Just watched my President Bill Clinton's speech before the netroots conference, this year being held in Pittsburgh. Netroots conference began as YearlyKos but has become so much bigger than those early meetings.
The speech was typical Big Bill, a bit rambling, a bit professorial and completely compelling and passionate. He was so supportive of the President you would have thought his wife won. He sounded like a 100% Obama supporter. I believe he was sincere and I think he is fully on board with our President and wants nothing but his complete success. President Clinton believes and I agree that if the President is successful we progressives will control the national agenda for 40 years. Providing we don't eat our young and beat ourselves up too much and that is a really big if, we are Democrats after all.
Part of the way through his address a really cute guy stood up and began to shout at the President. Because this broadcast was on Cspan viewers could not hear what he was saying, so I assumed he was a birther, teabagger, townhall shouter or a death panelist. But, something didn't seem right. He was white, OK, he was male, OK but he had a really nice body, a good hair cut and stylishly dressed.
Boing! He was shouting about DOMA and DADT. He is gay!
At first our Big Dog was pissed for the interruption, then he calmed down and promised the young man that he would address his questions. The young man said "Do you promise?. President Clinton responded with a whithering stare. The young man sat down looking very proud of himself.
President Clinton tried to continue but the more he thought about it he realized this was his opportunity to answer his critics on these two issues. His response was typical Bill Clinton. He blamed his times, his supporters, congress and said his hand was forced on both issues. He wanted to do the right thing but the nation was not ready to go there. And, you know what? He is right, the nation was not ready in the 1990's . He believes that we are now almost was ready. He regrets having to sign these two bills into law, he claims he did so because there was worse, much worse legislation pending and he wanted to avoid that.
My favorite line of his was when he asked the young man why he didn't do his part by pressuring his member of Congress to do the right thing and asking everyone in the room what they did to support these issues, the silence was deafening. And, that is why I continued to support Bill Clinton, we expected him to fight our battles for us. It is our battle, we cannot expect straight people to lead the fight. How many members of congress did we support who would actively work to overturn DOMA and DADT? Or, did we settle and just support our Democratic friends. I know I did and if you are honest you know you did the same.
President Clinton is as he usually is correct. Old friends may remember that I was about the only politically active gay guy at the time defending my President. Politics is about reality not about our dreams or about what a perfect world would be like. Politics is about dealing with the here and now. Campaigns are about hopes and dreams. Governing is about what can be done.
President Clinton supports the overturning of both DOMA and DADT. Once again, I believe him and believe that he will do all he can to ensure this happens.
He clearly did not intend for this to be the focus of his speech but he is so smart and so in tune with how to get his message across that he wrapped it all up by saying that this is our time and this is our opportunity to set the nation on it's right course and when this current President is successful, progressives will lead this country for one or two generations.