Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bright Idea Backfires

We've been documenting the deterioration of the Obama administration's relationship with the gay community, as one promise after another has been watered down or allowed to fade into the background. There is a major $1,000-a-plate Democratic fundraiser planned for gay leaders later this month, and one by one they are sending in their decisions not to attend. As far as I can tell, every single gay activist is fed up with the administration, with the DOMA brief being the last straw. You never see a group this unanimous in anything.

So Obama planned a special announcement for today, and the White House let it leak out that they would grant benefits to gay federal employees. Everybody saw it as a weak concession, but I at least hoped maybe there would be a speech or a statement that would indicate a desire to close the rift.

Here's the NYT:
President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on Wednesday to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, administration officials said Tuesday evening, but he will stop short of pledging full health insurance coverage. U.S. to Extend Its Job Benefits to Gay Partners

Are you kidding me? Benefits except health insurance? But -- that's the most important one!

Dan Savage said what everybody was thinking:
Could the Obama administration possibly be ANY MORE incompetent when it comes to gay issues? Let it leak that you're going "extend federal benefits" to the partners of gay federal employees, hope that this move mollifies furious gay rights organizations and activists still reeling from your DOMA betrayal, and THEN announce that—sorry!—the package of benefits doesn't include the single most important work-related benefit: health insurance.

I'm speechless. Obama: Some Federal Employees Are More Equal Than Others

Yeah, sorry, this one is backfiring on the new guy. I don't think anybody's going to show up at that fundraiser. A thousand bucks for dinner, and that's the cheap seats.

Pam at Pam's House Blend has a way with words:
This administration, the Congress and the DNC need to see the LGBT ATM shut down. NOW. That June 26 LGBT DNC fundraiser is toast. No one is buying a partner benefit plan that doesn't include health insurance, for god's sake. Will he announce an effort to send Congress something to act on? Uh, keep dreaming - his DOJ just wrote up a brief that uses defenses against incest and underage marriage to claim our relationships are unworthy of equal treatment under the law. They can't unring that bell. NYT: Obama admin's (lame) fed partner benefits plan designed to stop DNC fundraiser disaster

Clearly the President thought he could throw the gay doggies a bone and they would go off into the corner and chew on it, and clearly they didn't fall for it. There have been rumblings over the past week as people expected some kind of weak concession, but nobody anticipated that it would be this weak.

Pam also points out that this "benefits" thing is just a Presidential directive, which expires when he leaves office; a Presidential order would have been permanent.

Ironically, the reason the President stopped short of providing health benefits to federal employees is DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Amendment, according to John at AmericaBlog, quoting The Advocate. The administration has taken a strong anti-gay position in defending DOMA in court, which is what set off this firestorm in the first place. Well, the tinder was already dry.


Blogger Dave said...

For all the complaints about that DOMA shouldn't interfere with healthcare, this is only showing how this has to do with healthcare! Obama's homophobic brief specifically cited budgetary reasons (like healthcare) as a reason to keep DOMA.

June 17, 2009 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good news for gays

they aren't the only ones disillusioned with Obama

a new poll by NBC shows that only 46% of independents now approve of the job he's doing

although he is personally liked, major concerns are arising among Americans about the projected deficits and government intervention in the private economy

most Americans object ot the takeover of GM

June 17, 2009 7:09 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

I suspect the flap over this will accelerate the Obama Administration's plans to deal with the statutory impediments to fulfilling the Obama Campaign commitments.

There are bills in Congress, but it is going to take some Presidential leadership and publicity and perhaps even some political pressure to bring these bills to fruition. The Administration cannot now put this off without really upsetting people who had (legitimately, I still believe)faith in Obama.

June 17, 2009 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suspect the flap over this will accelerate the Obama Administration's plans to deal with the statutory impediments to fulfilling the Obama Campaign commitments."

I didn't know you do comedy, David.

Nice sense of timing!

Gay voters are stuck with Obama.

What are they gonna do? Go all Log Cabin on us?

The White House staff knows they can take 'em for granted.

Gay issues are way down the list of priorities.

Now, go in the corner and chew your bone.

June 17, 2009 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Administration cannot now put this off without really upsetting people"

If this means gay advocates, I don't think Obama cares if he upsets them.

You know how all the supporters of the gay agenda here say the term "gay agenda" is fictitious and paranoid?

The Washington Post uses the term on the front page this morning:

"The gay political agenda has proved to be a challenge for Obama"

I don't think he's sweating it.

I heard the staff and Obama got out some of the letters from gay groups last night and had some laughs over a few beers.

According to the Post, Obama opposes gay "marriage" for religious reasons.

I didn't know that.


June 18, 2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's my quick transcript of an interesting discussion between Rachel Maddow and Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

...Maddow: So the President's Executive Order/Presidential Memorandum that he signed today, it doesn't extend benefits including health care and pension benefits to same sex partners of federal employees. Why are those excluded?

Representative. Baldwin: Well because they require an act of Congress, a change in the law in order to be able to grant those benefits. The President signed a limited but very meaningful order today that extends certain rights in certain instances in certain agencies. And I think he went as far as he could go through an Executive Order, but now really, the responsibility is on the shoulders of Congress. And I can tell you that the legislation really got a boost by his strong endorsement today and I'm hopeful we'll be able to move it.

Maddow: On the domestic partnership bill, the benefits bill that he described and then he singled you out for today, and on the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which he also explicitly talked about today, obviously it's a huge support, a huge boon for any bill or repeal effort to have the President's explicit endorsement like that. How realistic do you think it is that DOMA could be repealed, that your bill could be passed?

Representative Baldwin: Well, it's hard to give odds. Congress has viewed some LGBT rights legislation before. We've had roll call votes for example, on hate crimes protections, on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and other bills that have been introduced before haven't advanced as far and so it's sort of uncharted waters if you will. But I'm very encouraged, I think especially given this Executive Order today on limited domestic partnership benefits, that it sends a strong message that Congress ought to act with the whole array of benefits and obligations because remember we extend both responsibilities as well as benefits to partners. I think this sends a very strong signal that we should be passing that soon.

Maddow: Strong signals and strong messages are of course what Presidents specialize in, particularly when it comes to domestic legislation. And it's the President's seeming reticence to move forward on making good on his campaign promise about Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the Justice Department's controversial brief in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act last week, these are the things that have led several gay activists and gay donors to, for example, pull out of $1,000 a plate Democratic fundraiser planned for later this month with Vice President Joe Biden. There is a lot of discontent as I know you're aware of. Are you still planning on attending that fundraiser? Do you feel like you understand people's anger?

Representative Baldwin: Yeah. Oh, not only do I understand the sense of impatience and frustration, as a lesbian I feel it myself. And I think part of my role in attending the event next week is to convey the sense of urgency and to convey the sense of impatience and frustration that I'm hearing. You know when you lack basic equality and basic civil rights, we ought to be impatient! That's a mandate if you're an activist. And so I think that this is a very important message to convey and really hopefully to get things moving a little bit more quickly in Congress as well as bringing things to the President's desk to sign.

Maddow: The President's words may make things move more quickly in Congress. What do you think would make the President move more quickly?

Representative Baldwin: Well, giving him a bill to sign would be the first order of business.

Maddow: Well that's direct, to the point, and totally appropriate. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, thank you so much for joining us tonight...

June 18, 2009 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fascinating comments as always, Anon-B

and, thanks for putting up the WHOLE thing

do you have any thoughts of your own?

June 18, 2009 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
So someone smashed my car window last night at the Metro. The police asked if I knew someone who might have done it. Anon- have you been hanging around my car?

Federal health insurance is a vital family benefit. As to the leave act- well, it is some help but my understanding is that you can only take 13 days a year to take care of a sick family member- not the best benefit if someone is really ill.

June 18, 2009 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Not that you'd know with your nasty few-liners, but Blogger limits the size of comments. I only transcribed the portions of the discussion last night that addressed the issues raised as complaints by some in the LGBT community.

Yesterday President Obama signed an Executive Order extending benefits to domestic partners at Executive Branch agencies and in the Foreign Service. Most importantly, President Obama urged Congress to do the right thing, which is to put the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act granting full civil rights to LGBT citizens and another bill repealing DOMA, on his desk so he may sign them both into law. Here's the relevant part of the President's signing remarks yesterday:

...Now, under current law, we cannot provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

That’s why I’m proud to announce my support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, crucial legislation that will guarantee these rights for all federal employees.

I want to thank Representative Tammy Baldwin, who is behind me somewhere — there she is, right there — for her tireless leadership on this bill and in the broader struggle for equality. I want to thank Senator Joe Lieberman — Joe is here — as well as Susan Collins for championing this bill in the Senate; and Representative Barney Frank for his leadership on this and so many other issues — in fact, this is his second trip to the White House today. (Laughter.)

It’s a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step. Among the steps we have not yet taken is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe it’s discriminatory, I think it interferes with states’ rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it.

We’ve got more work to do to ensure that government treats all its citizens equally; to fight injustice and intolerance in all its forms; and to bring about that more perfect union. I’m committed to these efforts, and I pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come.

I encourage my LGBT brothers and sisters and their straight allies to continue to work toward full civil rights. Encourage your Congressperson and Senators to support the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act and to repeal DOMA.

June 18, 2009 10:54 AM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

No, Andrea, even if I had wasted the time to find out where you park at the Metro and even if I wasn't opposed to vandalism motivated by political disagreements, I wouldn't have smashed your window. I want to make sure you have wheels so you can drive around making a fool of yourself.

btw, it's supposed to rain today.

My understanding is that the Federal benefits granted yesterday were already allowed at the discretion of supervisors.

I guess gays should just be happy he didn't outlaw them altogether.

Gays are settling for quite a small bone.

The Wall Street Journal this morning has more details on the sinking Obama approval numbers. Only 56% approve of his performance. Looks like Obama's vacationing down South this summer.

One funny aspect is on national security. Obama has embraced most Bush policies after campaigning against them. The one exception is that he has proposed closing the Guantanamo facility.

According to the poll, the majority of Americans disagree with that proposal.

Things are getting dicey.

Sir Barry O is smart not to risk any more political capital by coming out strongly for the gay agenda.

Remember Bill Clinton.

June 18, 2009 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I'd also like to remind Vigilance readers that Barney Frank told everyone Mayor Gavin Newsome was wrong to issue marriage licenses in San Francisco. He said “I was sorry to see the San Francisco thing go forward. ... If we go forward in Massachusetts and get same-sex marriage on the books, it’s going to be binding and incontestable. ... When you’re in a real struggle, San Francisco making a symbolic point becomes a diversion.” He warned that the shortcuts taken in California might lead to backlash and he was right; Preposition 8 was voter approved and upheld by California's Supreme Court. Similarly, we should all support President Obama's intent not to take shortcuts that can backfire and cause real setbacks. I urge everyone to remember the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady, and I'd add relentless, wins the race.

Only 56% approve of his performance

Oh how sad, only a *majority* of Americans approve of President Obama's performance. Tell us, Wyatt, does the WSJ report that Dick Cheney's approval rating has risen into the double digit range yet?

Obama has embraced most Bush policies after campaigning against them. The one exception is that he has proposed closing the Guantanamo facility.

Presidents Obama and Bush agree Guantanamo should be closed. Not only that, they agree some detainees from GITMO (Bush specifically called them cold-blooded killers...[who]...will murder somebody if they're let out on the street) should be tried in US courts. Here's what Bush said about that:

let me explain my position. First, I'd like to end Guantanamo. I'd like it to be over with. One of the things we will do is we'll send people back to their home countries. We've got about 400 people there left -- 200 have been sent back -- 400 are there, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen. And I explained to the two leaders here our desires to send them back. Of course, there's international pressure not to send them back. But, hopefully, we'll be able to resolve that when they go back to their own country.

There are some who need to be tried in U.S. courts. They're cold-blooded killers. They will murder somebody if they're let out on the street. And yet, we believe there's a -- there ought to be a way forward in a court of law, and I'm waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to determine the proper venue in which these people can be tried.

June 18, 2009 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Hey, Anon- you don't need wheels to make yourself look foolish -we can see that right here!

As I told someone - on a totally different issue - I don't expect the President to do everything I want- not even in time. I do believe that he will do more for GBLT rights and we should push him on things we want. As to people who want to turn totally away from him already(yeah, Ron Paul- there's an option)-I think you are foolish but that is why we are blessed to be Americans. It isn't a jailable(or worse) offense as it is in much of the world to criticize the President(or Glorious Leader or Honored Despot).

June 18, 2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"does the WSJ report that Dick Cheney's approval rating has risen into the double digit range yet?"

no, it doesn't

nothing on Walter Mondale either

"Presidents Obama and Bush agree Guantanamo should be closed."

The American people disagree.

"It isn't a jailable offense as it is in much of the world to criticize the President(or Glorious Leader or Honored Despot)."

Actually, Sir Barry O calls those types, "Supreme Leader":

"Millions of Iranians take to the streets to defy a theocratic dictatorship that, among its other finer qualities, is a self-declared enemy of America and the tolerance and liberties it represents.

The demonstrators are fighting on their own, but they await just a word that America is on their side.

And what do they hear from the president of the United States?


Then, worse.

Three days in, the president makes clear his policy: continued "dialogue" with their clerical masters.

Dialogue with a regime that is breaking heads, shooting demonstrators, expelling journalists, arresting activists.

Engagement with -- which inevitably confers legitimacy upon -- leaders elected in a process that begins as a sham (only four handpicked candidates permitted out of 476) and ends in overt rigging.

Then, after treating this popular revolution as an inconvenience to the real business of Obama-Khamenei negotiations, the president speaks favorably of "some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election."

Where to begin?

"Supreme Leader"?

Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator even as his minions attack demonstrators

All hangs in the balance.

The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen.

And what side is the Obama administration taking?


Except for the desire that this "vigorous debate" (press secretary Robert Gibbs's disgraceful euphemism) over election "irregularities" not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president?

Afraid of "meddling."

Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free.

This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world."

June 19, 2009 10:12 AM  
Anonymous grunge said...

"As I told someone, I don't expect the President to do everything I want"

Barry will be so relieved.

You really had him worried

June 19, 2009 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Nice unattributed bunch of cut and pasted excerpts of yet another Krauthammer editorial from the lastest addition to the rightwing press, the Washington Post. If Charles would study history a bit more, he might remember what happened to the last American-supported leader of Iran.

Here's what the latest addition to the rightwing press has done this week (hat's off to Glenn Greenwald at Salon):

On Monday, the Post hosted an online chat with Fox News' Glenn Beck to promote his new book. Today, on its so-called "Post-Partisan" Opinions page, The Post features a column from neocon Bill Kristol, attacking Obama for indifference to Freedom in Iran; a column from right-wing polemicist Kathleen Parker, attacking Obama for indifference to Freedom in Iran; and Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, attacking PBS for banning sectarian programming. On Wednesday, it published an Op-Ed from neocon Robert Kagan accusing Obama of being "objectively" pro-Ahmedinejad (headline: "Obama, Siding with the Regime"). The Post hosts a permanent feature with National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru, leading discussions about conservatism. And its Editorial Page, for years, was (and still is) the loudest cheerleaders for the neoconservative prongs of Bush's foreign policy, particularly the war in Iraq.

And just today, they ran these editorials:

"* Neocon Charles Krauthammer: attacking Obama for indifference to Freedom in Iran

* Neocon Paul Wolfowitz: attacking Obama for indifference to Freedom in Iran

* Establishment/CIA spokesman and war supporter David Ignatius: demanding that Obama do more to support Freedom in Iran and refuse to negotiate with the Iranian regime

* Bush CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden: warning that America will be in danger if CIA officials involved in torture continue to be criticized and questioned about what they did"

[*Clinton Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, author and retired Army General, John M. Shalikashvili: the token liberal editorial ("Gays in the Military: Let the Evidence Speak")]

So the WaPo now has decided to publish multiple editorials touting the GOP talking points of the week (this week's #1 is "indifference to Freedom in Iraq") with a token "liberal" editorial thrown in. This does NOT sound like a bright idea to me or many of the WaPo's subscribers.


I want to cancel my subscription. What should I do?

We continue to deliver your newspaper until you ask us not to. If you'd like to stop a subscription please call the Customer Contact Center at 202-334-6100.

June 19, 2009 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"[The Wall Street Journal this morning has more details on the sinking Obama approval numbers.] Only 56% approve of his performance"

Oh how sad, only a *majority* of Americans approve of President Obama's performance. Tell us, Wyatt, does the WSJ report that Dick Cheney's approval rating has risen into the double digit range yet?

I finally got over to check out that poll and it actually does have data about Cheney's approval rating, and more. Here's a link to it for interested Vigilance readers: NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey.

The following percentages of respondents had either "Very Positive" or "Somewhat Positive" views of the various people and parties listed:

*Democratic Party, 45% (19% = Very, 26% = Somewhat)

*Republican Party, 25% (6% = Very, 19% = Somewhat)

*Barack Obama, 60% (41% = Very, 19% = Somewhat)

*Dick Cheney, 26% (10% - Very, 16% = Somewhat)

Wow, the GOP, the "family values" party that kept Ensign in a leadership position for a year after at least one Senate colleague was allegedly aware of Ensign's affair with a campaign staffer, is even less popular than it's most vocal spokesperson of late, Dick Cheney.

As expected, the GOP is continuing its descent down the drain. Glub glub glub

June 20, 2009 10:20 AM  
Anonymous pro-Iranian said...

I'm quite sure that Anon-B's cancellation of her subscription to the Post is sending shivers down the spines of the editors there.

Sad thing is, Anon-B is already so ignorant.

What's going to happen when she stops reading the paper?

"the lastest addition to the rightwing press, the Washington Post"

how far out in Lenin-land do you need to be to consider the Post right-wing?

did you belong to the SDS in your younger days?

"If Charles would study history a bit more, he might remember what happened to the last American-supported leader of Iran."

All we're talking about is rhetorical support for democratic processes not CIA coup involvement. This is regular and expected support and is coming in from everywhere else in the civilzed world other than America. I'm quite sure Mousavi is not pro-Yankee rah-rah guy anyway. The rhetorical support is for the Iranian people.

By tacitly supporting those who repress Iranians, we are making the same mistake as we did with the Shah. There is no neutral ground here.

btw, anyone who compares Mousavi with the Shah needs to get "she head examined".

"the WaPo now has decided to publish multiple editorials touting the GOP talking points of the week"

The problem is that it's hard to find anyone morally bankrupt enough to supports Obama's position. Believe me, if they could, the Post would have run it.

Even the Congress is showing more moral courage than Obama, releasing statements denouncing the dictators.

If Obama doesn't have what it takes to be the leader of the free world, he should resign.

June 20, 2009 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I finally got over to check out that poll and it actually does have data about Cheney's approval rating,"

Well, glad Anon-B finally got a break from her Beverly Hillbillies marathon to check out a paper. (btw, Post, you're history, you vile right-wing propaganda, you).

Henceforth, Anon-B will concern herself with more balanced reporting in the WSJ.

Cheney has a long history and the associated baggage. He has many credits to his record.

Obama, who until five months ago had virtually no experience other than campaigning, has not exactly dazzled anyone and his poll numbers are falling accordingly. The trend will continue.

People are dismayed with his nationalization of private companies, his plans to borrow triple the amount we borrowed in WWII and his failure to support democracy overseas.

A guy who supports gay marriage isn't a spokesman for the GOP. Cheney is a moderate and always has been. Most of the GOP is far more conservative.

He's actually a Republican version of LBJ.

But you know, he was never President and now he's not even VP. He's too old to campaign. His poll numbers are no more relevant than Walter Mondale.

"the GOP, the "family values" party that kept Ensign in a leadership position for a year after at least one Senate colleague was allegedly aware of Ensign's affair with a campaign staffer"

As opposed to Barney Frank who still remains in the Congress, heading key committees and messing up our economy decades after he was discovered to be living with a gay prostitue who was running a prostitution ring out of Frank's townhouse?

The whole thing is irrelevant.

Anon-B is pathetic.

"As expected, the GOP is continuing its descent down the drain. Glub glub glub"

While Anon-B guzzles her bottle of Amaretto, let's reflect on how things look right now.

Two governors races are now going on as precursors to the 2010 election. In both Virginia and New Jersey, Republicans are leading in the polls.

And yet, some people, in their, uh, tipsy moments, believe that constitutes going down the drain.

Go figure.

June 20, 2009 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Who said I have a subscription to the WaPo, which is free online, or canceled it? Making assumptions with no factual basis again? How typical of you.

did you belong to the SDS in your younger days

Actually no, I was a member of Young Life. And I don't drink liquor either although I might have a beer sometimes when I eat spicy foods. I'm sorry to disappoint you Anon, but unlike some homophobic types, I am a happy person filled with love, not hate. I have no need to self-medicate. Go figure.

Back n 2002, after Palestinians made terrorist attacks against Israel and the PLA tried to obtain more weapons, Israeli forces assaulted Arafat's Ramallah compound. President Bush agreed with Ariel Sharon that Arafat was "irrelevant" and needed to "be isolated." On June 24, 2002, Bush announced that the United States would no longer work with Arafat's Palestinian Authority, a government he claimed had "no authority" and was "unaccountable." Bush said:

"I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts."

As was reported just before the actual Palestinian election occurred in 2006 in Gaza:

The Bush administration is spending foreign aid money to increase the popularity of the Palestinian Authority on the eve of crucial elections in which the governing party faces a serious challenge from the radical Islamic group Hamas.
The approximately $2 million program is being led by a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development. But no U.S. government logos appear with the projects or events being undertaken as part of the campaign, which bears no evidence of U.S. involvement and does not fall within the definitions of traditional development work.

U.S. officials say their low profile is meant to ensure that the Palestinian Authority receives public credit for a collection of small, popular projects and events to be unveiled before Palestinians select their first parliament in a decade. Internal documents outlining the program describe the effort as "a temporary paradigm shift"...

And do you remember what Bush got for his lip service and $2 million dollar investment? That's right, Hamas won a resounding victory.

Unlike Anon and other sinking GOP supporters, Obama has learned the danger of the US trying to influence another Middle Eastern nation's elections. Obama was right when he said:

It is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations to be seen as meddling - the US president, meddling in Iranian elections.

I am thankful for President Obama's leadership and wisdom.

June 20, 2009 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

His [Cheney's] poll numbers are no more relevant than Walter Mondale.

How soon they forget. A few days ago Gallup reported:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Asked to name the "main person who speaks for the Republican Party today," Republicans across the country are most likely to name three men: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Dick Cheney. Democrats are most likely to say Limbaugh speaks for the GOP, followed by Cheney. Both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly say Barack Obama is the main person who speaks for the Democratic Party

Cheney was viewed as one of the GOP's main speakers while Mondale didn't even come up. Your claim they are of similar relevance is plainly wrong; Cheney is a lot more relevant than Mondale is these days. Nobody thinks Mondale speaks for the Democrats today.

By tacitly supporting those who repress Iranians, we are making the same mistake as we did with the Shah. There is no neutral ground here.

btw, anyone who compares Mousavi with the Shah needs to get "she head examined".

First, Obama didn't "tacitly support" anyone. His words have been clear, he supports freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and he has said Iran should "govern through consent, not coersion."

Second of all, you're advocating Obama make the same mistake Pappy Bush made. Wikipedia reports

"On February 15, 1991, President of the United States George H. W. Bush announced on the Voice of America radio saying:

"There is another way for the bloodshed to stop: And that is, for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside and then comply with the United Nations' resolutions and rejoin the family of peace-loving nations."...

...The central government responded to the uprisings with crushing force. According to Human Rights Watch:“ In their attempts to retake cities, and after consolidating control, loyalist forces killed thousands of anyone who opposes them whether a rebel or a civilian by firing indiscriminately into the opposing areas; executing them on the streets, in homes and in hospitals; rounding up suspects, especially young men, during house-to-house searches, and arresting them with or without charge or shooting them en masse; and using helicopters to attack those who try to flee the cities."

In order to avoid such a calamitous outcome for the Iranian opposition, Obama has the wisdom to not interfere in Iran's internal politics.

Did you happen to catch Chris Matthew's Sunday Morning show on Fox this morning? Karim Sadjadpour reported that all the opposition leaders in Iran are pleased with Obama's measured response because forces loyal to Ahmadinejad love nothing better than to link the protesters to America, Israel's #1 ally. Of course they'll make the link anyway, but fortunately Obama is wise enough not to give the dictator's supporters ammunition to use against the protesters.

June 21, 2009 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The problem is that it's hard to find anyone morally bankrupt enough to supports Obama's position. Believe me, if they could, the Post would have run it.

Are you calling the leaders of the Iranian protests "morally bankrupt?" Or maybe you just think the WaPo is as unaware as you are of points of view not included in the weekly GOP talking points memo. There are many wise and moral opinions being expressed in the media.

National Review Online reported
importantly, it's the protesters themselves who need to see their movement as free of foreign influence. However much the "Great Satan" propaganda has made many Iranians sympathetic to America (remember the candlelight vigils after 9/11), they're still proud patriots who don't want to be seen by others — or to see themselves — as acting on the agendas of outsiders. Their victory would almost certainly be our victory, regardless of Mousavi's specific views, but it's a victory they have to win for themselves.

The New York Times opined:
given its history with Iran, the United States must take special care not to be seen as interfering. That would only give Iran’s hard-liners a further excuse to blame the United States for their own shameful failures.

MSNBC reported:
Yesterday, as murky images of clashes and bloodshed flashed on cable news reports, the president called on the Iranian government "to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people."

U.S. officials say Obama is intent on calibrating his comments to the mood of the hour. They say he is seeking to avoid having the demonstrators accused of being American stooges and is trying to preserve the possibility of negotiating directly with the Iranian government over its nuclear program, links to terrorism, Afghanistan and other issues.

...There were only hints of what may come if the government's crackdown becomes especially bloody. Obama said: "If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion."

Even Black Flag's Henry Rollins opined:
Many in America wondered what we would do about this miscarriage of justice. What are you really ready to do? Send in the C.I.A. to overthrow Ahmadinejad à la 1953’s Operation Ajax? Infiltrate and shoot Ahmadinejad in the head? Is that what America is supposed to do? Well, yeah—if you’re living in a Steven Seagal film. Out here in the real world, things don’t always work out the way you want them to.

June 21, 2009 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

My bad, I meant Chris Wallace, not Chris Matthews Sunday Morning Show. The rush transcript by FOX is up here

WALLACE: Mr. Sadjadpour, several questions. First of all — and this speaks to something that Senator Bayh and Congressman Hoekstra were discussing — what about this argument that if the president speaks out, it somehow empowers and gives more ammunition to the Iranian regime to say that these protesters are just puppets of the United States?

SADJADPOUR: Chris, that is a big concern I have as well, and that's why I think the president's rhetoric so far has been well calibrated.

And the historical analogy which concerns me, Chris, is Iraq in 1991 when George Bush senior encouraged Iraqis to rise up. Saddam slaughtered them, and then the rest of the world didn't criticize Saddam for the slaughter but they criticized George Bush for encouraging Iraqis to speak out.

So I think this regime is looking for the United States to step into this trap so they have the license to slaughter the Iranian people and accuse them, you know, of being American (inaudible).

June 22, 2009 10:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home