01/15/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
President Barack Obama is now facing a very real problem in Massachusetts. He rushed there to try and shore up the flagging likelihood that Martha Coakley would, in fact, succeed Senator Ted Kennedy in the seat that he one held. What had once been a sure thing, now looks like it could be a loss. The why is simple. The base is upset and dispirited. They elected President Barack Obama to usher in a new era of liberalism in this nation. Instead, they got a man who was more willing to cut deals than to push what he campaigned upon through the Senate. Sure, he has managed to get almost everything he wanted, but rather than pushing through with health care reform, and pushing it hard, President Obama ceded that fight to the faux grassroots astroturfers who are less about fixing what is wrong, and more about ensuring what is wrong remains broken.
For the LGBT Community, Obama’s lack of spine has been a big problem. Instead of pushing through his promises of getting LGBT issues addressed in Congress, such as revoking Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, President Obama has been signaling that he is more than willing to wait for his second term in office before being willing to address those issues. For the millions of gays, lesbians and transpeople, the President’s lack of movement on key issues beyond the Matthew Shepard Act- an act that had to be attached to another piece of legislation in order to pass- has been frustrating in the extreme.
It is there that Massachusetts becomes a problem. Massachusetts is a state with some of the largest numbers of LGBT Americans in the country, and a large number of LGBT allies. The lack of movement on Obama’s part on these issues is discouraging, and many may be unwilling to vote for Coakley because Obama has been so timid when it comes to these battles. In many ways, it will not be the fact that the Democrats went too far with health care reform and financial reform and even the repeal of anti-LGBT laws that lost them this seat, and threatens to make 2010-2013 a legislative deadlock unlike anything this nation has seen in a long time, but rather the fact that the Democrats did not go far enough in pursuing an agenda of popular Progressivism.
Obama, Reid and Pelosi forgot to fight for the people who put them into power, and now they are at risk of being unable to do anything for years to come.