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Signorile: Celebrate 'DADT' Repeal, but Heed the Lesson

Signorile

Radio host Michelangelo Signorile discussed Obama's victory on 'DADT' repeal this week, and why a lot of other folks deserve the credit too.

Writes Signorile on his blog:

"In the end, through a series of fateful events -- from Harry Reid pulling the government spending bill, clearing the schedule, to Senators Lieberman and Collins creating a stand-alone bill -- "don't ask, don't tell" repeal passed. In addition to fate and timing, it was because DADT repeal took on a life of it's own thanks to activists' relentless pressure, disrupting the president's events, protesting Congressional leaders. It's not a coincidence that other promises made by the president, where there was much less pressure from the left early on, didn't pan out. And that's the lesson of the DADT repeal saga for the LGBT movement and for all progressives."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Obama himself has said exactly the same thing as this before.

    Posted by: Philo | Dec 24, 2010 4:53:26 PM


  2. Of course, we need to do the work ourselves, just like the Civil Rights leaders did and then they got some help from JFK and LBJ. Obama did exactly the right thing in conducting the exhaustive Pentagon review of DADT and then getting the leadership behind him. While it is nice to have a president help us out, we must do the heavy lifting at the grass roots level, just as blacks, women and other minorities have done before us. I don't believe in a daddy figure who will make all my problems go away; nope, we have to rely on ourselves as well as relentlessly pressure Obama and other politicians to do the right thing.

    Posted by: JoeInSF | Dec 24, 2010 5:09:30 PM


  3. Well said, Mr. Signorile.

    Next up: Trans-inclusive ENDA and the repeal of DOMA.

    Posted by: Ichabod | Dec 24, 2010 5:56:34 PM


  4. Heaven forbid the Log Cabin Republicans get any credit.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Dec 24, 2010 9:31:13 PM


  5. @LincolnLounger: Who said that? He referred to activists. Unless Republicans consider activists a yucky liberal word and have to be specifically named like none of the other groups involved (good luck with that), the LCR fall under the umbrella of the activists he referred to.

    Bill Clinton has said much the same thing about the lack of activism in the 1990s tying his hands, though of course that sounds like revisionist history.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 24, 2010 10:25:17 PM


  6. While I can occasionally listen to Signorile, I find him to be so over-the-top dramatic sometimes. The President has made it clear he was going to get this done by the end of the year for MONTHS. To make it like it was some kind of miracle that it happened or that it was purely by luck, without any behind-the-scenes lobbying or dealmaking is just nonsense.

    Also, I truly think he is overestimating the ability of people "interrupting the President events" and "protesting congressional leaders." This would have gotten done without any of those immature distractions. Asking the question, writing to your congress people and encouraging the media to continue to discuss the matter is what helped this along. Some loudmouth interrupting a town hall or speech on another issue just goes to hurt the cause in the eyes of the rest of the country.

    Posted by: Justin | Dec 25, 2010 2:42:16 AM


  7. Thanks again to Rachel Maddow and Kerry Eleveld--beautifully relentless.

    Posted by: r | Dec 25, 2010 4:23:48 AM


  8. @Justin: You are naive if you discount the "interrupting" events. It is a very important reason why 55 Democrat senators (Traitor Joe Manchin, W.Va., was a no-show) voted in favor of cloture on DADT repeal (instead of the DREAM Act, for example). The President, Speaker Pelosi and Reid had to make choices. They gave the stand-alone DADT repeal bill priority because of all the pressure coming from various quarters and interest groups.

    The Republicans engaged because of Log Cabin and constituent pressure in certain states where the other Senator was a Democrat voting in favor of DADT repeal (and don't dismiss for a second the pressure the court case victory--and the injunction issued by Judge Phillips that she refused to stay--had on various parties, including the military brass. In fact, it is this pressure from the lawsuit that will drive swift implementation of DADT repeal and prevent any further modifications in the next Congress during the 60 waiting period after certification.

    But a very significant reason DADT repeal was prioritized came from the fear of the political fall-out resulting from relentless heckling of the President during the next two years while he attempted to run for re-election and Pelosi and Reid tried to rebuild their clout in the Congress. They didn't want to face that on the campaign trail. These protests had clearly gotten under their skin, and it let HRC claim there was nothing they could do to rein in the "crazy protesters" so the WH better hurry up and pass the bill.

    Meanwhile, only 50 Democrats voted for cloture on the DREAM act. There wasn't enough pressure from the President and Reid to get all the Democrats on board. So, sadly, the DREAM Act didn't get past the cloture vote--even though 3 Republicans and the 2 independents voted for cloture.

    Explain why all 55 Democrats voted for DADT repeal, but only 50 voted for the DREAM Act?

    If the WH had brought the same energy to the table as it did for DADT repeal, DREAM would be a reality today. Instead, you have ratification of the START treaty and repeal of DADT. Everything in Washington is about pressure interest groups, trade-offs and choices.

    A successful movement employs ALL types of lobbying--public protests, marches, telephone, email and letter campaigns, in-person lobbying, in-district rallies, running candidates against incumbents that don't support your position, building and maintaining coalitions among similar (progressive) interest groups (our straight allies). If we are to obtain full equality, we need to strengthen each part of this effort over the next few years.

    The good news, is there are all sorts of places where a person can get involved. If you don't like public protests, you don't have to go to them, but make sure you ALWAYS call, write and visit your elected officials--no matter which political party. They only retain their job if you re-elect them. The more they hear from you and your friends, family and co-workers, the more they will learn about our issues and the better they will represent you.

    Happy New Year everybody. May 2011 bring us even more victories!

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Dec 25, 2010 5:10:31 AM


  9. Justin has a point. The protests did a small amount. Congress and Obama did this.

    Posted by: wondermann | Dec 25, 2010 5:42:40 AM


  10. Ditto the 9/11 first-responders health care bill...

    Those (brave) people got that bill because they got up in the faces of the POTUS and Congresscritters, not really because it was a moral travesty of epic proportions to keep them suffering with no help due to the efforts they went toward helping this country in its time of greatest need.

    One other lesson, though? NONE of the Republicans were willing to vote on *any* of these issues, despite all the pressure and despite the fact that the American people *absolutely* realized how d-baggy they were being... until they were given their tax cuts and estate cuts for the rich.

    Posted by: Ryan | Dec 25, 2010 10:41:56 AM


  11. What lesson do we need to HEED not to take his avice and come out , come out , where ever you are. There would have been no one left in the Military and dadt would not exist. Heed the advice . He never had any !!

    Posted by: yaaah69 | Dec 25, 2010 10:57:27 AM


  12. It must be very comforting to live in a bubble, Wonderman.

    For months you and other Obama apologists claimed it was the job of activists to persuade CONGRESS because the president only signed bills. Now, activists had zero to do with it, it was all Congress and Obama?

    Question: Was it all in Obama's 11-level strategic masterplan to lose the House (and many Democratic state houses and governor mansions), lose the DADT senate voice twice, move to a standalone bill, and schedule a vote during the lame duck with only two days to spare? And to lose the DREAM Act the same day? Was that the plan?

    And pray tell, your comments for months about calling senators, etc? Did all that activism have any influence? What about HRC, SLDN, SU ... did they have any hand in this? Did GetEqual and Dan Choi have any hand in pressuring Reid?

    For two years you have been damn critical of anyone who dared challenge Obama on this, and called many of us racists. DADT wouldn't even have been repealed if it were left up to many people, such as yourself, who were critical of anyone who expected Obama and Congress to live up to their promises. But you keep telling yourself that activists, protesters, bloggers, etc had "nothing" to do with repealing DADT.

    Posted by: Tristan | Dec 25, 2010 4:14:59 PM


  13. This is what's called confusing correlation with causation or/and a confirmatory bias. He doesn't know that choi chaining himself to the wh fence had anything more to do with it than hrc's closed door meetings there. This is his opinion because it fits his worldview rather than anything empirical. One might argue that the DADT repeal is more because of lady gaga more than choi. The fact is that no one knows. But one thing signorile loves more than anything is a circular firing squad. It gives him something to talk about on his radio show

    Posted by: Joe Up | Dec 25, 2010 11:14:39 PM


  14. @TRUTHSEEKER_TOO - The Dream act is polling nowhere near where DADT was. Huge majorities supported DADT. Unfortunately, coming out of the last election, Democrats had no interest in appearing soft on immigration. I fully support the Dream act - and I think you'd be hard pressed to NOT support it from a logicial stand point, if there's one thing we've learned, Democrats don't have the balls to anything remotely controversial. Its unfortunate, but true. With DADT, the wind was at their backs, 70%+ of the public supported it, the President was supporting it and they knew it was a must-do before the next congress or else it would never get done. It is also a perfect way to appeal to the left-of-center base.

    I'm sorry to tell you but for most people outside of the gay activists, the protests don't do much. Yes, the President must then answer if he feels compelled to do so. However, interrupting his speeches is no more productive than what Cindy Sheehan was doing. Taking a perfectly valid case and putting an extremist, uncivilized spin on it. Simply further encouraging the stereotype that there is some sort of "radical gay agenda." Except if the President was asked a compelling, reasoned question on the matter, it would look like it was something that actually needed to be discussed.

    Posted by: Justin | Dec 26, 2010 1:45:33 AM


  15. @LINCOLNLOUNGER: Yes, let's praise the LCR's for their lawsuit against DADT. They deserve it. But, let's not confuse the LCR with the GOProud creeps. Perhaps with the LCR, there's hope. Where the GOProud creeps are concerned, I wonder what it's like blowing wind up Ann Coulter's skirt?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 27, 2010 2:29:09 PM


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