Via Towleroad: It's fashionable for the gays to despise Valerie Jarrett lately. She undeniably put her foot in it recently by referring to homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice," a term that has become more loaded over time as more and more right-wingers and religious zealots have pushed the idea that people choose to be gay. I believe her bureaucratic role led to her use of the phrase in some misguided effort to sound formal and governmental. Either way, it's not an acceptable turn of phrase. To Jarrett's credit, she immediately abjectly apologized—and it wasn't a bullshit, "Sorry IF I offended you!" kind of thing, she explicitly corrected herself and stated she doesn't believe being gay is a choice.
Yesterday, she was on CNN responding to Lt. Dan Choi's passionate response to her previous statements on DADT during which she referred to the fact that some in the gay community "understand" that the Administration can't simply lift DADT on its own, but must do so through an act of Congress. I've watched her say those words and I'm sorry, I do not in any way get condescension. She wasn't trying to lecture. What I got was that this is a woman who, like her boss, is frustrated that because of the principled path Obama has chosen on repealing DADT (he hasn't tried to kill the law through the back door with a stop-loss or other methods), it's put her and the Administration in a position of seeming to say they're against it while fighting to keep it alive. I'd venture to guess she isn't enthusiastic about the way things have gone herself, and while that is just me reading into it, so is deciding that she's some bigoted, condescending lecturer.
Jarrett does not strike me as anti-gay in the slightest. I remember she was praised for her (back then, less contentious and therefore more personal-sounding) forthright speech on DADT and DOMA at Netroots '09. I can't find where, but I feel strongly that within that same time frame she hinted that she was pro-marriage equality, unlike her boss. Regardless, she worked behind the scenes to persuade Illinois state legislators who were anti-civil unions to switch their votes. Her history is not that of a woman who's likely to have hang-ups about homosexuality—she worked closely with Chicago's Mayor Harold Washington, a huge closet queen (though probably not to those around him!) who unfortunately died unexpectedly in office.
Anyway, the latest criticism is that she said on CNN that the president thinks DADT is unconstitutional, when we all know he's never said that. Here's the video:
Lookit, Jarrett is playing this close to the vest and is basically reciting talking points, but she does not confirm that Obama thinks DADT is unconstitutional. Rather, she begins her answer while Blitzer is still asking her the very good question about unconstitutionality. Then she just continues on. And Blitzer, shithead that he is, doesn't follow up and clarify. If he'd put her on the spot with a more direct question minus all the preamble, it would have been interesting to see what she'd have said. But she did not lie and claim Obama has said the law is unconstitutional.
Does Obama even believe it's unconstitutional? We don't know. Which is infuriating because it fucking well is. But for whatever reason—he doesn't think it is or he wants to save that for if the lame-duck session fails to repeal DADT and there is nothing left but the courts—the Administration has clearly decided it is not touching the question of constitutionality.
So in a nutshell: Give me a fucking break when we're spending time arguing over whether Valerie Jarrett is a "lying cunt," "bitch" and "bigot"—as she's been dubbed in many a gay blog's comments section by, y'know, equality-loving types—while our true enemies are just getting revved up for a full frontal assault.