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Overpromised, Underwhelmed, and Diminutive

Poor Obamacito. Nobody ever leaves him alone. Especially everyone.

The right believes Obama’s gone too far. The left believes Obama hasn’t gone far enough. Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin believe he’s a closet big-government socialist; Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow believe he’s a closet big-business capitalist. Saturday Night Live can’t even do a decent impersonation. In less than 16 months since taking over the White House, the Obama administration has lost a communications director, a green jobs czar, an auto advisor, a security cyber czar, a deputy assistant secretary, one of its top lawyers, another communications director, a Minerals Management Service chief, a budget director, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in Guantanamo Bay. There are plenty more people who have resigned or been fired; these are simply the ones I googled.

Many of these people resigned either because of work place challenges (“I wish someone had told me how stressful it is to work in the White House”), personal problems (“I wish someone had told me I was a closet homosexual”), or the biggest reason of all: criticism (“I wish someone had told Glenn Beck he was fired.”)

The Punching Bag in Chief recently added another unlikely critic to his growing list: a professional opinion connoisseur in the human form of Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York. According to an interview Weiner recently gave to the Gay City News:

“In the wake of the president’s announcement early in June that he was extending some partner benefits to gay and lesbian federal government employees, Weiner was asked what the prospects were, in the near term, for passing the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act — which would extend the same federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples currently available under marriage — and for repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The Brooklyn Democrat said he doubted whether either measure would move before the November election and also took note of the limited nature of the president’s order regarding federal employees — health benefits, for example, are not generally available under the executive directive.

Asked directly whether he considered Obama’s team ‘timid,’ Weiner replied, ‘Yes.’”

How critical! How offensive! How non-team player-esque! Do I agree with Weiner that President Obama is “timid?”

In the words of my favorite ex-governor, “you betcha.”

On June 22, President Obama gave a speech at the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House, in which he promised to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as well as the Defense of Marriage Act. For those gay and lesbian Americans with amnesia or short-term memory, this is very exciting news. Undoubtedly, amnesia-laden people must be telling themselves “Hooray for Obama, he’s going to repeal DADT and DOMA!” and “What am I doing in this room? Who are you people?”

However, for the rest of queer America, Obama’s promises ring hollow. Didn’t he promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” back in October? Gay Americans have been promised over and over and over again that change and hope and unicorns are right around the corner. Yet, as gay Americans turn the corner they find no change, very little hope, and a rather sad donkey with a papier-mâché horn tied to its head. We badly wish to believe that Obama can enact the change he’s promised us, and yet far too often his rhetoric feels emptier than a bottle of vodka in Amy Winehouse’s dressing room.

Perhaps Congressman Weiner is right. President Obama has the vision and hope that everything will be better tomorrow, but is too “timid” to make the tough decisions that are required. It’s not a question of Obama being detached from reality, but rather a question of turning his visions into a reality. He can clearly enact big social legislation, as was evident in the passage of the federal health care bill. If the health care battle taught Obama anything, it would be that without temerity and boldness, his plans to make America safer and freer for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans will be damaged by his timidity.

In Spanish, adding the suffix “ita” or “ito” changes the word into a diminutive, as in “casa” (“house”) and “casita” (“little house”). So far, the President hasn’t done much to prove to the gay community that he can or will keep his promises. His promises are weakened with time, and are beginning to feel rather diminutive.

Please don’t let us down, President Obamacito.

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