Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow: DADT Is The President's Victory


Interviewed on MSNBC this afternoon were former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, who was ousted from the military under DADT in 2002, and the network's talk show host Rachel Maddow.

Said Maddow: "Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President's victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done."


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  1. You really are delusional, Pepa. The executive order would have caused problems for congresional action. The republicans would have undermined it as an attempt to side-step congress. Obama does not take the easy road that will alienate people and have short term effects. He tries to make real, lasting change. That is what was done here and there will be no backlash because it was handled brilliantly and effectively.

    I fell sorry for you and the other haters who have your heads so far up your ass that you can't see what has happened here.

    Posted by: J.P. | Dec 18, 2010 8:31:16 PM

  2. Bravo. Another promise cap taken care of by the Obama administration. People like Pepa will never, ever be pleased. If there is something that can possibly spat on, Pepa and people of like-mind will find it, regardless of reality. I'm tempted to scan back through all those comments throughout saying this could not/should not be done legislatively. I clearly remember defending myself, the administration, and even Ari from absolute evisceration because they thought the strongest way to repeal was legislatively. Everyone has their opinions about strategy and governing, but at least be man enough to accept that something you may not have endorsed succeeded. And even more than that, we all benefit in the end, and pushes our civil rights cause even further.

    Posted by: jjasonham | Dec 18, 2010 8:40:02 PM

  3. I second not responding to the trolls. They sound like whiny teenagers with a myopic view of politics and no knowledge of history.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 18, 2010 8:54:48 PM

  4. I actually think this happened in spite of Obama. Yes, he twisted the arms of Pryor and Brown near the end, but he did not work as hard on this as he should have.

    I'd give this one to the tireless activist - like those at Getequal and others - who worked their asses off lobbying the senate and making sure this issue didn't get ignored in the media.

    Obama's win. Puh-leez.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 18, 2010 9:09:32 PM

  5. PEPA: I really hate to do this, but you are 100% right. This happened because the Secretary of Defense didn't want the federal courts to tell him to implement true equality. he wants equality on his terms.

    Anyone who thinks this is an "Obama victory" is just reinventing history. His tactics failed at every turn.

    Rachel is off base on this one. I'll keep watching and enjoying her, though.

    Posted by: JusticeontheRocks | Dec 18, 2010 9:17:45 PM

  6. It was a PR disaster for Obama to start defending DADT in court. Regardless of his intention it made him look like a homophobic bigot.

    We must keep the pressure on him to fulfil his pre-election promises to our community.

    Obama needs to understand that we expect him to live up to his pre=election promises. Even with the Republicans in the ascendant, I expect and demand that Obama issues an executive order suspending the DOMA Apartheid law.

    Posted by: SteveC | Dec 18, 2010 9:19:56 PM

  7. Some of you folks are delusional.

    Obama played the long game, and he won. Just like he did against Hilary. Just like he did against McCain. Just like he did on Healthcare. Just like how Obama got just about EVERYTHING he wanted by conceding some take cuts for people making over 200K.

    I'm sure some of you were foaming at the mouth about Obama encouraging the dems to let Liebermann caucus with them still. If he had not played the long game like he did, I highly doubt there would have been this vote today.

    Posted by: Dan4444 | Dec 18, 2010 9:20:55 PM

  8. DOMA is more important than DADT.

    ENDA is more important than DOMA.

    The repeal of DADT is gratifying.

    But we need to keep our eye on the goal - the repeal of all apartheid laws, and full legal equality

    Posted by: SteveC | Dec 18, 2010 9:23:24 PM

  9. Justiceontherocks... I don't believe for a second that you hate to agree with Pepa. You both have had the same biased views against Obama for a while. You might even be the same person.

    It's hard to believe there are two people so naive and misinformed about the realities of our political process.

    Posted by: J.P. | Dec 18, 2010 9:28:28 PM

  10. I think we should be glad that DADT is gone.

    At the same time we should be ashamed that an apartheid style law like DADT was ever in place. It was so truly embarrassing for the US. It made us look like primitive bigots.

    Now what is the plan to repeal DOMA within the next 2 years?

    Posted by: SteveC | Dec 18, 2010 9:33:03 PM

  11. Repealing DADT was very important because it sets the stage for other battles. How can a government pass ENDA and tell private employers to stop discriminating when the government discriminates.

    It seems to me that Obams could get ENDA through the next Senate. I'm not sure about the House though.

    DOMA might have to work through the courts.

    Posted by: J.P. | Dec 18, 2010 9:39:11 PM

  12. @J.P.: I think ENDA will be easier to pass than DADT was, but I may just be unusually optimistic.

    There's no national defense rationale there or need for studies of whether having gay coworkers undermines business morale, and voter support for ENDA runs even higher than for DADT repeal. DOMA repeal will be the hardest, no question.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 18, 2010 10:04:11 PM

  13. And, in addition, in 2009 he and the Democrats worked to get the HIV immigration and travel ban lifted. Do you really think this day/vote would have happened with McCain/Palin?? They are demented.

    Posted by: AK_NYC | Dec 18, 2010 7:50:18 PM

    That process began under Bush II. In 2008 he signed the bill which effectively lifted the ban and was sent over to the Department of Health and Human Services to craft the regulation which would be the final nail in its coffin. Even Obama acknowledged that Bush did all the work but the regs weren't rewritten until his term was over.

    Posted by: DR | Dec 18, 2010 10:34:25 PM

  14. The HIV ban is yet another mark of shame on the US. Nearly 30 years after the discovery of the disease and more than 25 after learning its means of transmission, we maintained a truly hateful, discriminatory law.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 18, 2010 10:41:26 PM

  15. The repeal of DADT is a victory for all Americans!

    Posted by: Dawnell_do | Dec 18, 2010 11:25:08 PM

  16. WOW! We can't even take a moment out of the bickering to celebrate?
    This is a huge first step. Do I like everything about Obama? No. Do I like everything about the Democrats? NO.
    But this is a major step forward for the rights of our community that would have never happened under a Republican Administration or a majority Republican congress.
    What we need to do is keep our eyes looking forward...yes it has been a really long road with many more miles to go.
    So let's take a moment to celebrate, and then keep the pressure on to get ENDA, and get rid of DOMA.
    Someone quoted JFK in the comments with what he said after the bay of pigs...victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan.
    It is the thousands in the gay community who put pressure and kept the pressure on the political party that is the most receptive to us, and that is what we need to keep doing!

    Posted by: Bobo | Dec 18, 2010 11:33:23 PM

  17. @Paul R: A non-transgender inclusive ENDA might be easier to pass than DADT. But inclusively, we saw it fail to gain any momentum this year. I'm not saying I want a non-T inclusive bill, but it's the only one that could even remotely have a chance of passing, and still likely not in next year's House.

    Posted by: Bruno | Dec 18, 2010 11:36:54 PM

  18. I'm confused. Rachel and those who agree here must be talking about someone else and not:

    1. The Obama who promised in 2007 that, "As president, I will work with Congress and place the weight of my administration behind enactment of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act[MREA], which will make nondiscrimination the official policy of the U.S. military," …and then sat on his ass except to back Gates' demand that the MREA be gutted.

    “Pelosi said the House WEAKENED ITS REPEAL LANGUAGE TO MOLLIFY THE WHITE HOUSE. Military leaders REFUSED TO ACCEPT LANGUAGE THAT WOULD BAR DISCRIMINATION, so the clause was dropped.” – “The Huffington Post,” June 3, 2010.

    2. The Obama who promised in 2007: "I will task the Defense Department and the senior command structure in every branch of the armed forces with developing an action plan for the implementation of a full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," ….and then backed Gates' scheme to, instead, come up with a study that would push the vote to the brink of disaster.

    3. The Obama who said in 2007: "That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office,"….but….see "sat on ass" above.

    4. The Obama who said in 2007: "America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. All that is required is leadership,"…and then refused to provide it.

    5. The Obama who Reid virtually begged LAST year to start providing that leadership.

    "I therefore request that you bring to Congress your recommendations on DADT. Your leadership is greatly … needed at this time." – letter from Harry Reid, September 2009.

    6. The Obama who Levin virtually begged in June of LAST year to start providing that leadership, saying, "This cannot be addressed successfully without that kind of leadership.”

    7. The Obama who had to be dragged by our allies in Congress to agreeing to support ANY vote in the House in May of this year.

    “The final push [for ‘repeal’] came from the Hill, where key members of Congress who support ‘repeal’, like Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made it clear that they were moving forward with 'repeal' legislation with or without the White House's blessing." – “Talking Points Memo,” May 26, 2010.

    8. The Obama who has asserted that DADT is Constitutional when the Supremes have never ruled on it.

    9. The Obama who's refused to use his legal powers under federal law 10 USC 12305 to end gay discharges in the name of national security pending repeal even as he's said they, "weaken national security," and despite calls from Reid, Levin, Pelosi, and multiple other members of Congress to do just that.

    10. The Obama who fought to kill three legal challenges to DADT, succeeding in killing one, and is now fighting to have the two rulings against the ban overturned.

    11. The Obama being sued by the ACLU for perpetuating the Bush policy of giving gays discharged only 50% of the pay they have coming to them.

    Not THAT Obama, right?

    Posted by: | Dec 19, 2010 12:02:23 AM

  19. I give credit to Lieberman and, begrudgingly to Collins (who killed the first bill). It was dead and they resurrected it.

    President Obama deserves credit for the military study, but lets be honest. His preferred method (the first bill) went down in flames.

    Credit for the second bill goes to Lieberman and Collins who did the heavy lifting. Then credit to Pelosi and then Reid. Then President Obama for whatever he did do on the second bill (it's not clear to me that he did anything, but perhaps there was something behind the scenes or something that I've not heard about.

    I just don't see where we can realistically give Obama total credit for the victory. I'm a bit offended at his grab for credit, to be honest. It's unseemly.

    I don't hate the man, I just don't think he really earned credit for the victory in this instance. He played an important part, but he didn't really do anything to deliver victory on the second bill.

    Posted by: Miche Rutledge | Dec 19, 2010 12:08:39 AM

  20. I'm happy this passed. Let others piss & moan, I choose to celebrate this victory.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Dec 19, 2010 12:45:25 AM

  21. "Are you liberals that racist and hateful that you MUST pull the race card out?"

    i've read more than enough comments here, and elsewhere on the internet, to know that race still very much plays a part. you're delusional if you think otherwise.

    Posted by: larson | Dec 19, 2010 1:13:38 AM

  22. There are some craaaaaazy people in here. Quick to reject anyone and anything that doesn't feed their illusions of martyrdom.

    Posted by: jjasonham | Dec 19, 2010 1:20:17 AM

  23. "You really are delusional, Pepa."

    How is that? ALL of you were DEMANDING a stop loss executive order. So then YOU were delusional.

    "The executive order would have caused problems for congresional action."

    NO. It would have placed more pressure on the congress to act and not sit around farting for two years trying to please illegals and wall street criminals.

    "Obama does not take the easy road that will alienate people and have short term effects."

    This doesn't make sense. He has always taken the "easy road" you libs even admit it when Obama "sold you out" on the Bush tax cuts.

    "That is what was done here and there will be no backlash because it was handled brilliantly and effectively."

    There is no grantee of this, there will still be backlash with this legislative action.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 19, 2010 2:02:10 AM

  24. "Everyone has their opinions about strategy and governing, but at least be man enough to accept that something you may not have endorsed succeeded."

    What the hell are you talking about? I always endorsed legislative action. But you libs in congress were dithering and using a wet finger to detect which way the wind was the blowing.

    "And even more than that, we all benefit in the end, "

    I'll see you at the recruitment center then. LOL.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 19, 2010 2:06:15 AM

  25. "I second not responding to the trolls. They sound like whiny teenagers with a myopic view of politics and no knowledge of history."

    If this isn't an ignorant statement, I dunno what is. Oh I forgot I was dealing with FASCISTS.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 19, 2010 2:08:17 AM

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