If healthcare wasn’t enough, Obama just picked another fight

January 28, 2010

One thing is clear. President Barack Obama is not afraid of a fight.

He battled all last year with Republicans and some of his own Democrats trying to get healthcare reform through the political headwinds. OBAMA/

Now he’s going to take on Republicans with trying to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays serving in the military.

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” Obama said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

While that proposal will likely boost Obama with his liberal base, it was not received well by Republicans — and now with Senator 41 from Massachusetts they have the votes to throw up procedural hurdles on just about everything.

Republican Senator John McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election and is a war veteran, made clear his opposition.

OBAMA/“I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy,” McCain said after the State of the Union.

So add that to the list of policy battles in an election year when Democrats are nervous about losing seats in Congress and Republicans are loathe to give Obama any victories as they try to secure more seats in November.

And some gay advocacy groups basically said that’s nice, but it’s not enough.

Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, said: “President Obama’s pledge to end discrimination against gay people serving in the military, repeated in tonight’s State of the Union, is an important show of support for gay and lesbian Americans as well as a boost to our national security. Unfortunately, the President failed to address the government’s discrimination against same-sex couples in his speech.”

What do you think, should “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be repealed?

For more Reuters political news, click here

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama pauses while delivering State of the Union),  Reuters/Jim Young (Obama waves at end of SOTU)

13 comments

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He is up to his usual smoke and mirrors. He makes a move to stir up smoke to hide his shortcomings.

Posted by veracity | Report as abusive

From an interested Canadian: He’s toast. It’s all over but the shouting and finger-pointing.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

He’s wasting political capital on frivolous issues. There’s a lot of issues with the don’t ask, don’t tell policy on both sides of the political spectrum. It may be a just thing to consider, but on the other hand it is a practical boondoggle. The military is homophobic and will remain so despite legislation. The other thing is that the number of gays who want to serve in the military is an insignificant percentage of the total force. Waving a sword over such an issue that will have a minuscule impact towards righting a wrong in light of the more important and encompassing issues the nation faces is a complete waste of political ammo. It is evident that Obama doesn’t have any appreciation of the law of scarcity. To him, the federal budget is unlimited and his capacity for social change is unlimited. He’s writing his own tradgedy; and he will bring down a significant portion of the Democratic party with him.

Posted by Dr.Savage | Report as abusive

To the Gay Rights Groups. Try showing support for the President for trying to right a wrong. Your, “This is not enough” won’t help getting this passed. This is the same reason Health Care failed.

To Sen. McCain. When did you learn to praise someone for their service and stab them in the back in the same sentence?

To President Obama. Good Luck dealing with these morons. For what it’s worth, if anything, you have my support.

Posted by Streetfighter | Report as abusive

Why is it that taking small steps are never enough? Come on Gay Rights Group! Support the small moves, they are steps forward. One brave girl sitting on a bus so many years ago and today we have a Civil Right Movement that is gaining strength and a Black President. That was a brave small step!
So suck it up, don’t kill the initial momentum.
As for the homophobic Republicans out there, all soldiers bleed red, be they white, black, male, female, straight, gay, Christians and non-Christians…. Their blood does not discriminate!

Posted by laeticus | Report as abusive

Don’t you think something is wrong anyway when you have to legislate the need to keep something secret? These solidiers have worth to those angry old white guys only to go “plug a hole” or “take point” but no other worth beyond that. And McCain…just look at his voting record on Veterans Affairs and you realize the faux military supporter he really is. Arizonans wake up!

Posted by Jonesy | Report as abusive

McCain, where is your outrage over torture, and the recent supreme court rulling, basically over turning your legacy McCain /Feingold?

His claim to fame is being a POW, but what you don’t hear about is the privledged flyboy life he lead while serving in the service casue of daddy’s and grandpa’s status.

From things i have read he’s not even a decent husband the way he speaks to his wife is disgusting.

I am sick and tired of gay people of being the scape goats for this group.

Go away old man, you time has come and gone.

Posted by jk718gp | Report as abusive

Veracity,
Your name is a misnomer. It should be audacity. Why is it smoke and mirrors? He would have had all of his legislative agenda accomplished were it not for Re-dudlicans blocking every effort. I’ll take him over 8 years of that idiot Bush. Now, as a former Army Veteran who used to support Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I have given it considerable thought and decided what do I care. Be who you want as long as you serve with respect and don’t ask me to validate your life choice. I don’t and never will agree with it, but it’s your choice. As long as you pick up a rifle, I’ll back you and you back me.

Posted by bigjames357 | Report as abusive

It should be Ask And Tell for everyone, not just soldiers.

Ask And Tell would help ascertain the extent to which the perpetual war effort is driven, not to say whipped up, by closet gays. Ask And Tell will help voters weed out all those fake Family Values log-cabin charaders in domestic politics. Ask And Tell will disclose exactly where all the feel-good aid money really went to instead of doing actual good in Haiti. Ask And Tell cuts to the chase in corporate disclosures, from synthetic CDOs to gross pollution and workplace safety offenders. Ask And Tell will quantify the parasitic relationship between insurers and health care provision. Ask And Tell is the way to go.

Not asking and not telling has gotten us all nowhere.

It’s un-American not to ask, and completely bogus not to tell, just because Some People might not know what to do when and if they ever get honest answers to the questions everybody’s always wondering about anyway, if they were only honest enough to admit it. But it needs to be applied across the board, from pillar to post.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

The gay issue with the military is the best proof that our troops are not fighting for any freedoms at all. They can’t even talk about their sexuality, (unless of course they are of the preferred sexuality), so what freedoms are they really fighting for?

If republicans want to argue our troops don’t have a right to their own sexual preference then let’s have that argument and call these hypocrites out for who they are. Republicans always talk about how pro military they are, so lets see just how much they support our troops, all of them, gay and straight!

Posted by Cali099 | Report as abusive

I’m in the Military, and I can say honestly for myself and for many of my peers, we dont care if a brother-in-arms is gay. I have known a few so far, and it has never created a problem, like they all said it would. But on the flipside, every one of my gay/lesbian servicemembers agree wholeheartedly with dont ask dont tell. Instead of having a bunch of straight people and a bunch of non-military homosexuals decide, lets let the ones who have been there, done that decide whats best.

Posted by dls458 | Report as abusive

It is about time Obama called the Republicans on their childish antics in Congress. The Party of NO needs to grow up and start serving the American People instead of spreading lies (Palin, Wilson, etc) and start working for solutions to the Nation’s Problems. NO IS NOT A SOLUTION, people. Wake Up. Make your representatives start behaving like adults instead of just Childish behavior to distract the nation.

Posted by Robert76 | Report as abusive

Don’t ask Don’t tell should be repealed. Rest of the world is way ahead of America on this issue. Look at civil rights…America didn’t pass civil rights legislation until the 1960′s. America should be a leader in the world but sadly it does not aspire to the things it professes to be……

Posted by Johnnyk | Report as abusive