Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Strange Day for Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Today has been a whirlwind of a day with regard to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Now, I am not sure about the timeline, but I do know the following:  the Pentagon confirmed an internal memorandum making it clear to the JAG Corps across the services that all activity related to DADT has to stop until there is some movement by the Obama administration, and then Obama administration asked for a stay of the decision that declared DADT unconstitutional while it seeks an appeal.

A Reuters article noted that during a town hall meeting today sponsored by cable channels MTV, BET and CMT, Obama was asked about DADT, and said the following:  "This is not a situation where with a stroke of a pen I can end the policy....This policy will end and it will end on my watch."  Now unless I am mistaken, I think that Obama's statement is true, but with caveats.  If I am wrong, please correct me.  Is it not true that Obama has the power, with the stroke of a pen, to suspend DADT investigations and/or discharges while this situation is dealt with (including waiting for the Department of Defense review, as well as the appeal process of the recent ruling)?  If that is true, and Obama has that authority, why has he not exercised it?  Has he even checked that he has that authority, and if he has, why not communicate that?

Politically, I think it is safe to say that the Obama administration is in real peril of permanently damaging his credibility with the broader GLBT community.  And this is just the latest manifestation.  Furthermore, the administration is being played by the Log Cabin Republicans.  Through this lawsuit, that group has been able to cast a flood light on just how flawed the Obama administration's seeming half hearted efforts (remember the utter lack of lobbying for the Defense Re-Authorization bill's passage, before the current recess?) on DADT have been.  Obama has made it clear, and I can partly understand his reasoning, that he wants the process that his administration put forth to be completed.  And though I understand that by having Congress put an end to DADT, you reduce the level of noise from the right and minimize a backlash, it feels (to me at least) that the Commander in Chief has ceded the real power on this issue to Sec. of Defense Gates, and in the end what he says seems like it will go.  I hope I am wrong, and I hope that that "fierce advocate" for gay rights might finally show himself, but I am not so sure. 

In all honesty, I am trying really hard to believe the President on this issue.  Really hard. 

There is one last thing I want to get off my chest on this issue.  I've stated that I am glad that the Log Cabin Republicans put forth this suit, and the ruling that they got was indeed one that made me smile, but I think that it is disingenuous to beat up on the Obama administration while ignoring what the Republican Senators did to prevent the passage of the Defense Re-Authorization bill that would have put a legislative end to DADT (pending the DoD review).  I also want to remind Log Cabin Republicans that they remain members of a party that routinely rails against "activist (when the decisions are against Republican interests only) judges" for court cases precisely like this.  Check yourselves.


TC said...

Maybe the Republican Senators opposed the DREAM ON immigration act that was tacked on to the Defense Authorization Bill.

Do we really want to play that much politics with DADT or immigration reform when you tack them both onto an authorization bill?

hscfree said...

Yes, it is possible for the Dream On Act to have been a part of this issue (didn't McCain support that in one of his past lives, btw?). And regarding your last paragraph, you must have forgotten how DADT was born. It was tacked on to a Defense Re-Authorization bill. So in that regard, it seems fitting that it should die the same way.