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Thread: Obama dumped DADT repeal back in Februrary - breaking news

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry Obama dumped DADT repeal back in Februrary - breaking news

    Didn't see this one coming. </sarcasm>

    Kerry Eleveld has a blockbuster article tonight exposing what many of us have been hearing for quite awhile. Shortly after Obama told the nation in the State of the Union that he wanted to repeal DADT "this year," a meeting was held at the White House with gay "leaders" where Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina basically said it wasn't going to happen this year.


    Yet just days after the January 27 speech, White House officials convened a meeting on February 1 with LGBT advocates in which they said the policy would not be included in the president’s recommendations for the Department of Defense authorization bill, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.

    “It was a definitive shut-down from [Jim] Messina,” said a source, who was present at the meeting and agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, referring to White House deputy chief of staff. “He said it would not be going into the president’s Defense authorization budget proposal.” The news was a blow to activists since the Defense funding bill is the best legislative vehicle for including a measure to overturn the policy. “It almost seemed like the bar on the hurdle got raised two or three times higher,” said the source.



    That was a huge blow. And, Messina would have been the one to deliver the blow. He's overseeing DADT strategy at the White House.

    Even the Human Rights Campaign, which tried to downplay how devastating the Messina meeting really was, had to admit that right after the President promised in the State of the Union to repeal DADT this year, the White House began to back off the President's clear promise:


    But the Human Rights Campaign’s David Smith, who also attended the meeting, recalls it differently.

    “They were noncommittal about legislation in that meeting, but not definitively one way or the other,” said Smith, vice president of programs for HRC.



    Non-committal only five days after the President was quite committal in his speech.

    Let's be realistic: Everything we've heard from the White House and the Pentagon over the past few months is that repeal isn't happening this year. These decisions aren't made in a vacuum. There's always a political consideration and when Messina and his boss, Rahm Emanuel, are involved, they're usually craven political considerations. Rahm and Messina made the calculation that they won't pay a political price for blocking the repeal of DADT this year. The only problem is that if the Democrats suffer heavy losses in the November elections, which everyone expects, DADT won't be repealed during Obama's first-term, and it may not be repealed for years after that. (The last time we lost the Congress it took 14 years to get it back, and even then we had to wait two more years for a Democratic president -- and even then, we're having an extremely difficult time being taken seriously.) Another 14 year wait is brutally unfair to the gays and lesbians who serve and want to serve their country. And it's unfair to the millions of gays and lesbians, and our friends and families, who voted for, campaigned for, and donated money to the Obama campaign.

    Back to "noncommittal." Just five days before the Messina meeting the President said he was going to have DADT repealed this year -- he even said "this year" twice. But, by everyone's recollection at this White House meeting, the indications were certainly otherwise. That should have set off alarms. Yet, at the end of February, HRC President Joe Solmonese told his organization's donors at a fundraiser that DADT would be repealed this year. HRC already had indications to the contrary. The warning signs were there. The White House has played us for fools. And HRC did nothing, said nothing, other than repeatedly reassuring the gay public that everything was on track, when they knew it wasn't because Messina had told them it wasn't going to happen.

    What's really frustrating is that we could repeal the law this year if the President would simply follow through on his promise:


    [SLDN's Aubrey] Sarvis added that President Obama could boost repeal efforts by stating his desire to see the measure passed this year but, more importantly, by getting personally involved with lobbying senators.

    “We need the president to become actively engaged in this vote, not unlike the way he is engaged with financial services reform right now,” he said.



    Earlier this week, Sarvis wrote a letter to Obama, which included this line "I am very disturbed by multiple reports from Capitol Hill that your Congressional liaison team is urging some Members of Congress to avoid a vote on repeal this year."

    Now, we know that the decision not to proceed with the repeal of DADT this year before the potentially devastating mid-term elections in November, was made by senior White House officials and conveyed to gay leaders several months ago, while most of us were still thinking Obama actually meant what he said in the State of the Union. And a large part of the reason we believed it is because HRC kept telling us the President had our back, when they knew he didn't.

    NOTE FROM JOHN: One final point. Things are so bad that even HRC has now felt the need to criticize the White House. You'll recall that HRC has been defending the White House's mis-steps on gay issues for over a year now.


    Gibbs also laid the responsibility for whether a repeal vote is taken at the doorstep of Congress.

    “The House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government,” he added.

    Smith took exception to the remarks from Gibbs.

    “Those comments were not helpful and the White House needs to clarify that,” he said. “The president said he wants to work with Congress this year to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' and we take the president at his word. But as we continue to put pressure on Congress, the White House needs to speak with one voice and not send us mixed messages.”



    So yet again the White House is putting out the line that the President is weak and powerless, and has no influence with Congress. It's not only pathetic that any employee of the White House would think it wise to spread the word that the President is weak, but it's also a lie. And it's one the White House, and frankly HRC, has been spreading for a while now. The notion that Congress passes laws, the President only executes them. It's a cute high school civics approach to explaining how Washington works, it's also incredibly naive.

    As we saw with health care reform, when the President dithered for a good year, the reform effort spun out of control and the entire thing was almost lost. When the President finally got engaged, finally put the full force of his presidency behind lobbying for the bill, suddenly the bill became law. It is flat out wrong, a lie, to suggest that the President has no power to influence legislation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying to you, or has no concept whatsoever of how Washington works.

    That is why even HRC had to finally admit that Gibbs' most recent statement was not helpful, and seemed to contradict the President's earlier promise to work with Congress to get the law repealed this year.

    It's astounding how badly this White House has fucked over our community.

    AMERICAblog Gay: ADVOCATE: White House backed away from DADT repeal in early Feb.: 'It was a definitive shut-down from [Jim] Messina'
    simply amazing
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    just FYI

    "The annual fiscal year 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' discharge statistic combines the total number of discharges reported by the Department of Defense, which was 428, with the total number of discharges reported by the Department of Homeland Security for the Coast Guard, which was 15. This brings the official 17-year total, according to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, to 13,425 discharges under 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    13,425 discharges under 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'"

    Mind boggling.



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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    It gets better:

    Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. That's the committee that needs to put DADT repeal in the Defense Authorization bill, if we have any hope of getting repeal this year. Levin now says that the President and the Pentagon want him to wait until the DOD study on implementation is done. That won't be until December or later. That means after the November congressional elections. After Democrats lose significant numbers of seats and possibly control over the House. That means we may not see DADT repealed for another generation.

    Oh, and forget about ENDA and DOMA too.

    DC Agenda reports:


    Among those noticing a lack of support from the Obama administration to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at this time is Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Asked by DC Agenda on Tuesday what the White House and the Pentagon are saying they want from lawmakers on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Levin replied, “Let them complete the analysis.”


    That also means the President lied in his State of the Union when he said he wanted repeal this year. Now he doesn't. What other promises to what other communities, or nations, has the President made that he considers revokable? Does Barack Obama's word mean anything anymore?

    I'm reminded of a story John Kerry told about Degaulle and Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis:


    I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, "Here, let me show you the photos." And DeGaulle waved them off and said, "No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."

    Diminishing the President's word has serious consequences for our country that go far beyond DADT.

    AMERICAblog Gay: Sen. Levin says White House and DOD don't want him to act on DADT this year
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