Lt. Col. Fehrenbach awaits discharge under DADT because Obama has failed to act

I posted this at gay.AMERICAblog.com earlier today, but it really needs amplification. Today’s The Washington Post profiles Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who is about to be discharged because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Fehrenbach didn’t tell. He was outed. And, he trusted that Obama would follow through on his campaign promise to end DADT:

Fehrenbach, who has nine Air Medals, including one for heroism under fire during an enemy ambush near Baghdad in 2003, intended to resign. But he changed his mind last fall with the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency.

As a candidate, Obama promised that the law would be overturned, but the administration has moved cautiously, not wanting to wage a costly political battle on the divisive issue during the president’s first months in office, as President Bill Clinton did.

“Hearing the president’s promises last fall, I thought he would follow through,” Fehrenbach said. “It’s just been disappointing because we’ve seen nothing.”

Hearing the president’s repeated promises, we all thought he would follow through. Barack Obama has failed to take any action to end the policy. As the Palm Center and others have documented, Obama does have the authority to stop discharges under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But, he hasn’t. And, from every bit of info. I can gather, and I’ve asked many people, the White House staffers have done nothing to encourage action on Capitol Hill. We all know that when Team Obama wants something from Congress, Team Obama makes it very clear to people on the Hill. On this issue, nothing. The White House can’t say it’s a congressional issue, then give Congress no indication that it’s a priority for them. Instead, the White House silence sends the signal. (Except to dissuade legislative solutions.)

On the Hill, Rep. Patrick Murphy now has 168 co-sponsors for his legislation to repeal DADT. There isn’t even a Senate bill yet, although we’ve been told there will be hearings on DADT in the fall.

And, note to everyone: During the campaign, Obama promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Repeal, not change. Anything short of repeal isn’t change we can believe in.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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