Join our DADT blog swarm, call HRC today

AMERICAblog joins today with a coalition of gay and straight bloggers in asking our readers to contact the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

OUR MESSAGE TO HRC IS SIMPLE:

Publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

1) That means the President needs to state publicly that he wants Congress to repeal DADT this year; and

2) The President needs to take the lead in working with Congress to make sure the repeal happens.

If you’re a member or donor to HRC, tell them, and ask to speak to Members Services:

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.
General membership email at hrc: [email protected]

Some may say that there is little the President can do, or that this is up to Congress now. That is simply untrue. The President can send a powerful signal that he wants the repeal done this year. He can include the repeal of DADT in the Defense Budget he sends to Congress in the next few months. If the President is serious about keeping his promises to our community, now is his chance to prove it.

BLOG SWARM SPONSORS

Today’s blog swarm is sponsored by the following bloggers and sites, all of which will also be writing about this issue today, and urging their readers to contact HRC:

Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis, AMERICAblog
Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius OutQ & the Gist
Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos
Andy Towle, TowleRoad
Joe Jervis, Joe My God
Bil Browning & Phil Reese, Bilerico
Taylor Marsh, TaylorMarsh.com
David Mixner, DavidMixner.com
Dan Savage, Slog

MOMENTUM HAS TURNED TO CONFUSION

HRC may argue that it’s already told the President it would like to see DADT repealed this year. Well, that’s not enough. And here’s why.

We’ve had an amazing few weeks of momentum on DADT repeal following the mention of DADT in the State of the Union, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing during which both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both stated their support for repeal, and the unexpected support we’ve received from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney.

But that momentum is quickly slipping away. After talking to people around Washington over the past two weeks, Joe and I have found a vacuum of leadership that is leading to confusion. The Hill has no idea if the President does or doesn’t want them to move ahead with repeal this year. The House has already said that it’s waiting for the Senate to do something. The Senate is in turmoil after the Democrats lost a single seat in January. And the DADT proposals being discussed in the Senate are focused on every possible approach except full repeal this year.

As we painfully learned last year during health care reform, nothing happens in Congress unless the President leads. And when the President doesn’t lead, disaster is guaranteed.

Whatever HRC has been telling the White House about DADT, it clearly isn’t working. In spite of the President’s positive comments during the State of the Union, no one knows where President Obama stands on repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this year. All the while, unnamed administration officials are telling the media that it could be years before repeal finally happens. The White House clearly didn’t get HRC’s message, and as a result, we are losing this historic momentum.

WHY HRC?

Why are we focusing on HRC? Because HRC is our community’s largest, best-funded gay rights organization in Washington, and they carry the most sway with the White House. In fact, HRC often boasts about their close working relationship with the White House. HRC’s President, Joe Solmonese, is so close to the White House that he gave the President political cover during the uproar over the administration’s brief in support of DOMA. It’s time HRC, and our entire community, got something in return for everything we have done for this President, this Congress, and the entire Democratic party.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point with the Obama administration where allies have to publicly demand action, or promises are never kept. Just last week, the AFL-CIO was forced to send an action alert to its members, targeting the White House. If it’s good enough for the unions, it’s good enough for us.

We truly believe that if HRC were to openly call on the White House to get DADT repealed this year, it would happen. Mostly because Democrats are rightly worried about the gay vote (and the support of our straight allies) months before a critical congressional election.

IF NOT THIS YEAR, WHEN?

It’s been a long first year of the Obama presidency. While our community made some gains in the past 13 months, there has been no progress whatsoever on the President’s top three commitments to the LGBT community: to repeal DADT and DOMA; and to pass ENDA. In fact, we’ve seen backward movement, as the President has continued to defend DADT and DOMA in the courts – even though he didn’t have to -going so far as to invoke incest and pedophilia. What’s more, we’ve been told to expect no progress on DOMA until the second term of the Obama presidency, if there is one, and if we still control the Congress. And ENDA, which we had been assured would pass last year, is now nowhere to be found. If DADT is not repealed this year, it’s not clear if any of the President’s top three promises to our community will be kept before he faces what might be a difficult reelection.

Why not just pass the repeal next year? Because Democrats are already having enough problems passing legislation, next year we’re expected to have even fewer Democrats in the House and Senate, and there’s talk in town as to whether the Democrats will even control the congress after the elections this fall. We saw the damage that was caused by the loss of one single Senate seat in Massachusetts. Democrats panicked. They talked about the need to move to the middle, be more bipartisan, give more to the Republicans, and at all costs avoid all those “controversial” issues – all of that is code for distancing themselves from you and me. If DADT isn’t repealed this year, it may not be repealed for years to come. And that will mean none of the President’s top promises will b
e kept to our community.

PLEASE CONTACT HRC TODAY

Please contact HRC today, and urge them to publicly demand that the President take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

We are at a unique moment in history. Pro-gay Democrats control the White House and the Congress. Momentum is building for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And the polls show that the American people, even Republicans, are on our side. We can win this battle. But only if our leaders choose to lead. Gay Americans helped elect this President and this Congress with our votes, our money and our time. And gay Americans have funded HRC for years, in exchange for a promise of results once the Democrats finally came to power.

You’ve done your job. Now it’s time for the President, Congress and HRC to do theirs.

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.
General membership email at hrc: [email protected]


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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