Courting the GOP
Inside the Fight for the Heart and Soul of the Republican Party
When Barack Obama took the stage at a fundraiser in New York City this summer, he was greeted with the kind of enthusiasm that had been largely absent from his second term as president. It had been a tough couple of years for Obama, who at the time was beleaguered with a scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The failed rollout of HealthCare.gov was still fresh in American minds, and, unknown to many, the ISIS threat quietly emerging in the Middle East would soon explode and upend the foreign policy of a president who first ran for office as a peace candidate.
For this night, though, Obama carried the kind of rockstar status that first propelled him to the Oval Office almost six years earlier. His audience wasn’t just Democrats, they were LGBT Democrats. He had been introduced at the fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee by two icons of the LGBT-rights movement: Edith Windsor, the elderly lesbian widow who sued the federal government over the Defense of Marriage Act and won, and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan. One day prior, the White House had announced Obama would at last make good on a campaign promise he made as a candidate for president in 2008 to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama thanked the audience for helping his administration “do more to protect the rights of lesbian, and gay, and bisexual and transgender Americans than any administration in history.” Read more