HRC thinks Obama deserves our ‘gratitude’ for how he botched DADT repeal

The Human Rights Campaign, which now is apparently a subsidiary of the Obama campaign, today issued a statement – get this – blasting a lead gay veterans group fighting DADT, and praising President Obama’s great leadership on repealing DADT.

And what did the President do on DADT to earn our community’s “gratitude”?  He let himself get rolled repeatedly by his own Secretary of Defense (yes, Gates and Mullen gave great testimony, then Gates proceeded to undercut repeal every step of the way, and Obama sat there and let him). Obama also sat back while the legislation died in the Senate.  He didn’t make one God damn phone call to even one Senator the day the DADT compromise was filibustered to death.  But that same day our self-proclaimed “fierce advocate” did find time to phone a women’s basketball team. Maybe if more gay and lesbian servicemembers, who are busy risking their lives for our country, took up basketball they could get on the President’s phone card.

Praising what Barack Obama has done on DADT – a promise that is now quite likely dead for years to come because the President refused to do anything until the last minute, refused to stand up to his own Secretary of Defense, refused to personally lift a finger to get even one vote in the Senate.  HRC is “grateful” for this?

Praising Barack Obama for continuing to defend DADT in court, for continuing to undermine our entire legal strategy on not just DADT, but DOMA too. For refusing to stop the discharges of gay and lesbian servicemembers while we’re waiting for the legislation that will never come? That’s what HRC is praising? Seriously? I get that the White House got HRC Valerie Jarrett, at the very last minute, so their dinner wouldn’t be a total bust, but come on – the quid pro quo is praising where we are on DADT when we just freaking lost?

The words irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive come to mind.

Someone needs to remind the Human Rights Campaign exactly who it is they work for. Because somewhere along the way they got it in their heads that their boss is Barack Obama and the Democratic party, not America’s LGBT community.

HRC needs to get its head out of the Democratic party’s ass and start acting like it cares about our civil rights. Because this is bullshit. After everything this White House has done to sabotage our agenda – we aren’t getting DADT, ENDA or DOMA now, and if we lose the House, we may not get it for decades (though, honestly, even if we kept the House we probably wouldn’t see any of those three for years and years to come because Democrats find our civil rights “icky”) – HRC is actually praising where we are, and thanking this incredibly un-fierce President for getting us into this mess in the first place?

Here is HRC’s response to a lead DADT repeal group simply asking that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett meet with gay vets before she speaks at HRC’s dinner:

Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications, issued a strongly worded response on Saturday.

“These latest hijinks by Nicholson are part of a troubling pattern of irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive behavior,” Sainz said. “[Nicholson's] rant is also without substance. The Administration helped to craft the legislation that was successfully voted on by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Never before has a Defense Secretary or a Joint Chiefs chairman publicly supported repeal. This president got them there, and for that, he deserves our gratitude.”

Sainz added that the target of ire “should be Senate Republicans who will no doubt once again try to scuttle this issue during the lame duck session.”

What’s really sad, and really duplicitous, about this statement is that HRC knows the President f’d up. They knew he never had any intention of passing the DADT legislation before the Pentagon completed its study (conveniently after the November elections when it will be too late to pass anything for years to come). HRC knew, and enabled from the beginning, the President’s betrayal of his word to our community. That’s why HRC President Joe Solmonese repeatedly told the community to stop complaining about DADT – the President has a plan, Joe told us, DADT will be repealed this year, Joe claimed. No he didn’t, and no it won’t. And HRC knew it all along.

Joe and HRC knew that our community was being played by this President and they didn’t just cover it up, they helped it happen. That’s why HRC feels the need to praise what Obama didn’t do on DADT. If they told you the truth, that they aided and abetted one of the biggest legislative disasters in the history of our movement – imagine, we got nothing, no DADT, no DOMA, no ENDA, with a new and wildly popular president, super-majorities in the House and Senate, a GOP opposition in ruins, and DADT repeal at 70% in the polls – no one would give them another dime.

PS I wonder if HRC thinks the President also deserves our gratitude for refusing to stop the discharges?

UPDATE: Alex Nicholson issued a statement in response to the attack from HRC’s VP of Communications. It’s now included in the Advocate article:

“When the spokesperson for the largest gay organization stoops to vicious personal attacks against committed, unpaid staff of the smallest gay organization, you know there’s a problem with the former. While I have more professionalism, rationality, and class than to return the favor and attack Sainz personally, I think this official ‘response’ from the Human Rights Campaign speaks volumes as to who is truly holding the administration’s feet to the fire on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. 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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