Saturday, January 16, 2010

OC Register: Grade D to Obama
Over Don't Ask/Don't Tell

Dena Bunis is the Washington bureau chief for the Orange Country Register, and her paper just posted her latest column to the web. It's a report card for President Obama's first year in the Oval Office. Bunis graded Obama on ten issues, from healthcare reform to Wall Street accountability, immigration reform and other matters of national concern, and the grades were spread out from C minus to A.

But only one issue received a D grade: Don't Ask/Don't Tell.

When I saw that, I had to do a double-check to make sure I wasn't mistakenly reading a weekly gay newspaper. We would expect the gay press to give the President a lousy grade on Don't Ask/Don't Tell, and that wouldn't shock anyone.

In this case, we have the Republican-leaning daily newspaper, in one of the most conservative areas of the country, bestowing a grade of D on the President over his promise to lift the ban on gays in the military. If this isn't a sign that the political culture, including from the right, has shifted on the matter of putrid discrimination against soldiers based on irrelevant sexual orientation, and that the ban must be lifted, then I don't know what is.

I wonder if the leaders at the Human Rights Campaign have any plan to exploit what Orange County Register has printed on the President's first report card, bolding added:

Promise: "Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current [Don't Ask, Don't Tell] policy and ensure we accomplish our national defense goals."

And in an open letter to the Gay and Lesbian community in February, 2008, Obama said: "I have also called for us to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell."

Action: None.

"I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Obama said at the March 9, 2009 annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy organization. But Obama gave the group no timetable for ending the ban, which must be done by Congress. And he acknowledged that the gay community is upset. During the campaign he never said when he would call for the ban's repeal.

"I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough," Obama said. "Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."

But it's well known that ending this policy is opposed in the halls of the Pentagon and Democratic leaders in Congress have also not pushed it.

In an interview on Fox News on March 29, 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he and Obama were pushing that promise "down the road a little bit.''

Grade: D

Kudos to Bunis and the OC Register.

1 comment:

Michael @ said...

Just like the alliance on marriage equality with the otherwise right wing Ted Olsen, as you note, it's great to see a voice from CA's most conservative [and traditionally homohating] area join the chorus of all LGBTS in singing Obama's shame. She is not the first conservative to do it, in fact, opinion polls show that 59% of "conservatives" like 59% of Republicans support allowing out gays to serve. Nor the first to criticize the historical ban: Reichssenator Sam von Nunn refused to let conservative patriarch Barry Goldwater testify against it in 1993.

She might have given him the "F" he actually deserves had she remembered that there was no LGBT issue about which Candidate Obama's contract with gays was more detailed and explicit. On November 29, 2007, he promised to "PLACE THE WEIGHT OF MY ADMINISTRATION BEHIND [repeal]" and task the military with creating an implementation plan.

"That work SHOULD have started long ago. IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE. America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. ALL THAT IS REQUIRED IS LEADERSHIP.”

To the contrary, we have seen NO leadership from him, even as, not just gays, but Dem leaders such as Senators Harry Reid and Carl Levin have virtually BEGGED him for it.

Other than rewriting the effective start date of his contract from “when I take office” to repeated “pie in the sky” promises, and trying to switch primary responsibility to Congress, he has only indicated that he and the Pentagon have had some “discussions” and told Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach that, while he knows the vast majority of the public supports repeal, there’s a “generational issue.”

So there we have it, from his own lips, even though, as candidate, he promised that he would remind his generals just who was boss, when necessary: our Commander-in-Chief is kowtowing to a few homohating dinosaurs in the Pentagon’s Jurassic Park.

Worse, remember it’s not that he’s done nothing re DADT, but what he’s done:

Not just refused to freeze discharges pending repeal [which no less that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged him to do] but pretended he doesn’t have the authority. [He DOES!]

Stated that DADT has been declared “constitutional.” [It has NOT!]

Fought attempts in court to HAVE it ruled unconstitutional.

Pressured members of Congress into abandoning attempts to stop
discharges through amendments to the 2010 defense budget. [Which is why claims from unnamed sources that he now supports repeal through the 2011 budget are so hard to believe.]

Last June, he twice said discharging gays “weakens national security,” yet he passed up the perfect opportunity to justify freezing discharges and insist on fast tracking of repeal by linking them to national security when he announced the troop increase for Afghanistan. In that context, he could have simultaneously silenced homohaters in both the military and the Antigay Industry by making it look like they prized their bigotry more than the safety of ALL Americans.

As the number of gays discharged since he “took office” approaches 700, he deserves an “F” because, in so many needless ways, he’s effectively said, “Fuck you, gays!”