With chances fading quickly that Congress will end the policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” The Hill has concluded this will be a political disaster for Obama.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may not be able to secure enough votes to pass the bill because of language repealing the ban on gays in the military. Stripping that provision may be the only way to pass the legislation, which authorizes funding and sets policy for the Pentagon.
But abandoning the effort to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be a political disaster for President Obama, who made a campaign promise to end the ban.
It is important to remember that this is a political disaster entirely of Obama’s own creation. If Obama had made a strong push for the repeal of DADT, but was completely thwarted by Republicans, then the LGBT community would probably be disappointed, but not necessarily angry with Democrats.
This is a political disaster because Obama made no serious effort to twist arms for a repeal of DADT. More importantly, he is the Commander in Chief–the day Obama took office, he could have single-handedly issued a stop-loss order ending discharges under DADT. Yet even weeks after the Senate failed to pass legislation dealing with DADT, Obama refuses to use his power to end the dismissals.
The political disaster isn’t that Obama promised to end DADT, tried, and failed. He promised to end DADT, yet refuses to doing anything about it despite having the power. The real political disaster in his handling of DADT is that it has proven to an entire community that the president will promise action to one group, but do nothing to actually advance the cause–rendering all future promises suspect.