On DADT repeal, ‘the ball is really in the White House’s court at this juncture’

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld has more on the secret meeting of the gay groups, which John detailed in the post below. Kerry confirms what John and I learned. At this point, there really is no plan or strategy to repeal DADT:

Participants declined to discuss specific strategy with The Advocate but said they mulled over how LGBT leaders would move forward if the White House decided to make a strong push for repeal or, alternatively, if it took a pass on the issue this year.

One source said LGBT leaders had sent “strong signals” to the White House that they want repeal to happen this year and that there would be “repercussions” if it did not. The source would not say what form those repercussions might take.

Some attendees expressed guarded optimism during the meeting because many in the room had “been guaranteed that this is a priority for the president” — some by President Obama himself and others by some of his top advisors. But one source weighed that against the fact that health reform was also a top priority for the administration and its passage has not gone smoothly. “There’s an awful lot of distance between something a president says and actually making it come to light,” said the source.

Got that? Our “leaders” have no idea what the White House is going to do. They have hope, but not much else. There really is no plan:

Sources also indicated the ball is really in the White House’s court at this juncture. “They will be the ones who tell us how they’re going to package this,” said one source.

The ball is in Obama’s court. We’ll know soon if he includes the repeal of DADT in his budget. That will be the indicator of whether he’s planning to follow through on his promise. Anything short of including the repeal of the law — and a full repeal — in the budget means the White House is punting. This is one of the times when the President matters in the legislative process. If the repeal is in the Defense authorization, we can lobby for passage of that bill. If not, the repeal will have to be amended in the House and Senate. We’ll have to fight a filibuster in the Senate. This will drag out the debate. And, it gives the opposition more time to push out negative information, as happened yesterday.

One thing we’ve learned the hard way is that if the White House isn’t pushed hard, nothing happens. Waiting isn’t a strategy. Hoping isn’t a strategy. And, we shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get Obama to keep his promise.


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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