Inauguration

by Stephen H. Miller on January 21, 2013

Obama’s gay inclusiveness during his inaugural address advances our cause. I have never said the Democrats aren’t far better on gay issues (who would argue they weren’t?). What I have contended is that, in many cases, they are not as good as LGBT Democrats claim and, in particular, that Harry Reid, with the administration’s tacit support, was working to bury “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal efforts the same way the administration backtracked on immigration reform when it held congressional majorities, in order to have a campaign issue, but that the LGBT blogosphere and, especially, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), refused to let that happen.

Let’s also be clear; those of us who believe that Obama’s economic and regulatory policies are beyond misguided and, in fact, are dangerously destructive, are compelled to point out that a party that combines support for gay legal equality with backward leftism on economics, with trillion dollar deficits and metastasizing public-sector growth, aimed at increasing dependency on government (and the party of government), will risk, in the end, discrediting the parts of its policy that are right. So I’m happy that LGBT Democrats have something profound to celebrate, but in no sense does this mean that gay critics of Obama and his party should back off for the sake of LGBT solidarity.

More. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute on the importance of “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” and what these milestones should mean to libertarians.

{ 34 comments }

Tom Scharbach January 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm

So I’m happy that LGBT Democrats have something profound to celebrate …

All Americans — not just LGBT Democrats — have something to celebrate in these words:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths —- that all of us are created equal —- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

I’m sorry that you feel that only LGBT Democrats have reason to celebrate the fact that America’s ideals are coming to fruition — another step in our long national journey toward equality and justice for all — in equal treatment under the law for gays and lesbians.

But even if you can’t join us in that celebration, Stephen, an increasing number of Americans can and do.

… but in no sense does this mean that gay critics of Obama and his party should back off for the sake of LGBT solidarity.

Get involved in changing your own party, as you should have done years ago. It may be long since time that Republicans joined in our national journey, but there is still time to make it happen.

Houndentenor January 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Gay Republicans remind me of some of my relatives. They rant and rave about “socialism” and big government, meanwhile they are drawing disability or work for a company whose only customer is that big government they claim to hate. If the politicians they vote for had their way, they’d be out on the street. They’re happy to live off the benefits provided by very politicians they denounce. I have no idea what it takes to live in that kind of cognitive dissonance. Stephen’s rants about Democrats and how it’s our fault that the Republicans hate gay people (and they do…you just have to live in a red state and listen to them talk). I’ll bet he doesn’t even live in a red state. Why does it seem all these homocons live in a very liberal area and get to take advantage of the relative safety and equality afforded to them in those areas? Because they wouldn’t like the country that they keep voting for, that’s why. And my favorite, of course, is the eternal whine of how the liberal gays, you know the ones they claim are socialists and hate America, don’t want to date them. Like I’d date someone who thinks I’m out to destroy my country.

Rant over.

Tom Scharbach January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Good rant, though. ;-)

Houndentenor January 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Still with the victimhood.

1. No one is above criticism. I criticize the President when he does things I don’t like or when he fails to do things I think he should. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t from time to time. This idea that people who voted for Obama think he’s perfect is a strawman created by the right. Criticize away, just make sure that you are criticizing him for things he actually did.

2. It’s hilarious to read rants from Republicans about budget deficits, as if deficits were a new problem that magically appeared in 2009. If you take out Medicare Part D, the two wars and the Bush Tax Cuts, there wouldn’t have been any increases in the deficit over the last four years. So stop blaming Obama for what Bush did.

3. No minority group every got anything from elected officials without staying in their face. We aren’t anyone else’s top priority. That’s never going to change. And yes, Sen. Collins deserves credit for her part in the DADT repeal. No one ever said she didn’t. Electing politicians friendly to your agenda is not the end of advancing your agenda. All that does is make advancement feasible. Again, this is a strawman. No one in their right mind thinks that you get everything you want the second someone you like takes office. That’s only the beginning.

4. Democrats are no more the party of big-government than are Republicans. Name one Republican who reduced either the size or the cost of the federal government. Get out your history book for this one, because it will be before you were born and probably before your parents were born.

There’s more but why bother. You keep repeating the same crap over and over as if it were based in reality. I understand why you don’t like Obama’s policies. But at least stick to the real Obama, and not the right-wing fantasy strawman Obama you love to attack.

Doug January 22, 2013 at 1:40 am

It’s amazing how memory loss affects Stephen when it comes to who caused the trillion dollar deficits Obama inherited. Hey Stephen tell me about how bad the economy got under Bill Clinton’s dangerously leftist policies of raising taxes and creating a surplus that was squandered by George W. Bush.

Tom Scharbach January 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I have never said the Democrats weren’t far better on gay issues (who would argue they weren’t?).

The stark difference between the parties is no longer a question of which party is “better on gay issues”.

The President today, for the first time in American history, acknowledged in an Inaugural Address, that our story is a legitimate part of the American story, and that America’s core values demand that our rights as an American citizens be equal to rights of every other citizen.

The President’s statements transcend politics. Today was the day in which our claim to the American dream was acknowledged as a legitimate claim, now and indelibly.

From this day forward, there will be no turning back.

Jorge January 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Having just yesterday watched “Zero Dark Thirty”, which ends on a very jarring note, full of emptiness, I wanted to hear what the first president sworn in since Osama bin Laden was killed had to say on this new era in our lives as Americans. The input of many authorities and leaders are needed on what the meaning of this country is in these times.

He says that no (political) ideologies (principles?) are true for all time, but that today we must address the nations problems and concerns. He speaks, and his words evoke daylight. He sees it. He sees it clearly. The Vice President sees it even more clearly, from what he said at an event later today. This country shall be led, and its leaders shall remember and beacon to those of us who have struggled for rightness and survival during the past decade of the War on Terror. This time shall have a purpose, and that purpose will guide us until the end of our time.

Jorge January 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I’m not saying I’m totally enchanted by Obama’s address. I am a Republican, after all. However, I thrive on timely reminds of what it is I’m supposed to do, and Barack Obama is a true Head of State of the United States. He does from time to time channel the authority of the United States in that capacity, and it is great to hear from it.

Jack January 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

Pace Mr Miller, are there ANY places in the world that combine both a pro-gay political environment AND right-wing economic policies? It seems to me inarguable that gays enjoy social and political freedoms ONLY in those places that also practice “backward leftism on economics” (whatever that is).

Where are these libertarian utopia that Mr Miller seems to think are out there??? I don’t see much freedom for gays outside of Europe, Canada, US blue states, Argentina, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, Cape Town. Australia and New Zealand are left-leaning polities.

I guess Russia has a flat tax and a “strong pro-business leader” so that makes all those beat-up-the-fags laws they keep passing OK. Singapore’s nice too as long as you heed the constant government drumbeat to procreate. And hey Chile may not be Pinochet’s Gulch any longer but as it moves leftward, gays might have a chance there. I am sure Mr Miller will mind-meld with Mary Anastasia O’Grady to complain about its Slouching Towards Argentina.

Galt’s Gulch doesn’t exist, Mr Miller. And it’s not clear it would welcome gays if it did.

Houndentenor January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

I can’t think of any reason why gay rights has to go with liberal economic policies (or in the case of America, the Democrat’s policies that would be considered center right almost anywhere else in the world) , but I can’t think of a single example where a hard right party is embracing gay rights. The Tories seem to be coming around in the UK. Anywhere else? I wonder if there’s something in evolutionary biology to explain why certain ideologies seem to cluster.

JohnInCA January 23, 2013 at 12:15 am

Not sure about evolutionary biology, but consider this: to be a “liberal” one must acknowledge that yesterday was pretty crappy, today isn’t much better, but hope that tomorrow can be pretty awesome.

To be “conservative” one instead acknowledges that yesterday was rockin’, today is dark, and tomorrow looks bleak.

Civil rights struggles are *always* going to be a liberal struggle, as at it’s core it’s a desire to make tomorrow better then today, which is kinda bad. If you’ve a conservative mind-set, that’s not a thought that’s easy.

That’s one theory anyway. But there’s a reason “hope” and “change” wouldn’t catch on as Republican slogans, and “Reagen” does.

Mark January 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Also: while I agree with Stephen’s praise of Susan Collins for her role in DADT repeal, it’s worth remembering that, in the midst of two high-profile campaigns (2009, 2012) for marriage equality in her home state, where her endorsement could have played a key role, she remained utterly silent.

Even after marriage passed, she still refuses to say whether she supports or opposes the right of gay people to marry (and she criticized Obama’s speech yesterday, though without saying where she disagreed with it).

Is Stephen willing to hold Collins to the same standard he holds Obama? Or does she get a pass simply because she’s a Republican?

Jim Michaud January 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Mark, I live in Maine. Senator Collins feels that she shouldn’t have to take a stand on a state law (or campaign) since she’s a Federal official. Yeah, it sucks. But that’s how she feels.

Mark January 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I live in Maine, too: No one says that she “had” to take a stand. I know that’s her–wildly convenient–procedural claim, which just happens to serve her political interests as well, since if she came out on behalf of marriage, it could be used against her in a potential primary; and if she came out against, it would tarnish her “moderate” reputation in a pretty blue state.

In the event: the issue has now been decided in Maine. Lots of senators have given their opinions on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. And yet Senator Collins remains silent.

In addition, as far as I know, DOMA is exclusively is a federal issue, and not something that is covered by Sen. Collins’ highly unusual procedural claim that as an elected official, she gets to keep secret her position on basic civil rights questions. And yet, Sen. Collins has refused to reveal her position (http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2011/09/over-the-course-of-2011.html) on DOMA repeal, too.

Don January 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I’m just not hard right enough for this blog. Obamacare was designed by Heritage. If it were a far-left conspiracy to destroy America, it has very odd origins. The skyrocketing taxes that have been implemented? They haven’t. The full-on assault on business? Hasn’t materialized yet. The raping of Wall Street and the Banks? Even populists on the right are pissed at O for letting them go.

It’s so hard to have an intelligent conversation when some people in the room keep shouting incoherent things that aren’t even happening. And when things such as a center-right approach to healthcare reform is implemented, the fact that it is a center-right approach is completely ignored.

Imagine for a moment that Teddy Kennedy were president. Or Abby Hoffman. Or Gloria Steinem. Do you think they would approach the agenda O has? And the fact that there is no legitimate answer to this argument is telling. I’ve never heard it ever refuted by a single of my hard-right friends. He’s some stealth muslim or he went to a madrassa or i don’t know what.

I support this president because he is a center-right figure in actual governing, despite being somewhat liberal in outlook. How Stephen misses this simple fact, and it is a fact, is surprising.

ShadowChaser January 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Out of curiosity, has Republican governor ever mentioned gay men and or lesbians in his or her inauguration speech?

Jorge January 23, 2013 at 9:06 am

I support this president because he is a center-right figure in actual governing, despite being somewhat liberal in outlook

I think you’re mad. This is the most partisan president I’ve ever seen.

Doug January 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I’m rolling on the floor laughing. There is a river in Egypt called DENIAL.

Houndentenor January 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hilarious. More partisan than Bush/Rove? I don’t think that’s even possible.

Jorge January 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Decides to close Guantanamo Bay unilaterally.

Takes an issue on which there is broad bipartisan consensus, health care reform, and somehow manages to turn it into an issue that passes on a narrow party-line vote.

Tries to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraception coverage, even including contraception that it (rightfully in my view) considers abortion. Techincally that’s not partisan, but there is no way in this galaxy that can be called anything but radical-left.

Tries to have Khalid Sheik-Muhammad tried in civilian court in New York. Even Chuck Schumer was against that!

When Congress balks on passing the DREAM ACT, he does an end run via executive order.

And when the south side of the country gets itself into a public safety panic over criminals and drug smugglers crossing the border, what does his administration do? It sues states for passing laws that are trying to solve the problem.

Now, take this green energy initiative, including his support of cap-and-trade. Cap and trade is an idea that has been around for a very long time. It’s firmly center-left, not center-right. Someone needs to explain to me how it’s center-right in order for me to take you seriously, Doug, because that’s the only thing I mentioned that’s within ten miles of “center-right”.

On everything else, the President has gotten into fights with not just Congress as a whole, but gotten virtually every single Republican in Congress set against him. He’s gotten into fights with governors. He’s gotten into fights with New York City. He’s gotten into fights with the Catholic Church. This is someone who simply malfunctions every time he’s got to do a hard task that other players might be interested in.

And you’re telling me he’s not only less partisan than Bush, but governs from the center-right? There’s a word for this, it’s called outright lying, and I demand to hear even three reasons why I should have any confidence in Obama’s supposed ability to govern from the center-right.

Jorge January 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Tries to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraception coverage

(This is going to get called out for being too direct.)

Yes, I’m quite sure it was on this site that I had a fascinating conversation on just where all that funding for Catholic hospitals and charities comes from.

Houndentenor January 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

No one is forcing any CHURCH to pay for contraceptive coverage. That’s an outright lie. Some organizations are trying to use their religious beliefs to get around ACA even though their employees pay the full cost of the health care. What they want is to be able to impose THEIR religious beliefs on their female employees.

Jimmy January 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Churches are not being required to pay for anything contraceptive-wise; however, for-profit health insurance providers are.

And I sure hope the priests and taking full advantage of this.

Tom Scharbach January 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Jorge, the Catholic bishops talk out of both sides of their mouths on this issue.

One the one hand, when it is convenient for them to argue that Catholic hospitals and other affiliated organizations are “part of the Catholic Church” in order to evade the health care law, they do so. On the other hand, when it is convenient for them to argue that Catholic hospitals and other affiliated organizations are “independent not-for-profit entities” in order to minimize assets available for payment of sexual abuse judgments, they do so.

One the one hand, when it is convenient for them to argue that “life begins at conception” in order to evade the health care law, they do so. On the other hand, when it is convenient to argue that fetuses are not “persons” in order to evade a medical malpractice claim, they do so.

I have great respect for Catholic theology. But I have no respect at all for the institution.

I know that you are very protective of the Catholic Church. But pay attention to the duplicity of the Catholic bishops, and don’t be quite so quick to fall for the smoke that they are blowing.

Houndentenor January 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Meanwhile, in defending a malpractice lawsuit, a Catholic hospital is claiming that a fetus is NOT a person. They want to have it both ways, it seems. So much for the argument that they are taking a moral stand.

Doug January 24, 2013 at 1:15 am

Just for starters there was NO bipartisan consensus on health care reform. The GOP opposed everything.

Houndentenor January 24, 2013 at 8:28 am

the entire bill was a compromise to try to get GOP legislators to vote for it, and then they still didn’t. Some demanded certain provisions and then rejected the bill anyway. Read what David Frum wrote about this at the time.

John D January 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I’m sure that Rachel Maddow is in no way one of Jorge’s favorite people, but she did point out on her show on January 24 that for all the claims that Obama set out a left-wing agenda in his inaugural address, his proposals have greater than 50% support.

The guy who’s espousing programs that more than 50% of the nation supports cannot accurately be called “the most partisan.” That would be someone who was going for an agenda that only a small percentage supported. When more than half the population agrees with you, you are by definition centrist.

Don January 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Jorge, you’re making my argument for me.

If you look objectively at the health care reform, he started with Romneycare. That was the initial blueprint. He rebuffed his own party as unrealistic that single payer or any other liberal construction would work. How is using the opposing party’s idea for the blueprint of a solution “the most partisan president” ever?

When the Republicans had majorities earlier last decade, they wouldn’t even tell Democratic members of congress where the hearings were being held for committees. They didn’t need their votes. The Washington Post had a Dem wandering the halls with press to demonstrate “we’re not even sure where ways and means is meeting – they won’t tell us because they don’t need our votes”

Really? Democrats are the most poisonous party bent on destroying the union through complete obstructionism? Really? If we were talking about a rancorous time 100 years ago, i’d let you off the hook. Most of the same people are in the same jobs from that time.

Hey, Fox and Friends can say what they want. But it doesn’t make it true because they say it on the tee vee.

In an attempt to be civil, I’m going to just say The Gentleman is mistaken.

Jorge January 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

How is using the opposing party’s idea for the blueprint of a solution “the most partisan president” ever?

If President Obama were tasked with working with Mitt Romney and the legislature of Massachussets to pass national health care reform, I would agree with your starting premise.

This point bears repeating.

If President Obama and his administration were tasked with working with Mitt Romney and Massachussets’ legislature to craft and pass national health care reform, then indeed I would credit him starting with the blueprint of Romneycare as “using the opposing party’s idea for the blueprint of a solution:.

I do not, because you are attacking a straw man. And since that’s what you have decided to do, that tells me that you are either uninformed politically or that you prefer deception to discussion. You have demonstrated exactly the type of slick, deceptive, truthobscuring gamesmanship that president Obama has played again and again. It is wrong, and I will never cease calling out Obama for what he is.

Houndentenor January 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

How is that a strawman? Obama wound up using the Massachesetts plan which is based on an idea from the Heritage Foundation as a model for ACA. That’s just a fact. I’m sorry if you don’t like facts, but your like or dislike has no affect on their veracity.

Don January 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Its becoming apparent that not all of us are very bright here, despite a overall high quality of discussion. Possibly a discussion of the effects of cognitive dissonance on logic may be in order. Some appear lost when faced with two facts that clearly shatter their deeply-held belief systems. The don’t realize that it sometimes renders one unable to accept the truth. The mind actually warps reality to make the untrue true. A buddy of mine calls this the Fembot reaction. Does not compute, sparks fly, twitching, and eventual meltdown.

If it helps, Jorge, my brother has remained a proud republican but has ceased contact with Fox News, openly derides Bush, told his local party when they stop spending like drunken sailors and then blame on the next guy, he’ll become supportive again. He is ashamed he once defended torture and defended these actions.

My point is that there is recovery for your condition. But you might want to take the steps to get better. It doesn’t mean that Democrats and liberals are right, I don’t want you to even attempt something as risky as a completely open mind. Just open yourself to the idea that maybe supporting torture is a sin in every world religion and a bad idea politically. The go out on the internet and research if my assertion that the Kenyan Socialist’s Stalin-Inspired Takeover of the Free-est Freedom-Loving Health Care System in the World MIGHT have been designed by the Heritage think tank and that the Socialist Hater of All White People picked it for exactly that reason.

ThomasJeffersonIII January 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

It was a great speech — overall and historically. President Obama is a center-left president and that is largely why he is often disliked and attacked by the right-wing and left-wing (aside from, you know the ‘birthers’).

Delivering actual policy changes — at the Federal level, well President Obama has certainly been a part of that — in a big way — but changes that require Congressional approval are going to be a bit of an uphill battle.

The level of partisanship has gotten to the point of sheer insanity, so getting anything done, much less anything good done is an uphill battle. But with gay rights bills the problem is that (as I have said) voters in certain Congressional districts or certain States are perceived as being ‘right-wing’ on gay rights issues and impacts how major candidates in that district or State are likely to behave with regards to gay rights bills.

This is where we see Tea Party Republicans or Blue Dog Democrats as viable Congressional candidates or Senatorial candidates.

Hunter February 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I find Miller’s characterization of Obama’s economic policies as “beyond misguided” and “dangerously destructive” to be faintly humorous, at this point — or would be if they weren’t so pervasive in the media. I’d like to suggest that Miller actually look at what Obama’s proposing as opposed to what Pete Peterson’s stable of deficit scolds in the House and Senate has managed to come up with and think about how much he would like the U.S. to emulate Greece, which is close to what will happen if we follow the Republican Plan to Prosperity (for their paymasters). (Sorry, but the idea of Paul Ryan as some sort of economic policy guru makes my sides hurt from laughing.) Miller should get some new talking points — “metastasizing public sector growth”? Given that the public sector has shrunk significantly in the past four years, I have to wonder what planet he’s been living on.

As for Obama including us in the inauguration, what he’s done is to reframe the whole discussion. People have to pay attention now — and by the same token, they can’t sweep gay issues under the rug any more. (Although that’s been increasingly less possible everywhere but Washington.) Be interesting to see how it develops.

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