Thursday, October 15, 2009

Barack Obama: What Are His Core Values?

Obama is a very slippery character. He says one thing to one group, one thing to another. I don't think he does this as just normal "political speak," as a politician who talks about issues one way on the campaign trail and then governs differently. I think he does it because, at the end of the day, he really doesn't believe in much of anything. He's a chameleon who takes on whatever coloration he needs, depending on what group he's speaking to.

Here's our Chameleon-in-Chief, speaking last year about gay marriage to Rick Warren at the Saddleback Forum; and then speaking last week to the Human Rights Campaign.

The film's title says it all: "The Two Faces of Obama: From Saddleback to Brokeback."

The Human Rights Campaign: the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group. They endorsed Obama for President. It amazes me to hear the group cheering him at last week's speech, since Obama hasn't exactly come through for this group the way they thought he would.

In his speech to this group last Saturday, Obama reaffirmed his campaign pledge to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, but offered no timetable or specifics for acting on that promise, which is vintage Obama--promise big, but give no details, or overpromise, underdeliver. Yet the crowd of 3,000 rapturously screamed and clapped. Then he asked the crowd to "trust" his administration. Sure, why not. Maybe they'll be the one group besides SEIU that he keeps his promises to.

Obama: "I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough," Obama said. "Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach." The guy can give a good speech, can't he? One of the leaders at the meeting said that Obama gave a "brilliant speech," but added "it lacked the answer to our most pressing question, which is when." Others called the speech "vaguely reassuring." So exactly how then is the speech brilliant?

When are we going to get over the childish notion that Obama's "brilliant" speeches mean anything? Or that his speeches, really, are anything much beyond adequate? He's "brilliant" because he's our affirmative action President. He's "brilliant" because everyone says he is. But he's really not--at least there's no evidence of it so far. Maybe he's "brilliant" at getting people to believe what he says he believes on a particular day, but the expiration date on that particular rhetorical move, for a lot of people, has already passed.

In the same speech on Saturday to the Human Rights Campaign, Obama also called on Congress to repeal the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits how state, local and federal bodies can recognize partnerships and determine benefits. He also called for a law to extend benefits to domestic partners. 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. Well, bud, you have the bully pulpit. You can throw the whole executive power of your presidency behind these issues if you want to.

Obama uses phrases in his speeches that give him plenty of wiggle room--and inexplicably, groups like this one allow him to get away with it: "no doubt," "my expectation is," "we should not be," and "we should be." He told the group: "there are still hearts to change; there are still hearts to open"--meaningless. Maybe Obama is brilliant after all--brilliant at getting away with saying nothing using a lot of words.

Fox News, in their report on the speech, has this quote from Joe Solmonese, the group's president: the Obama administration has been working with the group on a range of issues "on an almost weekly and sometimes daily basis." Really? If they truly have been meeting that often, shouldn't they have more to show for it than the empty platitudes Saturday's speech?

Perhaps another "brilliant" Obama-skill is damage control. How long can he string this group along with that? Someone on this next video discusses Obama's "thoughtful" deliberations on the issue of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell: "We're going to do this one time; we're going to get it right." You people are 'way too trusting. I don't quite understand why they're still willing to provide cover for the guy in the White House who so far, in ten months, has given them nothing, although in the LGBT community, it would seem, are beginning to tire of the Big Guy's empty promises.

The word "thoughtful" when applied to Obama is code language to many people for: there he goes again, dragging his feet. As far as I'm concerned, he can be thoughtful for his entire one term.

Update: I just found this website, the Gay Patriot--"the internet home for the gay American conservative." Wow, talk about putting yourself in a fringe group. Anyway, this guy, B. Daniel Blatt, says that some are starting to see through Obama's hollow rhetoric: Once again, it was typical Obama, lofty words with little to show for them.

A comment found at the Gay Patriot website:

Gays are victimized the same way hunters are victimized–they participate in an activity which a lot of people think is disgusting. They are both opposed by large groups of activists–PETA and Focus on the Famly. Hunters, too, would claim the hunting instinct is inborn. Here’s the difference between hunters and gayshunters don’t see themselves as victims of a society which mostly disapproves of what they do. They hunt whether people like it or not. And they work to protect the right to hunt by aligning hunting with positive things like conservation. Hunters also condemn those hunters who give hunting a bad name–rather than get those hunters to march in a parade as if they are mainstream. I think more gays should watch the Sportsman Channel or VS. to get an idea of how to stop being a victim and learn how to get the rights we want in a world which disapproves of what we do.

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