Earlier today I wrote about yesterday’s anything-but-secret secret meeting at the White House about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. With no details forthcoming, I speculated on what really happened there, suspicious that Obama did try to score some political points but without clear answers as to what he might be getting them for.
This evening, we have our first details of the meeting, and they come from President Obama himself. For the first time ever, a member of the LGBT media/blogosphere got to ask the President some direct questions, and Joe Sudbay has shared his results with us.
Overall, the President did not have much new to say. He still refuses to address whether DADT is unconstitutional. He is eager to toot his own horn for how much his administration has done for the LGBT community, including being “systematic and methodical” (note: not proactive and assertive) on the agenda to repeal DADT. In fact, he doesn’t think the community’s “disillusionment is justified,” because his administration has been a “stalwart ally.” In terms of marriage equality, all he had to say was a reiteration of his support for civil unions but traditional marriage. After all, did anyone expect him to reverse his opinion at 3:30 in the afternoon in the Roosevelt Room? We wouldn’t want him to suddenly switch back to the support of full marriage equality he had in 1996, would we?
I’m being snide, I admit, but it’s only because the President’s responses are so condescending. It’s like any suggestion that he’s not as great the ally as he thinks he is just bounces off. Again, I ask, where does he get the idea that he’s this wonderful ally who’s done right by us? He’s a constitutional scholar who won’t answer a constitutional question and he expects credit for regurgitating talking points the religious right uses against us. If the theme of his campaign was “umbrage,” the theme of his Presidency is turning out to be “hubris.”
Then, Obama shared a little bit of the strategy from yesterday’s meeting. It involves him, the lame-duck session, and getting the Log Cabin Republicans to flip a few votes.
You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate.
And I said directly to the Log Cabin Republican who was here yesterday, I said, that can’t be that hard. Get me those votes.
Because what I do anticipate is that John McCain and maybe some others will filibuster this issue, and we’re going to have to have a cloture vote. If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.
Yeah, why are we wasting all that time and money in the courts? It’s not like the courts are the one place we’ve had almost every big precedent-setting victory in the past 10 years. We just have to flip a few votes in the Senate!
It would have been nice if the effort had been made the first time the vote came up.
Mr. Obama was reluctant to “tip his hand,” but I surely hope there is more to this strategy than just actually trying to get the votes this time around.
We don’t have much choice but to wait and find out. Come on, then, stalwart ally, show us what you got.