Aravosis asks: ‘How sophisticated do you have to be to get a deal that doesn’t guarantee repeal?’

Ryan Grim took a look at how the compromise over DADT repeal evolved. He delved into the way House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer inserted himself into the process at the end:

Hoyer proposed compromise language to Gates to find out what he could live with, then organized a critical meeting with top aides from the Pentagon and White House, as well as staffers to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Speaker Nancy Pelois (D-Calif.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.). (House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, who is opposed to repeal, was out of the loop.)

Hoyer’s staff had written compromise legislation that was presented to the group on Monday, May 24. “They drafted the version that ultimately, with changes, became what the Pentagon in particular, and the White House and key stakeholders, agreed to be the marching orders going forward,” said Winnie Stachelberg, a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, which was in the middle of negotiations.

Stachelberg wasn’t just in the “middle of negotiations.” Nope. In her version, she is the main reason for the compromise. That has been a consistent theme from Stachelberg for the past few weeks — and she did it again with Ryan:

“We came up with the idea of a certification trigger when it became clear, talking in particular to House and Senate targets on the Armed Services Committees and other more moderates, that delayed implementation was going to happen,” said CAP’s Stachelberg, who formerly worked for the Human Rights Campaign.

We’ll need to keep a very close watch on that certification language as the legislative process plays out. According to SLDN, the organization that I’ve found to be most responsive and accessible to the concerns of both people on the Hill and activists, there’s already an effort in the Senate to amend the certification language by giving all four service chiefs the power to sign off on the process. According to SLDN, “This killer amendment is designed to delay open service for years.” That really matters to SLDN, of course, because they actually represent the men and women whose lives are impacted by DADT.

But, there’s more. Stachelberg took a swipe at “gay people,” which is a not too subtle attack on gay activists and bloggers. (We keep hearing she has real issues with bloggers — and she’s pretty vocal about it. That’s odd since CAP is also home to Think Progress, which has a slew of bloggers):

Some gay activists resented CAP’s involvement in the debate, arguing that the gay and lesbian community can speak for itself. Stachelberg said that CAP approached the issue from a national security perspective and worked in coordination with gay groups. “Let’s be clear. There are gay groups and there are gay people. So Servicemembers United, SLDN, HRC, Third Way [and] CAP, were the key gay groups working on this, and all of them knew about the certification language and had no problem with it,” she said.

Wait. What? Let’s be really clear: CAP isn’t a gay group. Third Way isn’t either.

And, again, we see that Stachelberg is proud of her certification language. Okay, we get it. But, she better be putting the full force of CAP and her friends at the White House behind the lobbying effort to kill that poison pill of adding all four service chiefs to the certification process.

Ryan spoke to John about Stachelberg’s commentary on “gay people” and his response was spot on:

One of those people Stachelberg is referring to is AMERICAblog.com’s John Aravosis, who was involved in the debate over DADT in the early ’90s. He has reluctantly embraced the compromise as better than nothing, but doesn’t think it’s worth taking credit for. “I get that Winnie and HRC both have a problem with bloggers, but we wouldn’t be where we are today if the gay blogs hadn’t weighed in. It’s usually typical of the people who screwed things up to then accuse everyone else of being less sophisticated,” he said. “How sophisticated do you have to be to get a deal that doesn’t guarantee repeal?”

Doesn’t guarantee repeal. Doesn’t guarantee open service. But, we’re the ones who don’t get it.


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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