Thursday, September 16, 2010
When Sen. Barack Obama ran for president back in 2008, he promised to repeal the viciously homophobic, Clinton-era military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But nearly two years into his presidency, Mr. Obama’s commitment to repealing the ban seems to have gotten lost in his miserable poll numbers — now well below 50% approval.
While President Obama can’t unilaterally undo “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – that job is up to Congress to pass a repeal bill for the president to sign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated this week he would bring the National Defense Authorization Act which includes a measure to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to the Senate Floor next week.
But White House presser Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that he believed President Barack Obama intended to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes funding for the controversial Joint Strike Fighter engine program after the U.S. House voted to include $500 million for the alternate engine in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, regardless of whether or not a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal measure is included in the bill.
Got that? In a challenging midterm election year and with dismal poll numbers, Mr. Obama may have found a way to weasel out of repealing the ban and he can justify it by claiming he’s still committed to seeing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” go away but he’s even more committed to trimming waste from the Pentagon’s budget.
It’s a lot like President Obama claiming he ended the Iraq war but left 50,000 troops behind and simply renamed the mission.