From the Pentagon to Sen. Carl Levin and then, on Wednesday, to your ears: Word arrives that President Obama will address Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in his State of the Union speech. Adorable, because we imagine the teleprompter will look like this when he gets to that part: ______ _______________ _______ __ ___________ ____________.
Nobody (i.e. Levin) is quite sure what Obama will say when he addresses the nation for his first speech of its kind. But we imagine it’ll go something like this: I’m still your fierce advocate, we are working on a reasonable and workable solution, I do not support discrimination, but we must call on Congress to repeal the law in order to get anything done. What he won’t mention: That pretty much everyone believes he has the power to halt DADT investigations with the stroke of a pen, and that he’s exercised that power with other matters.
We’re refusing to get too excited about Obama’s State of the Union speech, because he’s got a lot to cover: healthcare reform (or lack thereof), the wars, the economy, jobs jobs jobs, Haiti, bipartisan stuff, North Korea and China, and whether Apple’s iSlate-iPad-iTablet whatever is worth the hype. If he’s squeezed for time, he might skip that last one. But we’re also keeping our expectations low because, when had a chance to address the LBGT community about LGBT issues at HRC’s annual D.C. dinner, and the speech was, without question, a miserable failure of epic proportions — insomuch as he said nothing new, made no firm commitments, and handed the HRC crowd the same platitudes that he won their votes with.
Also of issue: Whether Obama will address the other LGBT issues at stake, such as same-sex marriage, non-discrimination in the workplace, the legalized extermination approaching Uganda, the horrors in Iraq, or even whether binational couples will finally be able to secure visas for the foreign partner.
Obama, who tells Diane Sawyer he’d “rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” has indicated to LGBTs that they’ll be pleased with his record on equality by the time he’s out of office, though he didn’t say whether that means after four or eight years.
In the meantime, as we await Wednesday night’s speech, here’s the mintuae we’ll be looking out for: Whether he uses the word “repeal,” or falls back on the now-offensive word “change.”
Maybe it’s best, then, that Obama doesn’t even bring up Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Because if he does, and continues to operate Washington without conclusive action to repeal a law that actively discriminates against brave American soldiers — say that aloud! how unfathomable is such a law in this country! — things will only grow worse for him, his administration, and the Democrats.
UPDATE: Or maybe Obama’s speechwriters are taking our advice, and will opt not to mention DADT in SOTU speech. Robert Gibbs told the White House press corps, and unnamed sources tell CBS, that while DADT is being considered for inclusion, it’s not definite. Curious, then, that so soon after word leaking about Obama’s possible inclusion of the policy in his speech comes official hints to back off the meme. Was the original report an obvious administration press plant to gauge the response?