Time, why you punish me (or, why repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is at risk)

December 5, 2010 at 11:57 am 21 comments

By Adam Bink

With apologies to Hootie and the Blowfish

There’s a lengthy article in yesterday’s Washington Post which reads like a post-mortem on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It does so in large part because of the focus on the timeline and the fact that with tax cuts, unemployment extension, START treaty, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, and whatever else on the Senate’s plate with less than two weeks left for target adjournment, the clock will run out on this game.

While I’m not prone to shoulda woulda coulda when the fight’s not over, the issue of time has me reflecting.

Here’s Admiral Joe Sestak as quoted in the piece:

Some lawmakers were critical of the administration’s timetable, saying the White House was too cautious in tackling an issue that had roiled the Clinton White House.

“This is one of those times where you sit and say, wait a moment, can’t you even see the nation has moved forward?” said retiring Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), a former vice admiral of the Navy. “When you have leaders lagging those they are supposed to be leading, you lose credibility.”

Way back in February, when it was announced that the report was going to be done, I sat down for an interview with Sestak. He said to me:

Adam: What do you think our odds are of including it in and passing it through the defense authorization bill?

Rep. Sestak: Well, I think it’s pretty darn good. But then, I’ve only been in politics a few years, but this is something where the Commander in Chief speaks, I think people have the courage to do the right thing. There are those on both sides of the aisle who are still opposed. However, I think at the end of the day, the Commander in Chief saying let’s do this, with the military’s leadership saying let’s do this, you’ll find that there’ll be more than enough votes to make it happen.

In this case, the Commander in Chief deferred to the military leaders for political cover, the military leaders deferred to the military personnel for political cover, and going through all of that took from the State of the Union until today (not to mention long delays forcing protests aimed at the Administration around the country). As such, unsurprisingly, our biggest enemy is now not the vote count, but the damn clock and the tax cut compromise, and that’s the problem with that process. Now, of course, all of that political cover helped with votes, but the cynic in me saw the Pentagon report due date as a way to delay repeal past when the clock would expire. In the end, it helped the case, but in a Senate where it takes forever to move on a bill, it ended up being the problem many of us thought it would.

The article concludes:

After meeting with Choi, Gillibrand said she was so moved that she quietly talked to her colleagues about repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” “Surprisingly, I got much more support than I would’ve thought,” she said.

The question now is whether there’s enough time left to do anything about it.

“The one problem we’ve got here is the schedule,” Levin said. “We have very little time left.”

For one of the biggest priorities of the LGBT community and, arguably, the administration, time should not have ended up being the biggest obstacle.

Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Process beginning to overtake policy on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Official Prop 8 Trial Tracker preview of the 9th Circuit hearing tomorrow

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm


    • 2. Ronnie  |  December 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm


      • 3. JonT  |  December 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

        • 4. Ann S.  |  December 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm


  • 5. Steve  |  December 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    The WP sucks. Of course at the end of the article they had to do the “balance” thing and give space to fucking Elaine Donnelly and her so-called “Center for Military Readiness”, which contrary to what the article implies is a single-issue anti-gay “organization”. Though she also also against women in the military in any capacity.

  • 6. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Will read this in more depth shortly.

  • 7. Don in Texas  |  December 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    The only recourse now is to let the Log Cabin REPULICANS(!) case proceed through the courts. The GLBT community should raise holy hell with Obama to withdraw his opposition to Judge Phillips’ decision, now that DADT will not be repealed by Congress — in particular, the Republicans in Congress.

  • 8. Bob  |  December 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    rephrase the question,,,,, “the one problem we have is that we have very little time left”

    “how can we make best use of the time left, to get this thing done”

    open the door to all possibilities, including civil disobedience, they tell us it’s not a priority/ tax cuts are/ we have to show them why the repeal of DADT takes priority??? get it done,,,,,

    the DADT study already showed, that the whole policy is a diservice to the military and the american people as a whole, it is actually a threat to readiness, we have to make them see that and feel it.,,,,,

    what can we do with the time left to put DADT repeal ahead of economics, civil disobedience would do that, if there are people rioting in the streets, that takes all the energy you got, settle them first, and when you are talking about what to do with the time left, mobilize the masses, the poor and the hungry, the jobless, show them their actions need to take pecedence over the richest 1% of America…….

    America is gone mad, stark raving mad, 1% is holding the masses hostage, for an increase to theire savings plan, get rich scheme, they now the American masses won’t mobilize against them, do or die, the fight is for equality, the masses can show they take a back seat to no one, but man it means mobilizing , lobbying, phoning, taking to the streets, NOW with the time we have left, one day one week, it would be better for this to go down in a battle than a quiet resignation,,, it’s about money(power) vs people…. the people need to move……NOW

  • 9. Rhie  |  December 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm


  • 10. Kathleen  |  December 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

  • 11. Michelle Evans  |  December 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    OT, but wondering if anyone can clarify: Tomorrow morning they are supposed to broadcast the arguments in the Prop 8 case. That broadcast is supposed to happen on CSPAN. I think I recall someone saying it would be CSPAN3, but wanted to get clarification if that was in fact the case, or it would be on 1 or 2. I have to set the DVR to catch it because I probably won’t be available to watch it live.

    • 12. Judy  |  December 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      C-SPAN lists it as C1, which I suppose is C-SPAN1. You can watch it online at

      My DirecTV channel lineup only shows US House, but I set it to record anyway. I’ll keep checking the lineup for changes, as I may have to set it to record again once they change their channel lineup.

      I can’t wait!

  • 14. Will S.  |  December 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    NEW on The Will of The People/ wavnetradio.com

    Why We Must NEVER Repeal DADT


    • 15. Ronnie  |  December 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

      Fascist Ingrate…… >I …..Ronnie

      • 16. JonT  |  December 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm

        It’s satire Ronnie… :)

        • 17. Ronnie  |  December 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm

          Whatevs…It is stuff like that the crazy anti-gays use to bully people… : / ……Ronnie

          • 18. JonT  |  December 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

            Yep. Poe’s law in action :)

  • 19. Carol  |  December 5, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    After reading live blogging and newspaper accounts of the hearings last Thursday and Friday, I got the sense the Pentagon thinks DADT will end, by the courts if not Congress, and that the time pressure they feel is not just the end of this Congress but also the potential that the courts will take care of business before Congress does.

    So, I’m not sure time is all that big an obstacle.

  • 20. Michael  |  December 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    The problem is that the Democrats don’t know how to govern. I’m sorry to say that as a Democrat myself. We already went through this with Clinton–promises, dithering, failing and allowing the conservatives to take over Congress two years into his term. Obama’s naivete allowed him and Congress to avoid fighting the conservatives. If the Democrats had behaved as the radical conservatives behave when they get control of Congrees, we would not be in this position. One thing I do know, if they allow conservatives to derail repeal of DADT and if they continue the tax cuts for the rich, then I’m not voting in 2012. And I’ve never once in my life for any election not voted before. But this time, I’m through if the Democrats fail again on these core principles, cave in and hand the conservatives victory.

  • 21. Sagesse  |  December 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    We have not heard all of the back story on why DADT repeal is in this state. The December date never quite made sense.


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