Robert Gibbs on DADT: Then and Now

Jim Burroway

May 16th, 2009

This is White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s response back last January in answer to a question submitted via email about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on gays serving in the military:

A one word answer on getting rid of the policy: yes. That seemed pretty clear and straightforward to me.

But this is what Gibbs looked like when he tried to answer a similar question this week:

John Avarosis wonders if this hemming and hawing is “because he secretly knows that we’re on the path to getting screwed.” To be honest, I’m wondering the same thing.


May 16th, 2009

but… but… Obama is the savior of all gay people!


May 16th, 2009

The end of this, Gibbs says that Obama believes the policy doesn’t serve our national interest. SO WHY FOLLOW IT???


May 16th, 2009

“The president believes the policy doesn’t serve the national interest.”

“The president believes the policy doesn’t serve the national interest.”

“The president believes the policy doesn’t serve the national interest.”

THEN FREAKIN CHANGE IT!!!!!!! This policy is ruining (and ruined) lives of qualified GI’s who just happen to be gay. And then there’s that tiny cost of upholding DADT. So far it’s passed the 300 million dollar mark.

David C.

May 16th, 2009

Obviously, the Obama administration considers DADT a Third Rail. I’m still convinced that the reason Obama doesn’t tackle this issue right now is the military itself. There is just too much deeply entrenched homophobia in the command chain at the moment, though I believe that is changing.

Yes, sure, one can clearly see that the general population of the US favors repealing DADT, and I still think it’s all about trying to not “overreach” that has induced a kind of paralysis on the part of Democrats with respect to gay civil rights.

I also believe that Democrats can smell a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Were that to obtain, there would be a narrow window of near impunity within which to enact the most controversial elements of the gay civil rights agenda: Repeal of DADT and DOMA, and enactment of ENDA. Should that also correspond with the opening of a seat on the SCOTUS bench, we could see a cementing of a much more progressive court for years to come.

This does not mean that we should expect all of this to be a slam-dunk. The Democrats are keenly aware that their majority can evaporate very quickly, even in less than 18 months, should conservative elements manage to regroup. To succeed in the longer term, Democrats need to govern from just left of center to have a chance of locking things up in the mid-terms, at which point they may be able to drift a little more to the left.


May 16th, 2009

My partner and I financially contributed to the Obama campaign and voted for him. I have been more than a little skeptical about him since he chose known bigot Rev. Warren to speak at his inauguration. I have also been disturbed by the substitution of the word “change” for “repeal” of DADT, and the general back-pedalling on gay rights.

I simply cannot support this administration if they choose to maintain this new direction.

However, I did look at the Civil Rights page today and the previous wording about repealing DADT was back. I refreshed the page several times, so I think I have the latest version. Perhaps this administration is waking up to a potentially serious problem they are creating for themselves by alientaing the gay vote.


May 16th, 2009

Gibbs is just the mouthpiece.


May 17th, 2009

I think he’s quibbling because the question compares apples and oranges, if only because one issue (releasing photos) is something Obama has complete control over, and the other issue (changing legislation) is something he doesn’t. I thought we liked Obama because he isn’t the “Imperial President” kind of leader. I believe it’ll be better for the country to have congress have the debate (if the democrats grow some balls) and overturn DADT than if Obama just stops it unilaterally. With any luck, citizens can hear from gay veterans and those that fight with them and learn that they’re valuable soldiers who love and defend their country, despite their country’s reluctance to love and defend them back.

Things change slowly in the military. Last month they said they believe Stop/Loss is immoral and they plan to stop the practice… probably sometime in the summer of 2010.


May 18th, 2009

Once again Obama proves he is the reincarnation of FDR – the ultimate political pragmatist. Of course he sees DADT and all GLBT rights as a third rail, and it is, for him right now. He is trying to use his ample political capital to push through a lot of radical stuff, and he is unwilling to risk it on GLBT stuff right now.

I am disappointed in him, of course, but I always said I supported him (and all Dems) in spite of, not because of, their positions on LGBT rights. What is needed, and what I do not see in the LGBT community right now, is a strategy to force the issue. We cannot rely solely on refusing to support Obama in some distant re-election campaign. We have to start actively fighting the administration on their bullshit right now.

Maybe a mass mailing of Obama bumper stickers, pins and t-shirts, a la the teabaggers, to demonstrate our disillusionment would be a good first step.

David C.

May 18th, 2009

Maybe a mass mailing of Obama bumper stickers, pins and t-shirts, a la the teabaggers, to demonstrate our disillusionment would be a good first step.

Sending a maelstrom of trinketry swirling around the White House will yield nothing. To accelerate change, pressure your elected representatives with a constant drizzle of letters, e-mails, and phone calls. They are the ones with the power to actually change things.

The President has to “deal” with Congress all the time. The more representatives and senators that equate their long term success to advancing gay civil rights, the more likely we are to get the attention of the Executive Branch. Eventually, the Obama LGBT legislative agenda will have some clear cover in congress. Then, and only then, will we see the kind of progress we all want.

And don’t stop with your representatives. Work with your neighbors and others in the communities where you live to educate voters. One does not have to wait for the next presidential election cycle: mid-terms are just about 19 months away.

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