Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News

Obama Clarifies Process for Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

In a snippet of an interview to be published in the Philadelphia Gay News today, Barack Obama suggests he would proceed with caution in the repeal of the military's failed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy:

Obamacashman"I want to make sure that when we revert 'don't ask, don't tell,' it's gone through a process and we've built a consensus or at least a clarity of what my expectations are so that it works. My first obligation as the president is to make sure that I keep the American people safe and that our military is functioning effectively...Although I have consistently said I would repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be."

I'll be interested in seeing the rest of the interview. UPDATE: Here it is.

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    sometimes you make sense, but the above statement is plain foolishness. No other presidential nominee (Republican or Democrat or whatever) has spent as much time trying to win the support of gay communities than Barack Obama. He even sends his wife to speak to gay groups. When is Miss Cindy going to speak to a gay group? Well, she be might do ok at Wigstock--if they still did it every year.

    And LAS VEGAS, blacks and Latinos have complained for years that the Democratic Party takes their votes for granted. But the right-wing of the Republican Party continues to offend Latinos, and almost the entire Republican Party tells blacks, "we don't need your votes." I'm exaggeratin' a little, but not much.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Sep 18, 2008 1:19:55 PM

  2. Obama is right that challenging DOMA in the Federal courts right now would be an unwise move. Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea is asking for another Hardwick-type decision. That legislation is going to be best attacked at the legislative level. There isn't a chance in hell that the Federal Courts, and especially the Supreme Court, will strike it down, no chance at all.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Sep 18, 2008 1:21:33 PM

  3. "I will be voting for candidates and parties that fully support my full civil and equal rights as a gay citizen of the United States."

    Well, RICKY, I guess you'll be voting for the Communists...but don't trust them either.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Sep 18, 2008 1:24:11 PM

  4. Both candidates were invited to talk to PGN. McCain refused, surprise, surprise. But somehow that's better than Obama actually articulating his positions to the gay press?

    Read the interview. Obama doesn't want to make the same mistake Clinton did, the one that gave us DADT. He doesn't believe "attaching a signing order to a military appropriations bill" is the way to do it. Being sensibly cautious and working towards consensus is hardly the same as backpedaling. It's smart politics.

    As for the Democrat-bashers: No, they're not perfect, but you reveal your trolldom when you go after them but not the far-worse Republicans. Continually slamming Obama but not McCain while pretending to be progressive is simply laughable, but I suspect it will continue thru Nov, when you'll all scoot back into your troll closets under the Republican bridge.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 18, 2008 1:29:26 PM

  5. "The African American and Latino political machines have basically made BOTH parties so completly scared that they cater and court them as much as possible. What about the gays."

    News Flash, Einstein: Gays can be Af-Am and Latino as well. The most reliable people that vote on our side in Congress are the Congressional Black Caucus. Maybe is gays and lesbians would get it together and create their own political machine and stop whining about the other groups that have succeeded, this wouldn't be an issue

    Posted by: Charles | Sep 18, 2008 1:30:25 PM

  6. WES

    Hit the nail on the head. this is not him going back on repealing DADT, this is a play for conservative votes (trying to beat mcshame) so he is wording it in the whole 'process" thing involving the joints chief of staffs so as to calm their fears.

    Its all good, don't worry.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Sep 18, 2008 1:45:34 PM

  7. Politics is about pragmatism and compromise. The Right has been galvanized over Princess Evangelical Mooseburgers, so of course Obama is going to tread carefully over this territory. We are the rights favorite "get out the vote" political tool after all. That doesn't mean Obama doesn't support the gay community, it just means he's a wise politician, as he should be.
    But all you LCR trolls really know this already anyhow. You're just trying to convince others into not voting against their own interests. Hopefully, most people reading here are not as dim and morally vacant as you are.

    Posted by: AdamN | Sep 18, 2008 1:51:19 PM

  8. oops. I meant "voting against their own interests"

    Posted by: AdamN | Sep 18, 2008 1:58:09 PM

  9. It's hilarious that people who swore a couple of months ago that Hillary Clinton was the devil because her husband backpedaled on gay rights in the 1990s are so blatant in their hypocrasy as they excuse their hero for doing the same thing, only now.

    What frightens me about Obama and gay issues is that he seems to agree with Howard Dean that it is his job to mediate between gays and those who seek to oppress us. Neither is willing to be a leader on issues of our equality: they see themseleves as referees.
    I do not think someone whose goal is to get bigots and their victims to sit down at a table together and compromise can be trusted. Obama should stop acting like their points of view deserve respect and use his leadership to make those points of view less

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Sep 18, 2008 2:08:09 PM

  10. Derrick,

    You illustrate exactly what I am talking about and somewhat so does Ernie. Oh look, Obama sent the wife to speak to gay groups. Did she ever go speak to gay groups when he has running for the Senate...did he? I understand things are a little different in a National election than a state but what has he done for gays in the Senate or even done back in his home state?

    Ernie would have everyone believe that if you question the Democratic Party or their candidate you MUST be rooting the opponent and therefore a "troll". Perhaps some people don't feel like it's ok to just hold your nose and pull the Obama trigger because there's nothing better an you're stuck.

    If you read Charles' comment he's actullay saying what I said but in a slightly more bitchy and rude way. Until the gays are facing some sort of huge battle (like a COnstitutional ban on gay marriage) there seems to be no urgency across the community. Look at the battle in was reported yesterday that they are falling behind in fund raising against the other side. So, even in CA, where there are more gays and allies per square foot than any other state can't get the community motivated.

    If I thought the outcome of a McCain/Palin presidency would be an energized, motivated, and united GLBTQ community I'd vote for them in a second because it's the kick in the ass some people really need. I thought this might have happened 4 years ago but all I've heard is whining and bitching with little action. On the flip side if I think 4 years of Obama means watered down gay support to satisfy some other quadrant of Obama's voting bloc then I say no thank you. Because the motivation of the GLBTQ community to act will be the same as it has been for the past 16 years.

    The HRC and the powers that think they are the movers and shakers of the universe will be happy to be handed half a cookie and allowed to maybe attend a state dinner or two with the Obamas. Maybe Obama will tell Michele to even go over and talk to them since that seems to be all it takes for some of you.

    Posted by: Las Vegas | Sep 18, 2008 2:17:44 PM

  11. Some of you people don't even read, so I have little interest in reading you.

    LV, darling, what Ernie (and others) have suggested is that when people ONLY criticize Obama's positions and fail to notice the FAR WORSE positions of his opponents, you give away your home addresses under the bridge.

    Most of us are far from politically naive. We remember Clinton and what happened to him in January '93.

    Frankly, I'm not surprised Obama doesn't want the AG to bring a suit against DOMA. For that he should wait till a few Scalia-Thomas clones leave the Supreme Court and he appoints reasonable people. That will take some time. Meanwhile, the legislative route might work better, especially if people wake up and smell the fundamentals of Republican ineptitude and sweep both houses of Congress free of as many bigots as possible.

    And Landon: I suspect many of the people you saw criticizing Hillary are not the ones now defending Obama, but the ones criticizing Obama. They're not changing their positions and neither are we. I for one defended Clinton from the absurd claims that he "invented" or "advocated for" DOMA and DADT. Both were foisted upon him for political reasons.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 18, 2008 5:02:35 PM

  12. Given that many of the gays and lesbians sacked from the Armed Forces were in positions of great technical need -- Arab linguists especially -- DADT is an unsupportable policy because it is costing both the time and money spent on training and lives lost (US and foreign) because people are not doing their jobs.

    The arguments being used to support DADT are just as ridiculous as the arguments first used to bar people of color from serving in the US Armed Forces and then later to continue the legacy of segregation within our fighting troops.** In addition, it is the height of irony that law-abiding gays and lesbians should be cast aside for "legally challenged" heterosexuals -- especially since these same heterosexuals who needed special dispensation to become soldiers now make for 70% of criminal activity occurring to civilians and other soldiers.

    But ending this horrid policy needs to be done correctly -- the only reason why Truman was able to desegregate the Armed Forces so rapidly was because there was a war going on, which necessitated access to more soldiers. If that (hopefully) is not the situation Obama would be inheriting if he is elected president, then he is forced to repeal DADT through the kabuki theater (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers musical?) of the neo-con culture wars. Although the Armed Forces has already laid the groundwork to allow US citizens of all stripes to serve their country, there are people who would gladly seek to fight the logical conclusion of extensive diversity training on conservative religious grounds because they need to reinforce the monolithic myth of effete gay and butch lesbian deviants/predators.

    DADT should not have happened at all, but it did; the same group of social thugs which brought it about are still around and they still have some fight left. Despite the researched fact that DADT has had a deleterious effect upon the Armed Forces, it will not stop their Holy Crusade upon those who choose not to subscribe to their narrow opinions. Which is why it is crucial to be reminded of the words of FDR should Obama be elected to the presidency: "You've elected me -- now you have to keep me to my word."

    ** As further comparison, people of African descent have fought proudly in every war in which the US has participated -- in fact, the first man to die in the cause of freedom against the British was black (Crispus Attucks). However, it was only when the Armed Forces realized that imposing the social mores of US society upon fighting forces was an inherent detriment, changes were made -- although it did take two world wars and two Asian conflicts to make the Armed Forces the most truly diverse "working group" in the nation.

    Posted by: Foochy | Sep 18, 2008 11:25:41 PM

  13. Wow... big mistake: I read all the comments before reading the interview. I would have guessed that he was hinting at some anti-gay positions or backpedaling.

    There is none.

    He says he will work to repeal DADT when (not if) "we’ve built a consensus or at least a clarity of that, of what my expectations are, so that it works."

    And regarding DOMA, "[W]e need to bring it to a close and my preference would be to work through a legislative solution. I would also point out that if it’s going before this court, I’m not sure what chances it would have to be overturned."

    I don't read any backpedaling or waffling in either of these, just pragmatism, diplomacy, and priorities. Oh, and honesty, which is quite refreshing. With the mess this man's going to inherit, his first priorities better be the economy and Iraq.

    And finally, on questioning leaders regarding LGBT human rights violations: "That [human rights based on sexual orientation]... has to be part and parcel of any conversations we have about human rights."

    Posted by: Alan | Sep 19, 2008 11:03:22 AM

  14. "Princess Evangelical Mooseburgers"... thanks for the laugh, ADAMN.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Sep 19, 2008 11:18:03 AM

  15. I agree Alan, these insta-responses are predictable but still troubling. In the full context of the interview, Obama says he doesnt agree with overtunring DADT via "attaching a signing order to a military appropriations bill," a method employed by Bush to change military policy. Instead, he wants to overturn it via established protocol.

    How is this back-pedalling??

    Andy should make the context of the response much clearer and not just give a separate link to the post because without context one could think (as many here apparently have) that he is backing off of the DADT issue altogether, which is not the case.

    Posted by: GBM | Sep 19, 2008 11:55:36 AM

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