If the GOP had things their way, the military’s ban on gays serving openly would remain. Maybe they’d even ramp things up a notch, allowing commanders to kick out even closeted gays! But with Democrats running the White House and Congress, were we fools to think Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would quickly become a relic of a discriminatory past? We certainly didn’t when the majority of us cast our vote for Obama. But make no mistake: The president’s backpedaling on the issue isn’t a one-man assignment. Barack Obama has the entire party behind his inaction.
Though Obama is the default figurehead of the DNC, the group’s chairman and Virginia’s governor Tim Kaine carries a position altogether similar, supportive, and eerily unactionable. Speaking with David Gregory on Meet The Press:
MR. GREGORY: They are, I understand that. During the campaign he said that “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the government’s–the military’s prohibition against gays and lesbians in the military would be overturned. He hasn’t done that yet. Is he walking back from some of the key campaigns that he…
GOV. KAINE: No.
MR. GREGORY: …promises he made in the course of the campaign?
GOV. KAINE: Absolutely not. Let me take them in order. […] And then finally, on “don’t ask, don’t tell” the president has said, and I share this, this is a policy that needs to change. It is a policy that was enacted by Congress, and so working with Congress to find a way to change it is something he’s committed to doing with Secretary Gates. But he, he has the same…
MR. GREGORY: Why hasn’t he done it? Why…
GOV. KAINE: Well, he’s only been, he’s only been in for three-plus months. He’s had a little bit to deal with.
MR. GREGORY: Right.
GOV. KAINE: A couple of wars, toughest economy since 1930s.
MR. GREGORY: So this is not a top priority for him.
GOV. KAINE: This is a very important priority, but it is something that’s going to need Congressional support so he’s working with the military leaders on this. And there’s a whole host of other issues that the president has said, “I’m getting to. I can’t get to them yet, but I’m going to get to them.” And that’s what happens with every president.
Surely Mr. Obama has room on his slick new BlackBerry’s calendar to pencil some time in for civil rights, doesn’t he?
In the meantime: “The Obama administration has decided to accept an appeals-court ruling that could undermine the military’s ban on service members found to be gay. A federal appeals court in San Francisco last year ruled that the government must justify the expulsion of a decorated officer solely because she is a lesbian. The court rejected government arguments that the law banning gays in the military should have a blanket application, and that officials shouldn’t be required to argue the merits in her individual case. The administration let pass a May 3 deadline to appeal to the Supreme Court. That means the case will be returned to the district court, and administration officials said they will continue to defend the law there.”
Got that? The White House opted not to try for a third extension of the deadline, and while it “figures out” how to repeal DADT, it’s going to KEEP ARGUING FOR AND ENFORCING IT. Not exactly the strategy of an administration, or a political party, which claims eliminating the policy is, in the words of Gov. Kaine, “a very important priority.”