Obama Has Time for Immigration but Not DADT and DOMA?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

President Obama has moved immigration reform to the top of his to-do list and well before the all-important 2010 midterms.

The New York Times reports:

The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Friday.

But our “fiercest advocate” and members of his administration are simply too busy to make the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA, top administration priorities.

The multi-tasking, globe-trotting Obama (he’s now in Asia), who seems to have trouble staying in Washington for more than 72 hours a stretch, just can’t find the time to insist that Congress send him bills to sign repealing DADT and DOMA.

In March, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had this to say about repealing DADT:

Any change in the policy would require a change in the law. We will follow that law whatever it is. That dialog though has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration. I think the President and I feel like we’ve got a lot on our plates right now and let’s push that one down the road a little bit.

Frankly, Secretary Gates, I couldn’t care less how you “feel” about gay rights. LGBT equality isn’t something to push down the road like an Ford with a dead battery.

In September, Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin wimped out and told Politico:

“We have a very heavy, busy agenda and a few months left to do it. So it may not be now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be soon. Absent a big push from the Pentagon and Obama, key Senate Democrats are signaling that there is little appetite to anger some of their more socially conservative voters at a time when election forecasters are signaling a tough 2010 election cycle for the party.”

Got it, Dick. The Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate wouldn’t want to risk angering rightwing loons like Reps. Michelle Bachman or Joe Wilson.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for reelection in 2010 and is facing a formidable Republican challenger, amplified pressure on the White House and the Pentagon to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In letters to Obama and Gates dated Sept. 24th, the Nevada Democrat asked each to “bring to Congress your recommendations on DADT.”

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs reiterated that the president wants to see the policy repealed, but has other legislative priorities that must be addressed first.

508 gay or lesbian servicemembers have been discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” since President Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009. More than 13,000 gay or lesbian servicemembers have been discharged since the policy was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

This entry was posted in DADT, DOMA, Gay and Lesbian, Human Rights, LGBT, News, President Barack Obama and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Obama Has Time for Immigration but Not DADT and DOMA?

  1. Locke DCVII says:

    Despite the fact that we’re talking about politicians here, who are never to be fully trusted on any matter of policy due to the very nature of their jobs, I feel that it can confidently be said that DADT, and DOMA, will, eventually, be dealt with. On a simple cultural scale they already have been: whatever biases made these policies in the army core have mostly dissapeared. Think progress. LGBT community has been around forever- it’s only recently that they’ve really been able to get together and demand recognition. It’ll happen.

  2. Rock says:

    I don’t get this at all. Why wait on something not nearly as complex as health care reform or immigration? Is he afraid he’s going to lose re-election in ’12 if he passes it now?

  3. Estacada says:

    I want to cut Obama some slack. He inherited a mess and neither the Democrats or the GOP has his back.

    But the fact is, gay rights are at the bottom of the list for this administration. Now they want to wait for the 2010 midterms before they try to repeal DADT.

    I wonder what the excuse will be after 2010? A new war? A fresh pandemic? Stop making excuses and get it done. DADT should’ve been an agenda item in Obama’s first 100 days.

  4. Fran says:

    Harry Reid sucks. They have a near majority of Dems in the Senate & he can’t organize them or their votes for shinola.
    Pelosi might be batshit crazy, but at least she can deliver the votes (as seen in the Health care reform vote).
    We are seeing Obama talk the talk…. but not walk the walk.
    Just about 1/4 of his 4 year term is over & he does not have much of a list of accomplishments.
    Obama’s accomplishments:

    • He won a Nobel Peace Prize while continuing 2 wars.
    • Got a dog.
    • Gave Wall Street an obscene amount of taxpayer money.
    • Refuses to allow the Single Payer/Public Option to be discussed in health care reform.

    That’s it?

  5. DMason says:

    I’m rather disappointed with Obama and his team. I expected more, not Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanual and Kathleen Sebelius. Obama isn’t John Kennedy and maybe that’s my fault for not managing my expectations. Oh well, boys and girls, 36 months and we can decide what to do.

  6. There is a temporary boycott supported by some liberal bloggers (including Kos and Jane Hamsher). Strikes me as a good idea for registered democrats. I’m not one, they lost me last year. No democratic organization will get a dime from me. Individual candidates, perhaps, but no organizations. Maybe then they will listen.

  7. Randy Arroyo says:

    Obama Inc., has 3 years left to get DOMA and DADT repealed or I support his opponent in protest even if his opponent is a Repug. I’m running out of patience with the DINO Dems.

  8. feminazi says:

    President Obama is the Commander in Chief and not a senator. He needs to wield the authority that comes with the office of president. Decisiveness is rewarded just as indecisiveness is punished. Instead of reaping praise on Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe, I would appreciate seeing the president tell his Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi what he wants and with deadlines. A bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in two weeks. A bill to repeal DOMA in 4 weeks. They’re waiting for this sort of direction and it isn’t forthcoming from Mr. Obama.

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