Yesterday, at the White House press briefing, Robert Gibbs got a number of questions about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He kept reiterating the standard talking points, but wouldn’t say whether the President, a constitutional law scholar, thinks DADT is unconstitutional.
Kerry Eleveld grilled Gibbs:
Those last questions are important. Gibbs actually stated, “I just said that he would be actively involved in that. If that, Kerry, involves talking to senators, absolutely. Does that involve staff here talking to the staff of senators? Absolutely.” Of course, we don’t know how the White House defines “actively involved.”
Gibbs seemed surprised that anyone would question whether the President would engage in lobbying of the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. Most know Obama didn’t do a thing to help pass that bill in September — nor did his staff. He didn’t call one Senator. And, don’t forget, while Obama didn’t call any wavering Senators when the GOPers were filibustering the Defense bill, he did manage to call the WNBA Champs. For more background on the lack of effort by the White House on DADT, read this account by Nick Baumann and David Corn.
If the DADT language doesn’t pass in the lame duck session, it could be years before we get another opportunity. Years.
Maybe Robert Gates will allow the White House to push for passage of the Defense bill in the lame duck session. Gates is calling the shots here, not his boss.