lip service

Is It Too Soon to Call Obama’s Promise to Repeal DADT an Empty Gesture?


That the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Don’t is not imminent? That much we should be able to agree on. Despite the president’s assurances that he would work with Congress and the Pentagon, “within the year,” to repeal the policy, wiser folks (read: you, readers) know that’s more lip service than anything. “Within the year” means he’ll start Venn Diagramming his campaign promise; this week’s Senate hearings are one example of such. But let’s take a look at why nixing DADT is actually not in the foreseeable future.

It’s more likely an effort for Obama’s second term. But don’t raise your eyebrows — we’ve been saying as much since Obama took office.

This week, the Pentagon will announce it is “investigating” the policy. That’s a nice cozy word for things like “issuing memos,” “reviewing operational procedures,” and “measuring readiness.” Which itself is code for “perpetual delays.”

Despite what appears to be momentum on the White House’s part, unnamed “officials” are planting items in in the press saying the DADT process could take years. That commentators find this surprising is, well, sad; they should be more informed than we, yes?

Instead, Obama addressing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in his State of the Union speech last week reeks of more lip service. The president does not yet have the support of his military leaders to kill the policy, and until they are all on board, it’s unlikely he’ll mount a “my way or the highway” approach. (It’s a bad sign when the Pentagon’s own press secretary, Geoffrey Morrell, refuses to take questions on the matter.)

Most sadly, we’ve been here before: Obama tells homosexuals and their supporters he is working hard on their behalf, and then all of Gay Inc. rallies behind him without so much as a stroke of irony. This isn’t the path to progress. It’s the path to delays. And if you think your lawmakers are going to stand up and pressure Obama to quicken the process, then you obviously don’t know how complacency and cowardice works.