Activists Who Know What They’re Doing Will Always Be Disappointed

Ruth Marcus has a perceptive column on activist infrastructure disappointment with Barack Obama along a number of dimensions. But I did think it’s worth pointing out that this dynamic is essentially inevitable if we assume that all the big players have some baseline level of competence.

After all, if you assume that leaders of gay rights groups would like to see full and total equality one of these days, then obviously they have to complain that the pace of change is insufficient. To go around in public saying “yeah, Obama’s kind of slow-walking some of this stuff but we understand that he’s got a lot on his plate” would be incredibly counterproductive. No politician is going to magically delivery on everything all his supporters want him to do, and that’s just the way of the world. But it’s also the way of the world that activists have to keep demanding more and pushing the pace. So in that sense I don’t think it’s a “problem” for Obama that folks want him to do more, nor is it really a “problem” for activist groups that Obama isn’t doing everything they want—that’s just the nature of how change happens.