Yesterday, President Obama extended some benefits to same-sex partners of US government workers, but progressive groups and activists were decidedly unimpressed. We released a statement calling it a “very small step in the right direction” and urged the president to live up to his own rhetoric about being a “fierce advocate” for gay and lesbian Americans and many others issued similar statements.
On the opposite side, Religious Right groups blasted the move, calling it an affront to traditional marriage and a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act while accusing Obama of pandering, with the Family Research Council saying he was using taxpayer funds to “placate an angry portion of his base” while Concerned Women for America called the move an “outrageous abuse by the president to benefit his supporters and quell their criticism of him.”
In fact, the idea that President Obama was somehow caving to a bunch of gay rights whiners seems to be predominant theme of the Right’s response:
A Christian pastor and staunch opponent of same-sex “marriage” says President Obama threw a bone to homosexual activists yesterday, but they’re acting like “playground bullies” because he’s not moving quickly enough to enact their top priorities … Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, believes President Obama issued the directive in order to placate homosexual activists who are upset that the Obama Justice Department defended DOMA in a legal brief earlier this month — a move that was at odds with Obama’s campaign pledge to repeal DOMA.
Apparently, the prospect of activists trying to hold a president to his campaign rhetoric is completely foreign to the Right … or at least it is now that they are no longer in power because, in case they have forgotten, when George W. Bush was in office and making nominations to the Supreme Court, they were very very vocal in demanding a “return on their investment” and crowed repeatedly about how Bush had kept his promise when he nominated John Roberts. And when Bush later nominated Harriet Miers, the Right went absolutely bonkers, accusing him of betraying the very voters who had put him in office, forcing Miers to withdraw her nomination and then, when Bush subsequently nominated Samuel Alito, the Right went back to crediting him for once again living up to his promise.
It is especially hypocritical of Jackson, of all people, to be claiming that activists are acting like “playground bullies” for holding President Obama to his promises, considering that, ahead of the 2008 election, Jackson told Jay Sekulow that if John McCain were to win the election, they were going to make sure that McCain knew that they got him elected and that they expected a significant return on their investment (skip ahead to the 3:25 mark):
Sekulow: Senator McCain becomes President-elect McCain, what’s the message? What is the message you say to him as President-elect?
Jackson: Well, I think you say to him “we got you elected.” If he gets elected, it’s only going to be because Christians turned out en masse at the last minute, without being really wooed by him, and then we need to say “look, we have several key priorities, we need to protect life” and we can go down the list of things that we’re very concerned about. But we need access – most people don’t realize that we did not have as much access to President Bush in the last term that we should have had by rights, having put him in 2004.