White House issues weak response to Gates on DADT

Remember how the President promised in the State of the Union to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year? That’s the last clear positive message we got from anyone in the Obama administration. Tonight, the White House had to respond to the “strongly worded” letter sent from Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to the House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton. Those two made it very clear they do not want legislation to repeal DADT this year. Kerry Eleveld got the response statement from an unnamed “White House spokesman”:

The President’s commitment to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unequivocal. This is not a question of if, but how. That’s why we’ve said that the implementation of any congressional repeal will be delayed until the DOD study of how best to implement that repeal is completed. The President is committed to getting this done both soon and right.

Um, “you” said DADT would be repealed this year. Now, “you” seem to be saying it will be delayed until the DOD study is completed. That won’t happen til December. So, what is it? And, why can’t someone at the White House just be clear, you know, like Obama was in the State of the Union?

This seems to confirm that the White House is willing to wait til the Dept. of Defense concludes its study. Based on what Gates and Mullen told Skelton that’s what the Pentagon wants. Skelton is opposed to repealing DADT. It’s unclear who is actually calling the shots on this one.

Here’s the problem (again): If Democrats suffer election losses this fall, which just about everyone seems to think will happen, then DADT won’t be repealed during Obama’s first term. That sucks on so many levels. But, it’s brutally unfair to the gays and lesbians who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. To Obama and his political team, this is just another broken political promise. To the servicemembers impacted by DADT, it’s their lives.

And, Gates and Mullen have been on the record about his position since last month — and Gates indicated the President was “very comfortable” with his approach:

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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