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Expert: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal in 'Grave Peril'; HRC, Obama Must Act

In a new Huffington Post piece that makes note of yesterday's blog swarm, Nathaniel Frank, Palm Center Senior Research Fellow and author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, discusses why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal is in "grave peril" because of a vacuum of leadership, lingering Democratic fears of a culture war, and the complacency of the Human Rights Campaign.

Sotu.jpg Frank argues that Obama is making the same leadership mistakes with this measure as he did with health care:

So why on earth would the President take the same failed tack with reforming the gay ban? Why not put real teeth into his promise by telling the Pentagon to put repeal in the Authorization bill? Probably because this champion of a "new day" in politics continues to suffer from the Democrats' longtime aversion to taking the lead on gay rights, out of fear that culture warriors will exploit their position--never mind that Democrats lose more power by appearing bereft of principles and deliverables than by appearing to support equal treatment. And it probably doesn't help that the famously risk-averse Rahm Emanual carries personal scars from his tenure as a young Clinton staffer when that president was burned by his own failures on this issue.

It's also not helping that the gay community has too often given the President a pass on leading on this issue. Yes, Congress has to pass repeal to get this law off the books, but that process should begin with Obama telling the Pentagon to put repeal in the Authorization bill. And for that to happen, gay groups will need to let the White House know that the status quo is not acceptable.'

HRC-square-logo Frank says the Human Rights Campaign needs to get moving:

Some feel that HRC would rather fundraise for several years on the illusion of momentum than actually help to achieve repeal. If HRC wants to disabuse the community of that suspicion, it will need to ensure that its prized access to Washington power is used to have a real impact, rather than to enjoy that access for its own sake. One reasonable option would be to publicly tell the President that it will not endorse him for re-election if he does not secure repeal in his first term, a promise that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he believed the President would keep.

The problem is that professed proponents of repeal keep muttering that we will get repeal this year, without saying how. "There is a clear path to repeal," said an HRC spokesman this week, "and that's the one we're on." Many of us would like to know what that path is if it does not include demanding the President put it in the base bill. Because legislative repeal will only become harder after the 2010 midterm elections.

Life Support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Are Democrats the Problem? [huffington post]

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  1. It's about money. HRC want's it from Gay folk, Obama wants it from Gay folk. So both entities will tell Gay folk what ever they think will open the wallets of Gay folk. Repeal DADT, Marriage Equality, a Pony on your birthday. And sweet sweet Gay folk fall for the ploy each and every time. I give based on results, not "Hope". I know it's a goofy system I have, but it makes sense to me, and it's my money.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 17, 2010 2:09:03 PM

  2. Obama Report Card:

    Hope: A+

    Change: F

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 17, 2010 2:22:36 PM

  3. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

    Posted by: Rodney | Feb 17, 2010 2:30:54 PM

  4. You want my money?
    Give me some change.

    Posted by: raybob | Feb 17, 2010 2:38:31 PM

  5. DADT will be repealed and it will pretty much nothing to do with Gay inc., trust me.

    I'm just at a loss why you are even giving Gay inc. the credit for being able to do anything? Or the need? They have millions of your dollars and will continue to get them as long as we are unequal. Do you really think they want to give that up?

    The bloggers involved are well intentioned, however, I say do an end run around them on your own. YOU organize the letter writing and fax campaigns and YOU take credit for it.

    Gay inc. will ignore you and the moment DADT is repealed they will claim credit and send out a letter saying because they (FINALLY!) had some success, you should DONATE NOW.

    Bone them, YOU have the power, WE all do.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Feb 17, 2010 2:44:24 PM

  6. I don't think the Dems fear a culture war. I think they just don't really give a shit about us and won't waste political capital on us.

    Posted by: Shane | Feb 17, 2010 2:51:18 PM

  7. "The sky is falling!" mocks Rodney.

    Obviously someone woke up the Obama Borg. Tell us, Rodney, what's the Kool Aid Flavor of the Day in the Cube Cafeteria?

    This just in: "Dear Rodney. We're sorry to inform you that we have run out of tickets for this year's White House Easter Egg Hunt. Please accept this can of Crumbs bearing the Presidential Seal with our apologies. Your devoted spreading of bullshit in defense of Our Great Leader has not gone unnoticed. Yours in Self-Delusion, OFA."

    Posted by: Michael @ | Feb 17, 2010 2:51:35 PM

  8. How's that hopey changey stuff working out for ya?

    Posted by: InExile | Feb 17, 2010 2:56:54 PM

  9. The support of gay civil rights is a bigtime political debacle by the party in power and the lobbying organization which is supposed to have our backs. So, no more giving to Obama, the Dems or HRC until one or more of them get it together and support us - for once. Repeal DADT! Repeal DOMA!! Enact ENDA!!! Or just go away.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 17, 2010 3:05:43 PM

  10. @Michael You are a fucking idiot. It's been four weeks since the SOTU address. Get a grip!

    Posted by: Rodney | Feb 17, 2010 3:06:36 PM

  11. Animal crackers in my soup! Loopty loopty loopty loop... Oh man, DADT isn't going anywhere. Only those who want to misguide people for their own agenda insist that it is.s

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 17, 2010 3:14:07 PM

  12. @ Derek Washington, that was truth to power. Thank you.

    Posted by: zeta | Feb 17, 2010 3:15:10 PM

  13. @ inexile, very well thank you. you palin-supporting queens blow my mind.

    Posted by: zeta | Feb 17, 2010 3:16:37 PM

  14. Rodney: Gay Blog Inc is a lot like the child standing in checkout line who has been promised a candy bar when they get to the car but cannot wait that long so they throw a tantrum.

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 17, 2010 3:17:45 PM

  15. Zeta, I used to support BO until it became clear all his promises were lies.

    I am not a Palin supporter just highlighting a very valid point she made!

    Posted by: InExile | Feb 17, 2010 3:24:52 PM

  16. Nathaniel Frank and Michael Bedwell are the only two people in America who think that Bill Clinton's fatal error on gays in the military was waiting TOO LONG.

    Nathaniel Frank's judgment on matters of political process is consistently laughable.

    Posted by: 24play | Feb 17, 2010 3:25:14 PM

  17. "Only four weeks since the SOTU," Rodney?

    Actually, it's been less than that. But you confuse a statement of support for ending DADT that included no timeline for exactly when, simply a time frame for "working with Congress, with some pie Obama put in the White House kitchen oven we just have to wait to finish baking. That's called PIE IN THE SKY, Rodney.

    Ya want math?

    It's been 7 & 1/2 months since Obama told LGBTs suckered er invited to the White House that he would end DADT, including, to his face, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrebach who is still scheduled for dishcharge.

    It's been 9 & 1/2 months since Obama answered a letter asking for help from about-to-be-discharged Lt. Sandy Tsao saying he would end DADT. Too late for her. She's been shit canned.

    It's been 12 & 1/2 months since Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would end DADT.

    With countless promises to end DADT in between, it has been two years & 2 & 1/2 months since Obama explicitly promised to start the work to end DADT "the day I take office"...which, of course, would have been a year and 3 & 1/2+ weeks ago.

    If he had kept that promise, as shamelessly indefensible as this "year-long" bake er study is, it would be OVER by now, and SUPPOSEDLY the actual end of DADT would be starting.

    Except, of course, they've just started from scratch AND the Pentagon is leaking stories that actual repeal will take YEARS plural.

    And you call ME an "idiot."

    Posted by: Michael @ | Feb 17, 2010 3:30:34 PM

  18. I think 24play is a heterosexual antigay activist.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 17, 2010 3:30:45 PM

  19. I do think President Obama needs to "Act Up" and actually do something...

    Posted by: John Normile | Feb 17, 2010 3:47:34 PM

  20. No, Tank. 24Play is far worse than that. He's a 24-7 Queer Quisling with his head so far up Obama's ass that he can see Russia out BO's mouth. A pansy pit bull who will bite anyone with fangs dripping with lies and distractions and distortions and personal attacks who comes near his Massa.

    He, like the freshly-awake other Obama Borgettes, Rodney, Zeta, Mike [assuming "they" aren't really variations of the same person] don't REALLY give a flying fuck about gay rights. They only care about defending their Massa. If Massa says, "Not yet," "Wait," "Can't," "Won't,"... they will attempt to verbally slit the throat of anyone who dares object.

    Of course, that makes them no better than the pocket fags who worked for Bush and Cheney and Santorum and Reagan and Nixon and Eishenhower and ***Joe McCarthy as he was driving thousands of gays out of their federal jobs with the help of fascist fag Roy Cohn even tho ***he was allegedly gay himself. And, let us not forget, J. Edgar Hoover. It never ceases to amuse me that all the old straight antigay FBI retirees making pilgrimages to homohating homo Hoover's grave have to pass that of Leonard Matlovich just as Leonard planned.

    Finally, I'm honored to be slurred in the same breath as Nathaniel Frank. Thanks, 24!

    Posted by: Michael @ | Feb 17, 2010 3:55:24 PM

  21. Massa is corn flour and helps makes corn tomalito so very tasty.

    And doesn't anyone think it's strange that Leland continues to calls himself Michael?

    Posted by: STANK | Feb 17, 2010 4:01:42 PM

  22. Michael @ , give me a fucking break! Your saint Bill Clinton GAVE US FUCKING DADT AND DOMA. Start ACTING to change things or else all you are is a disgrace and a hypocrite.

    Posted by: Sam | Feb 17, 2010 4:24:41 PM

  23. The Kool Aid's over there, Stank.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Feb 17, 2010 4:29:43 PM

  24. Sam, Sam, Sam. Just put down the Kool Aid and look at a newspaper. Bill Clinton's not President any more. Neither is George Bush. The desk at which the buck now stops is occupied by Barack Obama and these calls for accountability are "ACTING to CHANGE things."

    Posted by: Michael @ | Feb 17, 2010 4:32:45 PM

  25. Obama is a coward. The Democrats are cowards. They're also liars and frauds. They had a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes for one year and yet failed to move to repeal DADT.

    If you gays are stupid enough to vote for the Democrats ever again, you deserve everything you get. You're self-loathing masochists, returning like a dog to its vomit.

    Posted by: jason | Feb 17, 2010 4:33:54 PM

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