I think it was good.
“This year I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are — it’s the right thing to do.”
1. The SOTU matters. No, no one remembers it after a week, but it still is the most important speech of the year, and a lot of thought and politics goes into what is and isn’t included. A few days ago, Joe wrote that obviously DADT wouldn’t be in the SOTU, because we never imagined the President or his people would want to come with 100 miles of the repeal. Yet they did.
2. The President said “this year.” That’s a timeline, baby.
3. The President said he would work with Congress and the military. He didn’t call on Congress to act, putting the burden on them, which many of us feared he might. He took responsibility for working with Congress and the military. That’s good.
4. He said “repeal.” He didn’t say “change,” which he and his people have been saying a lot lately, especially in front of straight audiences. He said “repeal.” That’s good.
5. He added the “it’s the right thing to do” remark. That wasn’t in his prepared statements. It’s subtle, but it means he knows this specific promise matters.
Look, I’m not letting the man off the hook. It’s not been a great year for gay civil rights, or for the President’s relations with our community. But if he says he’s going to work with congress and the military to repeal DADT this year, I say we take him at his word, offer to help, and by time Congress goes out of session this year, probably by early October since the elections are in November, we’d better have a repeal just as the President promised.
Now he’s on the clock.
And a good first way to show he means it is for the President to include DADT repeal in his budget next week.