Monday, July 06, 2009

More Backpedaling on DADT

And the White House thought a cocktail party might quell the anger.

Not a week after that photo-op event at the White House where the President promised to fulfill promises about promises -- some day -- they're back to giving out mixed messages and downright insulting and offensive reasons why we can't repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

Joint chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen is now saying that he's not done any extensive review -- while Gates and Obama have implied their working on it -- and that he's there to "advise" the president "should" the policy "change." Admiral Mullen may be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff but he reports to the president. And if this White House cannot reign him in -- and give us a clear answer on repealing the law and when -- then this president is a weak man who cowers to his own Pentagon, and everyone, gay and straight, should be concerned about that.

Mullen clearly doesn't want to repeal the policy, but that's tough. He should not be expressing his reticence and undermining the president on national television. If he is allowed to do that we're in trouble, because maybe he's not undermining the president at all -- maybe he's expressing the White House view too. On CNN he talked of "changing" the policy, not repealing it, and says he has advised the president to do so in a "measured way" because he's worried about the military families of straight soldiers and the impact on them. As former Clinton adviser Richard Soccarides told Americablog, that is insulting -- what about the gay servicepeople and their families?

This is going to further outrage LGBT people across this country, and what is the White House going to do? Hold another cocktail party? The White House should soon realize that none of those people in that room last week has the power to quell the anger. Most of them are empty suits with no real base of support or power, just a lot of big donors, fundraisers, former executive directors and current directors of bloated but really not-so-influential (on the gay public) organizations -- and I could go into the names, and probably will, but it's too exhaustive at this point. The White House surely didn't like seeing the anger and disappointment played out in the media, and was also worried about the money -- big time -- coming from gay donors and threatening the DNC fundraiser, so they moved to do something to quell it. But if the White House doesn't stop the mixed messages and backpedaling, the damage will be irreversible. They will be sorry. And no cocktail party is going to solve it.