Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has to be repealed this year. That has been the Human Rights Campaign’s position from the start, and at this point there is no one in the White House who does not know it. We and the community to whom we are accountable agree: This is the year.
We firmly support including repeal in the annual Department of Defense Authorization bill, and have not only indicated as much, but continue to make that case, all while working to gain support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act….
We have been lobbying the White House relentlessly, and we’ve seen more movement in recent weeks than in the previous 16 years. Our nation’s top defense officials testified, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. That did not happen in a vacuum.
These events are just the start. There is a clear path to repeal, and that’s the one we’re on.
Clear path to repeal? Apparently Carl Levin, the chair of the defense authorization committee in the Senate, didn’t get the memo.
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.
Did you get that? The head of the committee that handles defense authorization says he can’t move ahead until he hears from the Pentagon whether they want him to repeal this year or not. And who runs the Pentagon, the Commander in Chief, a man by the name of President Barack Obama. And Jim Messina is the number two guy on the White House staff, right behind Rahm – he’s the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. According to Hill staff, Messina’s dropped the ball as well. We can debate till we’re blue in the face how much power the President does or doesn’t have over DOD, but last time I checked, Jim Messina worked for Barack Obama.
What we are hearing from the administration is lots of talk about not doing anything this year on DADT. AP Is reporting that DOD officials are telling them DADT might not be fully repealed for years. And Eugene Robinson reported, the morning after the State of the Union, that someone in the White House told him DADT probably wouldn’t be repealed this year – mind you, this was only 12 hours after the President suggested it would. This does not a clear message make.
So, with all due respect to HRC, their happy talk about how their super secret plan is working just brilliantly behind the scenes rings increasingly hollow. We need HRC to lead. We need them to demand that the President come out in favor of a full repeal this year. That the President include the full repeal in his DOD budget submission to congress in the next few months. And we need them to demand that the President lead the charge to get DADT repealed this year.
We’ll know how connected and influential HRC is by whether DADT is repealed this year. And so far, it ain’t looking great.