Concerns on Capitol Hill about path for repeal of DADT

Yesterday, we saw a positive development in the effort to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Servicemembers United, whose members are directly impacted by the law, presented a path forward that would insure repeal while addressing the needs of military leaders. It could be a breakthrough. And, we need one.

Today, Politico has an article raising concerns about the repeal effort in Congress. Unlike most Politico articles, this one actually has some people on-the-record:

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) cast the issue in the context of Obama’s recent dual-track political approach of soothing liberals in his national messaging while stressing centrism inside the Beltway.

“There’s frustration, and ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is one small part of it,” says Weiner. “The frustration has been that while the president has said the right things when he’s on the road, he’s emphasized bipartisanship and not [moved] towards issues of importance to the Democratic base when he comes back to Washington.”

And, this excerpt aligns with what we’ve been hearing:

House and Senate aides praised Obama, Mullen and Gates but say the administration’s point man in the Senate, Jim Messina, hasn’t followed up with a detailed plan for how to proceed, leading to some confusion.

“We need a clear path forward,” a senior House Democratic aide said.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he’s ready to move ahead but needs to hear from Gates about what the Pentagon thinks is the best way to go — a full repeal or less-far-reaching legislation imposing a moratorium on dismissing anyone accused of violating the policy.

The Obama administration has a critical role in the repeal effort. Yes, the votes have to come from Congress. But, Obama has to provide the direction. One line in the State of the Union wasn’t enough, especially since Jim Messina apparently hasn’t followed up.

One gets the sense that the Obama team feels like it bought some time on this one. But, the clock is ticking. At some point in the near future, we’re going to know if this is happening — or not. It better.

Servicemembers United have developed “a clear path forward.” We need our elected leaders to follow that path.


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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