Pentagon: We’ll Stop Enforcing DADT


Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Amazing. Obama is somehow managing to take an issue where 2/3rd of the electorate support his supposed “fiercely desired” position and he’s somehow managing to turn this into a political disaster. His team is like a reverse Rumplestiltskin spinning political gold into straw.Report

  2. This is a question for Jason and North: If the next Presidential election were held tomorrow with Obama and Generic Republican X, would this turn of events make you any less likely to vote for Obama? I’m genuinely curious if this is going to hurt him or just be an unfortunate footnote that his supporters will have to try and forget when they pull the lever for him in 2 years.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      @Mike at The Big Stick,

      The problem is that Generic Republican Presidential Candidate X is someone like Palin, Romney, Huckabee, or Gingrich. If the GOP nominated someone sane, they’d have a shot at my vote, but that seems unlikely.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      @Mike at The Big Stick, In any other country Mike sure. But in America it’s beyond me how any homosexual could consciously vote to support the GOP. And as a neoliberal I’d really prefer that they sit in the wilderness and become genuinely interested in limited government before they get back in.Report

      • @North, And I imagine your position is pretty common. So given that, given the dependability of your vote, where is the downside for Obama taking this route? He’s not going to lose gays or their supporters but he might get the support of some slightly right-leaning independents who think he is fighting judicial activism. In lieu of that his position seems morally weak but politically smart. Since he IS a politician and he wants to get re-elected…B follows A.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick,

          Yeah, that’s pretty much how I view this, Mike. Morally weak but politically smart.

          Except his political creature, as sold to the public, was about being ethically strong even at the cost of being politically stupid. Now that’s certainly a constructed image, but if you sell yourself that way to the electorate, getting politically smart makes you look like a douchebag.

          And while this probably won’t hurt him directly, it’s certainly taking all the air out of his political movement’s tires. All that enthusiasm he generated during the Presidential race is just dead.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick, Possibly Mike, but mid terms aren’t battles for the center. They’re gin-up-your-base elections and this is yet another nail in the coffin of his base’s entheusiasm.Report

        • @Pat Cahalan & North , So if the base is ‘losing enthusiasm’ I still see no ill-effects in 2012. The same base that actually gets ticked about gay rights issues (white liberals) would rather eat glass than vote for a Republican so they’ll hold their nose and vote for him. I can’t see many Independents that would bolt to the Right over DADT so at the worse they might stay home (doubtful though – Presidential elections mobilize voters). The political calculation seems easy on this one.

          It’s interesting that Democrats can lose the support of conservative-leaning independents because they support gay rights (see 2006 midterms) but never have to worry about losing the support of left-leaning liberals because they don’t support gay rights.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick, In 2012? No certainly not Mike. Probably for Obama personally it’s good politics albeit an huge reversal of his “above politics as normal schtick” but for Obama’s party it is terrible. There is an election happening for the party sooner than 2012.Report

        • Avatar Boegiboe says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick, I dunno. Gay support for Democrats comes in the form of donations, too, and fundraising efforts. Lots of gay people made a huge effort to get Obama elected in 2008, because they expected great things from him.

          It’ll be hard to get any motivation from this bloc of supporters with, on average, more free time and more disposable cash than straight counterparts.

          What’s more, it’s the Log Cabin Republicans who brought the DADT suit in the first place. They’re the ones getting all the credit for this, and rightly so.

          No, Obama and the Democrats may completely lose my support after this, and I’ve been a fairly solid Democrat voter (though not registered). If this is a political maneuver, I’d say Obama is an idiot.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick,

          They might hold their nose and vote for him, but they’re not necessarily voting for the other candidates that will enable him to do what he wants to do.

          Lose a couple of seats to independents, lose enthusiasm to support some of the blue dog democrats, you’ll see a lot more “nay” votes on key legislation as the congresscritters pull away from the executive branch’s agenda.

          Not that I’d necessarily find this disagreeable, but it seems like keeping your base fired up and in the money-generating and noise-making arena is a good way to keep your *party* presence strong.Report

        • Avatar rufus says:

          @Mike at The Big Stick, Mike, I think you’re right about this. But there might possibly be a chunk that would rather eat glass than vote Republican, but would still rather rent a movie and stay home than vote on election day. That’s usually the case anyway, but maybe next time the percentage that figure the hell with it will be larger than usual.Report

        • @All, Well in a completely partisan way I certainly am happy to see Obama’s base protest this one with their lack of dollars. As a skeptic of both sides I think the GOP is never going to turn this into a positive even with the Log Cabin suit. They should have backed the military leaders who voiced support for a repeal. Instead they let silliness get in the way and they missed yet another opportunity. It won’t hurt them this year but it may be problematic down the road.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Mike at The Big Stick, Jeff Flake? In a heartbeat. Ron Paul? Yes, but I’d lie about it and say I voted 3rd Party to the pollster. Sarah Palin? My goodness, that is a conundrum. Heighten the contradictions? The worse the better? People would go apeshit, that’s always funny…Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      @Mike at The Big Stick,

      I voted Libertarian in ’08 and do not regret it. I will probably vote Libertarian in ’12. I am less interested in how this decision affects voting patterns than I am in its basic fairness.Report

  3. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    So the republicans who filibustered the bill that would have ended it don’t count as supporting dadt.Report

  4. And it’s pretty embarrassing that Obama and his Justice Department are virtually the last people defending this misbegotten policy.

    Well, it took a conspiracy by President Obama and his Justice Department along with a pocketful of Republicans in the Senate.

    This is why we have an independent judiciary.Report

  5. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    Digging through the repeated bits of meaning around the press, it would appear that Obama thinks DADT is bad, but not unconstitutional. In other words, at the heart of his actions is Obama’s continuation of GWB’s campaign to expand the power of the executive by maintaining or increasing the tendency of the courts to defer to the President on military and other national security matters.

    This remains my biggest problem with Obama: He railed against GWB’s power grabs, but he has never passed up a chance to expand that power. The DADT mess is probably best understood only in that light, and not having to do with gay rights at all.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    He railed against GWB’s power grabs, but he has never passed up a chance to expand that power.

    Geez, I ‘d love to have a reason to disagree with you.Report

  7. Avatar gaylib says:

    “…pending the outcome of the Obama administration’s appeal. ”

    Not exactly. Only until the judge rules on their request to stay the injunction, and if she doesn’t, until they can appeal to the 9th district, which it almost certainly will. All of this will happen in the next couple days. The only reason they didn’t request the stay immediately was because they needed time for the DOD to write a 48 page pack of lies about how it would harm ongoing operations. And the DOD is hardly being magnamimous by not enforcing DADT, they are simply avoiding being charged with contempt for violating the injunction. DADT is dead right now. What Obama, his DOJ and the DOD is actually resurrecting it from the dead. Fierce Advocate? more like Fierce Adversary.

    And Mike from up there, you’re living in a fantasy world if you think Obama is going to get even 20% of the gay vote in ’12 (after getting 70% in ’08). He’s lost it. This was the last straw I believe. Only HRC beltway gays still think he’s their friend. He’s just guessing he doesn’t need us. We’ll see…Report

  8. Avatar MFarmer says:

    I’ve written several posts on my blog about how amazing it is that liberals haven’t utrned completely on Obama and the Democrat congress. Liberals should be looking for an alternative to the two party system as much as limited government conservatives. But, as it stands, they’re trapped, going down with the progressives and statist political whores.Report

  9. Avatar Scott says:

    It is very common for an administration to defend in court a law passed by congress even if they don’t agree with it. That is all the Obama admin is doing here.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:


      As I already noted above, you’re wrong. He’s been remarkably selective about which cases he defends and which he lets go.Report

      • Avatar scott says:

        @Jason Kuznicki,
        Which post was that?Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:


          This post. Let me explain.

          You are right that the administration has a responsibility to try to defend all duly enacted laws in court — once.

          There is absolutely no obligation to fight every step of the way, and there never has been. Administrations have a fair amount of discretion after an initial attempt to defend the law.

          How has the administration used its discretion? It’s been very strange — they declined to appeal Witt (an earlier DADT case), but not Log Cabin Republicans.

          Even a “give every law one appeal” standard wouldn’t explain their behavior. It’s puzzling to me, and I can’t figure it out. Unless maybe they just have it in for the Log Cabin Republicans, which I suppose they might.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Jason Kuznicki, I don’t understand fighting against the Log Cabin Republicans, however.

          The “homosexual vote” (if there is such a thing) is primarily blue due to how alienating the Republicans have been since, oh, the Reagan years.

          I suspect that this is Obama is saying that he needs to shore up the vote with socially conservative blue voters… that is, had this case happened in December, Obama wouldn’t be doing this. Obama figures that alienating gay folks will cost him fewer votes come November (the whole “where else you gonna go?” thing) than alienating socially conservative democrats.

          At least that’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.Report