Gates: Reform Of DADT Put On Backburner

On January 14, 2009, Robert Gibbs said that President Obama would lift the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military. Gibbs did not promise when this would occur. Robert Gates says not soon:

Don't expect any change soon to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays in the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says both he and President Barack Obama have "a lot on our plates right now." As Gates puts it, "let's push that one down the road a little bit."

It's not a top priority for me, but something I hope the President gets to sooner rather than later. But like, EFCA, it seems the repeal of DADT (which was an improvement over the previous zero tolerance policy) is not something that will be addressed this year.

Speaking for me only

< Legalization: Now a Question of When, Not If | Sunday Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Hmm, wasn't he just mocking (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:55:45 PM EST
    the Republicans for saying that he couldn't do more than one thing at a time?

    This is a policy that is clearly hurting America every day, but as always, the politics dictate that he do nothing now. More reason for more pressure.  

    I repeat what I've said before. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Joelarama on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 03:53:59 AM EST
    If we do not see a major piece of gay rights legislation pass during Obama's four years, with a Democratic-controlled Congress, (e.g. DADT repeal, hate crimes, ENDA) then LGBT persons should leave the party.

    If absolutely nothing passes with a Democratic president and Congress, then we have no leverage or respect in this party.


    yet another campaign promise that he won't (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by iceblinkjm on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:01:41 PM EST
    be fulfilling. Why am I not surprised.

    I don't think Obama ever promised to (none / 0) (#8)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:05:51 PM EST
    repeal DADT. He only said that he was in favor of it being repealed. There's an important semantic difference.

    You are correct (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by mexboy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:24:58 PM EST
    Obama never promised anything. He used his lawyer skills to lead everyone to believe he was promising without actually promising anything.

    Very elegant.


    oops, he did promise (none / 0) (#23)
    by mexboy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:26:54 PM EST
    No (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:08:30 PM EST
    He promised it.

    I stand corrected. Well. given Obama's (none / 0) (#13)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:11:25 PM EST
    lukewarm relationship with the gay community and his general desire to avoid difficult issues, it shouldn't be much of a surprise.

    Indeed, it isn't (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    Well, the gays don't seem to be a top priority (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ericinatl on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:21:45 PM EST
    for anyone, other than the Mormons and the Fred Phelpsers, unfortunately

    Over at Dailykos they are tearing a (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:13:11 PM EST
    diarist apart for bringing this up. The funniest part is that two of the main arguments being made are 1) Let's remeber this is Bill Clinton's fault for signing DADT into law and 2) Obama can't move quickly on this, look how much it hurt Bill Clinton when he tried to stand up for equal rights. Make up your minds guys.

    dailyWhat? ;-) (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:47:43 PM EST
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:55:25 PM EST
    the level of idiocy in the dkos community is pretty high.

    Hardly representative of general blog views.

    see Yglesias for example.


    The wonderful DKos community, with some (none / 0) (#47)
    by Joelarama on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 03:47:44 AM EST
    noble exceptions, loves giving gays a bog cup of STFU.

    Is it me, or is the DKos Obama-mania at its most shrill when it comes to swatting teh gayz?


    hey, it's far, far better (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by cpinva on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:29:07 PM EST
    to have convicted, violent felons serving in our armed forces, than competent gays and lesbians. after all, those gays and lesbians might actually get the job done, without embarassing us by randomly raping and killing afghan and iraqi civilians.

    can't have that kind of nonsense!

    Gays and women (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:57:04 PM EST
    I've long said that since it seems to be the heterosexual men in the military who cause all the trouble, we should toss them out and have just women and gays.  Great fighting force, will bond tightly for unit cohesion without any worries about what Phil Donahue used to call "pee-pee peeking" in the showers, fantastic at community relations, far less unnecessary violence against civilians, never mind each other, etc.

    Isn't It Up to Congress? (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:57:04 PM EST
    Or can Obama eliminate DADT with the stroke of a pen?

    Was it codified? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:59:39 PM EST
    Then I imagine there are bill proposed to repeal it.

    The question is will Obama fight for its repeal. The short term answer is no.

    Just like EFCA.


    It Is Obviously (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:05:37 PM EST
    A stupid and counterproductive policy that many military leaders are against. My guess is that Obama does not want a fight on this that he will lose in congress.

    It is so f'ing unfair and absurd that gay's cannot be who they are in the military, while straight people can be as sexed up as they want. IOW the DADT does not apply to heterosexuals.

    It is only a political footbal, in practice DADT is beyond irrational.


    Not sure what your point is (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:09:59 PM EST
    There are a lot of stupid policies that will not be easy to overturn.

    I am not even saying Obama is wrong to push it back.

    But I tell you what would be wrong - for people who care about the issue to accept this.

    Squeaky wheels, erm, Squeaky.


    Well Yeah (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:20:20 PM EST
    This is obviously not going away. My point is just a lament that It is so absurd, especially when soldiers are facing death, for pols to be pols, and particularly the pols that know DADT is only about getting the lowest common denominator votes.

    Doubt there is a vote to be won or lost (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:24:05 PM EST
    on the issue personally. And I doubt the Obama team is thinking about that. I think this is more about relationships with the military.

    He might be looking at Georgia for '12 (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:27:41 PM EST
    But that's at the margins. You're right that it's clearly about the bigoted brass.

    Georgia? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:33:09 PM EST
    Sheesh. Talk about delusional.

    Not you (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:33:59 PM EST
    But anyone who thinks Georgia can be won.

    Two words - Saxby Chambliss. In the most toxic environment for Republicans since Hoover.


    He needs to find about 200k votes there (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    Not impossible, but not easy. How quickly can he approve citizenship apps in his first term?

    Impossible (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:39:06 PM EST
    Obama will do worse in Georgia in 4 years.

    If he does worse in Georgia, then (none / 0) (#30)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:41:49 PM EST
    he will also lose North Carolina this time around. Unless you think he's going to do even worse with southern whites, I don't see how he will do worse.

    Ahh (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:44:19 PM EST
    No. North Carolina is different than Georgia now.

    More "creative class" if you will.


    I think it's a continuum (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:47:01 PM EST
    As the Democratic majority emerges, it will march across Georgia. It's only a matter of time. So, citizenship applications. 500,000 over the next 4 years in Georgia ought to do it.

    Heh (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:47:55 PM EST
    Yeah well . . .

    Yeah (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:36:12 PM EST
    He needs them. I would have loved to see Gates sent out with the other dirty laundry, but I realized that Obama needs someone to deliver support from the troops.

    Although, I though that most top brass were against DADT during wartime. Guess I was wrong..  


    I don't believe this is up to Congress (none / 0) (#46)
    by Romberry on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:48:43 PM EST
    Harry Truman integrated the armed forces via executive order. Clinton backed away from using an executive order to do the same with respect to gays in the military and reached a compromise with congress.

    I don't know of anything, compromise or no compromise, that would prevent Obama from tackling this issue and ending official discrimination against gays in the miliary via the issuance of an executive order. If someone can show me where this is incorrect, I'll certainly withdraw the claim.

    (See this timeline on gays in the military.)


    Not a big surprise. When they sent it (none / 0) (#3)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:57:20 PM EST
    to a committee (a military brass committee at that) I think we all knew they'd be kicking it down the road a ways. I'm not sure Dems even have the votes to overturn it.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:00:26 PM EST
    When the President says he won't address it anytime soon, then there certainly won;t be the votes necessary.

    More cowardice (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:10:44 PM EST
    From a continually cowardly military "leadership".  The longer our soldiers are allowed to exist in a vaccum of hatred and intolerance, the military will NEVER achieve even an nth of its genuine potential.  

    There is no excuse for this except pure cowardice.  Not politics, not anything, it is homophobic cowards incapable of facing their own prejudices and paradigms, not even for the good of the nation.

    Jokes, every one of them.  Unfunny, pathetic, jokes.

    What year is it again?  What country do we live in again?

    It is little things like this, that are really big things, that give me little hope about anything else getting better.

    EFCA (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:11:17 PM EST
    I just read that Feinstein and Specter are now against it.

    The latest hurdle came Friday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she would seek alternative legislation that was less divisive. Feinstein, a past sponsor of the act, cited the flailing economy as a reason; other critics of the bill have said it would drive up operating costs for businesses at a perilous time.


    Feinstein's words came days after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) declared that he would not support the bill. Specter too had supported the act in the past, and his announcement was viewed as eliminating any chance that Democrats could muster enough votes to break a promised Republican filibuster.


    My recollection (none / 0) (#15)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:20:17 PM EST
    is that Ellen Tauscher was pledging to push the repeal process forward in Congress, but with her moving to a new job at the State Department, the political will to address this from the Capitol Hill side may have dissipated.

    It seems too conspiracy theoryish (none / 0) (#18)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:21:48 PM EST
    to suggest they moved her to try to keep it from being an issue... but I guess I'm going to suggest that this might be the case.

    Ellen Tauscher? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:22:15 PM EST
    Good riddance!! Or so I read when that announcement was made.

    Never Believe Obama on this Issue! (none / 0) (#34)
    by blogname on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:03:45 PM EST
    They have been using the economy as a convenient excuse to mask his deceit on issues from NAFTA to DADT.  Honestly, I do not expect him to move on this issue unless Congress or a court pushes him (and others expressed this view a long time ago).  

    Reciting Obama's "busy man" excuse, Gibbs sounds like the Vermont governor who not only cites to Obama to support his opposition to same-sex marriage, but also says that the economy is too bad to hold a debate on the subject. Definite Candidate for Wimp of the Year Award: Vermont Governor Jim Douglas

    Douglas veto (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:53:25 PM EST
    This is a real shame because there's no real reason for it.  The VT Senate voted to approve marriage equality overwhelmingly, and the House will also approve by a large margin.  By announcing his intent to veto the bill, something he almost never, ever does before a bill is passed, he's knowingly thrown a big wrench in the progress of the bill.  Many VT Republican House members support it and will vote for it, but will not vote to override their own governor's veto.

    An interesting filip to Vermont's override procedure is that it requires 2/3 of the members present for the vote to override.  So there are very interesting manueverings going on in the House to see who can be persuaded to have a dental emergency on the day of the override vote.

    It doesn't look good, but there's still an outside chance they'll be able to do it.

    This move by Douglas has everybody in the state just baffled because he has nothing to gain by it politically (and lord knows it's not because he has strong principles of any kind).  He didn't even have to sign it, he could have just let it become law without his signature if he wanted to register disapproval.

    Douglas has been here too long and everybody's just sick of him, and he will surely lose reelection if the Dems. and Progs. can get together behind a good candidate (of which there are several).  He ain't gonna replace one of Vermont's senators, either, so his political career is essentially at an end.

    Why he wants to go down in history arm in arm with the diehard Southern segregationists is just baffling.


    Really? (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:16:02 PM EST
    Don't you think that if it were politically advantageous for Obama to press congress to repeal DADT, that he would not, out of principal?

    Haven't you argued that Obama has no principals?


    He'd do it on a Friday night (none / 0) (#37)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:18:11 PM EST
    when nobody was looking ;) Although, I'm not sure this issue can be handled that quietly . . .

    Once again, (none / 0) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:29:09 PM EST
    the military brass have ruled the day on an issue of discrimination that transcends the military itself.  Not only does this unconscionable discriminatory policy adversely affect our warring efforts, but also, contributes to the continued demonization of gay women and men in society, generally.  The year 2009 marks the 125th birthday (May 8) of President Harry Truman.  What a great opportunity missed to celebrate a contribution by the 33rd president that continues to strengthen both the military and society--the Truman order in 1948 to end discrimination, and, effectively, end segregation in the military: President Obama, our first black president, fighting to end yet another form of discrimination against Americans, with the unjust consequence of expulsion from service. Some civil rights leaders and generals of the past (the infamous Colin Powell comes to mind)  objected to this analogy to discrimination. However, after all that has passed since DADT was codified, you would think that enlightened minds would prevail out of sheer embarrassment.  

    "Enlightened minds?" (none / 0) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 04:58:03 PM EST
    As Richard Nixon was leaving the South Lawn of the White House for the last time, one third of the population thought he had been "railroaded." Today, amidst the ruin and devastation that is George Bush's legacy, one third of the population would vote for him again for President.

    No, if we wait for any kind of consensus, it will never happen. The only thing that will change it is for a hero to emerge; a man or woman who will take a stand and say, NO! This abomination, this affront to decency, morality, and justice cannot, and will not stand another day! Which part of "liberty and justice for ALL" don't we understand?

    If only a small handful of principled Senators and Congressmen/women vow to throw a crowbar into the wheels of legislative activity until this thing is settled, it could be done in a day.

    That "hero" could be Barack Obama. Even George Bush understood he had to use his "political capital" early in his administration. If Obama doesn't use his, he doesn't deserve a second term.


    Or deserve, really, (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 05:48:06 PM EST
    the first.