once more into the breach !!
At the risk of getting jumped ... I'm going to defend the President. I think he is doing EXACTLY the right things in exactly the right order. However, let me be clear from the outset that I am NOT arguing that the LGBT community should sit down, shut up, and be patient. In fact, I think that it will help the President immensely if the GLBT community makes as much noise as possible and puts as much pressure on the political process as possible. However, thats not what I primarily want to post about.
I think that Obama is the most politically savvy president that we have had (on the left) for a LONG time. To appreciate this you need to take a step back and look at the breadth and range of what he is trying to accomplish.
1. Save the economy (banking/finance/auto industry/recession/etc)
2. Save the world from Global warming (change minds as well as policies)
3. Extricate the US from one pointless war and win one necessary war.
4. Make peace in the Middle East.
5. Repair American image everywhere in the world but especially the Islamic world where terrorists are manufactured.
6. safeguard reproductive rights
7. safeguard civil rights (torture/patriot act/etc)
8. expand civil rights to GLBT folks
9. completely rebuild from scratch a health care system that doesn't work for a third of Americans.
This is a large agenda and every item on it requires an investment of political capital to accomplish. Only some of them will yield additional political capital to be invested elsewhere.
If Obama had waltzed into the Oval Office the first day and overturned DADT that would have COST him lots of political capital that would not then have been available to accomplish ANY of those other goals. It would not have generated any additional political capital except the goodwill and gratitude of the GLBT community and its allies. Those are good things to have, but in the big scheme of things it won't buy him a lot of what he wants to buy.
ON THE OTHER HAND. If Obama attacks one of bigger problems and makes significant strides forward (organizes a camp David type meeting between Israel and Palestine -or- ends the recession -0r- gets healthcare reform bill out of the congress -or- gets GM out of bankruptcy -or- gets US out of Iraq) then he has MORE political capital to spend on the OTHER stuff -- like full civil rights for GLBT folks.
My point is simply this: When you are trying to do EVERYTHING, success depends on doing it in the right order. Foundation first, walls second, roof last. Any other order results in total failure. This doesn't mean that the GLBT community should let up the pressure for change. Not at all. Just don't burn bridges between the community and the President. They may be useful later.
I believe that Barak Obama has the potential to be not only a GOOD president but to be a truly GREAT president. When we look back and history looks back ... we want to be seen to have been on his team.