Obama again talks of “changing,” not “repealing,” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

I’m a lawyer. He’s a lawyer. Words have meaning to lawyers. Especially when the lawyers are President of the United States. They don’t write things without knowing exactly what they are writing. With that in mind, President Obama wrote a handwritten note to a US service member recently discharged for being gay. In the note, Obama said that he remains “committed to changing our current policy.” Sounds nice. Putting aside the fact that letters are nice, but actions are better, notice that Obama didn’t say he remains committed to “repealing” the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy – a word he always used before. Now he’s for “changing” it.

Just a fluke? Am I being too picky? I might be, if we didn’t just have a big blow up a week ago over the White House changing their official language on repealing DADT to “changing” DADT in a sensible manner. After a day of protests from gay rights groups and gay Obama supporters, the language changed back to “repeal.”

Perhaps Obama’s word change in the letter means nothing. Then again, the word change on the White House Web site was awfully suspicious. And having Obama now use the same awfully suspicious language in the same week is, well, awfully suspicious.

I don’t doubt that President Obama will try to do something on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in his first term. I worry that there won’t be adequate preparation for whatever it is he does do, and worse, I worry that some are advising him to “change” DADT and not to “repeal” it. And if that happens, I think President Obama is going to have some serious problems with the gay community and our allies.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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