Apr 21 2010

Washington Protests  Despite repeated promises that DADT would be repealed this year, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that no action would be taken until the military ends its study. At the earliest, such a study wouldn't be completed until at least December. Gibbs pronouncement validates the speculation that has been sweeping Washington the last weeks that the administration was backing off its promise of repeal this year.

Today's Denver Post carried a story that there is a fledging revolt of Democratic Senators who are no longer willing to follow White House direction on this issue. The article "Dems in Congress Unwilling to Wait....." by Michael Riley highlights Senator Mark Udall who wants DADT repealed this year no matter what anyone else wants.

With that story, I have spent the day visiting on the phone with extremely reliable sources on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and House. With over twenty calls, I have been able to determine that the revolt is perhaps much larger than the media realizes. There is a sense of total frustration with the administration. They just don't understand why the White House won't move on this issue. Many of persons on the Hill that I spoke too are from states with large urban populations, including in the South. They feel the failure to vote this year on DADT will have a 'chilling effect' regarding voter turn out in the Fall elections. Those interviewed think that not only will many LGBT citizens stay home but also other progressives.

One high ranking staffer said, "We are going to get creamed in our district since we need the gay vote. It is just only a matter of time that what is happening to Pelosi in San Fran works it way down to our districts. We don't fucking need it. For God sakes, lets get this out of the way." An elected official in DC told me, "If the President digs in, he then guarantees that the debate will be ugly and divisive. I am really concerned about their intransigence." Another Chief of Staff confided to me that this is a 'huge mistake' since it was the President himself that set the expectations.

All that I spoke too have been involved in internal meetings to develop strategy to move this issue forward despite the White House. The "Denver Post" could have just unveiled the tip of the iceberg on this one.