Barack Obama | Books | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Ellen Tauscher | Military | News | Rachel Maddow

Obama Begins Consultation of Advisors on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Obama has begun consulting his advisors on repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to a statement from the White House which offers no time frame and doesn't say whether a commission will be named to further study it.

Dadt2 AP: "The move enables Obama to say he's making good on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but doesn't lock him into doing so anytime soon. The carefully calculated statement, released this week by White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, leaves enough wiggle room to prevent the hot-button issue from consuming Obama's foreign policy agenda, which is dominated by ending the Iraq war and salvaging operations in Afghanistan. 'The president supports changing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Vietor said in the e-mailed statement. 'As part of a long-standing pledge,' Obama has begun consulting closely with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen 'so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security,' Vietor said."

This week, Rep. Ellen Tauscher re-introduced legislation to repeal the ban.

In February, Obama said more assessment was needed before the ban could be repealed, a statement that was rebutted by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis, who cited the "long line of reports" disputing the ban's effectiveness that began 21 years ago, as well as the hundreds of military figures who have come out against it.

A new book by researcher Nathaniel Frank which investigates the extremely flawed roots of the flawed policy was released this week. Towleroad published details of the book earlier this week in which Frank reveals that creators of the policy had no empirical data and made up the conclusions that lead to the creation of the policy.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Frank about the book last night. Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Rep. Ellen Tauscher on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' [tr]
Military Suppressed Evidence Critical of Gay Ban, Says Author [tr]
Politico: Bill Repealing Military Gay Ban to Be Introduced Today [tr]

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  1. In other words Obama is happy to give lip service and rhetoric to the repeal, but don't ask him to use his political clout on such a thing.

    Posted by: kujhawker | Mar 4, 2009 9:18:26 AM

  2. to paraphrase the song: tin can at my feet, i think i'll kick down the street. is that the way you treat your friends, obama?

    if he ignores the injustice and the wrong-headedness of DADT while his political capital is at its zenith, what will happen when push comes to shove?

    Posted by: nic | Mar 4, 2009 9:50:42 AM

  3. I have no respect for those who see Obama as a supporter, rather than an obstacle, in the struggle for the civil rights of GLBT-identified people. Sadly, the current gay "leadership" believe the former, rather than the latter.

    Posted by: dk | Mar 4, 2009 9:59:04 AM

  4. What is it Obama has to assess, study or consider? Discrimination is wrong. Plain and simple. Reverse DADT. Repeal DOMA. Pass ENDA. Of course, the Prez is ignoring most of his other campaign promises (you know, like the end to those porky earmarks), so I would not be surprised if we get nuthin' from this Administration (although Michelle did select a gay interior designer and Obama did appoint a gay man to oversee HIV issues).

    Posted by: Impeach The Prez | Mar 4, 2009 10:02:21 AM

  5. Shouldn't you all be watching your bids on Hillary's used panstsuits on eBay?

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 4, 2009 10:28:41 AM

  6. He has to "study" the subject. You know, because equal rights are this new thing that no one has had time to consider previously.

    Maybe he'll end this policy like he "ended" the Iraq know...tell us it's coming in a couple of years. Of course once that couple of years has passed, some new "crisis like we've never seen" will come along and cancel out the previous promise.

    The politics of fear were just so effective for Bush, who can blame Obama for carrying them over?

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 4, 2009 10:55:08 AM

  7. Let's have more meetings, more studies, more data collecting and then have some more meetings to study the data collected and then more studies on the data collected for the meetings we will be having to study the meetings where the data will be presented to conduct more studies at more meetings.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 4, 2009 11:21:28 AM

  8. Paul C,

    Remind us again of who you voted for in November?

    I assume it's someone who would have somehow already gotten Congress to overturn DADT by now. And would have brought all troops home from Iran by now.

    I'm just having trouble remembering which candidate that was.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 4, 2009 11:22:43 AM

  9. Sadly, It's never going to happen

    Posted by: NewEng | Mar 4, 2009 11:24:35 AM

  10. Hmm...It would be cool if he could just go right at it; but the reality is that Bill Clinton tried tackling gays in the military in the first months while being in office and it blew up in his face.

    Frankly, I'd rather see Obama tackle getting ENDA passed before this. ENDA would benefit more GLBT Americans. Haven't we read in recent weeks about cities and states across the country that offer no protection against discrimination against GLBT Americans?

    Why do we always see so little coverage about ENDA? Isn't the suffering of Bob and Sarah working in bar or factory in Michigan or Alabama just as valid as the suffering of Juan and Christina who are in or want to join the U.S. military?

    Many of the readers of Towleroad seem to be from big cities or liberal states with some laws that protect GLBT people. Those protections don't exist for a significant number of gays. Hell, even if you do live in a city or state with some kind of anti-discrimination laws, they can be poorly enforced and not have the same kind of power that federal law would bring.

    Posted by: noah | Mar 4, 2009 11:33:52 AM

  11. Despite stories trumpeting he "wants to avoid the same mistakes Clinton made," Obama has already REPEATED the first one: signaling to the Pentagon that they have a say in this, that the tail might be allowed to wag the dog.

    He must remember one of his first statements about DADT [which is just the wine of the old policy in new bottles with a catchy label] during the primaries which echoed, probably unknowingly, the Rand study's conclusion: repealing DADT only requires LEADERSHIP. Then he should:

    1. PERSONALLY and PUBLICLY remind the Pentagon [and the rearming Antigay Industry] that it IS going to happen. No more studies, and that "how it's 'working'" is irrelevant. ENOUGH with sending lackies to talk about it. The ban doesn't have the immediate deep and wide consequences of the economic crisis but in moral terms it IS just a big. Other than withdrawing from Iraq there is no single moral issue yet known that his Presidency will be judged by than keeping his promises to overturn federal policies that treat gays little better than blacks were treated before Truman's order to integrate the military and the 64 & 65 Civil Rights Acts.

    2. Ask Congress PUBLICLY, in the same fighting spirit as he has with the stimulus package, WHEN they're going to put a repeal bill on his desk to sign.

    3. Order the military to FREEZE all discharges and investigations until then and—as I've said for a long time and Frank supports in his book—begin working with their own EXISTING Defense Equality Opportunity Management Institute, already charged with eliminating racial, gender, and religious discrimination in the military through education and mandated equal opportunity/non-discrimination policies, to formulate ways to include fighting gay discrimination in the services

    At one time during his then unprecedented legal fight to be readmitted, someone in the Justice Department tried to convince the Air Force to hire Leonard Matlovich, who had been an expert Air Force "Race Relations Instructor" under this program, as a civilian instructor along the same line re gays. Nothing came of it, but when members of Congress or the Pentagon claims gay integration would create chaos, their likely NEXT excuse, Obama should point to the programs already in existence, already paid for with tax dollars, and say, effectively:

    "Sorry, fellas, I know all about Clinton's trip to the rodeo, and you ain't doing it to me."

    - Michael Bedwell

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Mar 4, 2009 11:37:53 AM

  12. Where do you people come up with this idea that "it's never going to happen"? Just because it didn't happen in 1993? Talk about defeatist!

    The truth is now out there and a majority of Americans favor dropping DADT -- that's very different. AND we got Bush and the Republicans, who supported it, out.

    So it won't happen because...?

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Mar 4, 2009 11:38:51 AM

  13. I can't believe how negative some of you commenters are.

    After all we've been through and after all the reasons we actually do have to be negative, we're finally talking about a fully-inclusive ENDA and the reversal of DADT in the first 6 WEEKS of Obama's presidency, and y'all still find something negative about it. Do you think these discussions would even be happening under the McCain administration?

    It's okay to be angry about our rights (it's your duty, actually). But try not to accidentally direct your anger towards progress when it begins to happen. Good things are coming our way because there's a new fire in our bellies, and we have an administration who has an open ear to our cause.

    Posted by: Nathan | Mar 4, 2009 11:58:23 AM

  14. That's OK that gays "need the votes" to "earn" our due civil rights in civilian AND military life.

    Just don't expect any of us to comply with the government in any way until we are treated THE SAME.

    Jury Duty? F*CK YOU.
    I.R.S. and taxes? F*CK YOU.

    Let the heterosexuals take responsibility for THEIR precious government. I'd like to see someone find ONE SINGLE HETEROSEXUAL that would tolerate "waiting" for government to decide whether or not THEIR family deserve legal rights and protections. Let's vote on General Peter Pace's immoral family [equality tax revolt]

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Mar 4, 2009 12:09:07 PM

  15. Sing, Johnny One Note!

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 4, 2009 12:35:21 PM

  16. @24PLAY,

    spare me the snarky comments. why is it so off-putting to you that reasonable people expect that a president (especially, one who is a member of a minority) should see clearly the folly of DADT? it is not only a civil rights issue, but it is also a matter of national security and simple fairness. hillary has nothing to do with this. talk about one note thinking.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 5, 2009 1:40:59 AM

  17. Bad news, Nic. Hillary had all the pantsuits dry cleaned before she put them up on eBay.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 5, 2009 10:18:32 AM

  18. you should seek help for that fixation, 24PLAY.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 5, 2009 10:39:54 AM

  19. And you should seek help for your political naieveté. You'd have to be a moron to want Obama to make a move on DADT in the first half of this year.

    ENDA? Yes. Hate Crimes? Yes. The DHS HIV travel ban? Yes, immediately, since what's left to do on that is entirely up to the executive branch.

    But for Obama to do anything on DADT right now would only play into conservative hands, since they'd immediately tie him to Bill Clinton's bungled handling of the matter during his first months in office. And that would make it exponentially more difficult for him to move on all those other matters I listed above.

    BTW, Nic, after the racist remarks you've made on here, it's kind of rich for you to be telling us all what Obama--"as a member of a minority"--should be doing.

    I think we all know what's at the root of your animosity toward Obama.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 5, 2009 11:00:13 AM

  20. please, 24PLAY, whose manties have you been sniffing? is their a frustrate bidding war on e-bay for obama's jock strap?

    a simple stroke of the presidential pen would undo DADT, and it would cause nary a ruffled feather. this is not 1993, after all. you may know, if you are not as stupid as i infer, harry truman integrated the armed services by executive order in a much darker time than now. oh wait, i said darker. i'm sorry for that racist slip. i should be more niggardly with my thoughts. oops, sorry, again. is there nothing with with wich you will not take umbrage? oops, forgive me.

    how grand it must feel to speak for the lot of towleroadies!

    btw, 24PLAY, what racist comments have i made? i think "WE ALL" know where YOU are coming from. pendejo! don't you have spell check?

    Posted by: nic | Mar 5, 2009 12:02:48 PM

  21. Wrong, moron. DADT is law. It needs to be reversed in Congress.

    As for your period racist outbursts, how about this classic?

    Or maybe this:

    which yielded this gem, which I like to think of a s"Nic in a nutshell":

    the idea that this black bigot has a latino name is revolting.

    Posted by: nic | Nov 26, 2008 8:49:05 PM

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 5, 2009 12:33:05 PM

  22. i criticized you for misspelling 'naivete' while i missed the 'wich' typo and the redundant 'with'. boy, is my face red!

    Posted by: nic | Mar 5, 2009 12:35:35 PM

  23. There was Duran vs Leonard and Mayweather vs Dela hoja!

    And now here's another Towleroad classic bout!

    There was NIC vs RUDY, NIC vs SOULBROTHA, NIC vs NOAH....great matches all! And now, homies & homos, it's NIC vs 24PLAY! A duel of titans.

    This will be a more earth shattering match than Clinton vs Obama...ugh oh...we know who won that.

    Dela hoja & Duran? No, no special favors for NIC. I just couldn't think of any white fighters. You don't mind being Sugar Ray, do you, 24Play?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 5, 2009 1:19:53 PM

  24. well, 24PLAY, i suppose if calling a spade a spade is racist, then you got me dead to rights, pilgrim. but be advised, i will not be cowed by your thought-police tactics. yes, i did support hillary, but after obama got the nod, i supported him. he is my president; i voted for him; and, i will defend him against all repug comers. all of that, however, does not preclude me from being critical of him when i find it apt.

    you know, what is particularly irksome about you is the "i can say whatever i want 'cuz i'm black, and nobody can reproach me," stance. bull-fuckin-shit. you don't get a free pass because you are african-american anymore than i do because i'm mexican-american. the facts are the facts, so let us argue on that level.

    i will grant you that DADT will take an act of congress to reverse. clinton could have issued an executive order, but he deferred to congress, thus setting up this absurdity. but you cannot be serious in thinking that obama can't say, "this is wrong. it should not stand", and the democratically controlled congress would say no.

    24PLAY in a scrotum, er, a nutshell: silly sissy.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 5, 2009 10:42:21 PM

  25. Another sign of your racism, Nic:

    You assume that because I'm calling you out for racist comments about blacks that I must be African American. (After all, who else would be concerned about anti-black comments, right?)

    So, you're dead wrong about what's necessary in order to overturn DADT--which happens to be the subject of this post and something you were only too thrilled to jump into and shoot your ill-informed mouth off about in an attempt to slam Obama.

    And now you're dead wrong about "what is particularly irksome" about me. The real reason I can "say whatever I want" and "nobody can reproach me" is not because I'm black but because, unlike you, I actually have some grasp of the facts here. (And BTW, maybe you should take some time to YouTube Obama's speech on race from last year, since you seem to have a lot of unaddressed racial resentments bottled up inside you.)

    If and when you ever develop a grasp of some facts—-any facts--please do feel free to join the discussion. Until then, you're just wasting everybody's time with your lame-brained assumptions undergirded by a deep well of unexamined racism.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 6, 2009 12:08:24 AM

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