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Obama, Congressional leaders meet on DADT

Timothy Kincaid

May 24th, 2010

This morning President Obama, Congressional leaders, Pentagon leaders, and gay rights groups had various meetings to discuss Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I wish that I could report that the President has whole-heartedly given his endorsement to the Congressional effort to overturn the discriminatory policy this week.

But unfortunately, it appears that Obama called in Congress to get concessions that will delay implementation of the change in policy and which will not actually overturn the ban but simply return the decision about implementation to the Pentagon. (Washington Post)

Any repeal would take effect only after President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen review the Pentagon study and certify that the new law can be implemented without a negative impact on military readiness, recruitment and retention, according to the sources.

This may be the best we can get. Should the President oppose the effort to lift the ban on open service in the Military, or even fail to signal acceptance of the change, this could trigger defeat. The vote count is very close.

It is important that the vote occur before any change in Congressional membership. It is very possible that one or both houses of Congress could be turned over to Republican control, and it is unlikely that Republican Party leadership would bring the bill to a vote regardless of the conclusions of the study.

And while I would prefer that Congress tell the Military that is will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation whether it finds that restriction to be minorly inconvenient or not, that may not be an option.

UPDATE: The NY Times confirms the details:

Under the deal, lawmakers could vote soon to repeal the contentious 17-year-old policy, which bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed services; the House Democratic leaders are considering taking up the measure as soon as this week. But the policy would not change until sometime after Dec. 1, when the Pentagon completes a review of its readiness to deal with the new policy. President Obama would also be required to certify that repeal would not harm military readiness.

In a letter to Mr. Obama on Monday evening, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Lieberman and Senator Carl M. Levin, the Armed Services Committee chairman, asked the White House for its “official views” on the proposal.

But Capitol Hill aides said the letter was pro forma; Mr. Obama’s budget director, Peter R. Orszag, quickly replied with the White House’s assent.

It is encouraging to know that when backed into a corner without any way of saving face, the President is our fierce advocate. But hey, I’ll take it and be happy.

Comments

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Marcelle Wyzdyx
May 24th, 2010 | LINK

This is a bit confusing; the headline says DOMA, but the story seems to be about DADT.

Ben in Oakland
May 24th, 2010 | LINK

So, in short, they will repeal DADT, but let the pentagon decide what it wants to do. sort of the domestic partnership (just the same as marriage, except that it isn’t).

that way they can say they repealed it, but can tell the conservatives they left it in place. Not their fualt any more. sort of like an barely adult version of simon says.

Do they think we’re total idiots? What happened to the common meaning of the promises Obama made in is SOTU speech?

Our Fierce Advocate My Ass.

Burr
May 24th, 2010 | LINK

This is idiotic cowardice. Democrats are going to lose because of a bajillion other reasons. Sabotaging a DADT repeal is not going to endear them to independents or conservatives.

Timothy Kincaid
May 24th, 2010 | LINK

Marcelle,

Drat those acronyms!! :)

It has been fixed

Rob in San diego
May 24th, 2010 | LINK

“……and certify that the new law can be implemented without a negative impact on military readiness, recruitment and retention, according to the sources.”

REALLY? Did anyone think to ask that very same question when they invented DADT and started kicking out highly trained professionals with the necessary skills to keep this country safe? No sadly to say they never thought about that. Now were full of empty headed homophobic soldiers who have replaced the highly skilled gay officers. In fact, didn’t we even have to lower the standards of what it takes to become enlisted over the last 8 years because we needed to fill the positions of those that they’ve kicked out?

cd
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

The Obama people had better be sure they know the conclusions of this “study” already.

Jason D
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

Rob,
There’s a law on the books with the military which bans gays from serving in the military PERIOD. This law(rule, policy, whatever) pre-dates DADT.

DADT was actually supposed to be a compromise as Clinton was preparing to end the ban altogether.

Timothy Kincaid
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

I believe you are mistaken and that prior to 1993, the gay ban was an administrative policy, not a law.

If you know otherwise, please provide a link to that law.

Jason D
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

Tim, read my comment again. I think it’s rather clear what I’m talking about.

Timothy Kincaid
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

Yeah, I don’t think we are in disagreement.

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