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W.H. Offers Reassurance On DADT Repeal: Prelude To Showdown, Or Placation?

Whitehousesunset

 
White House officials held a meeting with LGBT activists and other allies yesterday, after the Senate wrapped up Don't Ask, Don't Tell hearings, and assured them that the Obama administration remains committed to a repeal.

The event was off-the-record and the attendees, drawn from groups like Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Human Rights Campaign, the National Black Justice Coalition, Log Cabin Republicans, and the Center for American Progress, among others, would only speak anonymously, but one guest described the administration's assessment as cheery, telling Politico, "With all the competing legislative issues and a shrinking calendar, they were very positive about NDAA and DADT repeal, and they are committed to getting it done."

Another recounted how officials insisted there were no back room deals to kill a repeal. "They fought back against all of the rumors that a deal has been cut,” said the source. “They said, ‘The best evidence is that we would never have sent [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates and [Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike] Mullen out there if we weren’t serious about getting this done.’”

White House spokesman Shin Inouye confirmed the meeting, and described it in an email as a followup to this week's testimonies, which "[made] clear that now, more than ever, Congress can and must take action during the lame duck session to give the military the flexibility it needs to end DADT in a way that does not jeopardize military readiness."

The pow-wow, reportedly led by White House legislative affairs staffer Christopher Kang, Public Engagement director Christina Tchen and that Office of Public Engagement deputy director, Brian Bond, comes as President Obama faces growing criticism from the nation's liberal set and other allies over his "cowardly" bipartisan efforts.

Moveon.org, for example, posted a petition urging the President to "go to the mat" and "bring back the progressive fighter we all knew and supported in 2008," and the New York Times today tried to dissect the President's thought process, writing "It may be that Mr. Obama still believes that bipartisan gestures can overcome extreme policy differences." The editors continued, "But the rest of Washington woke up from that dream long ago. It has become a snare."

If that's true, what becomes of Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Yesterday's meeting may appear as nothing more than an attempt at placation, but the Democratic National Committee and their grassroots Organizing for America will coordinate a phone bank next week to push Senators on repeal, and an attendee recalled White House aides saying that the President "is fully committed and will be engaged at the right time."

But the clock's ticking on this Congressional session, and some wonder whether there is indeed time to win a repeal, especially since success may rely more on Republicans than the President.

Senate Republicans have vowed not to vote on anything, including Don't Ask, Don't Tell, until Congress extends the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, and today voted against the Democrats' middle class tax plan because it doesn't include the nation's wealthiest families.

Democrats and no doubt the President want to use this vote to paint the GOP as a party beholdened to the rich, but would holding out for too long cost them other legislative wins and political capital? And if the Democrats give up, as many predict, will opposition senators like John McCain, who now says we can't repeal DADT because the economy's "in the tank," feel inspired to stall until the more conservative Congress gets in the ring?

With less than a month until this Congress adjourns, a long-fought civil rights battle teeters at the edge of success or gut-wrenching failure. It's a nail biter, that's for sure. Let's hope this White House meeting's a prelude to a showdown, and not a bid to buy more time.

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Comments

  1. This is a FREAKING JOKE that this should be down to the wire. There is no reason whatsoever that DADT should still be in the books.

    "Obama administration remains committed to a repeal."
    So what is Obama doing about it? Is he talking to the other bigot by the name of McCain? He should be twisting his arms and telling him, DADT needs to be repealed and McCain needs to STFU.

    What else explains Obama not ACTIVELY working on doing something to get DADT repealed?

    Obama insulted us with his DOJ filings. If he fails to get DADT repealed, there will be hell to pay. Not even a Sarah Palin will ever get him the gay vote again if DADT is not repealed.

    Posted by: FunMe | Dec 4, 2010 2:16:48 PM


  2. And the countdown to Joe Solmonese's ass-kissing "we believe the President because he promised us!" press release starts NOW. (Enjoy that $275k salary, Joe)

    Posted by: NYerinMpls | Dec 4, 2010 2:56:34 PM


  3. Obama's administration has degenerated into mere theater with no substance.

    The Dems had two years to overturn DADT while they had majorities.

    Now, in a lame duck session, the Obama Admin do-nothings are making believe that they actually cared.

    The fact that the meeting included the pretty-boy elite cocktail organization HRC and not GetEqual just proves how worthless this admin has become.

    Don't get your hopes up for anything.

    The Obama Adminstration and Harry Reid in the Senate have better complete disappointments. They both have compromised the hell out of any significant change anywhere.

    We are so fucked.

    Posted by: Continuum | Dec 4, 2010 2:58:37 PM


  4. You ask what becomes of DADT? Quite simply, we won't see it again until at least 2013, and that is if the President can hold onto his office and the Democrats can take back the Senate.

    But this will go down at Democrats' second big blunder, behind the health care bill which may have been necessary but was explained to the American people SO badly that the Republicans were able to seize the issue with "they're gonna kill grandma" momentum and help propel know-nothing tea party candidates into office.

    IMHO (and it's very humble) Obama should not seek a second term. He should announce to the American people that the reason is that the Republican party is so against anything remotely, truly American, that they only stand for the very wealthy of this country at the expense of every other American and they stand for the insanity of right wing religiousosity that seem to know nothing about the Christ whose name they have absconded with and have turned into an institution of hatred against other people that has resulted in violence and death against people who aren't exactly like them or don't believe what they believe. That he can no longer serve a country where he sees the rich getting richer and more power crazy while the rest of the country slowly sinks into working class poverty and has the right to freedoms and liberty superceded by the freakish religions of the very rich and ignorant.

    If he went of the attack, beating that drum day after day after day, taking down each one of the Republicans, from Palin to McCain, from Huckabee to Bohner and McConnell and called them what they are, liars, hypocrites and everything that is wrong with not only American politicians but Americans in general as they try to pass themselves off as either "real" Americans or leaders, then we would see this party disintergrate. But it's going to take someone of real power, of real integrity to stand up against these horrible people who play politics with other people's lives day in and day out for both political and personal (read: financial) gain. Obama would go down as a great statesman for a new generation.

    But he'd never do it...he, like the Republicans, is already (and has been from the beginning) playing politics with things like DADT and DOMA...wanting to seem the champion but needing a villian in case it doesn't work out so that he can still collect the coin from gay men and women in this country.

    Our salvage will come through the courts until the Republicans can figure out a way to either stack them so insanely in their favor or find a way to recall or vote out anyone the disagree with (simply an extention of the "activist judge" plan which mean labling any judge who goes against your side an "activist" who is trying to legislate from the bench.) And we will suffer for it until we can rally the silent majority of people who are actually for liberty over religiousness, for freedom over slavish faithfulness to a passive yet violent ideology, and turn the table on them.

    I'm waiting to see a person in politics stand up, man up, and be a real leader for all Americans not just those who have money and a false-God.

    Posted by: BartB | Dec 4, 2010 3:17:40 PM


  5. OK boys, you know the position. Bend over and grab those ankles, until we need you next fall.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Dec 4, 2010 3:25:26 PM


  6. DADT repeal is, I believe, not going to happen. Obama is not a leader. We'll have to look elsewhere than the wh and admin for leadership in congress on this issue, and frankly, any other (specifically, making the tax cuts permanent for the wealthiest 2%...if he caves to that, he's beyond a coward...he's a loser, as he won't be reelected in 2012). He has lost the people who got him elected with his concessions and artless blundering in dealing with scorched earth republicans, and he lacks even the basic rudiments of leadership to fight the good fight...I don't even think he knows how to do it, or cares to. We know that people harry reid are spineless political jellyfish who we can't count on for leadership of any kind (and he's the one who suggested that obama run in the first place). Obama was and continues to be an embarrassing miscalculation on the part of progressives. It will be corrected at an extremely high cost.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2010 3:40:30 PM


  7. Yeah right.

    Posted by: taodon | Dec 4, 2010 4:32:31 PM


  8. Obama has no balls. When push comes to shove against the GOP, he'll fold, just like he has over HCR, regulations for the banks and Wall Street, Social Security and extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. Paul Krugman's column says it best -- he's had a moral collapse and is no longer trustworthy, so we'll have to find leadership elsewhere.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Dec 4, 2010 4:35:54 PM


  9. What is more likely true?

    That the Democrats can get elected, take office, get paid--yet are uniquely incapable of delivering on their promises, year after year, decade after decade...

    OR

    That the Democrats lie to gays to get our votes and then, once in power, abandon their promises and neglect our issues because they know we'll vote Dem no matter what they do--or don't do?

    Posted by: the greasybear | Dec 4, 2010 5:03:32 PM


  10. Obama is a Lesbian. No balls, just a big pussy!

    Posted by: major707 | Dec 4, 2010 6:18:58 PM


  11. If Obama were a lesbian this would be done already.

    DADT will be repealed, one way or another. It's up to Obama whether it happens with his help or in spite of his lack of leadership. The only thing he has to gain by not getting it done is further alienating his base, which seems to be his defining skill at the moment.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 4, 2010 7:14:36 PM


  12. Oooh a gay soiree holiday party. Do you think they served a special holiday cocktail during the party...errr...meeting.

    Posted by: Name: | Dec 4, 2010 7:34:20 PM


  13. We need to think of a serious alternative for the progressive/liberal ticket in 2012.

    Obama has been a traumatic disappointmnet.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 4, 2010 7:35:40 PM


  14. How can these American military "leaders" suck so much?? Just end this evil policy!

    Posted by: X | Dec 4, 2010 8:34:45 PM


  15. When will America stop being a lie?! Gay soldiers: seriously consider supporting Canada or gay-supportive European countries rather than the US if America keeps persecuting you, your families, and your loved ones.

    Posted by: X | Dec 4, 2010 8:48:51 PM


  16. BartB summed it up pretty well... I don't have a problem with Obama having a second turn however if he would just grow a pair and stop trying to compromise with the republicans. He still just doesn't get it, which is unbelievably baffling... they have no interest in compromise, they only want to destroy his presidency. Message to the Democrats... guys you are dealing with Sociopaths. They are evil. You cannot reason with them, they are insane. Let them derail the tax cut. Don't you understand the American Public doesn't support giving tax breaks to millionaires. The next show to drop if you give into the tax cut for millionaires will be the Republican's blaming the Democrats for the increasing deficit. Oy Vey!

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 4, 2010 9:07:17 PM


  17. SNAFU

    Posted by: Drakow | Dec 4, 2010 11:46:20 PM


  18. DADT repeal has become a agonizing, tortured debate. It will be repealed eventually, but the less they're interested in pursuing decisive action (and that includes harsh demonization of opposition), the more repeal will be but a hollow victory that won't be spun to his and the dems favor...it's become a gaping wound that protracted debate is widening.

    Obama came out of the meeting with republicans upbeat about the lame duck and ready for bipartisanship while the republicans were plotting his demise at the very same time, completely unmoved by his pathetic appeals for reconciliation as per usual. He is so naive and desperate that it's nothing but a liability. Is he capable of saying an unkind word about people who absolutely despise his very existence and work tirelessly to undermine him and are succeeding in doing so? Is there no cunning to his political "skill"? Is it all just empty preacher rhetoric? This latest "let's hold hands" community organizer moment is nothing but confusion on his and the admin's part, and just smells like blood in the water to the republicans...and it is...weakness. Bottom line is that he has to show some real fire and brimstone leadership (the kind that doesn't normally hail from the senate, and refuse to compromise) in the next few weeks or his political fate is written, and the alienated who insured his victory in '08 will become the disaffected. Mainstream americans don't want wealthy people getting tax breaks (regardless of the so-called temporary consequences here) that are unpaid for, and if permanent, would further cripple programs like social security.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 5, 2010 1:38:58 AM


  19. If Obama and the Senate democrats make the right deal on taxes, the DADT legislation COULD still happen. But a repeal is not a repeal when the details are left in the hands of people dragged to the table kicking and screaming.

    We're better off if this thing fails and the matter is decided in the courts.

    Posted by: JusticeontheRocks | Dec 5, 2010 9:58:03 AM


  20. And yet again multiple gay groups ALL act like White House Plantation slaves HRC by going to meetings there and then refusing to tell the people they claim to representet, whom they keep asking for money and support from what was said...or more importantly what THEY said to the President's shills about his continue failure to DO anything but sit on his bony ass as the time left to pass even a repeal OPTION amendment evaporates.

    As the guy called out to the crowd marching silently to City Hall after Harvey Milk's murder: "WHERE IS YOUR ANGER?"

    Posted by: Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com | Dec 5, 2010 10:42:38 AM


  21. Amazing, Apparently nobody here has any perspective on the issue.

    1) It's not as easy as you think.
    2) There are huge opponents to DADT, none of them are the president.
    3) There is a strategy in place.
    4) What are you going to be all hyperbolic and bitchy about after DADT is repealed?

    Posted by: Fenrox | Dec 6, 2010 10:44:03 AM


  22. FYI all you hopefully hopeless idiots that think DADT is ever going to be repealed. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN because we will ALWAYS be second class unethical dumbasses that join the military in the first place. Everyone who joined knowing they have to hide, has questionable integrity, because they planned to lie from the start.

    Posted by: Pointed | Dec 6, 2010 5:12:04 PM


  23. Further, with the White House lip-service, it is clear we are just pawns that the White House is trying to pacify. In order to maintain integrity, ALL gays should depart the military immediately and good riddance to the haters that run this damn country. Thanks for nothing Obama, Pelosi, Reid and all other worthless hacks spewing their lip-service. I say again - IT DOES NOT GET BETTER!

    Posted by: Pointed | Dec 6, 2010 5:16:16 PM


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