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What is President’s Path Forward on DADT Repeal?

The folks at the Palm Center, a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work of late has focused on gays in the military, felt the President’s endorsement of congressional repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” during his State of the Union address fell “short of the challenges ahead for repeal in 2010.” Christopher Neff, Deputy Executive Director of the Center said

Including repeal in the State of the Union Address makes clear that the President considers this issue important. . . . Yet the path to repeal will require both a command decision by the President and a clear timeline which follows. Leadership from the Pentagon will likely be mixed during upcoming hearings, and votes will be close in the House and Senate. It’s the President who is the game-changer on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in 2010.

I agree.

We have yet to see whether his Administration has, in private meetings with the Pentagon brass, laid the groundwork for repeal and whether its legislative liaison has been working with congressional leaders to set a timeline for moving the appropriate legislation forward. We do know that they have been reaching out to Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent Democrat well regarded in the military. But, the recent news reports leading up to the line in last night’s speech suggests his decision to address the topic caught Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin unawares.

AndI wish the president had given the issue more than just a line. His statement seemed more perfunctory than passionate, as if he were saying it because he had to.  He may just have been throwing a bone to a part of his pace to show he was paying attention.

That said, if he does have a plan to move repeal forward, then it doesn’t matter how many words he used to address the topic in his State of the Union address.  As long as Congress passes a bill repealing the ban–and he signs it.



  1. I agree that DADT needs to be repeals, but there needs to be full discussion of what replaces it and it is also incumbent to note the political climate has changed.

    Not sure if ANY major policy changes can be achieved.

    Comment by anon2273892 — January 28, 2010 @ 6:25 pm - January 28, 2010

  2. since it seems like a 60 vote supermajority is needed to pass anything, it begs the question: are any GOP senators on record in favor of repealing DADT?

    Comment by Chad — January 28, 2010 @ 6:55 pm - January 28, 2010

  3. why don’t we first see what the president’s path forward is, k, Chad?

    And I believe Collins is for repeal, but don’t know if Snowe is. And I don’t expect Republicans to support a filibuster on this.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 28, 2010 @ 6:59 pm - January 28, 2010

  4. why wait for a plan from obama? you’re letting the gop off pretty easily there. mccain didn’t wait for a plan before registering his opposition to the repeal.

    where’s your source for collins’s position?

    Comment by Chad — January 28, 2010 @ 7:05 pm - January 28, 2010

  5. Um, Chad, letting the GOP off the hook? Huh? Democrats control Congress; they can move repeal.

    I recall reading that online. But, if you’re so convinced I’m wrong, why not do the google search yourself. I should note that Collins did co-sponsor (with Joe Lieberman) the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act which would grant benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees.

    Instead of baiting me, Chad, why don’t you address the point of the post to which you have attached your comment?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 28, 2010 @ 7:42 pm - January 28, 2010

  6. Believe this is just political theater to get the GLBT community donating money and time to other priorities. There are two salients to this discussion.

    The first salient is Constitutional. DADT is law and at any point since January 2007 (and with the power of the purse, even earlier) Congress could have eliminated DADT. Democrats choose not to do so because DADT is about the best bait for catching GLBT as the issue of gay marriage. Rep. Ike Skelton, quoted in a January 15 article in “The Hill” ( said “He said the full House Armed Services Committee won’t hold a hearing on the repeal of the law. Rather, the Personnel subcommittee will hold the hearing at some point this year.” President Obama’s point men for any and all legislation are VP Biden and CS Emanuel (sp?). Neither of these men and Speaker Pelosi have the wherewithal to move Skelton from his determination.

    The second salient is deception.Rep Skelton and a few other Democrats will cancel any repeal of DADT. To prevent any backlash, the Dems and their media arm, the MSM, will focus on societal undesirables: Christians, Conservatives, Republicans, and any GLBT who oppose repealing the law. We’ve seen it every election cycle – the difference this time being the pro-DADT/non-Dems lack the votes in Congress and SCOTUS. The purpose of bringing DADT up now is the need for cash, foot soldiers, and votes for this latest election cycle.

    Fortunately for the Dems, the RNC and its subordinate agencies lack the clue necessary to take advantage of Skelton’s knife in the back.

    Comment by DaveO — January 28, 2010 @ 8:34 pm - January 28, 2010

  7. As I noted in a previous thread, there does seem to be some movement beyond the words – LINK

    Comment by Tano — January 28, 2010 @ 9:04 pm - January 28, 2010

  8. dan, stop being so sensitive. if this is the way you always respond to questions, i would love to see you defend your dissertation. i’m not “baiting” you re: collins, i’m asking you back up an assertion. and i’m not convinced that you’re wrong (stop putting words in my mouth), i’m just not going to take your word for it. sorry, but i don’t trust you to give objective assessments about the GOP, especially on lgbt issues.

    as usual, you deflect the rest of the my criticism, saying my comment about the ability of the president to repeal DADT without GOP support does not address your post about the president’s plan to repeal DADT. predictable.

    and yes, you’re still letting the GOP off the hook, even in your comment. you say: “Democrats control congress; they can move repeal.” in other words, you’re absolving republicans of responsibility for repealing DADT. you’re letting them off the hook.

    Comment by Chad — January 29, 2010 @ 1:53 am - January 29, 2010

  9. Chad, first I need to finish my dissertation, but I do expect that when I defend it they will ask questions based on what I wrote in the actual paper, so I wonder why you asked a question which didn’t address te point I made in the post.

    You seemed to want to turn a post where I’m half-praising, half-questioning the president, while offering a criticism from an organization that works to repeal the ban and you want to turn this against the GOP.

    Perhaps, I am being a bit too sensitive, but I take time to write my posts and you choose to come to my blog, isn’t reasonable to expect that people will address my points as does my frequent critic Tano above, providing a link to answer my question.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 29, 2010 @ 3:01 am - January 29, 2010

  10. You’re all mistaken if you think this Congress is going to add the silt of DADT to waters of an already turbulent election year…. nothing will be done, and that’s why Obama was safe in mentioning it in SOTUS. He’s sly like a fox…. and I can already hear him now saying, ” Sorry it wasn’t my fault…. I tried, you heard me back in January”.

    Comment by Spartann — January 29, 2010 @ 4:29 am - January 29, 2010

  11. chad,

    I am a life-long conservative Republican. Repealing DA/DT is as necessary to improving the military mission as an electric can opener in your back pack as you climb Mt. Everest.

    Not being gay, I am unable to speak to what profound and uplifting effect repealing DA/DT would have on the gay “community.”

    Please edumacate me.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 29, 2010 @ 8:59 am - January 29, 2010

  12. It was discussed elsewhere that repealing DADT will bring back the previous policy that also ran the GAYs out of the military. Thus, a repeal requires new law. This new law is what I’m interested and I wonder what the language will be.

    Comment by Anon387823 — January 29, 2010 @ 9:45 am - January 29, 2010

  13. I agree GOP won’t filibuster on this. Because Sen. McCain is likely to have a reelection contest with a social conservative, he is indicating he won’t support repeal although Cindi and Megan are outspoken in favor of gay rights.

    So let’s hope the Dems’ majority will count for something positive this time.

    Obama has the power as commander-in-chief to repeal, but since he’s little more than a cheerleader, he’ll just pass it on to the congress. The military brass have been consistently cautious about repeal; it’s just easier for them to deal with what they have now. Their culture is the chain of command, not politics.

    Comment by Man — January 29, 2010 @ 11:44 am - January 29, 2010

  14. Further to DADT repeal, I was pleased that almost no media, including Fox, commented about this issue after his speech. And very few republicans have mentioned it either. I think that’s possibly because they all know it’s an issue whose time has come. A majority of conservatives, including most mainline protestants, now support repeal.

    Comment by Man — January 29, 2010 @ 11:54 am - January 29, 2010

  15. Or maybe it doesn’t have a chance to pass this year.

    Comment by Anon387823 — January 29, 2010 @ 4:13 pm - January 29, 2010

  16. […] at the behest Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, the Pentagon has already begun studying ways to integrate homosexuals into the military with the utmost care and […]

    Pingback by RIP The United States Military, 1776-2010 | ChristWire — January 30, 2010 @ 12:07 pm - January 30, 2010

  17. I prefer the status quo. The US military isn’t currently considered a “gay” military even though there are gays serving in it, this is good for our enemies to know. The morale is good, the gays aren’t being beat up or ostrasize since they aren’t openly prancing around with there sexuality. Those who want it repealed have never served in the military and won’t sign up when it’s repealed. Destroying the US military to allow a “few” homosexuals to serve openly, is probably not a good idea.
    Everyone always talks about the british and the israelis and many other countries having a openly gay military, that might be the only thing that seperates us from them. “Feel good everything goes never go into combat second rate militaries” vs “tip of the spear first rate military”.

    Comment by jonyjoe101 — January 30, 2010 @ 11:56 pm - January 30, 2010

  18. […] president said in the State of the Union Address about repealing the ban on gays in the military, I wrote: We have yet to see whether his Administration has, in private meetings with the Pentagon brass, […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Administration laws groundwork for DADT repeal — January 31, 2010 @ 1:09 pm - January 31, 2010

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