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I really had no intention of writing this, but I responded to a diary about the vote on marriage equality in Maryland that spent more than half its time criticizing the comments on a previous diary about the same subject for having nice things to say about Dick Cheney and Ken Mehlman for lobbying for marriage equality (and not mentioning Obama at all) and, by extension, criticizing Obama (who wasn't mentioned).

My response did exactly what the diarist was complaining about because I pointed out that Cheney and Mehlman were now, in 2012, ahead of Obama on marriage equality and suggesting that the president had good tactical reasons for letting this week play out at its own pace. Never mind the tactical reasons; in my reply to the criticism that ignored the tactical reasons, I had to say I thought Cheney was indeed a war criminal, but one who in 2012 was ahead of the president on this issue.  

I think we discuss this subject without a clear grasp of the facts concerning the administration and LG(BT) rights, so  I'll do the grunt work and annotate the factsheet on LGBT rights at whitehouse.gov, which regrettably is undated, and assess the claims of the Obama administration concerning what it has done in support of the LGBT communiity.  I'm also not going to publish this as a project of any of the groups I belong to -- if someone else in those groups thinks it's worth republishing, I'll be happy.

Yes, I know that I wrote a diary on Heteroimitative/Heteronomative where I complained about the leftists in LGBTQI studies, but I'm pretty far left on these issues myself (just to the right of the people I complained about), so yes, I get to express disappointment if what I find disappoints me.  I hope you see this as an honest attempt to assess the Administration's claims, because that's what this is.

I should let you know about my ground rules.  My benchmark for this comparison is the performance of Lyndon Johnson on the subject of civil rights.  LBJ won by a big margin in 1964, and he got both the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the Voting Rights Bill of 1965 through Congress before his presidency was swallowed by the quagmire of the Vietnam War.  If you think this is unfair, remember, Obama had control of both houses for the first two years of his presidency.  If you want to bring up the learning curve, you're already conceding I'm correct.

So here it is.  The Obama Administration’s Commitment to Winning the Future for the LGBT Community

The administration is proud of its achievements, and I'm going to assess these as fairly as I can:

The Obama Administration has taken decisive actions and made historic strides to advance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equality and strengthen LGBT families and communities, and continues to do so. Some of these accomplishments include:
There are ten subheadings.  I'll address each one line by line.  First, let's look at 1. Preventing bullying and hate crimes against LGBT Americans
President Obama signs the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law -- the first federal civil rights legislation to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”
This is good.  As the Anti-Defamation League says in its fact sheet on the law, this finally protects all victims of hate crimes and lets the government intervene when a state won't.  It also creates a precedent for protecting people who fall into these two categories at the federal level, for the first time. That hasn't translated into other legislation yet, though, so unless we're the victim of a hate crime . . .
President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Administration officials record “It Gets Better” videos to address the issue of bullying and suicide among LGBT teens
That's nice.  Just like Perez Hilton and Lady GaGa.  Hasn't exactly stopped the problem with teen suicides, has it.
The President and First Lady Michelle Obama host the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention
Calling attention to it is a good step, and 46 of the 48 states have laws in place, so this is about as non-controversial as this can get.  Apparently, this meeting uncovered an information gap that the Department of Education needed to work on, and it did.
The Department of Education issues guidance to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws
This is necessary because among the 46 states, according to December 6, 2011 press release from the Department of Education covering this issue, only 36 have provisions about cyber-bullying and only 21 allow schools to address off-campus behavior.  As Arne Duncan says,
"Every state should have effective bullying prevention efforts in place to protect children inside and outside of school. This report reveals that while most states have enacted legislation around this important issue, a great deal of work remains to ensure adults are doing everything possible to keep our kids safe."
So on balance here, the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Law is a good start toward LGBT equality but until it's translated into other laws and a consistent court policy it's just that -- a start.  The other "accomplishments"?  Nice, warm and fuzzy, but, well, you have to be a victim of something to benefit.

2. Supporting LGBT families

Following a directive from the President, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires all hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to allow visitation rights and medical decision making rights to LGBT patients
In other words, a directive to give us all the rights a married couple has automatically if the hospital isn't morally against it.  It's a step in the right direction, but it's at least 25 years too late, which admittedly is not Obama's fault. So good for the administration -- this makes us more equal.
HHS creates the National Resource Center for LGBT Elders
Well, let's see.  I'm 62, and my spouse just turned 66, and we're politically aware, so the fact this is news troubles me.  When Jim got his Medicare materials, there was nothing about this in the reams of paper involved.  It has a website.  I can reach all the California state departments that deal with aging issues through this website, but I can do the same thing through the California state website.  The good news is that trans resources are listed too.
The Department of Labor clarifies that the Family Medical Leave Act ensures that LGBT parents can provide care for their children in the event of illness
Great for those of us who have children.  Not all of us do.
The State Department clarifies that transgender applicants can obtain, under certain conditions, passports that accurately reflect their gender
And what are the conditions?
When a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender. The guidelines include detailed information about what information the certification must include. It is also possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition
This is a win for transpeople, and a win for the Administration.
The Justice Department clarifies that persons with HIV and persons with AIDS are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and that it would be illegal to exclude them from occupational training and state licensing
This is progress.
The Justice Department issues a memo stating that federal prosecutors should enforce criminal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act in cases involving gay and lesbian relationships
This is progress too.
HHS’s Administration for Children and Families issues a memorandum to ensure that LGBT and questioning youth in foster care are protected and supported
If it works, this is progress.
The US Interagency Council on Homelessness releases “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” the nation’s first comprehensive strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, including LGBT homeless youth
It's a plan.  I'm glad they paid attention to the fact that LGBTQ homeless youth exist and that they might have special needs.  But then, as of 2/18/12, there's this excellent and troubling diary.  It's a plan.  It hasn't been put into action in a satisfactory manner yet.
The Obama Administration works to ensure that the Census provides a fair and accurate count of all Americans, including LGBT couples.
I think this is something we should expect the Census to do.  I don't see this as an accomplishment of the Obama administration.  So some quality achievements here, especially for transpeople, but also for gay men and lesbians with children and for the LGBT community with regard to hospitals.  Not so much for LGBTQ youth beyond good but unfulfilled expectations.

3. Ensuring equal access to housing for LGBT families

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces the first ever national study of discrimination in housing against LGBT persons
Plans for this were announced March 17, 2010. It's a study.  It's supposed to lead to policy recommendations.  Did it? Well, here's a press release from HUD, dated Saturday, February 18, 2012.  No, it's JUST been announced.  The press release is looking for feedback on how to conduct the study.  I guess it's a good thing if we reelect Obama so the findings can be acted upon during his second term.  
HUD requires grant applicants to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws
HUD's blog offered some concrete achievements on October 13, 2011, in a post labeled HUD Addresses LGBT Housing Discrimination:
Through its notices of funding availability, HUD required recipients of approximately $3.5 billion in HUD funding to comply with state and local laws that prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity housing discrimination.
    HUD recognized that, under the Fair Housing Act prohibition of sex discrimination, it has authority to pursue complaints from LGBT persons alleging housing discrimination because of non-conformity with gender stereotypes.  HUD accepted and proceeded with enforcement efforts on 114 such complaints, about three times more than in the prior two years.
    HUD launched a webpage that includes resources for LGBT victims of housing discrimination.
    HUD initiated the first nationwide study of LGBT housing discrimination that will provide national data on the nature and extent of housing discrimination against same sex couples. (this is the study referred to above, so "initiated" may be a reach)
    HUD published a rule that proposes regulatory changes to further ensure LGBT equal access, including clarification that a “family,” which is the term used to define persons eligible for HUD-funded programs, includes persons regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.  HUD anticipates publishing the final version of this rule by the end of the year.
First, this is from HUD, so you can tell I'm going beyond the whitehouse.gov .pdf file.  Aside from the fact the study hasn't been done yet, this is all good news for LGBT people, and it's a decent achievement for a department that started from zero in 2008.


4. Supporting LGBT health

President Obama releases the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy
President Obama urges Americans to get tested for HIV
President Obama signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
Aside from the strategy, what's actually here that we haven't been doing for ourselves for going on 30 years now?
HHS issues recommendations to improve the health and well-being of LGBT communities
It's a long list and Kathleen Sebelius really takes her work seriously; worth reading.  Some of the programs, like the anti-bullying effort (Sebelius did an "It Gets Better" video too) and the homeless youth project have been discussed above, so full credit for the administration here.
Despite challenging budgetary times, the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget not only maintains, but increases domestic HIV/AIDS funding
Well, okay.  We're not radioactive any more.

5. Supporting job creation among LGBT-owned businesses

The Department of Commerce signs a Memorandum of Understanding with National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to support federal contracting and exporting
It's good for LGBT small business owners.  I'm sure the HRC is really pleased with this for its donor stream.

6. Setting precedents in hiring and benefits for LGBT Americans

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces that gender identity is a prohibited basis of discrimination in federal employment
President Obama expands federal benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees
OPM allows same-sex domestic partners to apply for long-term care insurance
President Obama continues to appoint LGBT Americans to positions at every level throughout his Administration
Good for LGBT people who work for the federal government.  Some of this has set an example for some companies in the private sector, but many companies in the private sector have been ahead of the government on this for, well, decades.
President Obama sends the first U.S. Executive branch official to testify in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) before Congress
If I didn't say I was going to go through the document thoroughly, I'd stop here.  When we say we're disappointed with Obama's efforts for the LBGT community, it's because of ENDA, and the gay caucus in Congress is just as responsible because it got confused about how to incorporate gender identity into the bill, eventually jettisoning it. Not passing it is bad for the entire LGBT community (except for our brothers and sisters who work for the federal government), and the way the bill is currently written is disastrous for transpeople.

7. Repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law

President Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which will allow gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans to serve openly and with integrity.
Good.  Finally, we join most European nations and Israel.  The people to the left of me would say this doesn't matter because it's military, but the fact that DADT has been repealed is probably bad news for DOMA and good news for ENDA (because, after all, DADT was about job discrimination and inequality in the workplace).  I'm over the way it was repealed now -- enough time has passed.

8. Providing global leadership on LGBT issues

The U.S. lifts the discriminatory entry ban for individuals with HIV
President Obama and his administration play active roles in protecting LGBT populations in Uganda, Honduras, Malawi and other countries
The U.S. leads an effort at the United Nations resulting in 85 countries supporting a resolution to end violence and human rights violations related to sexual orientation and gender identity
The White House announces major three-year investment in combating global AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
All positive achievements, spearheaded by the Secretary of State whose "Civil Rights are Human Rights" speech was one of the most important statements of the United States Government

9. Honoring LGBT history

President Obama honors the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall riots
President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King
This is what's called "grasping at straws."  I suppose it's here as a dog whistle to US that the Obama Administration did something about us to show the larger community he cares about our history. No, I don't expect him to be the grand marshal of the Stonewall commemoration parade in Washington, D.C., but I don't see these as anything but a sop for us.

10.  Supporting LGBT Progress
Here's the other problem:

President Obama has called for the Congressional repeal of the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act” and has announced that in his view, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional
That took a while, but it's a very big deal.  The problem is, I can't help thinking that a more skilled politician (like LBJ) could have maneuvered the repeal of DOMA through Congress already.  When I have to lower my expectations, it doesn't make me very happy regardless of the realities of the situation.  For this, we need more and better Democrats in both houses of Congress.
President Obama also continues to support legislation that would directly impact the LGBT community, including an inclusive ENDA and the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act
See above concerning ENDA.
President Obama believes that all students should be safe and healthy and learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment; that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation; and that Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country
Some of these he could take care of with an executive order, but then, this administration has been deporting undocumented people with little regard for their situation in the United States at a record pace.  A few LGBT couples have been saved from this, but more have not.

So what's my conclusion from this?  There is no question that President Obama and his administration have done more for LGBT people than any other president has, and I don't really think that has been at issue.  The problem is a glass half full/glass half empty problem.  Yes,, he's done more, but is what he has done enough?  In some areas, like DADT and Health and Human Services, absolutely.  But unless you work for the federal government, there's no ENDA protection, and the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment (not to mention the "full faith and credit" clause in Article IV of the Constitution) are violated every day some of us are married and DOMA is still in force. I'll be fine if the day after he's reelected  he all of a sudden evolves on marriage equality, but if he doesn't, I'll have difficulty seeing this as anything but a slap in the face.

I hope this explains to some of you why a member of the LGBT community doesn't share your enthusiasm about Obama completely.  No, this doesn't mean I'm not supporting him for reelection, because I am, but I'm expecting a little quid pro quo.  Congratulations on plowing through this.

10:29 PM PT: I spent a LOT of time on this, so I'd prefer comments that dispute parts of my analysis instead of comments that scold me for my conclusion.  If you don't understand that I'm LESS disappointed than I thought I'd be at the end of this analysis, think before you comment.


Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:46 PM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women, Angry Gays, and LGBT Kos Community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He is not perfect on LGBT issues. He is not (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, prairiegirl, TFinSF, k6007

    perfect on any issue.He should come out and support marriage equality. The fact that he hasn't doesn't change the fact that  he is the most pro gay president I have ever seen. I hope he does better on his second term.

    •  Sure, if you overlook the deportations (3+ / 0-)

      and stuff like that, and Rick Warren at the inauguration.  He's better than everybody else since Stonewall as far as achievements are concerned, certainly.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:31:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would be great if he came out for marriage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        equality now. We know he supported this once. I think he may do this during his second term when he isn't afraid of re-election. This is all politics. I however support his ending DADT, switch from defending DOMA, his international message for gay rights abroad. Like I said he isn't perfect. I'll take him over any republican presidential candidate any day.

      •  and I'm glad Cheney is on board now. I wish he (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snout

        used his powers as VP to advance our rights back then. A lot of politicians do this once they are out of office. Bill Clinton, for instance.

        •  like most right-wingers cheney (0+ / 0-)

          only supports marriage because he is close to his lesbian daughter....otherwise forget it.

          as for obama, presidents must be judged against other presidents not against ralph nader, howard dean, or dennis kucinich.

          with that criteria, he is the finest president this country has had in the 40 years I have been following politics.  and probably
          when his second term is up the finest american president since FDR

  •  If you are using LBJ as the benchmark (0+ / 0-)

    ...than this comparison is flawed in its foundation.  Start with the fact that the economic climate was different, the Opposition was different, and the civil rights movement and the LGBT rights movement are not identical.

    You have a right to feel whatever you feel.  But I don't see how dampening excitement for Obama's re-election is going to serve any worthwhile cause.

    Dare to win in 2012

    by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:21:52 PM PST

    •  life is unfair (5+ / 0-)

      and if you think my conclusion is dampening, you must be really worried about the prospects for his election.  I was explaining what I thought, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:27:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the president will "evolve" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Setsuna Mudo

        on marriage in 2013.  if you think he should stick his neck out before then and risk losing some crucial votes, fine but I have his back on this.  he's already done more than any other president.  

        •  Seconded. (0+ / 0-)

          It's obvious Obama is for marriage equality, he's just being advised against saying it out loud just yet. And I can almost definitely assure you that the 2016 D nominee will run on federal gay marriage (as it would be quite an acrobatic feat for either of the frontrunners, O'Malley and Cuomo, to their backtrack previous statements on the issue)

          (-7.62, -6.31), Blood type "O", Democratic-socialist, social anarchist, KY-01, "When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy." — Stanisław Lem

          by Setsuna Mudo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 05:48:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh (4+ / 0-)

      If you disagree with the diarist's conclusions about an issue, then you should point that out.  

      Personally, I think he's done an admirably fair assessment of the president's record on LGBT issues, even if I don't agree with the diarist in every particular.  And I fail to see how a realistic overview of the president's performance on these questions is "dampening excitement for Obama's re-election."  The facts are what they are.  If stating the facts is "dampening excitement for Obama's re-election," then the problem is the facts, not the diarist's stating them.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 10:51:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I read it and appreciate the effort (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Eddie L, EdSF

    you put into it.  I do some work on one aspect of this - refugee protection and refugee resettlement, and I have to say this Administration deserves a lot of credit; I'd say the glass is 3/4 full.  Some successes:

    - Requiring refugee and asylee adjudicators to undergo training on LGBTI and persecution in order to more effectively assess sexual orientation/gender identity asylee and refugee cases.  (Numbers of cases accepted have increased - translates directly into lives saved)

    -  Has supported through the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor programs to advance LGBT rights around the world, including funding for LGBT organizations in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

    - Through USAID has started to support HIV programs focussing on men having sex with men, largely in Africa, and is doing this despite often hostile response from African governments.

    -  Through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, has begun to train refugee resettlement agencies and establish "preferred communities" where LGBTI refugees will receive a better reception when arriving in the US.

    See one of my earlier diaries on LGBT persons in Iraq.  All I can say is that the US has supported, very quietly, protection for a number of LGBT Iraqis facing immediate risk of harm.  The US has also discretely been doing what it can to protect Iranians fleeing forced sex change operations - yes, you read that right.  Ayatollah Khomenei supported sexual reassignment surgery because if the plumbing is right, there is no sin.  So some gay men in Iran are forced to pick between the death penalty and being forced into surgery.  Again, somewhat sensitive on all sides - All I can say is that the US State Department has quietly taken some steps w/r/t protection.  I think Sect of State Clinton has been really excellent - it was more than just rhetoric.  While I share some criticisms of the Obama Administration's timidity on marriage equality, etc... this Administration's State Department is light years ahead on any previous administration in terms of public and not-so public efforts globally.

    Areas for improvement:

    - Still has not created a system for identifying and tracking LGBT refugees through the resettlement process

    -  Long delays (mostly due to security clearance) for resettling LGBT refugees who may be at risk even in countries of first refuge (Syria, Uganda, etc).

    BTW, I read but did not respond to your diary on heteronormative attitudes and marriage equality, but I agreed strongly with you.  I'm straight, but its no exageration to say that I'm a sexual minority in my organization - and a few months ago I was biting my tongue at the attitude of a colleague who is dead set against marriage equality as some sort of oppressive attempt to force LGBT persons into conventional moral structures.  Like many of your straight family, friends and allies, I'd like to see you have exactly the same choices I have.  If someone else has multiple partners without the commitment of marriage, that's fine too.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:14:47 AM PST

    •  thanks for the information, ivorybill! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill

      This, and I'm not sure if it's obvious or not, isn't the kind of thing the administration would put on a fact sheet, probably because it's complicated.  Agreed 100% on the Secretary of State, and I'm wondering if she hasn't indeed changed the nature of her position.

      Thanks also for the comment on the other diary.  I'm honestly not sure why it turned into a pie fight, but that's DKos for you.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:26:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for the link back, Dave. (4+ / 0-)

    And for the work done.  I bet there was some pain involved.

    •  Of course, r! (3+ / 0-)

      Not pain, exactly.  The best way I have to describe it, and this is weak, is that there were a lot of "hm." moments.  My thoughts really crystallized when I got to ENDA.  At that point, I thought I could shorten it dramatically, but I figured that this is now one of those documents that can help us look at this election.

      Thanks for your work too.  That, I know involves pain, and I'm glad you're as resilient as you seem to be.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:15:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post Dave (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, EdSF, jgilhousen

    This takes what I used to call 'the list' (which was trotted out every time there was progress on LGBT issues) and adds the needed commentary documenting the real world results of each item.

    Like you after getting to the end I would say I was a bit surprised at how much he has done. What's lacking in some cases are enforcement of said actions. I still feel that there is some cherry picking of low hanging fruit (no pun intended) but, I'll take any progress I can get.

    Like you I'm 100% behind Obama's reelection but I have no problem continuing to hold his feet to the fire in the meantime (as he asked us to do).

    Thanks for this work.

    California*, Conneticut, Iowa, Massachussets, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington. (and District of Columbia) *pending

    by cooper888 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:47:49 AM PST

  •  On the HIV front: (3+ / 0-)

    I agree with you that the NHAS is a step in the right direction.  The problem with it, as AIDS activists predicted at the beginning, was the lack of committed funding.  Others also thought its goals were not ambitious enough, but most were happy just to see the federal government finally treat HIV as a national concern.  Still, the NHAS is unlikely to achieve much unless there's a serious commitment to funding.

    I really wish the administration would stop listing Ryan White reauthorization as an "achievement."  Ryan White has been reauthorized by every single president, both Republican and Democrat, since its enactment.  That includes George W. Bush.  So if Obama hadn't reauthorized Ryan White, he'd have been the FIRST president in history to refuse to do so.  To me, doing something everyone else has already done, including Dubya, is not an achievement.

    And speaking of Dubya, one of the few good things he did while in office was create PEPFAR, a program to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world.  While the Obama administration may be taking credit for maintaining domestic funding for HIV/AIDS, its FY 2013 budget request is calling for big cuts in PEPFAR.  This proposed reduction comes at a time when the president is promising to get millions more people on ARV treatment:

    Sharonann Lynch of Médecins Sans Frontières added that in light of the President’s World AIDS Day promise to place 6 million people on HIV treatment by the end of 2013, his new budget request proposes a “40 percent increase of people on ART with 10 percent less money.”
    Even on the domestic front, things are not terribly rosy.  As of February 3, 2012, NASTAD estimates that there are 4,575 people on ADAP waiting lists around the country.  That means there are thousands of indigent Americans with a potentially fatal, yet perfectly treatable disease who don't have access to the meds they need to survive.  And the cost of getting them meds just isn't that great.  At the height of the ADAP crisis last year, NASTAD estimated that the program could be fully funded with a couple hundred million dollars.  That's not even a rounding error in the federal budget.

    So the upshot is that the administration has done a good thing with the NHAS.  The problem has been that it hasn't seemed willing to put its money where its mouth is.  But when people need very expensive medication to survive, if you aren't willing to cough up the funds, then you're not going to be providing much concrete help.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 10:36:46 AM PST

    •  Well, yes (0+ / 0-)

      And that's the problem with the fact sheet, John.  Sort of a tin eye on the achievements.  This administration doesn't go out of its way to make us like it, does it?

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:27:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd put it differently. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scott Wooledge

        I think that on HIV, the administration has talked a much better game than it's played. I saw a reported quote from Joe Biden recently:  "Don't tell me what your values are. Show me your budget and I'll tell you what your values are."  That's kind of how I see this.

        On another point, the president signed the last budget bill reinstating the needle exchange ban. It was the Republicans' doing, of course, but the administration didn't fight to keep it out, so I doubt that calling for removal of the ban is anything more than political theater.  

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 01:50:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was pretty unhappy (4+ / 0-)

    When the admin stopped Alcee Hastings from addressing DADT in the House in 2009, and asked Congress not to vote on Murphy's bill in Spring 2010. And when the DOJ "had to" defend DOMA against Constitutional court challenges (until they didn't anymore).  

    A lot of that's changed. Next, rather than finish evolving on marriage equality I'd first appreciate an Executive Order of LGBT non-discrimination for Federal contractors, or some resolution for binational LGBT couples. 

    But as a single issue, LGBT issues should not dim anyone's enthusiasm at all, clearly. The LGBT community has benefited perhaps more than anyone. A combination of his work, and likely a lot of pent-up progress, as nothing at all happened from 2000-2008. Eight years is a long time to put a community on hold. 

    I find my greater concerns stem more from non-LGBT issues: his Bush economic team of Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Ben Bernanke; until very recently an unwillingness to address Wall Street's malfeasance that brought the crash of 2008; continued reliance on expensive and corrupt military contractors like Blackwater/XEE; we're still dropping too many bombs, imo; status quo maintained or even expanded on Bush-era executive powers, PATRIOT act and surveillance abuses; the war on whistleblowers. 

    •  Wait a minute! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott Wooledge, EdSF, jgilhousen

      Aren't you the guy who "hates" Obama?

      /s

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 11:40:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed, pretty much entirely (3+ / 0-)

      Agreed that what the administration CAN do by executive order it SHOULD do by executive order, and I don't mind being dog-whistled to in that way.

      Agreed also that it's the refusal to back away from any of the Bush agenda concerning Treasury and Defense issues (holding over Robert Gates was interesting too) that constitutes my real problem with the administration.

      It's just that for pretty much every complaint people had with the administration for the past two years about the defense and treasury issues because complaints were going unheeded, my response was "Now you know how gay people feel about the administration."  That was what I wanted to verify in my own thinking.

      Thanks for commenting, and yes, eight years is way too long.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:24:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd probably give him a B+ (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FogCityJohn, jgilhousen

        on his LGBT record. Understanding an A+ would be perfection that we'll probably never see. But, that's my grading curve. I am not grading him against Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon or Andrew Jackson's record as many do.

        As FogCityJohn points out, he gets demerits on domestic and international HIV policy. The sad truth is we're tracking backwards from W on those fronts.

        And demerits for being late to the game. And for overall, being excessively cautious.

        This isn't a tendency he displays only on LGBT issues, but across the board. It took 3 years and Occupy Wall Street to prompt him appoint someone to investigate the bank's mortgage malfeasance? He should have done that in the first year, before they had three years to shred the documents.

        •  You're kinder than I am, but not much (3+ / 0-)

          I'd give him a B, because of his (non-) handling of ENDA, which could have been passed before the 2010 elections if anyone in the inner circles of the administration thought it was important.

          But I am in total agreement with you on the across-the- board timidity.  It's why the recess appointment of Richard Cordray was so startling, and it's something he can't do in his next term.

          All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 02:55:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have no doubt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen

    that the President will be re-elected. In his first term, he has, as his most fervent apologists insist, done more for LGBT rights that any previous president. Of course, it is understatement to indicate that that was an insanely low bar for him pass since his predecessors did virtually nothing in that regard. That said, he was hardly the "fierce advocate" that he purported to be in 2009. I assume this was mainly the product of political calculation, i.e., steering a path to a second term without rocking too many (bigoted) boats. His second term will not only provide him the opportunity to "evolve" (or at least go back to where he was in 1996) on marriage equality, but will offer him the chance to really be a fierce advocate in the fight to repeal DOMA (he has already made the first move with the Golinski brief, which I believe was his finest moment in LGBT advocacy) and to fight to move a fully inclusive and respectful ENDA through Congress. If he at least fights for these on principle (not like the way he allowed the repeal of DADT to proceed with others, including Joe Liebermann, God help us, being the real leaders), he may still add to his legacy that he really was a "fierce advocate" for LGBT rights. Here's hoping he will become the change he's spoken about!

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