the don't tell show

Gates + Mullen Actually Promised Nothing at Senate Hearings. So Why Is HRC Saying DADT Has Been ‘Blunted’?

Unless we misheard (which is always possible!) what was said at yesterday’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hearings, neither Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen nor Sec. of Defense Robert Gates promised to do anything except study the policy to see if it should be repealed or left in place. So why is the Human Rights Campaign celebrating the hearings as if there was a stop-loss order issued?

Testifying before the Senate, Gates said there could, theoretically, be new rules set up to halt some of the worst elements of DADT, including dismissing personnel who are outed by vengeful third parties. But even that was not, in fact, promised; Gates said there’d be a 45-day review period to consider it. In fact, when Sen. Carl Levin asked Gates if would support a moratorium on DADT discharges, Gates replied that he couldn’t “answer that question.”

The only thing Gates said they’d do? Follow orders from the president. In the meantime, he’s readying the Pentagon to prepare to change policy once those orders are delivered. Nothing can happen, Gates told lawmakers, unless Congress acts.

So someone explain why HRC’s Joe Solmonese yesterday released a statement that reads in part (emphasis ours): “We acknowledge and appreciate President Obama’s leadership in bringing the military into line with his ideal. Make no mistake — this would not have happened without his insistence. And we’ll need more of that commitment in the months ahead. Today’s announcement blunts the day-to-day damage of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but we call on Congress to rescind this law and give the Pentagon the full authority to close the books on this stain of discrimination.”

What announcement “blunts the day-to-day damage” of DADT? The one that said the Pentagon needs to study a possible repeal? Or the one where Mullen said we need “balance and thoughtfulness” through this process. As far as we can tell, the Pentagon made no material changes to DADT, nor its execution of the policy, as of yesterday.

Is this an example of HRC once again giving the Obama administration a pass? Or completely misunderstanding what happened? Or are we the ones in the fog?

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  • Brian NYC

    This is HRC fundraising, that’s what they do – they raise money.

    I can’t think of anything else they do.

  • Tim W

    After receiving this e-mail I sent an angry e-mail off to HRC a first for me. Is HRC really this clueless? Or are they so far in the back pocket of the president they are willing to spew this crap?

  • Jamie

    I’m no defender of the HRC by any means, but if they’re referring to Mullen’s personal announcement that he believes the policy should be repealed on the basis of integrity, then that should carry some weight with his subordinates down the line. Which would result in a de facto reduction in DADT discharges, in a sane world.

    But I’m guessin’

  • Sam

    We should be telling everyone to stop giving to HRC.

  • Cam

    They have to pretend that something happened. This is what they’ve been doing for years to raise money.

  • Brian NJ

    What I see in the HRC is gross mismanagement and corruption. Joe S. has just become a weepy fourteen-year-old girl.

    Every press release basically says that Obama has done all he can do. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Why does every release celebrate Obama? He is a Commander in Chief presiding over a military that dumps gay vets on the street every day. Every day that they are fired is a disgrace, and everyday Obama and his party, which control the government, does that, is a day of disgrace for the government. Obama sets the agenda for the Congress, CLEARLY.

    Why hasn’t Obama promised a repeal in the Defense Authorization Bill, but also give the military a few months to implement it? Why is the Administration letting the opposition an opportunity to let this fester and fester over months, both on the right and the left?

    The HRC has truly become and obstacle to progress on this issue with it’s constant pardons. Just appalling.

  • jason

    Joe Solmonese needs to resign forthwith. I don’t see any hope for any repeal of DADT, and I don’t think Joe should be trying to put a positive spin on it.

    All we are getting from various quarters is spin. Spin, spin, spin. Where is the action? Obama is lacking in action. We also need leaders who will demand action, not sit on the sidelines giving us soothing words.

    It’s either action or get out.

  • Typical white person

    Washington DC is full of useless organizations, pushing one form of advocacy or another, while enjoying the tax-benefits of being a non-profit, which is about the only way you can afford office space in DC, unless you’re a lobbyist for GE. My point is, the folks at HRC are just part of the gang. A fish doesn’t know he’s wet, and Joe and his ilk and their useless organizations do nothing except support the catering industry.

  • Brian NYC

    I knew Joe and HRC were both submissive, I didn’t think Obama was.

    Last weekend Joe stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Miami. The weekend before at the Sundance Film Festival. That’s how our money is being spent.

  • Brian NJ

    That’s why all the hires at the HRC look so young, and seem like they would cry if they saw someone eating a steak. It is so that Joe surrounds himself with Jan Bradys who never question his jet setting and flowers for the head of the government.

  • Cam

    No. 10 · Brian NJ said…
    It is so that Joe surrounds himself with Jan Bradys who never question his jet setting and flowers for the head of the government.

    LOL!!!!!!!! LOVE THAT! Jan Bradys LOL!!!

  • Steve

    HRC is “captured” by the Democratic party. The Democrats have taken the gay vote for granted, for 40 years. HRC is just the gay-marketing department of the Democrat party.

    The reason why some gay issues are beginning to get some limited progress is simple — a significant number of gay people are saying, openly, that they cannot continue to support the Democrats otherwise. We can’t swing enough votes to make much of a difference, but we DO provide a noticeable fraction of the budget. That budget-power can affect legislation, but only if we threaten to take it away. As long as it is considered part of the “base”, it has no influence in any policy or legislation.

    I have written to my Representative and Senators to tell them all plainly: If DADT is still law the next time they ask me for money, the answer is “no”; And, if DADT is still law the next time a Progressive candidate asks me for money, I will make a donation. But, if they vote FOR gay issues at each opportunity, and sponsor or co-sponsor gay legislation, then they will have my gratitude and my donation. Note that the votes have to happen before the donation, not the other way around.


    You forgot to mention the most important part of any HRC letter:


  • Lukas P.

    Call Aunt Ethel! Email cousin Leroy!
    @Steve: You’re onto something. It’s not *just* the gay people people who are helping to gain traction on gay issues. It’s also our families and friends, neighbors and colleagues who have decided to stand up — vocally — for justice and equality.

    I have no proof of this but here’s my theory: When Mr and Mrs Herman Smythe of Little Town, Ohio send a letter outlining their support for one of our causes, it carries more weight than when Robert Jones and Steven Miller of Metropolis, Liberal State do.

    Why? Because when issue concerning “just the gays” is of enough interest — to people who have no obvious vested reason to pick up a pen and write — then it means a broader constituency is at play. It signifies that we gays have made inroads into people’s political conscience. And their voting habits.

    That’s not an excuse for us to stay inert and mute. It is a reason to ask folks we know and who, of course, care about us, to mail a letter, send an email or make a phone call. It’s time better spent, PLUS cheaper and more effective than funding lobbyists and their fancy offices.
    And easier than looking at JoeSol’s crying spells.

Comments are closed.