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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How Ya Like Him Now?

posted by on July 2 at 16:27 PM


Here’s the Stranger column that I’ve been Slogging about (x2) today.

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You know, I STILL like him. Change doesn't come all at once. We have to take it one step at a time, and now is the time to choose between a step in the right direction and a step in the wrong one. I hope that in coming election years we'll have the opportunity to choose between a step or a leap or maybe some sort of fancy pirouette, but we're not there yet. Maybe, if we keep going the direction that Obama is most likely to bring us, that'll happen sooner rather than later.

Here's to hope.

Posted by J | July 2, 2008 4:49 PM

That article is already outdated. Obama came out strongly today against the California amendment - which is more than Bill Clinton ever did for gay rights. He also announced proposals for a public service program that outdistances anything McCain has proposed, and hit BushCo hard on their feeble actions since 9/11:

"We were ready to step into the strong current of history and to answer a new call for our country. But the call never came," he said.

"Instead of a call to service, we were asked to shop. ... Instead of leadership that called us to come together, we got patriotism defined as the property of one party and used as a political wedge ... we ended up going into a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged."

Yes, his capitulation on FISA sucks. Progress comes in drips, not floods.

Posted by Jay Andrew Allen | July 2, 2008 4:51 PM

I'm liking him a better and better. If he scales back his plans for health care spending and stops advocating removing the social security tax lid, I might even vote for him.

Posted by David Wright | July 2, 2008 4:52 PM

This is only an issue for two reasons:

1. Dreamy-ass hippies who, every year, allow themselves to be caught up by the incredible promise of The Perfect Candidate, the Embodiment of Our Destiny. I'm old enough to have seen it (and, frankly, as a young lad, felt it) with Carter, Jackson, Clinton, and HRC and Obama. And of course the Kucinich and Nader people had stars in their eyes (the former perhaps even journeying to those stars). Well guess what...the perfect candidate doesn't exist. They'll sell you out, then help you up in the same breath with a straight face. That's how it goes.

2. Youth. The idealism and hopefulness of youth has also contributed to this inordinate and unsustainable view of Obama as some kind of demi-god. Some of these kids are whipped up into a frenzy worse than bad acid at Burning Man. Watching them get a lesson in political reality breaks my heart, but it's good to see them coming back to earth...they'll have a better chance of success with their feet on the ground.

That's my take. And BTW, I like Obama more now than I did the day Clinton bagged out.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 2, 2008 5:01 PM

I keep liking him more and more.

Not so thrilled on FISA, but compared to McInsane, I have no probs with him.

And, when all is said and done, of the three - McSame, Clinton, and Obama - Obama is the most likely to not stop states from implementing gay marriage.

Clinton would have sold us out at the signs of the first crisis. McCain already had us attached to a rip cord with his boot to our backs ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 2, 2008 5:02 PM

You just rehashed a bunch of things most everyone knows. And BTW - don't get me wrong, gay marriage is an issue, but it is not the biggest issue. The biggest issues are the war and the economy. Hillary of course voted for the war resolution while Obama was making speeches in opposition. Hillary also offered up a bullshit gas tax holiday that was just pandering rather than really doing any good. I still like him.

Posted by Todd | July 2, 2008 5:03 PM

I don't understand the graphic. Is he sticking to the middle of the road? Who is the snake? Why is the stop sign's shadow at a different angle than Obama's?

Posted by DOUG. | July 2, 2008 5:13 PM

OMG, this is HORRIBLE. I'm definitely voting for McCain now. Oh, where is Dennis Kucinich when we NEED him?

Posted by kk | July 2, 2008 5:22 PM

Does the snake in the picture represent Hillary?

Posted by Todd | July 2, 2008 5:47 PM

Obama is a political ninja.
Eventually he's gonna flip out and kill everyone in the room.
So while you're there, quit yer bitchin' and don't drop a single spoon.

Posted by Sirkowski | July 2, 2008 5:59 PM

The snake is the penis-phallus of patriarchy, duh!

No, wait, it's long, black, and near his trousers, so... er...

Either way, the snake escaped from the plastic grocery sack it was being stored in, and that bag is now blowing across the desert, two counties away.

The snake represents telecom lawyers and lobbyists, writing their own immunity statutory language behind closed doors with congressmen and their staffers, that's what that snake represents.

Posted by CP | July 2, 2008 6:42 PM

The FISA bill is a deal breaker for me. Obama is a constitutional scholar for fucks sake.

I guess he wants to seem tough on made-up threats.

I want Obama to say, "The Republicans have used the war on terrorism to scare the public into allowing them to sell out this country to their buddies. I respect this country too much to co-opt the Republican Party's Propaganda and lies in order to get votes. Bush wasn't spying on terrorists, he was spying on you. This FISA bill, will do nothing but harm to America's freedoms while doing nothing but pretend to protect us from an inflated threat."

Or something, y'know, dude?

Posted by Norneenor | July 2, 2008 6:54 PM

Dear Obama,

Please lose this election by coming out completely for gay marriage. Also, if you could maybe be ordained so that you could marry Eli at a Starbucks on Capital Hill, that would be great too. We gays like to compare our struggle to black people all the time, but we don't want to have to wait decades for equality. I think struggling for gay marriage for the past 4 years is enough.


Posted by hal | July 2, 2008 6:56 PM

@13 -- Your post intrigues me.

After having witnessed the later years of the core civil rights struggle (IOW, I remember the 68 riots in many cities) -- or, in Young Sanders' case, more likely, learned about it first in history classes -- and then, like all of us, continued to watch inequalities blossom right up to this day...I am unsure how long a people should be patient and wait for equality.

You, however, hint that you might know. If you do, sir, please tell us how long we have to wait. Because, you see, we watched the black struggle, we've watched the Latino struggle, we've watched Asians and Native Americans and so many others struggle against everything from lunch counter glares to full-on legislative bullshit. And we don't feel like waiting.

So please, tell us how long we should sit, hands folded, kissing behind closed doors or dying lonely behind them because our partners cannot get into the emergency room.

I'm curious to know why gay people, sir, should sit quietly by while injustice happens. I'm curious as to why anyone would need to wait in the time of the wait for proof that homophobia exists and that it is pernicious.

You suggest that by daring to equate our struggle for rights with your struggle that there is somehow a "better than" standard to your struggle than to ours. Think about that. Isn't that wait fat, lynching lawmen were saying to blacks in the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, the 50s, the 60s -- and that's just up to the Civil War. That's just the 19th Century.

Do we wait that long? Or do we just grow impatient with impatience itself and act?

I advocate neither laziness nor abandonment of our push for equality, immediate and complete. If strategic retrenchments and reprioritizations are required to win the war, then any general knows what needs to be done -- you reset the field to your advantage. But not for decades, hal...I'm not going to wait for decades just to have my movement qualify as "just."

The gay rights struggle is every bit as good, every bit as just as the struggle for racial equality. The rights we are seeking are no less ours than they are yours. We ought to have them now. If you don't believe that, then Dr. King marched in place for you -- not forward. Think about him today, and honestly ask yourself -- where would Dr. King stand? Would he hold the door to equality closed to us and say, "Wait outside."

For me, I celebrate his birthday every year with a warm belief in my heart that he would be standing with us. And maybe you, too, hal, will stand with us, one day, when your mind is free at last, free at last.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 2, 2008 7:20 PM

Guns and religion. Ironic?

Posted by pox | July 2, 2008 7:47 PM

@14 - It's too easy to get sucked down the "who's suffered more path", and for the record, I am not suggesting "we" (I assume you mean black people) have suffered more than others. I am gay and black, and I have experienced discrimination from both fronts. So please, don't lecture me about your suffering. In some way, shape or form, we've all been there. My point is, as with any struggle, it takes time. Where does this idea come from that equality will manifest instantaneously? It's called a struggle for a reason. I wish it were easier, but changing hearts and minds is not an overnight process. I will not sacrifice this election to John McCain because Barack Obama is not anti-death penalty and pro-gay marriage. I'm not thrilled with his religiosity, but I'll survive. It just strikes me as incredibly self serving and selfish to put our desire for marriage ahead of all else. Are we being lynched, made slaves, forced to drink out of separate water fountains, etc? (OK, so I guess I am comparing). Go back even 20 years ago, when I was a young kid, and you see gay rights have advanced enormously. There is still a long way to go, but expecting Obama to wave a wand and fix it all, right now in this election, will do nothing but hand the White House to McCain and the Republicans.

Posted by hal | July 2, 2008 8:14 PM

@ 16 -- Apparently we agree more than we disagree. Equality cannot manifest with a magic wand. It IS called a struggle for a reason. We have advanced enormously and we have a long way to go. And I hate being lectured to, too -- so sorry for the Olbermannian diatribe if that's how it came across.

My concern with your post was the suggestion -- perhaps not meant by you but heard by me plenty -- that "decades" or "centuries" of struggle need to be undergone before we can look our fellow brothers and sisters from discriminated communities in the eye and say "WE" shall overcome. Terrible simile, but I don't want to wait in the back of the bus.

I think we're both saying it's worth struggle, and that struggle needs to be waged smartly. But hal, two years ago, I would have told you gay marriage was the horse to ride into town upon,, I'm not so sure. It's resonating. It's taking root. It's lost its shock value and ability to scare normal people. Pinch-faced church-folk...meh. Not so much.

Thanks for your response.


Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 2, 2008 8:26 PM

*But hal, two years ago, I would have told you gay marriage was NOT the horse to ride into town upon,, I'm not so sure.


NOT the horse. Dammit. NOT the horse.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 2, 2008 8:27 PM

Meh. The only thing that bothers me is the FISA thing. I'd read about the death penalty and Second Amendment things before, and frankly, my side, the side of gun control, has utterly and completely lost the political argument. There is no reason to lose the election over what's essentially a settled issue. Seriously, it would be like taking an alienating stand on the Third Amendment, and only a Nader would be willing to throw an election to stand up for child rapists.

But the FISA thing does piss me off.

Still, I love Obama and will volunteer for him.

Posted by Gitai | July 2, 2008 8:33 PM

hahahahahaha! I am getting QUITE a chuckle out of you 'progressive' 'idealistic' Hillary-haters who despised her for her compromises now using every possible excuse for Obama's backflips. hahahahahahahaha!!!! You're selling your ideals out even more quickly than I thought you would. Keep this up, and I can see many of you just not finding 'time' to vote in November.

Hahahahaha - wait a fucking minute. THAT's not funny.

Posted by Lola | July 2, 2008 9:59 PM

@ 20

Thanks so much! I too am laughing over the very people who villified HRC for compromising and being practical/pragmatic. But now that BO is doing it it's somehow OK.

As an HRC supporter, I'm having issues with everying she was villified for now being the way to implement BO's much vaunted change. Hypocrisy much?

Posted by Kaz | July 2, 2008 10:58 PM

This gay marriage thing is not a move to center. He was always against-gay-marriage/pro-civil-union [with identical legal status to marriage]. I guess he was just against calling it marriage. Which I find hard to get worked up about. I also think it was purely political, so that it wouldn't yank the emotional chains of the old codgers, and they'd shut up and let the civil union trojan horse slide through the gates, and poof, the civil-unioned people would be adopting kids, filing joint returns, celebrating anniversaries, getting divorced, having bad romantic comedies written about them, the whole nine yards, and it would be boring and nobody would care, and then at some point everyone would be calling it marriage and game over. Deed done, and possibly more quickly than if this "marriage" battle keeps raging.

Typical counterarg: That's just "separate but equal!" Ok: Keep in mind that the big problem with "separate but equal" in practice was that it never ever was remotely equal. Integration was the only way to make it so. But with this, separate names [to start, before everyone gets tired of it and doesn't see the point] and same exact legal consequences really would be equal in everything but name only.
And, since I'm guessing straight couples could also get civil unions [why not?] for a solidarity show, the whole separateness would just crumble like a cake out in the rain.

Posted by Phoebe | July 3, 2008 1:53 AM

Interestingly enough Obama is doing what FDR did in the 1932 campaign: He presented himself as much more of a centerist than what he actually turned out to be. (FDR WAS our most liberal President by any measure of the 1930's and frankly more liberal than any of the past contender for the Democratic party in most of our lifetimes)

Obama has to do everything he can to get elected so plug your nose and get ready for more of his move to the center. All because he is ahead in the polls in June does not mean he will win in November (see 2004 and 1988 at this point of the elecion cycle, both Kerry and Dukakis were AHEAD significantly of their rivals and still lost).

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 3, 2008 4:28 AM

He's full of shit. Just like his boneheaded followers. You can bla bla bla to justify his right wing positions, but at this point we might as well have McCain.

Posted by Vince | July 3, 2008 6:18 AM

@24 -- Two words. Supreme Court. Do you really think that court will look the same 4 years from now, regardless of who's elected?

Posted by willendorf | July 3, 2008 8:03 AM

Please name for us, Eli, a single political candidate with whom you have agreed with on all issues, who has never disappointed you, and who has gotten elected and done everything you want. Just one.

Posted by Andy Niable | July 3, 2008 8:04 AM

@13 FTW with @25 and @26 tied for second place.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 3, 2008 10:15 AM

I expect better from you, Eli... Your knowledge and understanding of politics are usually a pleasure to read.

Come on, why is everyone so surprised at the large LGBT contingent for Obama? Obama has without a doubt been more pro-LGBT issues than McCain (or Hilary, for that matter).

For anyone with marriage equality as a major issue he is supporting the repeal of ALL of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the single biggest obstacle we activists have against us right now.

As for some of these other issues, anyone who has actually learned about Obama's views, or been following longer than since February's precinct caucuses, should know that these recent stands are not "flip flops" as the right-wing media would like us to believe, but are pretty consistent with his earlier views and work. Look at his votes in Illinois on the death penalty, for example.

The only really annoying move on his part is regarding FISA -- which he promised to oppose, and which it appears a majority of his supporters (and certainly the most active ones) oppose. He ought to rethink this one or come out with a good speech about why he's changed his mind...

Posted by Mickymse | July 3, 2008 11:23 AM

Man, liberals are fucking stupid. Basically you get a moderate liberal candidate and then you tear him apart. Everyone is all gushing and then when the candidate of non-paristan compromise compromises, you go apeshit. Either be on the left or be a Democrat. You can't be both.

I'm far left of most of you and I will still be voting for Obama, because of the candidates offered to us by our corporate overlords, he's the only one who stands for competent government. That's it. That's the best you can hope for under the system. But no, you'd rather squabble and factionalize and turn everything into a big pissing match. If you uncompromising radicals, be that. But you're not radicals, so get over it.

This is why you lose.

Posted by Jay | July 3, 2008 12:10 PM

@29 -- FINALLY someone who gets it! I've been a huge Obama fan from the beginning because he was fighting to unite the country under common ground for the common good. Apparently all Dems bought into the McCain camps sell that Obama was the leftiest liberal around, and now they're are starting to see the truth. Standing on the left just to stand on the left is just as stupid as if you were doing the same on the right. Let's find some solutions for this countries problems TOGETHER and quit grasping to insignificant BS because the party tells you to.

Posted by Jesse | July 3, 2008 12:57 PM

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