It’s been 16 days since Congressman Barney Frank went public with his concerns that the White House isn’t fully on board with repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this year. Barney called on the White House to come clean, and tell us whether they want to see DADT repealed this year or not. The White House’s response to the gay community’s most senior member in Congress? Dead silence.
On Monday, Rep. Frank’s office sent out the following revision to that statement:
“In a recent interview, I misspoke and garbled my answer to a question posed by reporter Kerry Eleveld. I was trying to cover too many issues at once and, in fact, I did not mean to imply that the Administration has opposed moving forward with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ However, the Administration has been ambiguous about it, and that ambiguity has allowed some to interpret Secretary Gates’ argument for a delay in implementation as a delay in adopting the legislation. I believe that the Administration should make clear that it supports legislative action this year, and that while implementation is being worked out, it will carry out the policy in the way it was originally intended, which would reduce the number of discharges, in my view, by over 90%.”
Barney is now saying that the White House is “ducking” the entire issue of DADT repeal:
Following up on what he previously referred to as the ”ambiguous” nature of the White House’s support for a repeal this year, Rep. Frank said, ”They’re ducking. Basically, yeah, they’re not being supportive, and they’re letting Gates be the spokesman, which is a great mistake.”
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina is the White House point person on the gay issues (well, Brian Bond is the actual liaison to the gay community, but he’s somewhat of a recluse, and is not generally considered to have any real power). It appears that Messina has botched things pretty badly, for Barney Frank to be this openly critical. Messina has HRC around his little finger. Too bad HRC no longer has the gay community around its finger. Bond and Messina should have already known that – that in 2010, putting all their eggs in the HRC basket was not enough to “keep the gays in line.” Bond and Messina misjudged badly. And I fear Democrats may pay a serious price in the fall for their miscalculation.