Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) - Obama's failure in leadership

Just to echo the CNBC townhall meeting that Obama participated in recently, the latest developments in repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law demonstrate a pretty clear failure of Obama’s leadership, both in fulfilling a campaign promise and exercising moral authority. Obama’s pledge to get the law repealed was a noteworthy, if not primary, plank of his presidential campaign.

He has had at least two good opportunities to get it repealed and failed to use either. The first opportunity was in the Senate, where instead of prodding Harry Reid to either have the proposed repeal take the form of its own bill or have it be the sole substantive amendment to the defense appropriations bill, Obama seemingly failed to get involved at all and allowed Senate Democrats to insert numerous - with at least one controversial - amendments to the appropriations bill, all but guaranteeing a Republican filibuster or outright rejection. This also gave on-the-fence Republicans or Democrats the chance to use the (albeit hypocritical) procedural issue of Democrats denying Republicans the chance to offer more than one amendment themselves as an excuse for rejecting it.

With the Senate version dead, Obama had his second golden opportunity. He could have called a press conference with SecDef Robert Gates (a Republican) and Admiral Mullins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the background, and announced that because politics were being played instead of retaining the military personnel needed to help keep the country safe and above all, doing the right thing, he was personally ordering that Federal District Court Judge Phillips’ decision holding the law unconstitutional would not be appealed. Further, he could have announced that no injunction would be sought and that the government attorneys in the case would submit their timetable for full implementation of the ruling with Judge Phillips as she requested the government to do after she made her ruling. This timetable could have factored in the report due to Congress about any repeal’s effect on military readiness in December and left the bulk of the implementation of the ruling until after that.

Instead, Obama has apparently done nothing. He has abdicated to Congress any and all leadership on this issue. Even though he has previously said that he wanted Congress to repeal the law rather than have it overturned in the courts, he apparently has not done much himself to ensure that this happens. He has failed. And, like many in the CNBC townhall, he has increasingly become a profound disappointment.

It is a Public Law, passed by Congress. It therefore has to be repealed by Congress. And, of course, when he has pushed Congress for something he has gotten his way every time, right?

What should Obama be doing to “ensure” that congress passes a repeal?

I think describing Obama as caring about any gay issues beyond placating his base during election cycles requires cherry picking quotes or at least an unusual amount of faith in a politician. His views have shifted quite a bit over the years. He’s been for and against gay marriage and for and against DADT. In any event, DADT is on the back burner considering the times.

Even if he really cared about gays I don’t think one should blame him for Congress not passing a bill. I’d rather blame him for things he has direct control over, like his inner circle, troop movements, the further destruction of civil liberties, flying robot death machines, and the global gulag.

I don’t know what the big deal is:

The President is the Commander in Chief. He can this instant get the Joint Chiefs of Staff and order them to drop DADT. Executive order. Done. Finished.

Why isn’t Obama doing this? Maybe because he sees that actually very few people are for gay rights, including many blacks and hispanics that he needs in his corner who overwhelmingly disapprove of homosexuals? I think Clinton backed off because his party told him too and came up with this, albiet silly comprimise.

I don’t see much wrong with DADT. The military doesn’t ask. The recruit doesn’t tell. The problem lies in the fact that an active military person is one 24/7 during the length of service. So, there is no off time, no private time.

There has been homosexuals since Armies began. Greeks used to fuck each other in the ass and eat their own execrement before going into battle. Maybe, maybe not. Nobody asked them, and really, no one would say.

Question: Is legal, consensual sex between heterosexuals allowed on base by active duty personel?
If not, should it be?

I don’t know what the big deal is:

The President is the Commander in Chief. He can this instant get the Joint Chiefs of Staff and order them to drop DADT. Executive order. Done. Finished. Obama himself is blocking this.

Although Obama is a Marxist, possible illegal alien, Muslim, fartknocker and Zebra, gay he isn’t. He seems to prefer African American women with big butts. You know, if the brass in the Pentagon could bar big assed African American women from their ranks, they would. In a minute. The biography of big assed African American war heroes is a very thin read. Gays. Now they have been everywhere. Fought every war in history. Where would humanity be without the cross dressing spies, or the wonderful cooks, or the quartermaster who always had a large jar of lube for those “special moments”.

What have we learned from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Simple. They don’t ask. The soldier doesn’t tell. Heterosexuals do not have to announce to the world that they like the opposite sex. No parades down Main Street. Most of us do out jobs and go home. Genitalia has no basis in fact. There are no atheists in foxholes!

Support the troops, send them home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Bunch of sodomites over there anyway!

Of course, if Obama has a second term, he can exercise his power as Commander in Chief instantly without ruining his chances for a third term (there being no third term). If he doesn’t get elected for a second term, he might kill DADT as soon as that is evident.

So you are setting your pool date at November 7, 2012?

Isn’t he effectively overruling Congress then?

Is that not a massive power-grab?

(Keep in mind I’m a dirty foreigner).

“Commander and Chief” isn’t “King of the Army”, Congress is given the power to govern the military in the Constitution and they used it when the passed the DADT legislation. Obama can’t overturn DADT, Congress needs to.

Obama had a great point in response to the criticism: 56 Democrats voted to repeal DADT. Zero Republicans voted for it. How is he supposed to overcome bigotry in lockstep?

However, I do agree the time is now. Just repeal DADT and who gives a damn what anyone says? I was about to start an “Obama, WTF?” thread based on his completely losing the ball on issues like this and others and basically handing his opponents victory in the mid-terms. When the Republicans take over the houses of government again, I have no idea how Obama is going to get anything done. DADT is dead for sure, in a senate without a democratic supermajority.

He can’t just end it by executive order. All he can do is order the military not to enforce the regulations against gays. Which is, in fact, what DADT is in the first place: It was the limit of what Clinton could do on the issue by executive order.

Quoth Captain Midnight:

“Gay rights” isn’t a single monolithic issue. Support for gay marriage is probably still in the minority (though a plurality in most places). But support for gays in the military is above 50%, consistently and across the board. This is even more so among Democrats, even when you factor in blacks and Hispanics.

The big deal is that through executive order, the next president can simply return DADT. Then gays who may have come out during Obama’s term would be subject to discharge, losing their 2 or 6 years they served in the military including pensions and benefits. Plus, if Obama does it through executive order, there would be enough cover given to those who are on the fence about the issue to table it. Their excuse would be that DADT is illegal now, by Obama’s order, so they don’t have to vote on a full repeal. Politicians are cowards, they won’t wade into a fight they don’t have to.

DADT is a misnomer. You can be accused of being gay anonymously and the military can launch an investigation. As the recent disagreement between Clinton and Powell shows, the version Clinton approved was less stringent than the version currently active. Now, someone can out you even if you’re not on duty and it may lead to a discharge. The inability to have a private life makes DADT a cruel and evil law that undermines the effectiveness of gay military pesonnel.

I think the issue has broader meaning in the military than just a gay issue. It has been the philosophy of the American military that we don’t put women on the front line. As far as I can tell, a lot of that involves the perceived problems of bonding issues. It’s considered a major distraction and potential moral problem in a cohesive fighting unit. Yes, other countries have fully integrated military units so there is debate fodder for this philosophy. However, debate aside, I think removing DADT put’s women on the front line and also makes them subject to the draft.

Um, what? I don’t know anything about anything, but I’m pretty sure that, no, removing DADT has nothing to do with putting women on the front line and making them subject to the draft…

If the law mandating DADT is NOT repealed by a legal vote, can those voting against repeal be held in contempt of court? Considering it has been declared unconstitutional and all.

I’m genuinely curious about this.


And it won’t really been declared unconstitutional until the SCOTUS rules on it.

If the SC does declare it unconstitutional, then it won’t need to be repealed. It will be struck off the books at that point. Even if Congress passes another version of DADT at that point, it will just be struck down again. No one will be held in contempt. As far as I know, no one has ever been held in contempt by the US Supreme Court.

Who’s to say that repealing DADT wouldn’t galvanize the opposition into voting more conservatives into office to repeal it and fight against other gay-rights legislation? Passing something those folks disagree with isn’t going to cause them to vote OUT conservatives. “They didn’t stop DADT from being passed: I’m gonna vote Democrat!” Ppl get complacent when things go their way, so I don’t think a conservative victory (on this vote) at this time is the worst thing for Democrats in November, providing it doesn’t dissuade Democrats from voting.

As a note, and for context, I support the repeal of DADT and the having openly gay ppl serve.

Not to mention it would unconstitutional to hold them in contempt:

Camus is right. Obama has shown a complete lack of leadership on this issue. He has failed to do what he promised to do.

On campaigning for the presidency he promised to be ‘a fierce advocate for gay rights’ and said he would ‘use the bully pulpit’ to give voice to gay citizens.

I understand he wants the repeal to come through as an act of the legislature. I can even get behind that. But he has done next to nothing to encourage that. He is allowed to speak on this issue. He could demand the senate puts up a bill for the sole purpose of the repeal. He could call out the Republicans for blocking the appropriations bill.

Obama continues to remain silent on gay rights as a whole. He says nothing, when all gay rights need to advance is a vocal leader. DADT is a winning issue. A majority of Americans support it’s repeal. I can understand him not getting behind other issues on which the public sentiment may be less clear, but for him to remain silent on this issue is pure cowardice, hiding from a small minority of bigots.

Where is a speech from Obama asking for the repeal of DADT? He might send Robert Gibbs out on occasion to acknowledge they will still take gay donations but he himself isn’t saying a dam thing.

He promised a repeal of DADT. He said nothing on it until he was heckled in a crowd, on DADT saying ‘we’re working on it’. Then after not doing anything to force it’s repeal the largest gay rights protest in the nations history was on his doorstep. He then had the wisdom to include mentioning DADT in his state of the union speech. Then once again he did nothing. The courts have beaten him to the punch. So now the issue is on the front pages again. He said nothing. He left the legislature to tend to the issue on their own and when they failed. He did nothing.

He could issue an executive order today to stop the investigation and discharge of gay military. He doesn’t even have to go as far as to say ignore DADT completely. He does nothing.

Some fierce advocate he’s turned out to be.