Monday, October 5, 2009

"Obama To Tackle Gay Law, Aide Says"

That's the headline I saw Monday morning at AOL . Of course my response was, "Whaaa" For real?? How fortuitous since General McChrystal is saying we need more troops in Afghanistan! Is this true??" And then I read the article. The short answer is, "No."

Here is the article:
President Barack Obama will focus "at the right time" on how to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military, his national security adviser said Sunday.

"I don't think it's going to be — it's not years, but I think it will be teed up appropriately," James Jones said.

The Democratic-led Congress is considering repealing the 1993 law. Action isn't expected on the issue until early next year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently wrote Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked to share their views and recommendations on the contentious policy. In Sept. 24 letters, Reid also asked for a review of the cases of two U.S. officers who were discharged from the military because of their sexuality.

So far, this is absolutely nothing we have not heard before, is it? No. But wait, there's more:
"At a time when we are fighting two wars, I do not believe we can afford to discharge any qualified individual who is willing to serve our country," Reid wrote.

Jones said Obama "has an awful lot on his desk. I know this is an issue that he intends to take on at the appropriate time. And he has already signaled that to the Defense Department. The Defense Department is doing the things it has to do to prepare, but at the right time, I'm sure the president will take it on."

As a candidate, Obama signaled support for repealing the law. To the disappointment of gay-rights supporters, he has yet to made a move since taking office in January. The White House has said it will not stop the military from dismissing gays and lesbians who acknowledge their http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifsexuality.

Last year, 634 members of the military were discharged for being gay, or .045 percent of the active-duty U.S. force, according to an Aug. 14 congressional report.
The largest number of gays who were ousted under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy came in 2001, when 1,227 were discharged, or .089 of the force.
The House is considering legislation to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and allow people who have been discharged under the policy to rejoin the military.
Jones appeared on CNN's "State of the Union."

Wait, what did General Jones say? John "It Is Hard For Me To Feel Sorry For This Former Obama Cheerleader" Aravosis was none too happy about the pronouncement by the National Security Adviser in this post:
Apparently, General Jones would have us believe that President Obama wasn't aware that we were fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he promised to lift the gay ban during the campaign in exchange for our votes. So, Jones tells us today, Obama can't get to that particular promise right now because he's busy fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Uh huh.

So when exactly are both of those wars going to be over? I'm guessing some time after Obama leaves office. And that of course assumes that we don't have more wars to "distract" the president.

Jones just set us back. Again. He just gave the Republicans, and conservative Dems, the perfect talking point. Should anyone - members of Congress or the administration - move to lift the ban any time before these wars are over, our opponents will simply quote General Jones saying that to lift the ban during war time would be too distracting.

What could Jones have said? How about, there's a new analysis from a Department of Defense-related publication that same the ban can be lifted without hurting morale and cohesion. Or how about saying that the President just wrote to Senator Reid, agreeing to work together to lift the ban?

Once again, let me just interject that those of us who were paying attention BEFORE the Election, during the Primaries, were very much aware that Obama wasn't going to do a damn thing for us, at least not in a timely fashion. There were clues: Never marching in one Pride parade EVER, unlike Hillary Clinton; Donnie McClurkin, "Cured homosexual"; State Senator The Rev. James Meeks; Doug Kmiec; and Pastor Rick Warren, to name just a few. The information was there for those who were willing to see. I'm just sayin'. Back to Aravosis:
Nope. None of that. All we got was another reason why the president may never be able to keep his promise. The Obama administration is doing next to nothing - and perhaps nothing altogether - to move the ball forward on repealing DADT. This isn't the kind of policy you just wake up one morning and say "ah, today is the day to lift the ban." Bill Clinton found that out the hard way. It takes months, if not years, of preparation. Working the PR angles, the media, the grassroots, the public at large, the Pentagon. While we have no idea what if anything Obama is doing to work the Pentagon - though Jones' repeated unhelpful remarks suggest that whatever the president is doing, it isn't working - we certainly do know what he's doing on the Hill. Zippo. Harry Reid had to write Obama a letter last week begging him help. And in terms of lobbying the public, we get unhelpful statements like what Jones did, again, today.

In the end, don't think that Jones is simply freelancing. There is no way a senior administration official goes on TV and keeps screwing up like this. At first it's a screw up. After this many times, it's part of the plan. And the plan is to move the goal posts again and again and again until Obama can pass his gay rights promises to the next president, assuming we get a Democrat elected again this century.

No, there isn't any way a senior administration official goes on CNN and says something like this all on his own. Seeing what the General really said is what made that AOL headline so incredibly misleading (the Yahoo link for General Jones was far more accurate). That seems to be a bit of water-carrying to me, a hope that it will deflect some of the frustration being voiced about Obama now, including on SNL this past Saturday night (10/3).

In other words, not only does it appear Obama isn't getting to DADT in a timely fashion, he may not be getting to it at ALL. I wish I could tell you I am surprised, but unlike Mr. Aravosis, this is what I feared was going to happen under Obama.

As of Monday, October 5th, 439 service members have been discharged under "DADT" under the Obama Administration. For how long will those numbers go up? Will it indeed be until Obama is out of office?

8 comments:

Sasha said...

I realize the frustration over huge ways that the Obama Administration is letting down the gay community but I wanted to share little ray of hope with you all. Again, this is not meant to say things are good, it's just a little ray of sunshine.

A gay friend of mine was just appointed to a very senior civilian political position in the Navy. These kind of jobs require swearing in ceremonies and someone close to "swearee" holds the bible during the ceremony. My friend had his Marine military assistant suggest that since he wasn't married he could have his nieces hold the bible for him. My friend is totally out but he is new in the job so not everyone knows he's gay yet (yuck, I hate the way that sounds). He told the Marine that he was planning to have his partner hold the bible. The Maine said "Well, that sound like a fine idea too, sir!" and you know what? A few weeks ago, for the first time EVER, someone was sworn into a position in the Department of Defense with their partner holding the bible for them! It brings a huge smile to my face! Thank you, Eric, for your courage!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Sasha, thank you for that story. Definitely heart-warming, though civilian positions v. military positions are two different things. Had he been in the military, he could have immediately been fired for acknowledging that he was gay. That's the whole problem with DADT.

Still, good for him for standing up for himself and his partner. I wish him all the best in his new position, and I hope his new position is fulfilling to him.

Thanks again for the story!!

SFIndie said...

President Barack Obama will focus "at the right time" on an awful lot of things...
Iraq
Iran
Afghanistan
economy
unemployment
health care
banking industry corruption
wall street corruption
DADT
DOMA


But let’s get our priorities straight! It was the right time to fly to Copenhagen on our dime to embarrass everyone in front of the IOC, and now it is the right time to emotionally recover from that racist slap in the face and put just the right spin on things. And maybe another date night to keep Michelle happy. And a visit to perv David Letterman.

All the rest can just wait until the right time! Poor baby, so much on his plate, everyone wanting him to DO things and make DECISIONS and they’re being MEAN to him. He needs to take a little vacation first. THEN it might, maybe, could be, the right time to do something.

Can we impeach him YET?

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

SF, oh, I wish. Not with this sycophantic Congress, it won't.

But you're right, everyone is being SO mean to Obama expecting him to actually be a leader and make some decisions, and keep some, ONE, of his promises...Sheesh!! Bunch of meanies!!

Ahem.

And Dave - WOW. What a freakin' hypocrite, and you know it just makes me wonder how all of those "relationships" happened...These were women who worked FOR him, and that raises a bunch of red flags for me. Just sayin'.

Obama just seems so tone deaf, you know? I understand people want to go out and celebrate their anniversary and stuff, but when there is almost 10% unemployment, and you've just spent over a million bucks flying to Copenhagen on a Fool's Errand, perhaps one might choose to just stay in this time around...

Mary Ellen said...

Obama won't do anything until right before the next Presidential election where he will make the same promises that he broke before. And you know the sad thing...his Obots will believe him and give him another chance.

Obama's list of priorities...

Weekend at Camp David because he worked so hard talking about himself during the speeches in Copenhagen.

Another "date" with Michelle, maybe a little trip to Hawaii to visit family.

Another appearance on David Letterman or possibly a little fun on Saturday Night Live.

A 20 minute briefing on Iraq

A 40 minute briefing on the White House lunch menu in the cafeteria.

Planning a Halloween party for his kids at the White House.

A game of pick-up on the basketball courts with __________(name a celebrity).

A 12 minute briefing on Afghanistan.

A half hour long interview with Chris Matthews who will not only get multiple tingles up his leg, but he will wet himself on prime-time TV.

A special prime time speech about the economy and how we shouldn't expect jobs in the future, but hey...Wall Street is going great guns!

An interview with the drooling, Rachel Maddow where he will discuss that a health care bill will be passed before the end of the year and it's ok that it doesn't help the middle class and will harm the seniors...as long as it passes. Rachel will then end with a giggle and a gush.


Obama will deride the banking industry corruption as he is passing them large amounts of cash under the table.

Obama will catch a snow flake on his tongue and declare himself "Snow King".


Obama will address wall street corruption--he will blame it on Bush and Clinton.


DADT-To Obama, that means..."don't ask" him to remove this and "don't tell" anyone that he never had any intention of allowing gays in the military.

DOMA-Yeah...right. Like he's going to do something about this.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Mary Ellen, if I knew how my good friend, American Girl in Italy, did it, I'd have the icon to bow down to you right here right now. Holy shit, girl - you nailed it!! WOW!!!!

And you KNOW you are especially right abt the Obots believing whatever Obama tells them, and giving him another chance...

Dang, ME - major snaps to you - that was freakin' awesome!! :-D

SFIndie said...

Did you hear the latest about Letterman? Apparently, he's slept with so many of his staff that he doesn't even know how many! OMG! If I was his wife, I'd pack up the kid and immediately get the hell away from that disgusting excuse for a man! Blech!

Just love how O came out right away and said how stupid Letterman was. Oh wait, no, he didn't. He was too busy being an ass himself. Yeah, that's why Obama loves him that Letterman. They're birds of a feather...

And OMG, I laughed out loud at Mary Ellen's comment. I especially love the "Snow King" bit. ME, you are PRICELESS!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, SF -

I was just discussing the Letterman thing with a friend earlier today. Even if it was consensual on the face of it, when it is your BOSS, and one of the co-owners of the COMPANY, there is no way the power is equal. No way.

And so hypocritical of him. After all of the crap he has said abt Bill, for instance, still making stupid Monica jokes over 8 yrs later - sheesh.

Oh, yeah - I am just SO sure O is gonna say anything negative abt Dave after just having been on his show. Heck - he still owes Dave for the crappy jokes abt Hillary. And besides, he's busy doing things like playing light sabers on the White House lawn with the fencing team (oh, how I wish I was making that up...).

That ME - she is something else, isn't she?? :-D