Even CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg, architect of the DADT compromise, is worried about the prospects for DADT

Posted on 29 Sep 2010 at 12:44pm

Kerry Eleveld just posted an article on the prospects for legislative action on the DADT language. It’s not good.

Much of what you need to know about the future of ending DADT through the legislative process is summed up in these four paragraphs. See, even Winnie Stachelberg, who concocted the DADT compromise in cahoots with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, is worried. Winnie is the ultimate insider here. The White House relies on her for compromise and cover. But, as you see, Winnie is worried:

“When you actually look at how much time Congress has to be here in lame duck, and the appetite to get difficult bills done, it will be very difficult to move the defense authorization bill,” said Winnie Stachelberg, who is vice president of external affairs at the Center for American Progress and has worked on the repeal effort.

Stachelberg tempered her comments with glimmers of hope, pointing out recent remarks from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who last week spoke to a group of students at The University of Montana about DADT and said, “We’re going to get that done this year.”

Still, she added, “when you throw in the fact that Secretary [Robert] Gates continues to say the legislation should come after the Pentagon’s working group study, which is due December 1, it’s an unbelievably narrow needle to thread with many competing legislative priorities.”

White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said the administration stood by Messina’s declaration, and forwarded White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s comments last week that “The President, along with his Administration, will continue to work with the Senate Leadership to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT as outlined in the NDAA this fall.”

I wish we could get Shin, Gibbs or Messina to explain what “continue to work” means. We know the President did practically nothing last week to secure passage of the Defense Authorization bill, which includes the DADT language. The WHite House didn’t make one call to Capitol Hill over the Defense bill, let alone DADT — although he called the WNBA champs. So, if they’re going to “continue to work” they way they’ve been working, we’re getting nothing.

And, if you have any doubts, pay attention to this excerpt in Kerry’s piece. Obama’s pick to head the Marine Corps was on Capitol Hill last week testifying against the stated wishes of his Commander-in-Chief:

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also echoed concerns about the White House’s ability and will to push this bill through, noting recent testimony from the nominee to become the next commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos.

In his written testimony last week, Amos said he opposes changing the law, which he characterized as a “reasonable” compromise.

The source said when the administration preps nominees for a hearing, they usually explicitly tell the nominee not to overtly counter the Commander in Chief.

“That’s rule number one – if you disagree, you do it in private, not in public,” said the source. “[President Lyndon B. Johnson] would have had someone on the guillotine in an hour!”

Amos also foreshadowed what could be a calculated campaign of leaks by repeal detractors at the Department of Defense.

“I’ve heard at the Marine bases and the Marine input for the online survey has been predominantly negative,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Senate Democratic aide said that type of intel could entirely skew the results of the working group before the study is even released.

“Once those leaks come out, they will weigh on members,” said the aide, which could begin to peel away moderate Democrats who were already on the fence about repeal.

Still not seeing that fierce advocacy.

And, this again shows the massive failings of our lead advocates, which includes HRC and Winnie Stachelberg (yes, somehow, a person with no LGBT constituency became one of the key players in this debacle. She’s not accountable to anyone in the community — and it showed.) We were constantly reminded that HRC and Stachelberg had the relationships with Messina and the White House — and they all failed us. They’ve done a horrible disservice to the gay and lesbian servicemembers who have put their lives on the line for the rest of us. It sickens me.




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