Levin: Obama not doing all he can/should to push for DADT repeal

Pretty damning words from the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. And, I might add, this is what Joe and I have been saying for two years now, about issue after issue: The President isn’t giving his all. We’ve been criticized by those who don’t understand how the presidency works (or who have an interest, usually financial or cocktail-based), in sucking up to the administration). The apologists keep saying the President has done everything he can. Levin says otherwise.

From ThinkProgress:

The way I think the President needs to fight is to say that he is going to use all of the power he has of a bully pulpit and urge the Senate to stay in, right up to New Years. … [T]hat’s the problem, that I don’t see that kind of a willingness to fight that hard, where he will take that kind of a position, and that’s what’s necessary. The Senate and the House, these are tests of wills.




AMERICAblog Gay

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Sen. Carl Levin Basically Calls Obama A Pussy

Sen. Carl Levin is willing to be the grinch who steals Christmas to get Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal pushed through, insisting Obama use his "bully pulpit" to pressure the Senate into reconfiguring its holiday break schedule so Republicans can prove they're willing to ruin Christmas to filibuster repeal. But Obama won't do that, 'cause his balls are smalls.


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Sen. Levin admits he may remove DADT from Defense Authorization

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, carries significant sway over what happens to the Defense Authorization bill. About 10 days ago, we heard rumblings that Levin was negotiating with McCain about removing the DADT language from the Defense Authorization bill. Today, Levin acknowledged it. So this wasn’t background noise after all:

The measure to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military may have to be dropped from the defense authorization bill in order to get the bill passed this year, said Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI).

“I’m trying to get the bill through Congress. I’m the committee chairman for a 900 page bill. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is two pages of 900 pages. My focus is different from the media focus. I’m just trying to get a bill passed,” Levin told reporters at the Capitol building on Tuesday.

While no final decisions have been made, Levin said one option was to separate the language on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” from the rest of the bill, and then making two separate efforts to pass the both pieces of legislation.

“I’m trying to get both done. And if I can’t get both done, I want to get one of them done,” Levin said.

The one he really wants to get done is the Defense Authorization bill. This is not good. Not good at all. As Senator Udall told Kerry Eleveld:

I do think the best way to move this forward is in the NDAA and I do worry that if we don’t formalize the repeal process in statute now that we may not have this opportunity for a number of years in the future.

Removing the DADT language from the legislation is almost certain to kill it. There’s just not enough time left for the Senate to act. And, it probably didn’t help that there was an article in today’s Washington Post titled, “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ splitting gay rights groups.” Thanks for nothing, Palm Center.

Promises have been made, repeatedly. Promises have not been kept. On October 27th, the President said “there is a strategy” on DADT:

SUDBAY: Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to –

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

SUDBAY: — and you’re going to be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

SUDBAY: Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.

I thought Obama understood that I meant I was asking if there is a strategy to pass the DADT language. Because, we haven’t seen anything close to that emerging. Time is running out. Earlier today, Atrios tweeted:

DADT has been one of those ‘shut up and trust us’ issues. so outcome will be revealing

It sure will be.




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Lieberman, colleagues introduce DADT repeal in Senate

A coalition of U.S. senators led by Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman today introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010 that would repeal the anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, signed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, that keeps lesbian and gay people from serving openly in the U.S. military.

The new bill would also prohibit discrimination against current and prospective servicemembers on the basis of sexual orientation, and it would “promote the ability of college students who wish to serve our country to join Reserve Officer Training Corps units at universities that currently prevent the establishment of ROTC units on campus.”

In a press statement released jointly by the 13 senators cosponsoring the measure, Lieberman said: “The bottom line is that we have a volunteer military. If Americans want to serve, they ought to have the right to be considered for that service regardless of characteristics such as race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  Repealing the current policy will allow more patriotic Americans to defend our national security and live up to our nation’s founding values of freedom and opportunity.”

The other 12 cosponsors, all Democrats, are Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Roland Burris of Illinois, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Barbara Boxer of Callifornia, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Dianne Feinstein of California, and Al Franken of Minnesota.

Levin is also chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Udall, in explaining his support for repealing DADT, quoted combat veteran and five-term U.S. senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater, who once said, “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.” And, Udall added, “you certainly don’t have to be straight to recognize who the enemy is.”

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