From Americablog, word that a closed-door meeting with the President, Brian Bond, the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and state equality organization leaders generated some interesting comments:
Bond asserted, "There is still a lot of work to do" before DOMA will be repealed. "Look at the trouble we're having with ENDA." he added. But Bond conceded that there are inconsistencies in President Obama's positions. In response, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, stated, "Respectfully, we need President Obama to push for full inclusion of the LGBT community on ENDA, on marriage- we need the full get, not the lesser get. The highest office in the land sets the tone for the whole country." Bond agreed, but expressed frustration at the often intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is "99 percent supportive of your issues." [emphasis added]
I'm kind of nonplussed; does that include your blogmistress, or do lesbian bloggers not rate in the same category of frustration for Brian Bond? I'm the only "gay blogger" he's had a sit-down interview with, so I'd love it if he gave a shout-out by name. I was quite generous to him in my interview.
I think perhaps they only mean John Aravosis, no? But Brian used the plural, so the White House must have a LIST. I'll have to ask John (and maybe even Joe Sudbay) what it feels like to be on a White House hit list.
Anyway, I know the WH, at least Shin Inouye (director of specialty media), reads the Blend and pings me from time to time, but who are these other peeps in power who are hand-wringing over the people on THE LIST of angry, frustration-inducing, Cheetos-stained P.J.-wearing bloggers...
John said this in response to Bond's comments:
It's great that you're "supportive." But it's the same argument gay Republicans used to describe George Bush. He was secretively supportive of us, they'd say, even if he didn't help us a whole lot legislatively. I'm not saying you're George Bush, but the empathy thing is wearing thin. We don't want your support in words, we want you to keep your promises. And you're not.
I don't think you have to be a rocket scientist to see the point of view many of us hold - that promises were made, quite publicly to the community to both garner votes and generate cashflow, and now the bill has come due and we are seeing all sorts of shenanigans by those in charge. The delays and slow-go on DADT repeal that ends in a poor compromise and a freepable, embrarrassing "study"; inaction on ENDA, tossing the hot potato between the WH and Congress as to whose responsibility it is to take the lead; Gibbs having amnesia and feeble follow up skills at the podium. Come on. If you're 99% supportive, that is a helluva 1% left over.
I can't quite figure out what the people in the White House really think about new media/citizen journalists/bloggers. The equality orgs got to meet with the President, but Barack Obama has not given an interview to any LGBT media since he took office. That has to be purposeful. He certainly didn't do a drop in when a few reporters and citizen journalists were invited to meet with Melody Barnes, who is an ally, but still gave little information and would not discuss political matters at all, nor did the WH offer anyone on the political side to attend that meeting. And, you might recall, Brian Bond was in that room, was referenced by name, yet he said not one word during the 58-minute meeting. I did get a bear hug from him, though. Perhaps I'm still not on the SH*T LIST...we have to read between the lines.
We're not the enemy, the "gay bloggers" have just been treated in a bizarre fashion (and sadly, at times the traditional LGBT media's apparently placed in the doghouse with us by association), it's not like we sit around thinking how to screw over the WH. On the other hand, we're not an extension of the WH PR machine. We just represent many voices, and many outside the Beltway, of course, that haven't been heard or dealt with before. Does that make it challenging to navigate these relationships? Yes, and that's on both sides.
The bottom line is that I want my civil rights, and I see time and effort frittered away as it is treated like a political football -- we're Charlie Brown and Jim Messina et. al. are Lucy. It sure doesn't feel like 99% supportive if it's all theoretical, as we saw in that hilarious DNC video of Tim Kaine yesterday, chock full of win like:
"I promise you, we're going to do everything in our power to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."
I think that's absurd. Who wrote that? What a position of weakness that sounds like. One commenter, Lev Raphael, was quite spot on:
"steps to promote"
"beginning to address"
These are weaselly constructions. What's happened isn't insignificant, but why should, for instance, Federal workers have it better off than the rest of us? Why such baby steps? And the steps aren't what we were promised.
His prologue also did not acknowledge the anger. It's not frustration. I'm frustrated if I have to reboot my computer. I'm frustrated if my dogs won't stop barking. I'm frustrated if I have a bad workout at the gym. I'm frustrated if I screwed up my DVR and didn't record the show I intended to.
I'm not frustrated about the lack of hard progress, I'm angry, disappointed, and disgusted. I think Obama is turning into Clinton. Promise, surface dazzle (at times), but no follow-through, and weak at the core.
The very choice of the word "frustrated" by Kaine (or his writers), the way it's balanced with "some of you/some of you" as if we're split down the middle, all show they don't get it.
Maybe they will when they don't get our votes?
There's plenty of frustration to go around.