Queer Town

Will Gays and Lesbians Put On a Strained Smiley Face for Barack Obama's Visit to Los Angeles?

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge U.S. President Barack Obama - QUEERS UNITED
  • Queers United
  • U.S. President Barack Obama
Christopher Street West, the group that organizes the Los Angeles Gay Pride festivities every year, has sent out a mass email, telling gay folks to attend President Barack Obama's rally at USC on Friday to show their "power, passion, and purpose."

We don't know what that means, but the email doesn't expressly call for a protest, which would be perfectly understandable -- the Obama administration has decided to appeal a recent federal court decision that struck down the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Is CSW expecting gays and lesbians to show up with forced, plastic smiles on their faces? Cheering for a president who, in the words of the esteemed Economist magazine, has shown "excessive caution" when it comes to gay rights issues?

We certainly hope not.

In fact, if Democrats Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown lose their statewide races in November because the liberal, Democratic base wasn't jazzed enough to vote, they'll have Obama, in part, to blame.

From Obama's poor handling of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to his fumbling of comprehensive immigration reform, the president has been a let down in California for progressive voters and minority groups, such as the gay and Latino communities.

Obama seems to think that his mere presence will get the troops headed to the polls, but that simply doesn't work. Voting ultimately comes down to issues, not rock star personalities, and the president has been on the wrong side of things -- or hasn't been present at all -- for California's Democratic base.

With registered Democratic voters far outnumbering registered Republicans in California, statewide Democratic politicians have to stumble badly to lose... or get no help from a president who keeps offending the voters those politicians need for a win on election day.

Obama's actions -- or lack of them -- come off as if he almost wants Boxer and Brown to lose. It's bizarre, and makes us want to cry out: Where are you, David Plouffe?! End your two-year vacation already and save your guy from himself... and all of those horrible advisers.

In the meantime, if Obama catches flak at USC from the gays or other left-minded folks, it may be one of those little indications that California progressives won't show up at the polls on November 2.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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