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

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.