Giving Up

Last year, in the heat of the primary, Barney Frank wrote a very important essay on the "partisan fights of the 90s." In light of the Obama Justice Department's decision to defend DOMA in Federal court, I would like to briefly revisit that essay.

Frank wrote:

This brings me to my particular concern with Senator Obama's vehement disassociation of himself and those he seeks to represent from "the fights of the nineties." I am very proud of many of the fights I engaged in in the nineties, as well as the eighties and before. Senator Obama also bemoans the "same bitter partisanship" of that period and appears to me to be again somewhat critical of those of us who he believes to have been engaged in it.

I agree that it would have been better not to have had to fight over some of the issues that occupied us in the nineties. But there would have been only one way to avoid them -- and that would have been to give up. More importantly, the only way I can think of to avoid "refighting the same fights we had in the 1990's", to quote Senator Obama, is to let our opponents win these fights without a struggle.

It would have been nice in the nineties not to have had to fight to defend a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, and I would be very happy if that fight ended tomorrow. I was troubled when Newt Gingrich and his right wing band took over Congress after the election of 1994 and sought to put an end to programs to deal with continuing racial discrimination and the resulting inequality, and I am even more distressed that we have to continue to fight that battle against a Republican party largely opposed to all of these efforts -- consider the Bush Justice Department and its role in dealing with people's right to vote. As a gay man, additionally, I would have been delighted in the nineties if our conservative opponents had been willing to recognize our rights to be treated fairly under the law, and I would have saved a lot of time, as recently as this past year, if there was not continued strong right wing opposition to the "radical" position that people should not be denied jobs because of their fundamental nature, or that hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be treated less seriously than those based on racial or religious prejudice. These are three of the major fights in which I was engaged in the nineties, and I literally do not understand what Senator Obama means when he says that he does not want to keep fighting them. I know that he understands that those who were opposed to all three of those causes in which many of us deeply believe in the nineties continue their opposition, and I do not understand how we can avoid fighting those battles other than by conceding them, which I know he does not advocate.

I would like Congressman Frank to reevaluate the last clause of the last sentence in the quoted section, which I have bolded. I think an honest argument could be made that Obama has decided to concede more than a few of these battles.  

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    Food for thought (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:39:56 PM EST
    on this beautiful afternoon.

    Of course if I were more cynical (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:59:22 PM EST
    I might ask whether Frank ever believed it.

    Pols are not our friends. . .


    The only person (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:17:39 PM EST
    who is not engaged in the game of "bitter partisanship" right now is President Obama - and by striving publicly to be bipartisan all the time he only rewards the bitter partisanship of the other side.  

    I would like to see Obama take on something like DADT, the repeal of which is supported by most Americans and makes sense.  Then at least he'd focus the wingnut energy on one issue.  Endlessly giving idiots/bigots the same respect as people with common sense is ridiculous.  He doesn't have to say that - but he should act in that manner.

    He refuses to (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:24:57 PM EST
    because it isn't convenient for him.

    I wonder if voting will be convenient for me on election day 2012.


    Hrmph! (none / 0) (#5)
    by lilburro on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:51:18 AM EST
    I just don't see how it's convenient to let the right wing constantly brew about everything.  He was able to win handily while saying he'd do the things he isn't doing - repeal DADT, repeal DOMA.  As a candidate, he had a wide audience, and people accepted the stuff he would say.  So now we have, as digby shows, people supporting John McCain's healthcare ideas.  I'm glad the ideas that lost are now our starting point.

    The "trust us, we will get it done" attitude is to me muy paternalistic.  And what does it allow the right to do other than stock up on ammunition and immediately feed their machine?      

    It comes down to what BTD said I guess - where are the proposals?  Thinkprogress has documented that there simply haven't been any (re: DADT).  And here's what the Obama Admin has to say:

    Berry: We're going to have to - there's a lot of good support there - [Senators] Lieberman and Collins - a lot of people, I think, are going to be willing to help. I believe that that energy is going to come together. This administration has got some really smart people, and we're going to work together to do this right and do it in a way that's going to last.

    Wow, I can't wait for those good legislative vibes.  And all the "smart people" to come to our rescue!  (btw, nice job deflecting the elitist accusation that's going to come your way).

    I am so over Obama's B.S.


    Inconvenient or something else? (none / 0) (#6)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 01:16:08 PM EST
    I've been wondering whether BO truly cares about or believes in gay rights.  Your take?

    I think he doesn't (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    beyond the very limited ability we have to pressure him into it. Indifference is what I perceive.

    I have spent most of the day (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 03:36:18 PM EST
    arguing with John Cole's ridiculous view that to get DADT done we have to stop pressuring Obama (wah!!) and start pressuring Congress.

    Of course this makes zero sense for obvious reasons and here is a great timeline of the whole lotta nothing Obama's produced on the subject.

    As of yet this information has had no effect on John Cole.

    Of course the real question is why do I waste my time...