Hey, we just killed Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Anybody notice?

    This is a great achievement. Where's the applause?  Where's the commendations for Barack and Harry and Nancy?

    We are in full throat here when expressing our disapproval of some Administration fault or failure. And rightly so. But this great victory seems to have been welcomed with a resounding ho hum.

    Is it more fun to punish someone?  To write a stinging post dwelling on Barack's failure(s)?  Or some other targets?

    Come to think of it, what's behind the intensity of our fury over the extension of W's tax cut for the wealthy?  Our deep committment to reducing the national debt.? Or plain old jealousy?

    Those wealthy folks surely ought to have been punished by a higher tax and it's annoying to see them escaping for another couple of years.  Or am I the only one who had that mean-spirited  reaction?  Because I did.  But then decided to get on with the rest of my life.

    Anyway it's been a good week for military, gays and lesbians, for the economy (I hope) and for those high flyers earning over $200K.

    And for the country.

    "Don't ask, don't tell" was a disgrace and we've driven a stake into its heart.  Or Barack and Harry and Nancy did.

    Good job, guys.


    It was about time.  DADT was silly law to begin with.  Glad congress got it together for this before all the Tbags show up next year.

    It's easy to forget, but DADT was meant to be a significant improvement over the previous policy, by discouraging active outing of gay military. It's probably fair to say that it was no worse than the previous status quo, and I think one could even argue it was a minor improvement, with heavy emphasis on minor.

    That said, it's really nice to see it replaced with sane policy.

    Well, I believe it was a major improvement over the military hunting out gays to send them packing.

    And it came at a time 17 years ago when it would have been super-hard to get any legislative action further than this.

    Its time has long passed, but my guess is probably only around 6-8 years ago when it really became possible to push into the heartland. (Remember all that "red state vs. blue state" nonsense, when Democrats were busy moving into a majority?)

    Of coure a strong president pushing the action might have sped it up - Clinton tried and couldn't, Bush wouldn't, and Obama kind of fell into it thanks to some unexpected legislative re-ordering.

    It should be remembered the mechanations of Colin Powell to hang entry of gays around Clinton's neck. DADT was a quickly crafted compromise that at least pushed the baseline forward.

    Lieberman and Reid deserve credit for not falling for GOP rope-a-dope threats to block the Bill.

    There were reports Obama wanted to pass START first as GOP Senators threatened to hold START hostage if DADT passed. and the GOP knows the White House usually caves to threats of GOP hostage taking, empty in this case as I think START will pass too.

    Applause to the Senators who voted to end this noxious policy.

    From USA Today:

    The eight Republicans who voted for the repeal were Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Ensign of Nevada, George Voinovich of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine.

    Ensign voted for repeal????  What!?


    Could there be any parliamentary reason? I read that sometimes Reid votes against a bill because that  permits him to to bring it up again.

    I wasn't surprised by Voinovich ; as for Kirk and Burr maybe they just wanted to do the right thing. DADT was a cruel  medieval regulation anachronistically observed in this  different time period. Sort of like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

    No, there's no procedural reason Ensign would have for voting to repeal DADT that I know of. Did a quick Google and found this article in the Washington Blade from Nov. 18: Sen. Ensign to support ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal: source (UPDATED).

    But it's very unsatisfying as to WHY Ensign would vote for appeal.  This is the man who lives with Coburn and the rest of the Christian 'Family' on C Street.

    Maybe he's come around to thinking the government shouldn't pry into people's sexual lives and affairs. :-)

    He serves in Nevada .... where GOP voters crossed over for Reid in significant numbers and DADT isn't a particularly popular policy to begin with ("arch-conservative" rural Nevada *does* have whore houses, after all). Observers have already started to note Ensign's hopes for reelection hinge on Reid maintaining an informal truce the Nevada senate team traditionally recognizes - and staying out of the campaign against him. I hear Shelley Berkley is angling for Reid's active support BIG TIME ... this has to be one of the most vulnerable GOP seats in America.

    I imagine Ensign may be one of the more helpful Republicans for the next two years. He really needs something from Harry Reid at the local level - it would be one hell of a gamble putting all of his eggs in the Teabag basket considering last November's results.

    This is a very satisfying (and astute!) answer, kgb. Thanks!

    I just checked the Firedoglake posts on this subject. Among the 80 comments the most common  is that the repeal further illustrates Obama's unsuitability . There's a variety of arguments supporting this position.

    They include

    -Obama wasn't  involved in the repeal and was surprised it passed.

    -his staff is unable to answer the question whether in-process terminations will be aborted. 

    - He  actually wanted   repeal to fail.

    -  it's impossible to give him credit for the repeal when at the same time he has failed to impose a tax increase on  wealthy americans.

    My position is that if you can't give Obama credit for this historic accomplishment you may have a little problem with objectivity. Work on it.


    You've blended a lot of policy areas together, but yes, I think it's fine we object to Obama's tax cut plan, given it's enormous cost and dubious peotential ot be stimulative AND makes the SS Trust Fund that much poorer.

    But, may I ask you: if Obama doesn't issue and executive order on Monday to suspend investigations and dismissals under DADT 'guidelines', will that piss you off?  It will me and plenty of Senators and House members, not to mention gay soldiers, and anyone in the country who knows that the repeal is and was a civil rights issue, and delaying its immediate implementation during the Congressional review time would be a bad thing. 

    I think Obama's endorsement of DOMA makes some of us less than enthusiastic about how he's handled DADT repeal, and whoever said that when west coast liberals threatened to pull their money from Obama, it motivated him this week.  You see, that was code for wealthy gay people.  ;o) 

    I'll give him a half-credit on this; there is absolutely no way his DoJ should have been appealing the decisions of judges who declared DADT unconstitutional.


    a voter with an objectivity problem who hopes plenty of people are flooding the White House phones and in-mail boxes with the message


    Cruising sites this morning, I found plenty of gratitude to Obama, Lieberman, Pelosi, and especially Voinovitch who voted fro repeal in the face of his strong religious convictions.  But the issue that this was a 'compromise bill' engineered by the President sparks some bitterness.  Here's Dan Choi, one of the bravest soldiers in the struggle, IMO:

    No revolution towards justice ever went backwards. To all the supporters of equality and Don't Ask Don't Tell's death, I am so grateful. The road has not been easy. We have learned many important lessons about social justice, movements, supporting each other, and speaking out against discrimination.

    The mission is not finished; it has only just begun. The most critical mission is supporting and encouraging closeted soldiers to finally access their full integrity, dignity, and humanity. This mission is in keeping with the first lessons learned at West Point or basic training. As the legislation signals a new chapter in our journey, we can be sure that our work has only begun. I call on all soldiers to gain the courage to come out. First come out to yourselves, then tell your trusted friends and family. Tell everyone who you trust and who deserves nothing less than truth. Stop hating yourselves as your country has signaled for so long. Furthermore, your coming out is not for you. It is for all those who come after. Military service is not about rank, pension or paycheck. Climbing the ladder is shameful without true purity of service and I applaud those who give up the superficial artifacts of career in favor of complete integrity and justice.

    ...President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.


    But, may I ask you: if Obama doesn't issue and executive order on Monday to suspend investigations and dismissals under DADT 'guidelines', will that piss you off?

     No. Even tho I accept that some individuals will remain entrapped in the cruel process of  being discharged. Nevertheless , in general I think a President who micromanages creates confusion and weakens the office. And in this specific case , Gates has done yeoman's work  getting  to this point and  has earned the right to finish the job the way his way. Obama should make it clear he personally would  like it to be rapid but not issue an Executive Order. Too blunt an instrument.

    I won't try to deal with your other comments responding  to the several hares I set running.

    Well, hell's bells, flavius; if I knew you wuz gonna go all Elmer Fudd on me, I wouldn'ta commented!    Tongue out


    How many times does Elmer have that wascally wabbit in the cross-hairs and still can't pull the trigger?

    Sooner or later Obama's going to have to grow a pair. Well, no, he doesn't have to, but would make everything a lot easier to explain.

    Sometimes he pulled the trigger and shot Daffy, but mostly it seemed to damage his feathers.  Maybe there's a metaphor in there somewhere....mmmm: if he grew a pair, wouldn't it make it harder to explain?

    I suspect you should see if he'll stand up and pay attention. Me, I find his explanations a bit flaccid.

    Ah, go munch a carrot, or better yet an ungodly parsnip, and get some sleep, bro.  We gotta rest up to stick up for mediocrity and kicking cans down the road.  "I brake for can-kickers" (new bumper sticker...   Cool  Say g'night , Des. 

    Wow. Remind me not to rely on any on-the-scene factual reporting from you.

    My take is that the major criticism of the bill is the built-in 60 day congressional review - which seems to mostly fall on the GOP to conduct. Additionally, there is criticism that the Administration will not at long last issue an executive order to implement the legislation and comply with court rulings declaring the current policy unconstitutional. This seems to be the most vocal vein of criticism. And frankly, I agree. And I genuinely don't really give a damn about DADT in the grander scheme of things (happy to see it go, but it's WAY down on my "OMGZ America is Cratering How the Hell Do We Fix It?!?!" list).

    By this point, that Obama refuses to just handle it does not speak well for him as CIC. He is creating a great uncertainty within his command which he has complete authority to resolve with the stroke of a pen. And now has both a court ruling and legislation to back up his constitutional authority. All THREE branches concur, there is no excuse that does not boil down to Obama harming our troops for individual political gain. It just looks like he is not strong enough to be the political lightning rod protecting the powerless soldiers under his authority - instead he's allowing them to take the blows while he focuses 100% on flailing desperately to get reelected. If Obama actually implements policy over the next week or so, these criticisms will have been unfounded. If he does not, than I'm not sure exactly what you are giving Obama credit for having accomplished - gays will still be getting booted and have to live in secret while Obama holds the power (multiplied yet again) to set them free yet refuses to wield it - Harry Reid has unequivocally said he believes the policy should now be suspended immediately.

    There also seem to be some concerns that the Administration will cynically use this legislation to seek dismissal of the court case they currently have on appeal (you know, the one that double-jedi-political-jujitsu requires taking to an "unchallengable" definitive ruling from a higher court) while draging out congressional inquiries - thus stymieing the ability for supporters to possibly win in the courts while at the same time ensuring that operationally the policy is never implemented. That *is* exactly how W. would have played it. Will you at least agree that if Obama seeks a dismissal before implementing the policy (or even seeing the completed congressional review), he would *finally* deserve a bit of criticism on this issue? (Let's get it in advance, because we all know if we wait until Obama actually DOES something, there will ALWAYS be a justification ready on the lips).

    I think it can go either way depending on Obama's next move. But if January comes and DADT is still his operational policy, Democrats didn't really repeal jack/shit. At this moment, it is simply another case of Democrats demanding to be given full credit for something they have not actually accomplished yet. So far, the Democratic majority has been like the fucking Special Olympics of political achievement - a failure by any objective athletic metric measuring the stated goal, but we're supposed to give everyone a medal anyhow.

    Sad. Americans, through the polls, have spoken; the courts have spoken; both houses have spoken; a good number of Republicans have spoken in defiance of their party line. More cover than any president could reasonably expect on any issue.

    And yet the widespread assumption is still that Obama will default to the most cowardly position possible. What's sad is not that people expect the worst from the president; it's that their expectations are grounded in precedent. I really, really miss Obama 2.008. He talked such a good game.

    Restricting my  comment to what  the Democratic majority did about  DADT- I'm pleased . Probably more than you  from what you say.

    I'm not going to defend Obama against an hypothetical charge of attempting  to  ensure that operationally the policy is never implemented..I can easily imagine it won't be by January . Instant gratification is nice but I don't demand it. But if  DADT's still in effect on  the 4th of July  I'll admit you were right.

     In the interim,  having endured 18 years of DADT,  I have no problem waiting a few more months if Obama and Gates think that makes sense.

    As to  Obama's reasons for supporting repeal , I don't do motivations. You can ask a whore her price but not her reasons.

    You have to understand that Obama's failing right now.

    After such a momentous vote, his job is to clearly state what the next steps are, and should have been focused after all this time on moving it through quickly and painlessly.

    Both for the rights of gays and for the functioning of the military, it's imporrtant to have clear objectives and timelines. Instead, he's replaced "waiting for a study to be completed" with "waiting for a review to be finished" with no specifics, just a hunch that everything will be okay, and some hopefully clearer command will come out of this next process.

    An "about face - march!" would have been clearer.

    This is the headline throughout the mainstream web including Huffpo, Beast, TPM, etc...

    I do not think it is being ignored; maybe by Fox. MSNBC has no news till tomorrow but it will certainly headline Ed's show, Matthew's show.....

    Unemployed people will receive checks. most of the near trillion dollar package will go to real stimulus...

    And repubs are attacking repubs.

    Not a bad week at all!!

    A good move by Obama would be to order the military to accept back into service anyone who was discharged under the policy but is otherwise still suited to serve. Officers should have their commission resored.


    While you make a very good point, I hope you're not holding your breath.

    It almost seems like a political no-brainer.

    It would seem to be the right thing to do but it is not obvious to me that it would be politically smart. Right now people who wanted repeal are mostly happy. People against it woulds just have something more to keep the issue alive and burning.

    I have not looked enough to determine whether all discharges were the same, but at least some were termed  "less than honorable". This too, should qualify for correction.

    Nice blog favius, really good, I think they did a great job. I am quite happy.


    Thanks.  Glad to hear from someone whom, I suppose, shares my guarded approval of Obama and his performance to date.

    10% unemployment is terrible.  But my guess is that we were only one bad decision away from that being 20.

     Under almost any other imaginable set of circumstances Geithner and  Summers would have been at the bottom of  my short list to be Obama's financial advisors .  But in Jan 2009  he had no choice. Shades of James Carville , as far as the bond market was concerned , Obama had been allowed a " honeymoon" lasting about 18 hours. 

    I think we'll see a different team -and policies - in 2013 if we're lucky enough to have him survive the next election.


    I hope you can look at your statements more exactingly.

    There were certainly other Wall Street-types with less mud on their face than Geithner and Summers, ones who might be able to drive some change into Wall Street while providing immediate stability.

    Guess that we were only one bad decision away from 20% unemployment? Well, hard to argue against a guess. But we're not discussing the bank bailouts in this instance - we're talking about stimulus, and Obama could have easily pushed *TO DO MORE*.

    Did he give any TV addresses saying "I need to get you all back to work, spend more money to get our economy going quickly, and then  and only then we can turn down the spigot - otherwise we'll have years of pain"?  No, he didn't fight for that. He accepted pre-conditions that left unemployment much higher than it needed to be.

    Obama got elected during an economic crisis. If he wanted a honeymoon, he should have waited for 2012 or picked a different career. Everyone knew about housing bubbles, War in Iraq, Fannie Mae problems (gov regulatory extension in July 2008, takeover in September), Bear Stearns collapsed in March 2008.

    He had a lot of public good-will, including around the world. He didn't use it. Instead, he started off disappointing his base, and found that those fictitious centrist Republicans just weren't enough to sustain him. Hell, the Nobel Committee gave him the Peace Prize on promise alone. Even after he upped the ante in Afghanistan. No honeymoon?

    I disagree that there were other Wall St types who would have done as well. Or rather that there were others that Obama could have been sure would have done as well. Geithner had been deeply involved and Summers was/is just the smartest guy in the room.His presence in the Administration was probably worth a 100  basis points off our sovereign debt in Feb 2009. Sadly , a Krugmann or a Stiglitz in that position , then, would have had the opposite effect. In spades. 

    Sure , we know now that while the stimulus was high enough to end the recession (as those things are measured) it was too low to generate job growth. That's a fact. What we don't know is whether a stimulus high enough to, in theory,  generate jobs would  have so  spooked the bond market it would have had the opposite effect..And one more Wall St. bank going toes up in Feb 09, ditto.

    The Chinese, and the fund managers, didn't have to buy our debt. 

    Come on, irrational speculation doesn't an argument make.

    Would a stimulus based on real stimulus - money into the economy - have spooked bond holders rather than a stimulus that wouldn't stimulate because it was watered down with half tax cuts? Quite the opposite.

    The Chinese must have been crapping their pants, but couldn't really say no or pull their money and go somewhere else, could they?

    It's possible  you're right. Or wrong. Me too.

    See you later



    Humorous poll I saw on misinformed people - for example, most Republicans think the stimulus didn't have tax cuts.

    Of course the argument for tax cuts was, "You need them to get the Republicans on board".

    At least the Republican leadership - looks like the average person remembers very little accurately from any of these issues. The lesson being, "don't do it unless you're really sure it has an audience."

    Sorry if my enthusiasm is low, but DADT isn't as important as the economy. It's nothing more than a bone being tossed to a dog to keep them quiet because it doesn't resolve the more serious issues the public is faced with. Also, it isn't a watershed moment where the GOPer's have thrown in the towel and will start cooperating with Democrats and Obama either. It's passing only marks a non-partisan issue that won't cost GOPer's to much in the polls. Better DADT than the START Treaty or extending unemployment compensation or creating jobs or reigning in bank excesses under new regulations. In short, passing DADT doesn't cost the GOPer's much because allowing it to pass doesn't raise the debt...it's a revenue neutral issue. It would have been much better for all if it had been attached to another bill that needed passing rather than a single victory. In other words, the Democrats wasted a perfect opportunity. It was nothing more than an empty gesture that the public can't bank on. 

    For me DADT was a moral issue. As it happens a close friend  was given  a dishonorable discharge after being entrapped by the Army. For me its repeal  was not a debating point, it demeaned our country and the soldiers whom it forced to live a  lie .


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