On DADT, ‘There will be a price to pay for slow-walking repeal’

Kerry Eleveld’s latest weekly column is worth a read. You won’t be surprised to know that we share the concerns raised. Delay doesn’t help and there’s been no evidence of a real commitment from the Obama administration to follow through on the President’s commitment to end DADT. Even Barney Frank has been calling them out:

First, there will be a price to pay for slow-walking repeal. If the Obama administration thought it could just throw out a line in the State of the Union and then leave the blood and guts of the legislative battle to Congress, it’s in for an eye-opening experience. And if they take a year, as they did with health reform, to fully commit to the fight, the political fallout will be much greater and much messier than if they make a concerted push right now.

Barney Frank seems to know this all too well, and over the course of the last couple months he has all but begged the White House to show some leadership — first saying that the administration had been “muddled” in its direction to Congress, then actually calling on the White House “to make clear that it supports legislative action this year,” and finally last week charging that the White House is “ducking” the issue and “letting Gates be the spokesman, which is a great mistake.”

And second, the LGBT movement is at a tipping point of sorts, where as the level of acceptance starts to outweigh discrimination homophobes will take their marbles and go home. In so many words, Conway’s message was that if the gays ruin it for everyone, then all Marines will have to bunk alone in order to accommodate them.

The longer this drags out the worse the rhetoric from the other side gets. At this point, the only thing clear is that there isn’t a clear path forward.

In the State of the Union, the President made a commitment to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “this year.” To the brain trust at the White House, it might have been just another line to assuage a political constituency. But, Obama raised expectations and repeal is what people are expecting “this year.” And, Kerry’s conclusion is spot on. There will be a political price for failing to follow through:

The White House may fear acting too boldly on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but the president’s silence is already beginning to exact a political cost as the floodgates of dissent push open.

What I don’t get is that in a couple months, we’re going to know if the repeal will happen. They may be hiding their strategy now, but they can’t hire the results. Anything less than a full legislative repeal isn’t enough.

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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