Wash. Post’s Capehart thinks Obama has no role in DADT repeal

Interesting, but not surprising from Jonathan Capehart, an editor of the Washington Post. He is pushing the White House/HRC spin that Obama has no role in the repeal of DADT:

First, change the scene of action from the White House to the Capitol. Repeal of don’t ask don’t tell requires congressional action. And nothing says “Listen to me!” like civil disobedience in the office of the Speaker or the Senate Majority Leader.

First, I expect more from one of the political editors at the Washington Post. Yes, Congress has to pass the legislation, but it’s unsophisticated to intimate that the President plays no role. After all, it was the President who said he wants repeal “this year.” That gave hope to many gay and lesbian servicemembers. Then, Obama’s staffers basically told gay “leaders” that it wasn’t going to happen this year. And, they got that message around Capitol Hill, too. When the President doesn’t want something to happen legislatively and his party controls Congress, it usually doesn’t happen. The White House has been clear that it doesn’t want repeal to happen this year. Robert Gibbs said it again yesterday.

I’d suggest Capehart check in with his Washington Post colleague, Chris “The Fix” Cilizza, to about the electoral prospects for the Democrats this fall. Hint: Not good. I hope Capehart is savvy enough to know that if the Democrats don’t control Congress, it will be near impossible to repeal DADT. Think of the period from January of 1995 through the end of 2006, when the GOPers controlled Congress. Not much happened in Congress that was pro-gay, but we did get several votes on anti-gay constitutional amendments. If DADT doesn’t get repealed this year, we may be waiting a long time for it, ENDA and DOMA.

Then, there was just a bitchy little swipe at the GetEQUAL servicemembers, who literally put themselves on the fence to demand equality:

Second, if they insist on the White House as a venue, they should at least ensure that Obama is on the premises. He was en route back to Washington aboard Air Force One when the DADT Six were carted away.

Yes, he was en route to Washington — on his way back from Los Angeles. Wonder if Obama got any messages about DADT in L.A.? Oh that’s right, activists with GetEqual interrupted the President’s speech at Barbara Boxer’s fundraiser so many times he got visibly angry. I think the President got the message. And in any case, does Capehart actually think Obama looks out the window to see what’s going on out front when protests happen at the White House practically every day? Seriously? I have a feeling the staffers knew what was happening outside. Robert Gibbs sure did.

For politicos, some gay “leaders” and pundits, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a political issue. But, for the gay men and lesbians who are being or have been discharged, this is about their lives. And, they want to offer their lives to protect the rest of us.

If you’re going to try to write snark about people fighting for your civil rights, at least don’t make it all sound so simple when doing so. And, there’s a fine line between snark that’s funny and snark that’s just annoying.


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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