View From the Hill: Obama's Silence
BY Kerry Eleveld
May 29 2009 12:00 AM ET
I couldn't help but be reminded this week of Andrew Sullivan's piece "The Fierce Urgency of Whenever" when President Barack Obama swept into Los Angeles the day after California's same-sex marriage ban was upheld and failed to address the issue in any way during his speech at the Democratic National Committee fund-raiser he attended.
Yes, he had private discussions. Gay political consultant Chad Griffin, a former staffer for President Bill Clinton, said he prodded President Obama about LGBT rights during a conversation at the event. "I was lucky enough to carry a direct message to the president -- we urged his support for full federal LGBT rights and marriage equality," Griffin told me, adding that he did not feel comfortable sharing details of the president's response.
While I appreciate that, at the very least, some behind-the-scenes pushes are being made, sugar plums are not exactly dancing through my head when it hits the pillow at night.
In fact, reading a recent Politico.com piece -- "Inside Obama's Hispanic Strategy" -- reminded me of just how willfully the administration is avoiding LGBT issues in comparison with other interest groups.
First the article notes that Obama aides brought a syndicated Spanish-language radio talk show host known as "Piolin" into the Oval Office for a sit-down with the president.
"We need to be able to communicate through radio, and obviously you've got the biggest listenership, so we've got to make sure you're involved," Obama said during the interview.
In stark contrast to the administration's LGBT reticence, the article observes that wooing the Hispanic vote has become "a near-obsession" for Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.