HRC’s Joe Solmonese praises Sec. Gates for saying no to DADT repeal this year




On the heels of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying this morning, categorically, that he does not want Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed this year, Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign praised Gates’ comments, suggesting that they were a “positive step toward repeal this year.”

What HRC was referring to, of course, was Gates’s proposal for a “more humane” policy of bigotry against gay and lesbian soldiers. HRC chose to ignore the fact that the Secretary of Defense, as of this morning, is now on the record against repeal this year.

Of course, HRC won’t criticize Gates because the dirty little secret is that President Obama signed off on Gates’ anti-DADT statement this morning. The Secretary of Defense works for the President, and you’d better believe that the Secretary did not blindside the President this morning with his announcement that DADT should not be repealed this year. We all know that HRC won’t criticize President Obama, regardless of how many promises the President breaks to our community. HRC has become an organ of the Democratic party, they don’t work for you and me, they work for Jim Messina at the White House (and he, most assuredly, does not work for our community). Like FOX News, HRC’s allegiance to party comes above all else. And it’s terribly sad when the party has no interest in following through on its top three promises to our community, DADT, DOMA and ENDA. I say this as someone who has defended HRC for years. That defense is no longer defensible. Nor are any further donations to the Human Rights Campaign. What is the point? So they can spin on behalf of the President, covering his behind while he makes it harder and harder for us to ever achieve our civil rights?

It’s Day 10 since Barney Frank called on the White House to publicly say whether or not they want to see DADT repealed this year. The White House has still refused to reply to Barney. Ten days of the President of the United States, who we all voted for, dissing the most senior member of the gay delegation in Congress, and through him, dissing every single one of you.

Make no mistake. Unless Joe Solmonese finds some balls soon, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal is not happening this year. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when the Secretary of Defense says no, and the President of the United States is either too scared to defend his own campaign promise, or worse, complicit in undercutting our civil rights, very few members of Congress are going to disagree.

One more point. Let these posts from Joe Sudbay and me be a clear marker. Joe Solmonese and the White House have been warned repeatedly that the Democrats are expecting an electoral bloodbath in the November congressional elections, including the distinct possibility that the Republicans will take over the US House. If HRC and the White House think it’s hard to get the votes to repeal DADT now, just wait until after the November elections. Not. Gonna. Happen. Even HRC’s Solmonese admitted the other day that the elections were a problem, and that for that reason DADT repeal had to happen this year. And remember, last time we lost the Congress it took 14 years to get it back. DADT repeal in 2024! (Then we can get to ENDA and DOMA after that.) So why is HRC praising the Secretary of Defense for telling us that the repeal of DADT won’t happen for years to come? Next year at this time, when HRC and the White House gives us some sad song about how, because of the 2010 congressional elections, we just don’t have the votes to repeal DADT, don’t let them get away with “gosh, no one could have ever predicted that 2010 was our last chance to repeal DADT.” They knew, and they did nothing.

HRC is accountable to no one but their big donors and their board of directors. Perhaps it’s time we had a very public chat with both of those groups. It’s time to start naming names of those responsible for selling out our civil rights in the name of a cocktail party and a White House tour. Until they fear us, they will not respect us.

UPDATE: I just got a note from someone at HRC, complaining that I failed to note this one single sentence in Solmonese’s post. So here goes (I’ll even quote 2):

The Administration has reconfirmed its position in favor of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – through these regulations, through the nation’s military leadership, and through our President. With health insurance reform signed into law, now is the time for more visible and aggressive leadership from the White House to push for a vote on repeal this year.

That is the blindingly critical statement about the President that HRC slipped into Joe’s post. The problem is that HRC is playing a game far too subtle for the current crisis. Slipping in one sentence suggesting that the White House do more, couched amid all the praise, is not going to cut it. Hell, I didn’t even notice that sentence the first several times I read the post. It’s a throw away line that HRC can point to and say “see, we’re so critical of the President,” when in fact, they’re not.

Do an entire press release devoted to the White House’s need to step up their game, and then we’ll talk.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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