false hope

Is It Time Politicians Stop Promising They Can Kill DADT Anytime Soon?

Politicians make a lot of promises during their campaigns, because that is how they get voters to the polls, tricking them into thinking a single elected official actually has that much sway to gut the bureaucratic machine to enact much change. And when that change does happen? I like to think it’s as much luck (or at least, God’s will) and the ability to get cable news on your side as it is doing the right thing by your constituents. But after they are elected, politicians keep making promises. What stupids. See: Nancy Pelosi.

The House speaker just got done saying a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal will get done by the end of 2010. “I don’t have any doubt that ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be a memory by the end of this year,” she said yesterday. It was enough to please the gays, who might get off her back long enough to leave her alone on Harvey Milk Day. But it’s this type of guarantee that inevitably causes trouble.

Just like Joe Solmonese’s exact same promise, uh, promises to sink what’s left of his reputation, if Nancy’s end-of-year DADT repeal goes awry, we’re all going to look back at her statement and point our fingers, screaming “LIAR!!!”

But what else do ya want? We keep arguing these politicians need to heed our calls for enacting equality, or else. (Or else we’ll cut off funding. Or else we’ll support a challenger. Or else we’ll complain on blogs.) So when they finally do listen up, they tell us things we want to hear. Like DADT being on its last legs and we’ll have reason to celebrate by Christmas. But Pelosi can’t guarantee this. While she might have the power to help Rep. Patrick Murphy’s bill get a full vote, she doesn’t have any control over the Senate Armed Services Committee, where despite Chairman Sen. Carl Levin’s best efforts, pressure mounts to keep DADT on the books until the Pentagon finishes its study — a timeline that matures after the November elections, when many Democrats will lose their seats in both houses of Congress, and any such promises become a moot point.

So here we have Pelosi doing exactly what we asked: promising to end DADT sooner rather than later. And we might very well force her to regret it.

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  • Mike

    I don’t know but Nancy Pelosi Sure looks great for a 70 year old. Just sayin

  • AndrewW

    When did “political promises” become trustworthy?

    This is wishful thinking. You get what you elect. That’s it.

    Recently, we’ve seen a tiny uprising of self-described “activists” demanding results. Some how, in a nation of 265 million adults, we’re lucky enough to have a few dozen children making demands of politicians.

    Brilliant. That’ll show ’em.

  • Andy

    End of 2010? How convenient? How about say October 2010, *before* the election?

  • Lanjier

    I keep hoping that commentator “Reason” comes back to tell us how we should be patient and be quiet.

    Hey Reason, still loving it?

  • Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com

    Actually, Pelosi has FAR more power than just seeing that Murphy’s amendment gets a floor vote….even if it doesn’t or even if it does and fails.

    According to CenterOnCongress. org re how joint conference committees to create a final bill, from each house’s separate bill, are created:

    “In the House, the Speaker appoints the conferees based on a list of names proposed by the chairman and ranking minority Member of the committee which reported the bill under consideration. Conferees are usually the bipartisanship leadership of the committee and subcommittees involved and a few other members of the committee of jurisdiction. However, House rules give the Speaker broad discretion in conference appointments, and Speakers have appointed Members not on the committee leaders’ lists – primarily those who offered successful floor amendments to the bill which may have been opposed by the committee’s members. These limited appointments are sometimes made in order to ensure defense of the bill in the version adopted by the entire House.”

    This is particularly important in the House as both the Chair and ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee oppose repeal. Apparently, traditionally, though not always, the Senate Majority Leader appoints to the joint conference committee whomever the chair and ranking minority member of the relevant originating committees recommend [and many committees in both houses “touch” DEFAUTH]. From Senate Armed Services that would, of course, be a list created by Levin AND McShame.

    Contrary to what you seem to be reading, I see reports saying that those on the Senate Armed Services Committee favoring inserting repeal in their version of DEFAUTH are growing in strength. Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who had been saying he’d follow Gates’ “wait until Dec.” demand, is now said likely to vote for insertion if Levin takes such a vote.

    The actions of the joint committee are all powerful such that even if only one house brings repeal with them the combined committee can vote to include it in the final bill…which goes back to both houses for another vote and, because DEFAUTH is a “must pass” bill, it’s unlikely it could be stripped out on the floor.

    SLDN is asking people to call and urge her to schedule a vote on Rep. Murphy’s repeal amendment to DEFAUTH next week.

    (202) 225-0100.

    AND for people to call their Congressperson to vote for Murphy’s amendment when it comes up.

    HOUSE SWITCHBOARD: (202) 225-3121



  • Jason_Activist

    We won;t make progress until enough of us take to the streets and DEMAND our full equality NOW. GetEQUAL has inspired a huge new movement of hundreds of thousands of young people that are letting politicians know that we will no longer tolerate inaction.

    The LGBT Community now has thousands of MLK’s. People like Dan Choi that are willing to risk their lives for our equality.

    HRC isn’t the answer – direct action IS. We need to get in EVERYONE’s face and let them know we are mad as Hell and we are NOT going to take it anymore.

    This weekend become part of history. Raise your voices and scream “I am somebody and I DEMAND my rights.” Find that Rosa Parks inside you and set her free. Set us all free.

  • Jason_Activist

    @Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com: Why don’t YOU get in the streets and demand with the rest of us? You just cut-n-paste articles from other websites.

    Add your voice to the over-throw of Democratic oppression. We might reach 1 million voices of dissent this weekend. Stop typing and start shouting.

    What do we demand? Equality! When do we demand it? NOW!

  • Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com


    “In the vernacular of the peasantry,” you have no fucking idea what I do or don’t do.

    You could ask my friend Dan Choi, but since you wrongly imagine that he’s for overthrowing “Democratic oppression” I doubt you’ll ever get close enough to.

    Some people pass on vital information.

    Others cut and paste ATTITUDE….and hallucinations.

  • Timothy

    Get out your checkbooks and write another one to Obama, please.

    Yes We Can!
    Change We Can Believe In!

  • Brett

    Fuck Pelosi and her pandering lies.

  • Mike

    That bitch can stick her tongue up my ass!!!

  • Rob Moore

    @Timothy: One Democratic organization or another calls several times per week as well as mailing pleas for money and sending me e-mails. Since I live in a teabag stronghold, I get that shit too.

    I am actually torn about the political side of equal rights. Do I simply take my marbles and stay home in November, or do I keep dealing with Democrats. So far, I have withheld my money, but when the only alternatives are some bat-shit-crazy teabagger or another Republican neofascist, I feel concerned. Progress forward has been negligible, but if the right takes power, again, I think we can look forward to strong efforts to repeal all or part of health care reform, another attempt to put forth a constitutional amendment to enshrine DOMA or worse, and a return to anti-regulation, laissez-faire economic policies.

  • Rob Moore

    That picture of Pelosi puts me in mind of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video with her hands.

  • WalkderDC

    Oh sure…they are being honest. They “CAN” repeal DADT. With something like 75% of the population agreeing with repeal, it CAN be repealed. The real question is WILL they.

    This shows just how broken Washington is. How they hell is it a controversial vote when over 3/4 of the country agrees with it? And yet in Washington thinking it’s still controversial. Maybe because those old farts still think that gays are icky and are better as supporters when we don’t have a shot in hell of getting our rights.

  • Marcus

    Take to the streets! Protest! Protest! Protest!

    The only way to get anything in life is to demand it!

    Have some courage and raise your voice! Make MLK and MiLK proud! Now is the time to revolt!

  • DR (the real one, not the guy who made post #12)

    I’ll bed honest, I just don’t know what to think any more.

    We have a President who included DADT repeal in the State of the Union Address and hasn’t had much to say in the meantime. He seems pretty content letting Gates and Mullen run the show on this, and they’ve made it pretty clear they want it to move at a glacial pace.

    There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes nonsense going on. Senators being told to sit back and wait, the possible HRC timeline being proposed behind the community’s back, etc.

    Even the various secretaries of the armed forces don’t know what to do (see what happened with the Secretary of the Army).

    Oh, and let’s not forget the study which is getting minimal, if any, input from LGB soldiers since they can’t participate without outing themselves and being dismissed.

    There are understandably a LOT of trust issues between the LGB community and the Democrats right now.

  • AndrewW

    “Speaker Nancy Pelosi has privately told her politically vulnerable Democratic members that they will not vote on controversial bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first.”

    December, 2009 – The Hill


    She promised her fellow politicians. They are much more important than we are.

    While it is difficult to find any “political” promises that are actually kept – the ones they make to each other are the most reliable. Kind of an “honor among thieves” thing.

  • Jason_Activist

    @AndrewW: I don’t care about Pelosi’s promises. Millions of us are taking to the streets and DEMANDING this weekend. She and Obama will hear our demands.

    Next week she’ll cave in and give us our rights OR she’ll have to look for a new job.

  • San Francisco Treat

    @ Jason – Pelosi is MY representative in the House and I can tell you without any doubt that she will not be looking for a new job regardless of your tantrums.

    I have said many times here that DADT is an easy lift for Democrats and we have waited more than long enough for it to go the way of segregated service.

    However, Nancy Pelosi is kicking serious ass as Speaker on nearly every level. She has had the votes in the House since the last election, but she’s not going to sacrifice another 3-4 vulnerable members in the next election if the Senate fails to act AGAIN.

    If you want to fume at someone, try picking a target that is actually standing in the way. Hint – they’re not in the House.

  • Jason_Activist

    @San Francisco Treat: See, it’s lazy guys like you that just keep kissing politician’s asses. Don’t you know nothing about civil rights? We don’t get our rights until we make them uncomfortable with our DEMANDS.

    You can keep asking politely. I’m join the millions that are standing up and DEMANDING our rights NOW!

    You and your friends can thank our tantrums when we get full equality this year. We are going to MAKE them deliver NOW! We are their worst nightmare.

  • San Francisco Treat

    Umm… ok. First, you don’t know anything about me, so I’m not sure what led you to believe I’m lazy. Second, the “millions” that are standing up right now are imaginary. Third, and this is my favorite, “Don’t you know nothing about civil rights?” – I think my answer is properly “Yes, I have degrees in history and politics with an emphasis in queer studies.” Finally, trashing the most pro-LGBT Speaker in the history of our country is not a winning tactic.

    Also, you’re dumb. See, I can do it too.

Comments are closed.