Following Sunday’s high-profile gay rights march on Washington, D.C., CNBC’s John Harwood reported that while many LGBT activists are split on their approval of the Obama administration, the president is still polling extremely well with Democrats.
“The White House views this group [gays] as part of the Internet left fringe,” he said, explaining why there has not been more swift action to bring equality to an otherwise sidelined segment of American society.
The comments come less than 24 hours after President Obama reaffirmed his support for ending the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military. However, he did not provide a timeline for repealing the measure, which he has called “discriminatory.”
Responding to a question on whether Sunday’s protest signaled a growing animosity between Obama and his base of supporters, Harwood said he does not believe so.
“We’ve seen and certainly Bill Clinton learned that Democratic presidents can get punished by the mainstream of the electorate for being too aggressive on social issues, so for now I think the administration feels if they take care of the big issues — health care, energy, the economy — they’re going to be just fine with this group,” he said.
“If you look at the polling, Barack Obama is doing well with 90 percent or more of Democrats,” Harwood continued. “So, the White House views this opposition as really part of the Internet left fringe. … For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, an adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off the pajamas, get dressed and realized that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.”
The pajamas remark in particular did not sit well with prominent netroots writers.
“I wonder how the Human Rights Campaign is going to explain how the White House just knifed our community less than 24 hours after he went to their dinner and claimed he was our friend,” opined John Aravosis at Americablog.
“Maybe it’s time for some White House advisers to get out of their pajamas and read a newspaper once in a while. They might find out that we actually won the election (and that the blogs – and the gay community – played a key role in that victory).”
Pam Spaulding with Pam’s House Blend took a similar position.
“It doesn’t matter why this behavior is occurring, really,” she wrote. “What one has to take away from this message, naturally not attributed to anyone at the WH — cowards — is that bloggers are messing up their playbooks. And the answer is to diminish what influence we have — it’s limited at best. You have to ask why is this paranoid, juvenile message getting tossed out there. All those big brains in the White House and the best they can do is to bring up the hoary pajama game?”
She adds: “To me the WH has just declared war on us after a wine and dine with the right kind of LGBTs that don’t make trouble for them. Someone has to answer to this.
“Or do I just need to fold my hands in my pajama-clad, Cheetos-stained lap like a good homo?”
This video is from MSNBC, broadcast Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009.