During yesterday’s panel discussion on DADT in NYC, hosted by Richard Socarides, the Center for American Progress’ Winnie Stachelberg, who says she was a chief architect of the DADT legislation that’s languishing in the Senate, attempted some blame shifting. Many in the gay community are none too happy at the prospect of losing the House of Representatives next month and having next to nothing to show for our two years of Democratic rule in Washington.
Stachelberg claimed last night that part of the blame for us not having DADT repealed already goes to those gay groups who balked at the notion of a DOD study of DADT back at the beginning of 2009. The following appears to be Stachelberg’s flawed analysis:
1. We’re waiting for a DOD study of DADT.
2. The study won’t be done until December 1, and that’s made it difficult to get the DADT compromise passed before the study’s completion – some members of Congress wanted to see the study first, and even the White House and DOD said they’d rather have Congress wait to pass legislation until after the study was done, a position which cost us votes.
3. But now, we lost the House, which will make it impossible to get DADT repealed next year.
4. So, had the study been completed earlier, we might have been able to get the legislation passed earlier, with the help of Obama and the DOD.
Yeah, good try.
The study was intended to punt the issue of repealing DADT (which the legislation doesn’t do) until after the elections, a time when many thought it would be harder to pass any pro-gay legislation. Rather than the study being a necessary pre-requisite to passing the legislation, it was likely intended to put off the issue indefinitely. So moving it up would have only made DOD demand a two year study, again finished post-election.
We are not in the position we are in today – just a hair’s breath away from passing the DADT compromise – “because” of the study. Rather, we don’t have DADT repealed yet BECAUSE of the study. Announcing a study in January of 2009 would likely not have permitted us to repeal DADT earlier. Rather, it would have indefinitely delayed our entire campaign to get DADT repealed.
The only reason we’re so close to being done with this issue now is because so many of us raised unholy hell about the languid pace of the DADT repeal effort. The suggestion that had our groups agreed to start a study in January of 2009, we’d have already had DADT repealed, is absurd. The study was meant to derail the repeal effort, not aid it. Agreeing to it earlier would have been agreeing to effectively kill repeal yet again.
It’s amazing how some people insist on continuing to do the administration’s dirty work at the expensive of our community. But to suggest that the only people who stood up for our community are now the ones to blame for the administration’s FUBAR effort on DADT, is really too much, coming from an organization that joined HRC in covering the President’s behind rather than our community’s.