Thursday, August 19, 2010

White House Slam of Gay Bloggers Continues: John Aravosis Asks Why

Re: the White House's recent lambasting of gay bloggers who keep asking the president to keep his campaign promises (see Pam Spaulding for hard-hitting analysis of this story), John Aravosis observes at AMERICAblog,

It's not entirely clear why the White House thinks all of these on-the-record whine fests are a good idea.

It does seem clear to me, though.  The White House plays this political game for the same reason that the cool, dispassionate, cerebral president upbraids only hecklers from the gay community.  It's a cheap game, one designed to demonstrate the machismo of the administration and to score points with independents who need to be reassured that the administration is centrist.

It's a cheap Rahmian game designed to score political points at the expense of a marginalized community deprived of rights, who are easily mocked and mocked with impunity.  As Steve Kornacki points out at Salon today, commenting on the ground-zero mosque controversy as Republican gold, there's no real political price to be paid for engaging in such games.  They play to what is worst and basest in our nature, rather than calling on us to access our better angels.  

They do so for the immediate gain of those playing the games, who know that they can get away with the games.  And who know that they will only nudge their ratings up by playing them.  And that no one in the communities they are using as political objects in their games can really make a significant impact by calling the game-players to moral accountability, as the public at large cheers the minority-bashing on.

It's cynical.  Bill Clinton chose to do it, and it seemed to work, though his abdication of principle from the outset of his presidency ultimately left him a sitting duck for his Republican enemies, who smelled blood and went for it voraciously.  And because Mr. Obama, Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Axelrod, Mr. Gibbs, et al. have chosen to play by the Clinton playbook of cynical, pragmatist political calculation, they have now made their administration a sitting duck in the very same way.

It's 2010, not 1993.  But I don't think this administration realizes it.  And I think it's going to pay a very high price for its hubris and blindness at the polls this fall, as a result--a price we all will be paying for a long time to come.