June 16, 2009

Thumbs Up (for the moment): Now Shut Up! And Pay Up!

Quite a piece of work, this Mr. Obama:
President Barack Obama, under growing criticism for not seeking to end the ban on openly gay men and women in the military, is extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Obama plans to announce his decision on Wednesday in the Oval Office, a White House official said Tuesday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president hadn't yet signed the presidential memorandum.


The decision is a political nod to a reliably Democratic voting bloc that in recent weeks has grown frustrated with the White House's slow movement on their priorities.

Several powerful gay fundraisers withdrew their support from a June 25 Democratic National Committee event where Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak. Their exit came in response to a June 12 Justice Department brief that defended the Defense of Marriage Act, a prime target for gay and lesbian criticism. ...

The legal arguments -- including citing incest and sex with minors -- sparked rebellion among gay and lesbian activists who had been largely biting their tongues since Obama won election.


John Berry, the highest-ranking gay official in the administration and the de facto human resources chief for the administration, told a gay rally last weekend that Obama planned to take action on benefits soon.

Berry, who heads the Office of Personnel and Management, has repeatedly told reporters that he expected the White House to turn to legislation to give domestic partners access to federal health and retirement plans.

But Obama so far has sent only one piece of legislation to the Hill -- a pay-as-you-go measure that is part of his wooing of fiscally conservative Democrats.

Instead, Obama will use his signature instead of legislation to achieve the benefits parity sought by same-sex couples.
Let's add it up. Obama won't exert even the smallest bit of leadership in repealing the loathsome "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Obama refuses to display any leadership with regard to other extraordinarily blatant forms of government discimination against gays and lesbians, and instead his Justice Department files a repellently ignorant brief in support of the constitutionality of the vile Defense of Marriage Act. (And yet, he taught constitutional law! I will only suggest that you consult some of the leading bloggers for proof as to the intellectual rigor and integrity often associated with teaching law.)

But Obama will sign a presidential memorandum, thereby providing some equality in the manner of a personal indulgence. Thus are fundamental matters of fairness transformed from formal legal recognition of equality into questions of the favoritism displayed by a hugely powerful ruler. It should always be remembered that those who are favored in this way on one occasion may be harshly punished when the tide turns in the other direction.

It's all enough to make you think he wants to be an emperor. Equally awful is the fact that a disturbingly large number of people seem to have no problem with that prospect.

Hope! Change! No one ever convincingly demonstrated it was hope grounded in reality, however tenuous the connection, just as no one ever convincingly demonstrated it was change for the better. You filled in those elements all on your own, if you did.