Richard Socarides, the former LGBT advisor to President Bill Clinton, leans in to President Obama’s failing on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell pretty good in a concise Wall Street Journal op-ed that, we’d argue, could have been even harsher. And by could, we mean should.
Socarides is no fool. He knows what happened to his former boss in the early 1990s, when the DADT “compromise” was made, to let gays serve in the military, but without being able to do so openly. And he understands Obama’s strategy is to avoid past mistakes.
Except, he writes: “What is especially troubling, however, is Mr. Obama’s oversensitivity to a dwindling minority of bigots on this issue. Hundreds of military careers have been destroyed on his watch for no valid reason. The country has been deprived of the talents of these service members and has wasted millions of dollars on their training.”
Further: “Many wonder when their president will show the same kind of concern for the constitutional rights of gay American service members as he has for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay. Many wonder what the administration’s willingness to treat gay Americans as second-class citizens says to Uganda and other countries that are considering laws that would subject gays to imprisonment and even death. Gay Americans have been among the president’s most ardent supporters. Their enthusiasm, and that of their families and friends, could be crucial in this year’s elections. The president’s action—or inaction—on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will be noticed.”
Uh. That’s it? “Many wonder”? “Will be noticed”? Hey, Socarides, if you’re going to use your respected byline to appear in the Journal to “criticize” Obama, maybe your astute observations could be backed up by clear-cut demands?
We know: You’re writing in the Journal, and “knowing your audience” is tres important. But talking about how our “enthusiasm … could be crucial” in this year’s midterm elections is about as worthwhile as pointing out that Democrats are donkeys. It’s like: Yeah, and?