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    January 15, 2009

    Bitter isn't pretty, even on Savage

    Posted by: Chris

    There's nothing like the smell of gay cynicism in the morning. Take sex advice columnist cum pundit Dan Savage, who tells Rex Wockner that he believes Barack Obama's invitation to gay Bishop Gene Robinson was all about damage control:

    Does anyone believe that Gene Robinson, per the Obama team, was part of their inauguration-day plans all along? It certainly didn't sound like Gene knew anything about it when Warren was selected and he was handing out the bitter quotes. And the Obama team's post-Warren talking points -- mocked here, there, and everywhere -- mentioned that big gay marching band... but not Robinson.

    Hmmm. I'm thinking the talking points would've been a good time to bring up Robinson, had he been part of the plan all along, so it seems pretty clear he wasn't.

    Air-tight logic from Savage, as always, and also wrong, as usual. Obama's relationships with Robinson stretches back much further than the Rick Warren flap. That's not all.

    Weeks ago, when Robinson was "handing out the bitter quotes," he was always telling the congregation at Trinity Cathedral in Miami that not all of the details of all of the Inauguration-related events had been announced, and angry gays "should not be surprised" to find someone they'd be much happier about being named to deliver a prayer at a related high-profile event.

    I'm as hard (actually much harder) on politicians than the next gay, but can we let Obama at least take the Oath of Office before we expect the worst of him? Bitter isn't pretty, even in politics.



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    1. Brian Miller on Jan 15, 2009 4:09:20 PM:

      So to translate:

      Obama is inviting Hitler to emcee his inauguration, but Elie Weisel will be sitting in the back row!

      See, he really does love us!

    1. Chris on Jan 15, 2009 5:40:56 PM:

      Thanks Brian. Nothing proves my point about ideological intolerance than ridiculous exaggerations like that one!

    1. Mark in Colorado on Jan 15, 2009 8:52:07 PM:

      Really Chris?
      I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You stand in judgment of Dan Savage and yet you willfully ignore facts yourself.
      Rick Warren, in fact, compared same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia. He then reinforced his assertion with follow-up narrative to his interview with Beliefnet. Yet you went on and on with your defense of Warren, claiming falsely, that Warren made no such comparison.
      Now, you critique Savage as "bitter" and misinformed.
      Consider that timing is everything. Obama blew it when he failed to announce Robinson's participation at the same time as Warren's or prior to. It leaves the impression that Robinson's participation was a political response, whether true or not. To be fair, Robinson was on Rachel Maddow's show last night and revealed that he knew he would be included in the week's events (albeit not as part of the official proceedings). So there is first hand evidence to back up the news stories on the subject.
      Of course there also is actual video of and writing from Rick Warren to prove that he does believe same-sex marriage is equivalent to incest and pedophilia. But by all means, please continue to ignore those facts because they don't conveniently fit into your defense of Warren.
      I'm not sure what your hard-on for Warren is all about because you don't strike me as a chubby chaser.
      Your defense of Warren is far uglier and repellent than Dan Savage's opinion.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Jan 16, 2009 9:56:48 AM:

      Mark in CO has it exactly right. Savage's idea that this was all about damage control was perfectly reasonable and, in fact, was exactly what I thought as well.

      If Obama had this Robinson thing planned all along, why didn't he mention it before? Why is it that this nugget only came out after the national gay leadership made an issue of it? Sounds like damage control to me.

      Now, Mark is also correct that Robinson was on the Rachel Maddow Show and explained everything. Fine, maybe it was planned. But again, why didn't he mention it?

      Maybe it's because having a divisive gay religious figure was too controversial and he figured he'd just keep it secret until just before the inauguration?

      but can we let Obama at least take the Oath of Office before we expect the worst of him?

      Uh, no. His unofficial actions and decisions provide a window into his character and thinking. I'm not going to let him off the hook simply because he hasn't made a major policy reversal as president.

    1. the troll on Jan 16, 2009 11:38:35 AM:

      The real Warren leaks out.

      "Follow Jesus Like Nazis Followed Hitler", Rick Warren Tells Stadium Crowd

      This is the first evidence that Chris and Dan have a feud going. Or perhaps Chris is just starting one. Not a smart career move on Chris' part though. I know Dan savage and he is popular with gays across the country as well as here in Seattle. He is also close friends with Andrew Sullivan.

      As far as the bitter thing goes. We as gays are all a bit bitter, lets be honest. It shows through with Chris on his struggle to immigrate his partner.

    1. Marty on Jan 16, 2009 7:10:41 PM:

      Aren't Dan Savage's fifteen minutes used up yet? tick tick tick tock

    1. JLG on Jan 17, 2009 12:55:07 AM:

      I don't think anyone would argue that the Rick Warren announcement was a PR triumph. It was handled poorly and demonstrates either a snub towards the gay community or (possibly more troubling) a lack of understanding on the very importance of LGBT issues.

      Living without the same protections as our straight friends and family entitles us be a little sensitive--even bitter.

      One would have thought that after the escalating attention paid to Rev. Jeremiah Wright that the Obama staff would be examing these issues pretty closely. Instead, we're left with another instance of a religious leader acting badly and the appearance of a President who "tunes out" in church, enjoying the company no matter what the message is.

      While Chris's interpretation of events seems to brand him an Obama apologist, I think that can be forgiven. The majority of America has signed on to the enthusiasm and optimism that Obama offers. I'm more worried about what will happen when the new President makes his first mistake (everyone is human) or is unable to give the LGBT community everything it wants (and we don't always want the same things.)

      I'm really reminded of Bill Clinton's first months and the anticipation that we would see an end to the military ban. He was the first Presidential candidate to really connect with the LGBT community, but when the art of the possible left us with "don't ask, don't tell," the disillusion was pretty painful.

      I do think we should be supporting Obama, but we can't "let it slide" with the idea that the other side would be worse. When we start doing that, we've lost any political clout that we might have.

    1. Junior Vasquez on Jan 17, 2009 7:40:31 PM:

      I've always felt uneasy about having a raunchy sex columnist and an HIV+ anonymous bareback orgy enthusiast as the public face of 'gay marriage'. Sometimes I wonder if it's the Right-Wing who are cynically promoting these freaks in order to undermine our credibility.

    1. Brian Miller on Jan 18, 2009 3:45:28 AM:

      Thanks Brian. Nothing proves my point about ideological intolerance than ridiculous exaggerations like that one!

      Actually, Chris, your ideology is the issue here.

      You're demanding that we ignore real actions Obama has taken to attack the LGBTQ community and backtrack on his prior policy positions and trust him... just because he happens to sync well with your personal political agenda.

      My analogy is quite apt... sorry that pisses you off. ;)

    1. Greenman on Jan 18, 2009 3:08:33 PM:

      I've got to agree with Dan Savage on this. I don't think the Obama transition committee was ready for the level of anger about Rick Warren. The whole election was bittersweet for many gay people because the person we wanted was elected but we lost every gay rights initiative on the ballot. For Obama to ask Rick Warren, a Prop 8 supporter and an influential Fundamentalist preacher was, sorry to say, a particular insult. Not to mention pro-choice women who were compared by Warren to Concentration Camp guards, complicit in murder if not actual murderers.

      If Obama had connections with Gene Robinson before that's great but even Robinson seemed to be surprised by his addition to the Inauguration line-up. I sometimes hang out at gay message boards and their temperature was ninety-eight point PISSED by Obama's asking Rick Warren to give the invocation. Rightly so, IMO. He certainly wouldn't have invited an anti-semite or racist to the festivities so it was a sign that acceptance for gays was "controversial" instead of being a given. It was a bit like JFK asking George Wallace to work the crowd before his speech. OK, fine, you're going for the "Big Tent" theme, but you'd think that someone who had repeatedly insulted the dignity of a core Democratic group might just be beyond the pale. Apparently not.

      OK, fine, I'm paranoid and unworthy of the Greatness that is Obama but I'm also hard pressed to point to his so-called "fierce" support of gay rights. In the absence of actual votes or initiatives on an issue we're ALL reduced to projection or reading tea leaves, no matter the issue. NOT being George W Bush is an improvement but Obama is a bit of a grab-bag. Ask me again once he's unwrapped and we've lived with him a while.

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