We’ll Have a Gay Old Time

According to CNN, Obama will call for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to be repealed.

President Obama will ask Congress Wednesday night to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bars gays and lesbians from openly serving, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told CNN. The request will be included in the president’s State of the Union address, Axelrod said.

That was the best he could do? I mean, don’t get me wrong; I’m against discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference, but with ObamaCare in shreds, that was the bone he picked for the Left? As for the rest of the country, who disagree with gays in the military or just don’t care, what does he have for them? (I ask rhetorically. I’m not going to waste my time watching the State of the Union speech.) “It’s the economy, stupid” remains sound advice, now even more than when it was offered to Bill Clinton – much better advice than James Carville’s current snake oil, “You just haven’t been blaming Bush enough.”

The issue has been a source of contention for heavy hitters on both sides of the issue, who are lining up for a fight. In a message to Pentagon leadership, Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it’s time to repeal the law. … Obama campaigned on the promise that he would repeal the law in his first year of office.

I had thought the time to repeal it was supposed to be a year ago, at the same time Gitmo would be closed, all major laws would posted on the internet for everyone to read before they were voted on, etc. For a year, gays have been complaining that Obama has given them exactly two things: jack and squat. The only reason for bringing this up (relatively inconsequential, compared to – Hello! – jobs and the economy) is to try to shore up his support on the Left. That’s right, he’s playing you guys for fools, so you won’t hold the ObamaCare disaster against him (like the rest of us plan to). If he were truly serious about ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, why hasn’t he bothered to move on it before now? Or why not just DO it now, rather than make it part of the speech? Politics and manipulation.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who told reporters on Monday that the president would discuss the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in his speech, supports ending the practice, but wants to go about it carefully.  … Levin said the committee plans to hold hearings on the issue in early February, although the hearing may be with outside experts – delaying a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, that had originally been promised, CNN was told by a congressional source.

Oh, and just a bit of history. The reason why Obama can’t just whip out an executive order and end the policy immediately? Because of Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton had sworn to end the discrimination against gays in the military on his first day in office, by executive order – back then, the policy was based on military regulations, and was something which the Commander in Chief had within his power to alter or eliminate with a single stroke of the pen. Instead, he dithered and waffled, and brought in Congress for political cover because he didn’t want to do it unilaterally and take and and all of the backlash on himself. That was a miscalculation, as many in Congress opposed the idea. The result was a compromise passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Some people were fooled that this was an improvement for gays, but it wasn’t – it was a setback. Because now the discrimination against gays was encoded in the law, and required another law to be passed by Congress and signed by the President in order to repeal it. An executive order just wouldn’t do it anymore, now it was tough.

“If we do this in a way which isn’t sensitive … we could have exactly the opposite effect of what I hope will be the case – which is to change the policy,” he said Monday.

On more than one occasion, I tried to explain to some of my gay friends that Bill Clinton did far more harm to gay causes – he also signed the Defense of Marriage Act – than the “evil” George Bush ever did. One of Zombie’s latest also compares how the different parties/candidates are perceived on gay rights issues (in this case Obama and McCain) versus the reality of exactly what they did or didn’t do, or would or wouldn’t do. Democrats are always perceived to be the champions of the minorities and the underdog, who happily give the Dems the vast majority of their votes – and get both jack and squat in return. Maybe it’s time they tried giving their votes to someone who won’t take them for granted.

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