Rachel Maddow Tells the Left to Reward Obama for His DADT Victory

Rachel Maddow was on MSNBC providing analysis of the Senate’s vote to repeal DADT, when she pointed out that today’s vote is a huge victory President Obama, and one that the base should reward him for. Maddow said, “This was a difficult promise to keep, not just a promise kept, it was one that was hard to keep that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work, and this is the President’s victory and his base will reward him for it.”

Here is the video from MSNBC:

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Rachel Maddow was a guest during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Senate’s vote to repeal DADT, where she discussed the unpredictability of social issue politics, “You know, a lot of people have said that once it would clear that it was going to pass, it would open the door to some unexpected yes votes. I always tend to be a little cynical about these things, so I’m not sure I believed it, but it’s true. To see Richard Burr in particular move on this. To see John Ensign move on this. It just shows you the politics of this are unpredictable, and the people tried to denounce this as a left/right issue, the way that John McCain in particular tried to demagogue this. They’re just wrong. That might have been true 20 years ago, but isn’t true now.”

Maddow talked about this as a huge victory for Obama, “Politically though the thing not to lose touch with here — this is the president’s victory. He took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters, but this is an issue on which the president did not waver. He continued to insist this was possible, that it would get done. It in fact was not possible for the President to do it through executive action. This had to be done legislatively. The President did not waver. He did work on the Senate to get this to happen. He insisted it was possible. This was a difficult promise to keep, not just a promise kept, it was one that was hard to keep that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work, and this is the President’s victory and his base will reward him for it.”

Maddow was right. Once again, Obama managed to accomplish something that most political experts thought was impossible. He got DADT repealed, when it looked like it was going to be filibustered in the Senate, and not have a chance with a new class of Republicans hitting town next month. This is a great victory for all the advocates who have tirelessly fought for almost two decades to get the policy repealed. It is also a much needed victory for the Democratic Party, and it is a huge political victory for President Obama.

Today’s victory begs the question, when is the base going to start giving President Obama credit for his accomplishments? With new polling showing that the tax cut compromise is politically popular with most Americans, and now the DADT repeal, Obama has managed to turn around the perception of his presidency in about two weeks, and I suspect that the next round of polls will show growth in the President’s approval rating.

The only thing keeping Obama from being a very popular president is the economy. If the economy takes off again before 2012, Obama will not only win reelection, but he will return to the White House for his second term in dominant fashion. The base should reward Obama for this victory, but I have my doubts that they will. To some, what Obama hasn’t done is more important than what he has done, and I don’t think one DADT victory is going to change their perception of this president, but one can hope, and at least for one day, everyone should try to enjoy this historic victory, and signal of a sweeping cultural shift in America.

30 Replies to “Rachel Maddow Tells the Left to Reward Obama for His DADT Victory”

  1. Rachel:
    I even thanked Sen. Lieberman earlier!! ;-) I even said I wouldn’t say anything bad about him for the rest of the weekend. So yes, we are thankful. The tax cuts for the rich are still a bitter pill to swallow.

  2. :-) My favorite line from Rachel was “It in fact was not possible for the President to do it through executive action. This had to be done legislatively.”

    That was a strong message to the base and she knows of what she speaks. The same can be said of the tax cuts, which doesn’t make it any easier to swallow, but allows us to function in reality and put our efforts into things we can accomplish and push the President on things he can do. The fact that he used up so much political capital on this (only so much to go around) reflects his priorities. I would rather he got this done than use all it all up for things that do not impact civil rights. These are the things that will change this country for the better in the long term. What a day:-)

  3. Yes Obama deserves credit for this, but I trust the dem congress to give it to him about as much as I would trust Bristol Palin with my viginity.

    make no mistake about it, as far as I am concerned Obama had battery clamps on these guys nipples before the vote and one hand on the positive post.

    I wish to god they had stood up the last 2 years and been a party.

  4. I’ve said all along, Jason, that President Obama is a master of the “rope-a-dope” and this shows it once again. The man is brilliant. It’s sad that so many Dems aren’t smart enough to see it. The “I want mine and I want it now” mentality has to go. Patience is as virtue.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Jason. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your pieces. Keep writing.

  5. The US has been becoming more gay friendly without any help from Washington. The reality is that Obama has not only failed progressives on every significant piece of economic legislation but he has embraced an authoritarian and militaristic world view that is morally repugnant to any person of conscience. Measured against these failings, to suggest that the repeal of DADT should earn Obama some praise from the left is laughable.

  6. I would go as far as to say the dems had nothing to do with it. Not a one of them. This is all them conservatives doing.

  7. I am quite sure your rage and bitterness accompany you no matter what you do and whom you’re talking about because the facts say otherwise.

  8. I am neither enraged nor bitter. I just point out an obvious truth. Progressives praising the Democratic leadership for repealing DADT are like impoverished tea party supporters praising the republicans for (insert republican slogan/Glenn Beck talking point of the week here).

    I am not enraged, bitter, or surprised that the Democrat leadership has shown no spine, no vision, no direction, and no ability to frame a debate, to advocate a position, or to take a stand on an issue of substance. Lets be honest. They are the Cleveland Browns of politics.

    Just don’t ask me to reward them for one minor, and largely inconsequential, victory after a couple of years of getting their asses handed to them by a Republican party that was widely viewed as dead and buried by the legacy of GWB.

  9. Kevin.

    He ran on repealing it. He managed to get enough dems and a few republicans to vote for it. The people didnt vote which throws out your America is leaning towards gays.

    I dont ask you for anything. From the looks of it you arnt capable of giving credit and if you could, I for one wouldnt want it.

    Now just accept the fact you are talking from uranus and get over it. The rep’s took the senate. Whoopee. Anything they want to do has to go through the dem senate and to the Dem pres.

  10. Shiva, You may not be asking for anything, but Rachel Maddow is. That is the point of the article. She feels the left should reward Obama for the repeal of DADT. I am fine with giving him credit for it. I am not fine with forgetting that he has spend the last two years pissing on the very people who elected him.

    There has been increasing support, among progressives, for the idea of running a democratic opponent to Obama in the primary. It probably wont happen. The fact that a large number of people support the idea speaks volumes.

  11. Hi Janet,

    Yes, it is the what have you done for me lately strain of the Democratic Party rearing its head again. Some people have now made up their minds on Obama and refuse to give him credit for anything.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, and thank you for taking the time to stop by and read.

    I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest New Year.

  12. Actually the polls show that his support is just fine. Turns out the far left was never his base and most of them supported other candidates (Edwards ring a bell?). So they were never going to be pleased with Obama anyway. But his core base is still there.

    And I can’t believe when I hear people go on about what he didn’t do for the first two years. He passed more liberal legislation than any president since FDR and so anyone who’s complaining about that is either ignorant, listening to people who aren’t being honest with them, or has an agenda. Legislation passed is a fact- you can’t deny it.

  13. pppsshh. We’ve been kickin’ ass with our heterosexual military for 200+ years now. Let’s not fix what ain’t broken.

  14. President Obama deserves a ton of respect for what he’s done in his first two years.

    Unfortunately he will not be able to get much of significance done in the next two years because of the GOP takeover in the House.

    We have to get out there and vote in 2012 and take back the House. There is more work to be done!

  15. Obama deserves much credit:

    1. Obama took this job in the middle of the worst economic period since the Great Depression. No the economy isn’t exactly running high right now, but it has been turned around so that it’s at least not falling apart anymore.

    2. Obama signed health care reform into law. No it’s not perfect. But it’s the best he could get past Republican filibusters. It changes health care from a privilege to a right. It’s a very big deal and it will lead to more improvements in the future (and hopefully eventually to a single payer system.)

    3. Obama is signing the DADT repeal.

    More: http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

  16. This is not an inconsequential victory! This is the ending of bigotry in the military. Man… You are a very short sighted guy! I’m sure we very much agree on the issues — but I just … I’m really getting impatient with impatient liberals!

    Please read some history books: Progress has never come over night. Never. We will have to fight for every inch of it.

    Let’s fight the Republicans. Stop fighting our President. It’s a waste of time.

  17. I do not believe that a large % of people support running anyone against Obama. That’s nonsense!

    It would be a really really REALLY dumb thing to do.

    Progressives/Liberals must realize that we are a minority in this country. We are only about 20% of the voters.

    The problem is not with the politicians, it’s with the American people.

    If the country were more liberal, the politicians would respond. They want to get reelected.

  18. Amen, English Saddle. I agree that the far left was never Obama’s base. Anyone who listened closely or read his platform during the campaign knew that he was a pragmatist with liberal leanings; emphasis on pragmatist. Principle doesn’t mean much in governing if nothing gets done.

    In the current political climate, Obama played his hand well. Republicans can no longer call him “the other,” or suggest that bipartisanship is not an option. The man has long term vision that unfortunately is not shared by most of his Democratic peers.

  19. Obama is a center-left pragmatist, as am I. Social structures (at least in free societies) are like evolution, with long periods of equilibrium punctuated by change. The passage of both the health care bill (probably, it will take many years and improvements for the effects to become clear) and the repeal of DADT are just such punctuation. But, I too had so much pent-up desire for progress after the wasteland W. years that I have felt dissapointed by Obama’s first two years. But, democrats now have an opportunity to prove that they can be fiscally responsible if democrats will get behind the hard choices that have to be made by everyone. Let’s be the party of grown-ups, please. However, the real enemy is not the Republicans, its the vast amount of money politicians must raise to be elected and re-elected. Big money is the real threat to the middle-class. And there is no hope for campaign finance reform, or for human rights progress, until some far-right Supreme Court justices are replaced! Therefore, not only should we support Obama in 2012, we should be looking ahead to potential 2016 presidential candidates and working hard to create a center-left Democratic party that can appeal to many independent voters.

  20. I agree with those who say that a lot of people on the far left who claim they are Obama’s base are NOT his base. They are fairweathered voters who barely even supported Obama through the election and have proven so throughout his Presidency. Rachel is one of the people who barely supported Obama throughout the primaries, there were times when she would chastise this President over DADT, almost to the point of being disrespectful. At least she was mature enough (this time) to admit she was wrong and others like her should do the same. This is very much Obama’s voctory along with the gay rights avocates and gay community members serving in our military. The people who do not take time out to thank this President and this Congress are very ungreatful. This President said he would repeal DADT on his watch and he did, the right way.

    Some on the left need to learn the difference between people who are against their cause and those who are for their cause and just want to do things the right way. Some on the left completely crossed the line with this President on this issue (some were very abusive) and it makes me look at the left differently when it comes to Obama now.

  21. Jay perfectly articulated a fundamental disconnect on the Dem Left. IMO there is an escalating riff with Liberals vs. Progressives for power and or influence. I also see an inherent messaging problem with an unexplainable lack of enthusiasm to fix it.
    As for Rachel Maddow: the DADT victory by Obama, who is known as someone who always uses a methodical cerebral approach to problem solving, deserves much more from her than just an acknowledgment that “the base” should reward him. This moment cries out for admittance by Maddow that SHE was very significant not only in pumping the media horn, but also of straining Obama’s relationship with “the base” with what I considered unwarranted criticism. Her media critique and those of her collegues at MSNBC, came at a crucial time in the lead-up to the midterms. Maddow’s weekly reporting on DADT progress was always very fastidious, a characteristic symptomatic of those with influence on the Professional Left who harbor specific pet agendas.

  22. So well said. Your point about Obama’s methodical cerebral approach was spot on. It also happens to be the way he gets things done for real, and yet the “base” doesn’t seem to realize this.

    MSNBC has become the place to go to hear distorted hysteria not rooted in political reality against the President. Typical liberal move. If you want to read civilized critique of the President and acknowledgment of his successes (of which there are many and I’ll not apologize for speaking the truth), you can go to Republicans for Obama. I kid you not. Well, I’m not sure their site is still up, but in his first year, they were one of few places on the internet where one could discuss issues without apologizing for actually agreeing with Obama. How bizarre is that?

    Rachel’s point (and I admire her mind greatly) about Obama using political capital to achieve this was ignored by the left. He worked on that for TWO years. Lieberman was a part of that. And yet the left said he was weak to keep Lieberman around. What do they say now? Are they willing to throw away every piece of legislation that passed because some unpure Democrat finally chose to cast ONE vote for the party platform, but that one vote was instrumental in getting historic legislation passed? Many of those blue dogs from red states and red areas have given us ONE vote. A vote we never would have had without them, and without them we would have a Republican in that seat. Yes, this is just reality and no, I don’t like it either. But that ONE vote was worth the rest of their baloney in retrospect, wasn’t it.

    Yes, clean out the party by all means:-) And toss out all of that legislation, too. See how that goes over.

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