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Entries in Obama (4)


Leading like Lincoln

I want to start off by saying that when I created this site I did not intend for it to be overly political.  In fact the goal was to get members of the LGBT community to share their story in the hopes of aiding in advancing LGBT rights through contact.  Contact in the sense that people who view the site could get many different views on life in the LGBT community and not just what is portrayed in the media.  The Lifestyle blog was a concept that my friend Brian and I came up with so that anyone could share aspects of their lifestyle with the world.  That concept remains.  Anyone who wants to blog is encouraged to contact us and we will either post a one time blog by you or will be happy to create for you an account that gives you access to blog as often as you like.

What this has turned into in very short order is what amounts to a political commentary blog.  This has happened because I am the one who has been doing the majority of the blogging and because politics is a huge part of my life, so it still is appropriate for the “Lifestyle” blog.  It will continue to be this way until others add things, but I do not want that to scare people off.  Please by all means contribute what you like when you like.  With that said here comes yet another political blog but perhaps one that is less partisan than some of my previous posts.

Yesterday President Obama ventured to the GOP retreat in Baltimore Maryland where he gave a speech and then entertained some questions from the Republicans that were present.  With no teleprompter and no notes he answered each of their questions, gave factually accurate rebuttals to their accusations and pointed out why politics the way they are being conducted cannot serve the country.

I don’t care who you are; you have to admit that it was an impressive spectacle, especially when you consider that it all played out on television.  Pundits are comparing it to Question Time that takes place in the British parliament.  For those who don’t know, Question Time is when the Prime Minister and other government ministers face parliament where they are grilled with question after question.  If you have never seen it, I highly suggest watching it.  The difference here is that Obama was only facing Republicans instead of both Democrats and Republicans.

While this is a new event in politics today, this is a page directly from Lincoln’s playbook.  President Lincoln was an excellent leader not because of what he did, but because of how he did it.

Lincoln had a very specific style and process to his leadership, mainly that he would ask someone to do something and if they didn’t he would follow up with them.  The best place to see this is in his dealings with his military officers, which parallels what Obama is doing now.  Lincoln would make a request, and if it was not completed he would go to the officer personally and speak with them, try to persuade them to do what he wanted.  In the end if they did not follow Lincoln’s orders and requests he would replace them.

Here we see Obama who has made the request that Democrats and Republicans work together to pass legislation, notably health care reform.  His request has fallen on seemingly deaf ears, so we see Obama going to the Republicans and speaking to them directly.  Obama did not make them come to him, he went to them; in terms of leadership this is a very strong move.  It shows that Obama has respect for them and appreciates their participation (or perceived participation).  If they continue to block his plans, in the Lincoln model he would fire them, but since Obama cannot do that he is framing it in a different way.

In his meeting with Republicans today Obama made it very clear that the Republicans themselves have created a noose that is getting tighter and tighter around the party.  By calling his plans socialist and over the top they have made doing business with Obama toxic for themselves.  However, Obama has set the stage so that the Republicans can either continue to block progress and make sure that nothing happens, or they can back off from their rhetoric a bit and meet him halfway to help move forward legislation to help the American People.

I think that this is great politically for Obama but more importantly for this country.  It will be interesting to see how the Republican Party responds to today’s events.  I would also like to see Obama speak in a similar manner to the Democrats, and perhaps we will see that in the coming weeks.

If you missed today’s events there are two embedded clips below.  The first is a clip of the speech that Obama gave, and the second is the question and answer session that followed.  How do you think he did?  Your comments are welcome!


A Recommended Read:

Lincoln on Leadership


Digesting the State of the Union

Tonight saw President Obama’s first state of the union address, which was followed ten minutes later by the GOP rebuttal from Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.  By the time many of you read this you may already have heard pundits breaking down what was said and what was done during Obama’s speech.  I know this because Rachel Maddow and I had the same observations.  Namely that on the Republican side the seats were warm while on the Democratic side the seats were cold.  Warm, because the Republicans hardly ever stood up.

As President Obama discussed things like getting the money that taxpayers gave to banks to bail them out, the Republicans sat.  As President Obama said we need to reform health care because the cost of health care in this country is stifling economic growth and recovery.  I did however notice that Republicans left their seats when Obama said that he did not want the United States to come in 2nd.

It is almost beyond belief to me that Republicans would sit like statues in their seats while the president put forth a plan to get money back from banks.  Money that average Americans worked hard to gain and banks are frivolously throwing away on big bonuses.  Finally as one of the uninsured, unemployed Americans in this country I was left with a bad taste in my mouth that not one Republican stood for health care reform.  No matter who you are you know that the price we pay for health care is too high.  My brother who suffers from a pre-existing condition just got his latest letter from the insurance company telling him that his premium had been raised to more than $400.00 a month.

I would for a moment like to address 35 seconds of the president’s speech roughly.  It was when President Obama spoke about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  We in the gay community have been hearing this since Obama was on the campaign trail, and I am getting a bit tired of hearing him prattle on about this while nothing is done.  Obama has now had a year in office to settle in and it is time that he put some of the issues of the LGBT community on the top of the pile.  If this policy is not repealed by the legislator I hope he is prepared to work in other ways to repeal a policy that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and discredited the hard work of Lesbian and Gay soldiers over the past 17 years.

Immediately following the Obama’s speech John McCain released the following statement:

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.  I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy.

This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels.  We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars.  At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy."

To Mr. McCain I have this to stay: This policy is flawed and you are out of touch with the country that you are trying to govern.  Because of this policy the United States armed forces have dismissed from duty highly skilled soldiers including Arabic translators.  I cannot think of a time when we needed Arabic translators more than we do today.

Senator McCain also showed up on the Sean Hannity Show on Fox News almost immediately after the GOP response (yes I took a deep breath and watched Fox News).  Hannity opened his show reminding his viewers that we had just heard from “The Anointed One.”  From there he introduced McCain where they discussed among other things how Obama is still playing the blame game leading McCain to coining the acronym BIOB Blame It On Bush.  Well, I think Obama was just giving credit where credit was due Mr. McCain.  It is hard to argue with history, and Obama was simply pointing out that while he has spent $1 trillion that the country doesn’t have, the previous administration had spent much more and lost the country a surplus left behind by Clinton.

Hannity also went after Obama’s claim that he had saved two million jobs.  Saying that he couldn’t see where they were.  I think one of the hardest things to see is something that was never missing, and that may be one of the hardest things for people to see.  Unless you know someone whose job was saved by the stimulus package it is hard to see the saved jobs.

Finally I was glad to see the President grow a pair.  The Democrats have the second largest majority in the history of the United States and yet they are having a hard time getting things done.  This irrational fear of the filibuster has stopped them dead in their tracks.  It was great to see Obama stand up before the legislative body and remind them that they are there for the people and that it is time to stop running away from the fight and dive in.

Overall I thought it was a good speech with many concrete ideas and roads to follow for the next year.  So there are first thoughts on his speech, let's see how it moves forward.  What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


Links of Interest:

Transcript and video of the Speech

Notes on the Speech from the White House

Bob McDonnell Rebuttal


Weigh in on Year one of Obama Administration

Well, here we are.  The first State of the Union address by President Obama.  I have to say that while I have not been too happy with him on all fronts I think he has been doing a good job.  With the media reporting that he will make an announcement tonight in regards to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell it promises to be an interesting speech.

Last night on the Rachel Maddow show (see below) she did a great piece comparing the last year under the Bush administration and the last year under the Obama administration.  There was also some promising news on the health care front as the House has come up with a way of moving forward and passing some actual reform.

What do you think of Obama so far?  Gay, Straight, Black or White lets hear it give us your opinion.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


In other news the Defense has rested in the trial of Prop. 8.  Now we wait for the Judge Walker to review the case, and then we will have closing arguments presented before the final decision is made.  It looks like closing statements will be heard sometime toward the end of February or the beginning of March.  We will of course keep you updated on everything that is going on.


Is President Obama to blame?

In the wake of the vote in Maine, blogs full of outrage have exploded.  Some have been so bold as to claim that gay marriage was not upheld because President Obama did not make remarks in support of gay marriage.

Now, I know that many people will say he is very busy, look what is on his plate, how could he make comments in support of this state initiative.  To this I say, he found the time to campaign for Jon Corzine in New Jersey.  If the President of the United States can fly to New Jersey to campaign, he could definitely have taken a moment to say a few words.  I don’t even care if he said them.  Why didn’t President Obama have his press secretary issue a statement?

I am by no means blaming President Obama for the success of the passage of Proposition 1.  All I am saying is that if he is going to campaign saying that he supports the LGBT community then he better stand by it. Since he isn’t, I think it needs to be noted and pressure needs to be applied.  As John Stewart suggested if his plate is full perhaps he needs a bigger plate.

With Maine’s vote to get rid of gay marriage, proponents have now set their sites on other states feeling more confident than ever.  There are some conservatives in New Hampshire that are now looking at ways to repeal gay marriage there.

What it comes down to is that the rights of people in the United States should never be put to a popular vote.  If a popular vote had been used to abolish slavery or give mixed race couples the right to marry, we would still have slavery in some states and mixed race marriages would still be illegal.  Just last week Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Louisiana denied a couple a marriage license because they were different races.

Today on Capitol Hill demonstrators against the healthcare bill protested stating that the bill would take away their freedom if enacted.  I am sorry, but a bill that is trying to GIVE you healthcare at an affordable price can’t even hold a candle to what you are doing to those in the LGBT community.  If you want to talk about having your freedom taken away I would be glad to sit down and have a conversation with you.  Denying someone happiness is taking away their freedom.  Creating a better healthcare system under which all American’s can access affordable healthcare is not removing freedoms.  I should know, I am gay and I don’t have healthcare.