There is a colloquialism that says
“talk is cheap.” In politics, you could add that talk is cheap
when you don't have the political capital to back up what you say.
President Obama's sudden renewed
interest in gay rights is cheap talk. A pander to the left, as
useless as a campaign promise, now that Congress is on a fast track
Last Wednesday, Obama reiterated his
promise to repeal the military's ban on open gay service during his
first State of the Union address. He picked up where he left off the
next day, calling on Congress to approve a bill that gives unmarried
partners of gay federal employees equal benefits as married spouses.
Speaking in Tampa, he said approval was
“the right thing to do.”
Equality is once again in fashion at
the White House now that Republicans – with the help of anti-gay
groups – have regained their footing.
In Washington, tremors can still be
felt over the loss of the late Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts seat. A
seat held by an unabashedly liberal and gay ally for 46 years. The
Republican Party has social conservatives to thank for that game
changer. Senator-elect Scott Brown shot ahead of gay ally Martha
Coakley with the help of anti-gay groups. Previous losses built up
to the Massachusetts earthquake, including the election of New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie, whose accession quashed a gay marriage bill.
The Republican tug to the right also
threatens to wipe out a Democratic majority in the House. And right
wing-based wins are certain to dampen moderate Republican support for
gay rights legislation. Such ideological shifts have a way of
steamrolling over objectors.
Early into the president's term, angry
gay bloggers accused him of betraying the gay community after the
administration defended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal
court. Officials said they were bound to defend the laws approved by
Congress. But the bloggers sensed a malevolent hand was at work.
Now, the facts are in. And the
bloggers were right about one thing: Obama is only a “fierce” gay
advocate when talk is cheap. After failing to act on gay rights
while his party controlled Congress, Obama is now forced to spend the
next two years running a reelection campaign – unfulfilled campaign
promises in tow.