While President Obama “works with Congress” (or whatever he’s doing) to “repeal” (or “change”?) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, don’t expect the White House to step in to keep gay servicemembers from being dismissed.
As the media finally leans on the administration to answer up to campaign promises, Press Sectary Robert Gibbs told reporters Obama — who’s made zero effort to even have a bill put before Congress, which is all but required to get legislators to act on military issues — won’t intervene in current investigations or dismissals.
While “the policy isn’t working for our national interests,” Gibbs says repealing it will “require more than the snapping of one’s fingers. To get fundamental reform in this instance requires a legislative vehicle. The president made a promise to change this policy; he will work with the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the administration and with Congress to ensure that we have a policy that works for our national interests.”
Except, noted a reporter: “He is the Commander-in-Chief. I mean, if the president and the Secretary of Defense can bring about a new leadership in Afghanistan, replace the commanding general there, couldn’t the president and the secretary of defense delay any more people getting fired under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’?”
Haha. Silly media types. Says Gibbs: “Well, there have been discussions about the best way to move forward, and the only sustainable way to do that is through — sustainable and durable way — is through legislation, which the president has promised and has continued to work for.”
Meaning that open letter First Lt. Dan Choi sent to the president? Pleading with him? Asking him, “Please do not fire me”?
In the meantime, while the pressure builds up against Obama, here’s Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese on Obama’s position: “The administration is probably working through a lot of different options right now, and we’re interested to see what is the most expeditious and sustainable one. They could be working on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ strategy that would take 18 months. I trust that this is something that’s being worked on and they’re looking at something more comprehensive and long-term than just putting out a statement [of support].” Just in case you needed more evidence a certain gay rights organizations was in the tank with party Democrats.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which represents Lt. Choi, is a little less patient: “Jones’s answer, along with Secretary Gates’s remarks to the Army War College on April 16, make it clear that a calculated political decision has been made that the president is not going to take ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ on publicly — himself — and instead his Defense team is doing it.” Adds former SLDN executive director Dixon Osburn: “We concluded that there was little legal precedent that definitively ruled whether the Constitution gave the president or Congress the plenary authority to regulate military personnel matters. … So, could the president issue an executive order concerning ‘don’t ask, don’t tell?’ Yes. Could Congress bring legal action challenging the president’s executive order? Yes.”