DOMA

    to repeal DADT

    to provide all the same federal benefits to gay couples that are received by straight couples if they are in a state recognized relationship

    to use the "bully pulpit" to pressue ALL states to provide civil unions (at minimum) with full benefits to gay couples

    I don't know if he made any promises about ENDA and Hate Crimes legislation.

    I do know that he has alreay pulled back on DADT  saying that he won't address it during his first 2 years.


    I found it odd that (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by lilburro on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:34:39 PM EST
    at the end of a column that rightfully probes into the importance of choosing Warren, Rich extensively quotes Timothy McCarthy (who more or less seems not to care about the symbolic gesture) in order to let some tension out of the room.  IOW, it's okay - we can all love Obama again.  A suitable end to a Rich column.

    I also found it really amusing that Rich decided to describe Obama in the same terms that Obama was described by the McCainiacs.  Hubris?  Arrogance?  "That's a polite way of describing the Obama cockiness"?  


    I am curious (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by laila on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:38:51 PM EST
    as to what promises Obama made to the gay and lesbian communities?  

    Not to drive the bus over any speed bumps? n/t (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Lysis on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:41:37 PM EST
    Just what I was thinking (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:49:00 PM EST
    Did Obama make promises?  I most have missed it.  In so many ways Obama was such a clean slate that people saw what they wanted to see; they heard what they wanted to hear.  

    The economy is so bad that even people I know were not Obama supporters are looking to him for answers.  They want to believe he is "the one."  


    Well, Joe Biden said this (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by hitchhiker on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:40:08 AM EST
    I would say to the gay and lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama, every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every commitment he's made relating to equality for all people, will be things that he will stick with and that they should view this in the spirit in which he offered the opportunity to -- to Mr. Warren.

    on Larry King the other day.  So I guess there must have been some "commitments relating to equality for all people" somewhere along the line.

    And yet Obama does not think, as the CA supreme court did last May, that the right to marry is central to personal happiness.  Not sure how exactly that squares with the commitments, whatever they were.


    Okay, maybe this is what Biden was talking about: (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by hitchhiker on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:52:15 AM EST
    Obama campaigning to GLBTs:  

    As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment.

     But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -- whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.

    Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether.

    Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

    Meh.  The choice of Rick Warren isn't exactly using the bully pulpit to get to full equality . . . not after CA just changed its constitution to institutionalize inequality, not after AR just outlawed adoption for gay couples, and especially not after Rick Warren just came right out and said that gay marriage offends him in the same way that brother/sister marriage would.

    The bully pulpit is home sweet home to Rick Warren -- how can it also be the place from which Obama keeps his word to gay Americans?


    Didn't Biden say something similar (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by nycstray on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:58:45 AM EST
    in regards to women, rights and Obama?

    I would say to the gay and lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama, every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every commitment he's made relating to equality for all people . . .

    Obama's promises (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:18:03 AM EST

    As a state Senator, I have taken on the issue of civil rights for the LGBT community as if they were my own struggle because I believe strongly that the infringement of rights for any one group eventually endangers the rights enjoyed under law by the entire population. Since 1996, I have been the sponsor or a chief co-sponsor of measures to expand civil liberties for the LGBT community including hate-crimes legislation, adoption rights and the extension of basic civil rights to protect LGBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and credit...

    For the record, I opposed DOMA [ the Defense of Marriage Act ] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted...

    We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize--equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced. We must continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent and seamless throughout all 50 states, and we must repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

    And on DOMA in 2008.


    Only promise I saw (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by MeMyselfAndI on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 02:36:50 AM EST
    was to support civil unions and not gay marriage.

    He didn't even have the guts to say "leave it to the states".


    McCarthy knows how to play the game. (5.00 / 13) (#4)
    by Lysis on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:41:07 PM EST
    If you want to be quoted, bash a Clinton.  Without that diatribe against President Clinton, the rest of the quote would never have been included.

    People act like the progress that was made in the nineties for gay rights were in spite of Clinton, rather than because of his leadership.

    Here's his actual record, for those who are interested.

    Thanks for the reality check (5.00 / 11) (#7)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:52:49 PM EST
    We needed that.  It seems that folks cannot like Obama and Bill Clinton at the same time. They are both gifted politicians; they are both highly intelligent, though I think BC far exceeds Obama in his ability to systhesize complexity and convey it in a way that everyone understands.  It is a real gift and in my opinion shows unique intelligence.  

    Amen to that (5.00 / 9) (#17)
    by BernieO on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 08:57:45 AM EST
    Too many Dems bought the media spin about Clinton and do not get just how good he was - and is. The media just could not stand for a hick from Arkansas to be respected and they did everything they could to bring him down. Without the NYTimes' and Washington Post's willingess to keep pushing the bogus Whitewater story there would never have been an impeachment. So much for the "liberal" press.
    Obama dissed Clinton's record but is basically copying his approach to governing. Ironic.

    Well done (5.00 / 9) (#20)
    by ricosuave on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 10:45:42 AM EST
    I am so tired of the Clinton-bashing, but it seems to stem from this idea that Obama is wonderful because he says he is wonderful.  Deeds don't matter, only words do.  And we continually have to compare the best of Obama's words with the worst of the anti-Clinton propaganda.

    Your list is a great reminder of how many times Clinton put himself out there and took risks ("spent political capital" to stick to the Rich/Bush story) for things.  I am still waiting to hear that Obama has taken any risks to support the issues that progressives hold dear, including this one.  Here was another opportunity for him to do that, and he not only passed it up (he could have just had a bland, unknown preacher do this invocation) but went for the poke-in-the-eye instead.


    They Bash Clinton because he upset the status quo (5.00 / 8) (#31)
    by mexboy on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 02:25:21 PM EST
    One of the first things President Clinton did, upon taking office, was to take on the militarily on Gay discrimination.

    He said he wanted gay people to serve openly. The congress and military fought him tooth and nail, and that's how we ended up with Don't ask, don't tell.

    He made a promise in the campaign and kept it. He spent political capital on issues that the majority didn't care about and that he could have paid lip service to. If that isn't courage and leadership, I don't know what is.

    No wonder those with no integrity hate him. He just reminds them of how morally deficient, inept, and spineless they are.


    He kicked some a$$ (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 11:05:28 AM EST
    Where no man or woman had gone to kick a$$ before!

    I'll be shocked (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 11:56:51 PM EST
    If Obama does anything for the gay community.  He knows that they will vote for him anyway.   He'll talk about respect, equal rights, blah, blah, blah, and do nothing.  

    anyone who seriously (5.00 / 7) (#10)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:30:53 AM EST
    believes that obama is "the one" needs an intensive medical intervention. if you look back during the primaries, obama didn't really say much of anything substantive, about much of anything.

    realistically, i expect nothing from him that doesn't directly benefit barack obama.

    DOMA is a big nothing (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Pol C on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 09:07:25 AM EST
    I certainly understand why many supporters of LGBT rights were put off by it, but all it did was reaffirm what was already the law in this country: the states have jurisdiction over marriage, not the federal government. All the support of Bill Clinton and other Dems did was pull the rug out from under a GOP wedge issue, which made it that much more unlikely in 1996 that Bob Dole would be elected President or the GOP would have maintained or expanded their majorities in Congress. In fact, the GOP very nearly lost control of the House, and we all know how the Presidential election went.

    As I said, while I understand their being offended, I wish Rachel Maddow and everybody else who has a bee in their bonnet over DOMA would recognize that what matters are results, not how good or pure you happen to look when you fail.

    As far as 1996 goes, if I have to make a choice between having an obnoxious though meaningless law on the books and having a President Bob Dole and larger GOP Congressional numbers, I'll choose the former every time. Politics is compromise, and people need to grow up, especially when the compromises don't make a damn bit of difference.

    By the way, any LGBT rights supporter who thinks or thought that Obama was ever on their side is a fool. His attitude towards gay people has been obvious to anyone who's paid attention.

    Are you kidding me? (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Jjc2008 on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 09:26:10 AM EST
    Aravosis and Maddow both hate the Clintons.  Rachel can barely say Hillary's name without an accompanying scowl of derision.  Aravosis' hate for the Clintons is sick.  Both come off as neocons when it comes to the Clintons.  

    Now both are up in arms that Obama has not jumped through their hoops IMMEDIATELY.   The reality is that Obama will pick and choose his battles because he is smart enough to remember what happened when Bill went in there and pushed his idealistic agenda.  

    When do people get that in a country that is and has been split nearly 50/50 on most issues of ideology and religious issues for years, nothing is easily done.  Bill Clinton is still paying the price even with many on the left......and because they are ignorant, they still don't get it.


    Where do we disagree? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Pol C on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:04:54 PM EST
    I know Maddow can't stand the Clintons.

    A lot of her antipathy towards them seems rooted in DOMA. My point is that while I can understand her being less than thrilled with that piece of legislation, she should realize that, as a law, the thing was absolutely meaningless. It just reaffirmed a jurisdictional situation that cannot change without a constitutional amendment. In practical terms, all Bill Clinton's support for it did was remove a wedge issue that would have bolstered the GOP's electoral prospects. The end result was positive, and it did no real harm. For her and her fellow travelers to continue to make an issue of it is stupid and counterproductive. I'm not big on telling people to "get over it," but DOMA is that sort of situation if ever there was one. It's not worth getting worked up over.


    Wrong... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BigElephant on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:25:45 PM EST
    As law, it is not pointless, and DOMA should have NEVER been signed into law.  Bill Clinton is my favorite president of my lifetime, but he screwed up (a lot), and this was a screw-up.  

    The law is meaningless in that it made it the LAW that at the Federal level a marriage is only between a man and woman.  Likewise, references to spouse (for various protections) only refers to one of the opposite sex.  This has ramifications that NEVER existed previously in federal cases and laws.  

    The state issue of recognizing other marriages is probably not strongly effected by DOMA, but nevertheless shines a light to the states to make it clear, "if you want to avoid gay marriage in your state -- we make it completely unambiguous".

    Don't treat DOMA as a meaningless -- you are disrespecting every gay person who is entitled to the same rights as a heterosexual person.


    Let me just add (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 03:11:28 PM EST
    that because of DOMA, same-sex couples, even those in states where same-sex marriage is legal, do not receive any of the federal benefits that accrue to opposite-sex married couples. This means no joint tax returns, no inheritance advantage, no access to a partner's social security benefits. If a same-sex couple in a state recognized marriage or domestic partnership divorces spousal support may be ordered according to state law, but the federal tax deduction for such payments does not apply.

    These are not minor inconveniences. Same-sex couples end up with all the responsibilities of married couples and almost none of the benefits.

    DOMA was most definitely not meaningless. And, by the way, Clinton signed DOMA to avoid an even worse fight over a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. If you think Prop 8 is bad, imagine if the homophobes had succeeded at the federal level in 1996.


    I was careless (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Pol C on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 05:33:43 PM EST
    My apologies. I was taking the first of the two clauses as being the whole of the law. The second, which relates to federal recognition of marriage, actually does have teeth.

    However, gay couples didn't lose anything in practice by DOMA's passage. Neither the IRS nor the SSA extended gay couples the marriage benefits straight couples had before then. And repealing it isn't going to accomplish anything in practice, either.

    The extension of federal marriage benefits to gay couples isn't going to happen until a law is passed that explicitly authorizes it. By itself, repealing DOMA is not a fight worth fighting. Passing a law that supercedes it is what's important.

    If all you're looking for is for DOMA to be repealed, you're asking to get played.


    A "fun" example of Rachel Maddow's (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:18:21 PM EST
    antipathy toward the Clintons' could be noted last week when Dr. Laura Tyson was invited to provide an assessment of the financial bailouts.  Dr. Tyson was introduced with her impressive professional and academic credentials and as an economic advisor to President-elect Obama. Dr. Tyson's role as an official in the Clinton administration was not mentioned, although it was stated on the crawl.   On the next night's show Ms. Maddow gave an errata/apologia for not doing her homework and mentioning to her audience that Dr. Tyson was on the Board of Morgan Stanley, and, while public information, Ms. Maddow neglected to present this potential conflict of interest (Dr. Tyson had stressed the complexity of the issue and defended and provided a rationale for the continued payment of dividends). On that second night, Dr. Tyson was introduced only as a former Clinton official.

    Aravosis explained his attitude toward Hillary (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by TimNCGuy on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 03:51:45 PM EST
    during ther primary.  He actually posted at one point the reson he was giving her such a hard time was because she and her campaign didn't pay enough "respet" to the blogging community.  He said they had one meeting with the blogosphere before the primaries began and then nothing after that.  He was even upset that they didn't offer "person thanks" when anything positive was written about the campaign.

    It was very similar to what Chris Matthews once said on-air about the Clintons.  he said that reporters feel "justified" in going out of their way to find a negative spin about anything Clinton because the Clintons were never "nice" to them.

    And, here I thought it was the job of responsible journalsists to report the facts no matter how their little personal feelings may have been hurt.  I thought it was their job (the journalists, not the bloggers) to work for the citizens.  Guess not according to Chris Mattthews.


    Well then Obama should have no trouble (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 11:18:34 AM EST
    getting it repealed, as he promised.

    you are SOOOO wrong (none / 0) (#33)
    by TimNCGuy on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 03:11:02 PM EST
    DOMA stops the federal government from giving federal marriage benefits to gays who live in states that have legal recognition of gay couples through marriage, civil union, domestic partnership etc.  If DOMA were not there, gay couples in MA would get full federal marriage benefits as would couples in states with civil unions and domestic partnerships.

    Kudos re the title. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 12:11:41 PM EST

    Clinton at least tried to get DADT repealed (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by ericinatl on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 05:42:05 PM EST
    before bowing to the political reality.  Obama threw the gays under the bus before he is even inaugurated.

    But, Rich and Dowd and Geffen helped create this monster, without any real understanding of Obama's actual politics.  Apparently the "devil" they knew was NOT better than the devil they did not know.  After all, they could project all of their political fantasies onto Obama.  He was what they wanted him to be.  It's shocking to me that they are now shocked that he is indeed not who they wanted him to be.

    Continue to hide in the middle (4.80 / 5) (#16)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 08:05:31 AM EST
    In rewriting history, too many forget the political climate that Bill Clinton had to deal with. Most of his term was spent dealing with an extremely hostile Congress (Even within his own party) and a military that was not about to let him impose his will on their terrain. He deserves credit for even putting up the fight.

    Obama has a much easier path. Unfortunately for the GLBT community, I don't see him taking it. Both Obama and the Dem leadership are going to be so concerned in maintaining their "solid" majority that i don't expect to see any ground breaking legislation coming out of Congress on any issue.

    I, too, felt that (none / 0) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:46:49 PM EST
    Frank Rich's article was, generally, a good one, notwithstanding the nasty and unfair Clinton comment.  As for this McCarthy guy, he betrayed, if nothing else, his incompetence as an historian. However, the overarching value of the article, to me, was that it rightly rekindled attention to the inappropriateness of the Warren invitation--an issue that the Obama team assuredly banks on quietly and quickly fading.  My early-bird reading of the article made me relate to my prowess in making morning coffee--allowed it to percolate without boiling over. And, like my bad coffee, not yet grounds for divorce.