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Olbermann: Obama 'Goddamned Wrong' on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Keith Olbermann discusses "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and wonders why Obama continues to hesitate in halting gay discharges. He talks to Dan Savage, who asks, if 75% of the American public are sold on repealing DADT, how many more "retrograde bigots" need to change their minds before he does something?

On that note, First Lt. Dan Choi was stripped of his officer's commission yesterday at a hearing as was expected and will be discharged. Alison Stewart covered it on The Rachel Maddow Show

Will "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" become as big a stain on Obama's legacy as it is on Clinton's? I suppose it depends on how many more lives he ruins because of it.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I find Dan to be an amazingly eloquent and informed voice for the movement. I'm glad he's on my side.

    Posted by: Todd | Jul 1, 2009 7:11:04 AM

  2. Dan Choi or Dan Savage or both Dans?

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Jul 1, 2009 7:54:17 AM

  3. Todd, I agree 100%. Lt. Choi would make a more effective leader for our community than most of the people we have now, who are either ass-kissers, or burned out angry old radicals.

    While it's awful that he was discharged - not the least because the military is now allowing criminals to meet their recruitment goals - I have no doubt that Lt. Choi, with his great qualifications, will land on his feet. Maybe Hillary should offer him a job at State.

    Posted by: Hank Drake | Jul 1, 2009 7:54:59 AM

  4. Getting dismissed from the Armed Services for having the wrong sexual orientation is as objectionable as being dismissed for being the wrong race or religion.

    This president has a special responsibility to combat discrimination where he sees it (not entrench it, or argue in it's favor, as he is doing).

    I am, frankly, disgusted by the Obama administrations inaction. All the high teas at the White House count for nothing when a man as qualified and exemplary as Dan Choi gets dismissed simply because he loves another man in his private life.

    Posted by: Elcamino | Jul 1, 2009 8:08:48 AM

  5. i too am disappointed in Obama, but he hasn't even been in power for a year. I don't know whether he planned on fulfilling his promise abt DADT, but its a little early to be raking him over the coals for it. My concern is that by making it such an issue now, we're making it impossible for him to actually repeal DADT. He'll look like he's in the pocket of "the gays." Im not saying its right, Im just saying this is how politics is played.

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Jul 1, 2009 9:05:30 AM

  6. C'mon folks...let's get realistic. First, Obama COULD issue an order to temporarily suspend the discharges of gay military members. At the same time, he can press congress to come up with a bill that he will sign to reverse DADT permanently. With many Republicans already on board as well as Generals, this is a no-brainer. I just think he believes that this will become an election issue during mid-terms. Maybe so, because there are a lot of wingnuts like Sally Kearn who will make it an issue. Truth be told, there aren't enough of them to sway an entire electorate. So, the argument that he needs more time is flatly false. Seriously, this isn't exactly health care reform; rather a simple reversal of a discriminatory policy. Since I'm on the topic, I want an apology and full restoration of benefits to every soldier that's been dumped by the U.S. military under this homophobic policy.

    Posted by: Keith | Jul 1, 2009 9:19:10 AM

  7. Keith:
    If Obama acted to suspend expulsions, what would Congress do? You say many Republicans are "on board," but if you count votes you'll find solid majorities of both the House and Senate supporting DADT. There would be huge push-back, attempts to override Obama's actions attached to bills he can't afford not to sign, etc. The politics are not at all clear and there's as much chance we could lose as win.
    It's not a fight we want to provoke. It could end up in a DOMA-like major setback.
    As for leadership, YES for Choi. How painful it's been to watch Barrios in his new position. He's not goingto get better. This is what he's always been like. Less than articulate and somehow...just lame.

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jul 1, 2009 9:49:52 AM

  8. Some wingnut appropriately named DickmanMisanthrope has been vanvalizing Olbermann's Wikipedia page to the effect that Olbermann died this morning.

    Posted by: Hank Drake | Jul 1, 2009 10:01:10 AM

  9. The problem with Dan's argument is that Truman did not face a statute when he integrated the military. DADT is a statute that must be repealed. An order by the President many actually have the opposite effect in that a court challenge to the order could delay passage of the bill. And by the way THERE IS A BILL. HR: 1283 The Military Readiness Enhancement Act which would repeal the DADT law and replace it with a policy of non-discrimination.

    Posted by: David | Jul 1, 2009 10:25:40 AM

  10. This ruling is ridiculous. There is a related post at

    Posted by: carly | Jul 1, 2009 11:04:16 AM

  11. Obama apologists need to give it a rest. Congressional intervention to restore DADT is about as likely as snow in Miami.

    The bottom line is the Speaker determines which bills and amendments get voted on. Under the House rules, congressional Republicans are not allowed to introduce "non-germane" amendments to legislation. Who gets to decide what's germane or not?

    Pelosi and the Rules Committee (appointed by her). A Rules Committee that includes one Jared Polis and mostly liberal opponents of DADT. Stop trying to excuse the Obama administration's cowardice by passing the buck to Congress. Everyone knows they don't have the institutional support to countermand a stop-loss executive order on DADT. The president could act today, if he were so inclined.

    Posted by: John | Jul 1, 2009 12:08:12 PM

  12. @ The Obambots Grabbing at Straws to Defend the Indefensible.

    1. Obama said it himself in 2007, and Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin reinforced it just last week: "all that is required [for repeal] is leadership."

    But Obama has shown NONE on this issue. In fact, he's only made himself look as if he's doing the same thing he indicted "the Democratic Party" [read "Clinton"] for in that same 2007 statement:

    "rather than embracing leadership and principle...we bowed to fear and

    And lost in all the post mortems of his tea party for gays Monday was the fact that he unintentionally indicted himself for "weaken[ing] national security" by continuing to prevent "patriotic Americans from serving their country."

    If someone as brain dead as Bush could manipulate Americans' fear of terrorism for all the wrong reasons are you saying that brilliant Obama is incapable of making the case to everyone that freezing discharges is in the INTEREST OF national security just as the stop-loss law empowers him to do? That when even 59% of REPUBLICAN voters support repeal, some homohating Congressman is going to stick his/her red neck out by challenging that narrative?

    2. WHO would have "standing" to successfully file a lawsuit challenging a stop-loss order under 10 USC 12305 which Congress passed in 1983?

    For whatever reason [retardation?] after 9/11, rather than using 12305, President Bush issued his own version under Executive Order #13223 "to suspend certain laws relating to promotion, involuntary retirement, and separation" of military personnel."

    No homophobes sued then, nor in 2005 when the Pentagon publicly admitted that they were ignoring DADT and sending troops they knew to be gay to Iraq.

    And conflating this imaginary lawsuit with delaying actual repeal is the type of absurd, mentally disturbed gymnastics in which Obambots twist themselves in their desperation to excuse the inexecusable.

    The antigay industry can still raise a lot of money and anger over "marriage" but DADT is no longer exploitable for them and their dishonest tactics are being exposed. Already, one retired general has denied he ever signed the "1000+ Military Brass Keep DADT" letter to Obama, and three others were dead when they supposedly signed. Look for more discrediting.

    Only Troglodytes in Congress and the dinosaurs in the Pentagon's Jurassic Park would object and, again, it would only take Obama's choosing to use his unique skills to brush them away like so many cobwebs [instead of perceiving that he needs to sacrifice us in exchange for their cooperation on other issues he cares more about].

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jul 1, 2009 1:59:27 PM

  13. We need to remember Leonard Matlovich. He was the Gay soldier who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. This shit has been going on WAY TOO LONG!
    Last night I visited his grave here in Washington. The epitaph bears reading.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 1, 2009 2:53:03 PM

  14. Sorry folks, but this is just such a side issue that's going to come back and bash us on our collective heads. We should be focusing our very last breath on repeal of DOMA...once you get that, it's very hard to justify DADT. On the other hand, if we win on DADT, most in government will say we got that, that's enough.
    This is a red hearing. If you want to win the fight, you aim for the heart, not the leg.

    Posted by: stolidog | Jul 1, 2009 3:36:36 PM

  15. Dan Choi is an amazing person. Between he and Fehrenbach, I've been absolutely inspired.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 1, 2009 3:50:21 PM

  16. @ Dan.

    Thank you for remembering my late friend and personal hero Leonard Matlovich, and for visiting his remarkable gravesite and posting its pictures.

    He did win a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and assorted other medals, but wasn't awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He also won the affection and respect of everyone who served with him in the Air Force, some of whom testified at his discharge hearing before Dan Choi was born and when, as I recall, Victor Fehrenbach was only 4.

    SLDN Director Aubrey Sarvis has said he'd give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom if he could. Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett (Ret) recently said that Leonard had been a fighter in the ongoing American Revolution.
    Both "The Advocate" and Equality Forum named him one of the movement's greatest heroes.

    34 years after he sacrificed his career by being the first to fight the ban, my fondest hope is that the bill that finally repeals DADT is named something like "The Leonard Matlovich Freedom to Serve Act."

    Thanks again!

    - Michael Bedwell

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jul 1, 2009 4:11:41 PM

  17. Obama should not stand over these dismissals which are based on discrimination....he should know better....the policy is unconstitutional in the first place and all dismissed gays should sue for compensation, loss of earnings and damages for breach of constitutional rights to equality. All should be entitled to reinstatement with restoration of all losses.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 1, 2009 4:37:17 PM

  18. Obama continues to fail us. As a senior citizen and a gay vet myself, I am so sad about what has happened to Lt. Choi. Are you happy now Obama? You can stroke those that attended you party but you have no idea how much support you have lost from the rank and file in the GLBT community. I wish I could take my vote and money back. It will be a cold day before you get either from me in the future.

    Posted by: Mike Pickett | Jul 2, 2009 9:39:48 AM

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