Main | Thursday, April 22, 2010

DADT: What Did The White House Decide And When Did They Decide It?

The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld reports that the White House may have made the decision not to pursue a 2010 repeal of DADT as early as February, yet the president still pledged its repeal this year during his State Of The Union address.
Early in the year, multiple sources say some administration officials counseled the president against acting on the military’s gay ban in 2010. Still, Obama included his intention to end the policy in his State of the Union address, saying, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law…” Yet just days after the January 27 speech, White House officials convened a meeting on February 1 with LGBT advocates in which they said the policy would not be included in the president’s recommendations for this year's Department of Defense authorization bill, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.

“It was a definitive shut-down from [Jim] Messina,” said a source, who was present at the meeting and agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, referring to the White House deputy chief of staff. “He said it would not be going into the president’s Defense authorization budget proposal.” The news was a blow to activists since the Defense funding bill is the best legislative vehicle for including a measure to overturn the policy. “It almost seemed like the bar on the hurdle got raised two or three times higher,” said the source. The White House declined to comment on the meeting.
Speaking to a North Carolina audience, two months ago the Human Right Campaign's Joe Solmonese famously vowed that DADT would indeed be turned back in 2010. Unsurprising, the HRC remembers the above-cited White House meeting differently.
“They were noncommittal about legislation in that meeting, but not definitively one way or the other,” said [David] Smith, vice president of programs for HRC. According to Smith, the meeting included discussion of the Pentagon’s working group, who was going to lead that group, and their intent to review the current regulations and consider how they could reduce discharges.
John Aravosis reacts at AmericaBlog:
So yet again the White House is putting out the line that the President is weak and powerless, and has no influence with Congress. It's not only pathetic that any employee of the White House would think it wise to spread the word that the President is weak, but it's also a lie. And it's one the White House, and frankly HRC, has been spreading for a while now. The notion that Congress passes laws, the President only executes them. It's a cute high school civics approach to explaining how Washington works, it's also incredibly naive.

As we saw with health care reform, when the President dithered for a good year, the reform effort spun out of control and the entire thing was almost lost. When the President finally got engaged, finally put the full force of his presidency behind lobbying for the bill, suddenly the bill became law. It is flat out wrong, a lie, to suggest that the President has no power to influence legislation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying to you, or has no concept whatsoever of how Washington works.

Labels: , , , , ,

comments powered by Disqus