If President Obama isn’t even willing to stick his neck out to drum up Senate support for a public healthcare option, do you think he’ll actually speak up to convince lawmakers it’s time to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? LOL if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid actually thinks requesting Obama do just that will work!
Nevada’s Reid last week sent private letters to Obama and Defense Sec. Robert Gates, asking them to tell Congress directly what they want to happen with DADT. Publicly, Obama says he wants a legislative repeal; Gates says he’s deferring to Obama and isn’t making any moves inside the Pentagon on his own.
Namedropping First Lieutenant Daniel Choi and Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, Reid writes, “As Congress considers future legislative action, we believe it would be helpful to hear your views on the policy. Your leadership in this matter is greatly appreciated and needed at this time.”
Despite advocating for various measures to inhibit DADT, Reid’s latest move is a curious departure for the majority leader, who in June was saying the Senate didn’t have enough support to repeal DADT, but if the House wanted to move on it, it was more than welcome. (It’s likely the Senate may require a full 60 votes to keep Republicans from filibustering the measure.) But in a follow-up “clarification” statement, a Reid aide said the senator was implying he wanted the White House or Defense Department to work on an “administrative” solution.
Reid’s latest move, then, appears to be a combination of the two: He wants Obama and Gates to get involved in telling Congress what to do, but in doing so acknowledges it will be lawmakers ultimately responsible for killing the policy.
Undoubtedly, Reid’s letters represent a positive development. And not just because he’s calling on Obama to speak up, but because his letters to the president and Gates were “somehow” obtained by the Huffington Post (read: Reid’s camp leaked them), which means the pressure on the Obama administration has now gone public. And will need an answer, please.