Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


U.S. Senate Clears The Way For A Vote to Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
December 18, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

The Senate has cleared the way for a final vote to repeal the U.S. military policy, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell..

"The passage ... mark[s] a triumph for Obama, who made repeal of the 17-year-old law a campaign promise in 2008. It also ... [is] a win for congressional Democrats who have struggled in the final days of the outgoing Congress' session to overcome Republican objections, and for gay rights groups who said Saturday's vote was their best shot at changing the law. Republicans, who are far less supportive of gay rights, take over the House and gain strength in the Senate when the new Congress is seated in January."*
posted by ericb (778 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Final vote 63-33.
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still needs the official, actual vote, but this is fantastic.
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2010


That was just the cloture vote. They still need to vote on passage.
posted by Sfving at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually: Senate votes to end filibuster of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' repeal, clears way for passage.
posted by ericb at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fabulous!
posted by item at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yay yay yay yay yay.

Dragged kicking and screaming into the Century of the Fruitbat, we are.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2010 [21 favorites]


This is a disgrace! On the other hand: Woo-hoo!! Immigrants who were brought to America when they were six months old still can't be citizens even if they join the military and/or go to college!! USA! USA!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Republicans (including McCain) try to tie DADT vote to START treaty and DREAM Act votes.
posted by blucevalo at 8:59 AM on December 18, 2010


It is about time.
posted by gjc at 8:59 AM on December 18, 2010


63-33 Vote All But Guarantees Legislation Will Pass Senate, Reach Obama
"The Senate has voted to move ahead on legislation that would overturn the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops — a policy known as 'don't ask, don't tell.' The 63-33 vote all but guarantees the legislation will pass the Senate and reach President Barack Obama by year's end. Republicans had blocked previous votes on the bill on procedural grounds. But with a major tax bill finished and a Pentagon study released in favor of repealing the ban, several Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill. Final passage could come as early as Saturday afternoon.

In earlier developments, advocates vowed to leave nothing to chance and stepped up lobbying efforts in the hours before the vote, including a silent protest in the visitor seats overlooking the Senate floor."
posted by ericb at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2010


Amazingly, it seems that it's more acceptable for a politician to support the rights of gays and lesbians than the rights of immigrants. That's...progress?
posted by Bromius at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jeeze, what's next? Gay marriage?





(Hopefully!)
posted by paisley henosis at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yay, gays in the foxhole!
posted by nomadicink at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


McCain: Today is a sad day.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2010


Ok, now get to work on gay marriage.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2010


Credit where it's due: Joe Lieberman busted his ass to make this happen. It wouldn't hurt to drop his office an email or a call and let him know that Democratic voters appreciate it when he acts like a Democrat.
posted by EarBucket at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2010 [44 favorites]


Actually: Senate votes to end filibuster of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' repeal, clears way for passage
Haha, passage.
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:04 AM on December 18, 2010


McCain: Today is a sad day.

On South Park's 2008 election special, Butters looks at the TV wistfully while McCain is conceding and sighs "Poor old John McCain. He looks real sad." I can't get that line out of my head any time I see McCain's face now.
posted by EarBucket at 9:04 AM on December 18, 2010 [21 favorites]


This is truly wonderful news. I wish that Bush had done this right after 9/11, but better late than never.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010


Don't count the chickens yet people... there's still time for the Democrats to find a way to screw this up.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


Great news. And as for the DREAM Act not getting to a vote (just how fucking awful is the Senate supermajority requirement, anyway?) - the good news is that immigrants have demographics on their side. Eventually there will have to be comprehensive immigration reform. While I think gay rights have history on their side, too, there's much less political incentive to repeal DADT, so if I had to choose one or the other right now, I'd choose DADT, because I think we'd have to wait longer on it if we missed this chance.
posted by Dasein at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A small but vocal group of Republicans led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the law shouldn't be changed during wartime.

'We send these young people into combat,' said McCain. 'We think they're mature enough to fight and die. I think they're mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness.'

... McCain has dismissed the study as flawed and cites concern among troops assigned to the front lines. Some personnel predicted openly gay troops would cause problems. Most of them were in combat arms units such as infantry and special operations.

The chiefs of the Army and Marine Corps warned Congress that repeal could pose serious problems if the law is overturned when troops are still fighting in Afghanistan.

Gen. James Amos, the head of the Marine Corps, has become the most outspoken opponent and claims letting gay troops serve openly could cost lives.

Gates and Mullen say this fear is overblown. They note the Pentagon's finding that 92 percent of troops who believe they have served with a gay person saw no impact on their units' morale or effectiveness." *
Fuck you 'Old Man." 92% of the troops are indeed 'mature enough' to tell you and your other ancient assholes that you are WRONG!
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


Two things I found hilarious while watching the debate on C-SPAN2 this morning: 1) The image of Lindsey Graham on the floor of the Senate giving a barnburner on why not to repeal DADT seemed to me strangely analogous to the neighbor kid's little brother telling everybody how great wedgies are; 2) McCain, red-faced and fiery, telling everybody in the Senate that he WAS going to hold a grudge in the next Congress and if anybody thought he was going to forget this vote, those people were WRONG WRONG WRONG.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? Seriously, what is wrong with them?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


McCain: Today is a sad day.

Fuck you, Mr. McCain. I say that with feeling.

As for Joe Lieberman: proof that even a self-centered part-destroying jerk can do the right thing.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


About damn time.
posted by Sailormom at 9:06 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Credit where it's due: Joe Lieberman busted his ass to make this happen.

DAMMIT! Lieberman's even making Lieberman-hating impossible for Liberals! Is there no end to the man's treachery?
posted by PlusDistance at 9:07 AM on December 18, 2010 [58 favorites]


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment. The real credit here goes to the lame duck Democratic Congress.
posted by three blind mice at 9:07 AM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with these people? Seriously, what is wrong with them?

What's wrong with them? They're fucking assholes, that's what's wrong with them.
posted by blucevalo at 9:08 AM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment. The real credit here goes to the lame duck Democratic Congress.

Funny, everything I read said that the best possible scenario was that it was passed by the Congress instead of executive order or judicial decision - this shows consensus and cannot be overturned nearly as easily.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2010 [39 favorites]


Awesome news! yay!
posted by milestogo at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2010


Six Republicans voted for cloture: Scott Brown (R-Mass), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). From what I had been hearing, Voinovich and Kirk had not been expected to vote for cloture, so that's a little surprising. Joe Machin (D-WV) did not vote, along with three Republicans.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment. The real credit here goes to the lame duck Democratic Congress.

This is nonsense. This wouldn't have happened if Obama hadn't said he was for repeal and hadn't ordered the military commission's report on repealing DADT. All 3 branches of government were involved in repealing it, which means that it's going to stay repealed.
posted by empath at 9:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [45 favorites]


Official vote probably won't happen until tomorrow, according to TPM.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:11 AM on December 18, 2010


Credit where it's due: Joe Lieberman busted his ass to make this happen. It wouldn't hurt to drop his office an email or a call and let him know that Democratic voters appreciate it when he acts like a Democrat.
"In the end, six GOP senators broke with their party in favor of repeal. Republicans supporting the bill were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Mark Kirk of Illinois." *
As well, I'm sending appreciative and congratulatory e-mails to those who crossed the aisle and DID THE RIGHT THING!
posted by ericb at 9:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


"What the fuck is wrong with these people? Seriously, what is wrong with them?"

It's politics. It is totally and completely irrational. It is exactly the same as a room full of pre-schoolers with too few toys to share, except altruism and empathy have been excised.
posted by Xoebe at 9:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Other Senators it might be worth emailing: Scott Brown, Mark Kirk, George Voinovich, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe, particularly if one of them's from your state. All six are moderate-ish Republicans who voted to break the fillibuster and are going to be under tremendous pressure from the right to vote in lockstep with the party for the next two years. If they see that Democratic voters at least notice and appreciate it when they do the right thing, it makes future compromises that much more feasible.
posted by EarBucket at 9:12 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


And on posting, I see that ericb already beat me there.
posted by EarBucket at 9:12 AM on December 18, 2010


Same here. I'm not exactly waving palm fronds at Obama these days, but an executive order at this point would just become another checkbox on the list of things for a future Republican president to undo by fiat. Executive orders are useful sometimes, but it's nice to see Democrats in Congress getting off their collective ass for an issue more controversial than naming Post Offices.
posted by verb at 9:12 AM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Don't count the chickens yet people... there's still time for the Democrats to find a way to screw this up.

Harry Reid still needs to get the final vote to the floor.

Then we get to argue about the length of the Pentagon's "careful implementation".

Still, better news than I hoped for. I hope it brings some comfort to Dan Choi in hospital.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:14 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


'We send these young people into combat,' said McCain. 'We think they're mature enough to fight and die. I think they're mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with

Um...aren't they supposed to take orders about things like who they serve with? Or are we now taking votes about whether Lt. Wilson or Private Smith is too much of a jerk to go out on patrol with the rest of the unit?
posted by PlusDistance at 9:15 AM on December 18, 2010 [18 favorites]


What's wrong with them? They're fucking assholes, that's what's wrong with them.

fucking assholes who have a problem with fucking assholes
posted by nathancaswell at 9:15 AM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


It is not over til it's over. Let's see the actual vote before the celebration begins.
posted by hworth at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I didn't vote for Scott Brown, and was incredibly disappointed when he won his seat, but it's good to see that even a conservative in Massachusetts is still liberal by the measure of much of the Republican party. Good on ya, Scott!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2010


Harry Reid still needs to get the final vote to the floor.

Then we get to argue about the length of the Pentagon's "careful implementation".


Final vote's a foregone conclusion at this point, but, yeah, there's still plenty of room for the Pentagon to slow-roll this (which is why DoD wanted a congressional process rather than a court decision or an executive order; they get to do it on their own timetable rather than having their hand forced). Pressure on Obama from the left to get the ban lifted as quickly as possible is going to be critical here.
posted by EarBucket at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2010


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment. The real credit here goes to the lame duck Democratic Congress.

The president cannot issue an executive order to overturn a federal law. Checks and balances, you know.
posted by eabomo at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Shouldn't we save this until it actually passes the senate?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2010


Funny, everything I read said that the best possible scenario was that it was passed by the Congress instead of executive order or judicial decision - this shows consensus and cannot be overturned nearly as easily.

Pardon my nitpicking, but consensus is when everybody agrees on a course of action, either with agreement or without dissent. Majority rules isn't consensus.
posted by entropone at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2010


So, if this whole shebang goes through and gets signed, what are the odds that the Repubs will try to immediately repeal it after the lame duck session?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:23 AM on December 18, 2010


Watch live: Senate holds press conference on 'don't ask, don't tell'.
posted by ericb at 9:23 AM on December 18, 2010


Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the law shouldn't be changed during wartime.

A convenient spin given that there's no plan or even reasonable expectation for it to stop being wartime in the forseeable future. Besides, remind me, John? When exactly did Congress declare war? If your definition of "wartime" is "whenever U.S. troops are on active duty somewhere irrespective of whether a state of war was ever declared", then it's pretty much wartime, all the time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:24 AM on December 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


So, if this whole shebang goes through and gets signed, what are the odds that the Repubs will try to immediately repeal it after the lame duck session?

They can try, but they won't have enough votes to pass a bill in the Senate, let alone force cloture or override a presidential veto. Once it's on Obama's desk, it's a done deal for at least two years. And this is the kind of genie it's really impossible to put back in the bottle. Once gays in the military are out, they're going to be out to stay, and nearly everyone's going to realize it's really not that big of a deal.
posted by EarBucket at 9:25 AM on December 18, 2010


Statement from Servicemembers United:
"This vote represents an historic step forward for this country, and it will very likely be a life-changing moment for gay and lesbian troops," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former multi-lingual Army interrogator who was discharged under DADT. "While we still have a long road ahead, including a final passage vote, the certification process, and a yet-to-be-determined implementation period, those who defend our freedom while living in fear for their careers will finally breathe a sigh of relief tonight, and those who have fallen victim to this policy in years past will finally begin to see true closure and redemption on the horizon."
posted by ericb at 9:25 AM on December 18, 2010


Pardon my nitpicking, but consensus is when everybody agrees on a course of action, either with agreement or without dissent. Majority rules isn't consensus.

I believe the poster was referring to the way the Senate ACTUALLY works - because it's majority rules.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:25 AM on December 18, 2010


So, if this whole shebang goes through and gets signed, what are the odds that the Repubs will try to immediately repeal it after the lame duck session?

Pretty low, I'd think. There's no percentage in it for them. The faction that wants to keep DADT is small and shrinking, and as the gay community and its supporters have demonstrated, there's a very vocal community that would be working against them.

Picking hard fights isn't the Republican modus operandi.
posted by fatbird at 9:26 AM on December 18, 2010


How did the senator from DC vote on this?
posted by inigo2 at 9:27 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Statement from SLDN:
“Gay, lesbian and bisexual service members posted around the world are standing a little taller today, but they’re still very much at risk because repeal is not final. I respectfully ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to use his authority to suspend all ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ investigations during this interim period. Until the President signs the bill, until there is certification, and until the 60-day Congressional period is over, no one should be investigated or discharged under this discriminatory law. Even with this historic vote, service members must continue to serve in silence until repeal is final. Certification and the 60-day Congressional requirement must be wrapped up no later than the first quarter of 2011. The bottom line: for now, gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members must remain cautiously closeted.

We owe a great deal of thanks to many Congressional leaders who got us here today -- Patrick Murphy, Susan Davis, Speaker Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Hoyer. In the Senate this would not have happened without Chairman Levin and Senators Lieberman, Mark Udall, Gillibrand, Collins and so many others. But let me also personally thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This is the defining civil right initiative of this decade and today’s bill passage would not have been possible without Harry Reid’s determined leadership. And finally, without commitment and a clear plan from the White House for the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group, we would not stand here today. I have no doubt the February testimony of Sec. Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, would not have happened without the President.”
posted by ericb at 9:28 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If your definition of "wartime" is "whenever U.S. troops are on active duty somewhere irrespective of whether a state of war was ever declared", then it's pretty much wartime, all the time.

And neither party would have it any other way.

Assuming the final vote passes and Obama doesn't veto (I'm joking. Mostly.), does the appeal of the Virginia ruling to the 9th Circuit get dropped?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:29 AM on December 18, 2010


What's wrong with them? They're fucking assholes

Actually, I'm pretty sure what's wrong with them is that they're afraid other people might be fucking assholes.

ba-dum-bum
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:32 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Assuming the final vote passes and Obama doesn't veto (I'm joking. Mostly.), does the appeal of the Virginia ruling to the 9th Circuit get dropped?

If DADT no longer exists, then the appeal is moot.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:33 AM on December 18, 2010


Final vote to come at 3pm today.
posted by condour75 at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Final vote to be held today at 3 p.m.
TPM
posted by Max Power at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2010


We owe a great deal of thanks to many Congressional leaders who got us here today -- Patrick Murphy

Send him a letter of thanks if you are in a letter writing mood. He did a great job on this and the idiots surrounding me just voted him out of his seat.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


dag!
posted by Max Power at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2010


Yay! I hope this will make it a little bit easier to get same sex marriage legalized in all the states. Advocates can us the "if gays and lesbians put their lives on the line to defend this country, they should be able to get married" argument.

Republicans (including McCain) try to tie DADT vote to START treaty and DREAM Act votes.

God damn fucking asshole.
posted by marxchivist at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


As for Joe Lieberman: proof that even a self-centered part-destroying jerk can do the right thing.

Stopped clock, twice a day, etc. etc.

So will they rehire all those skilled translators and technicians and soldiers heretefore booted out so as not to hurt the fee-fees (or fuel the fantasies, whatever) of drooling old dudes like McCain?
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2010


Final vote to come at 3pm today.

They're going to get this done before anything can go wrong. Smart move.
posted by EarBucket at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2010


"It's still OK to hate Lieberman"
posted by Joe Beese at 9:39 AM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yes, Virginia, it does bend towards justice.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the law shouldn't be changed during wartime.

Good thing Congress never actually declared war. This is a military engagement.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


but they screwed almost a million undocumented American kids by not passing cloture for DREAMAct. so the win is bittersweet for me as a supporter of both :(
posted by liza at 9:42 AM on December 18, 2010


"It's still OK to hate Lieberman"

Tomorrow I will.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:42 AM on December 18, 2010


[edited the post at ericb's request to be factually correct. Sorry about the confusion folks.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So when is the final vote???
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heheh, failure to preview. 3 p.m.!!! I'll be here with all celebration materials ready but not open! I shall not tempt fate and ruin this day of jubilee.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good thing Congress never actually declared war. This is a military engagement.

I never thought about it that way. When is the wedding?
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Same here. I'm not exactly waving palm fronds at Obama these days, but an executive order at this point would just become another checkbox on the list of things for a future Republican president to undo by fiat. Executive orders are useful sometimes, but it's nice to see Democrats in Congress getting off their collective ass for an issue more controversial than naming Post Offices.

Not to mention how unpleasant a prospect it is for a President to dictate, by Executive Order, that certain federal crimes don't apply to his soldiers anymore. That's the sort of thing the three bodies of government were set up to avoid.
posted by kafziel at 9:46 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


So when is the final vote???

Confirmed to be at 3 PM EST today because Reid got McConnell to waive the procedural rule requiring 30 hours to lapse after cloture. More here.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:46 AM on December 18, 2010


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order

As has already been pointed out here, but should be said again... The difference between DADT and the previous racial segregation of the military is that DADT is actually a law passed by Congress, while the segregation was simply policy. The executive branch has no power to simply order a law out of existence.

He could have issued an order for the military to stop enforcing the law, but that could be undone at any time, and wouldn't have actually undone anything. Getting Congress to repeal the law was the BEST way forward.

I'm glad to see this finally happening.

Now, what the FUCK is wrong with the Senate Republicans still filibustering the First Responder's Medical Coverage bill?
posted by hippybear at 9:48 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now, what the FUCK is wrong with the Senate Republicans still filibustering the First Responder's Medical Coverage bill?

NB, see my comment above, for all future thread questions about the wrongness of said Senate Republicans.
posted by blucevalo at 9:54 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The pols are so close to doing the right thing. It's the first time in ages—maybe a corner is about to be turned. Fingers crossed!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2010


bluecevalo: Yes, that is true. But that one post shouldn't stop anyone and everyone from continually asking specific questions pointing out the wrongness, even if the answer is the same every time the question is asked.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 AM on December 18, 2010


Let's take a moment to consider the courage displayed by our fine Senators. Only 77% of Americans supported repeal - yet still they found a way to go with their hearts and vote for what was right, not just what was popular. Bravo!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


Let's take another moment to remember the generation of servicemembers for whom this came too late.

And how we found ourselves here in the first place.

The policy was introduced as a compromise measure in 1993 by President Bill Clinton who campaigned on the promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:10 AM on December 18, 2010


It truly is time for McCain to drop dead.

  Good thing Congress never actually declared war. This is a military engagement.

I never thought about it that way. When is the wedding?


Regardless the marital status, Afghanistan is getting fucked.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I wonder how this all would have played out had McCain been president.

(Not actually wondering.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


The fact is, the key part of Republican congresscritters' private fantasies is that the military is full of secret gays. That doesn't work so well if they're not secret anymore. The whole reason they go on "fact-finding" missions to the world's "hot spots" is because they like the sound of having a "military escort".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:17 AM on December 18, 2010


Gen. James Amos, the head of the Marine Corps, has become the most outspoken opponent and claims letting gay troops serve openly could cost lives.

"...why, I myself could be in the shower and be sodomized to death by a gay marine! A naked, wet, buff, glistening, sweaty, supple...excusemeamoment."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:22 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dang, I'll have to find another excuse when i'll get drafted.
posted by CitoyenK at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If this passes, they have to get Gen. James Amos on the bus or get him off the ride. Every time there is a conflict in the military, with a group of soldiers mistreating a woman, or a minority, you can chase the cause of it right up the totem pole. If we want soldiers to serve openly in the military, we can't have brass telling their underlings that this is a bad thing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:34 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ironically, in the 2008 election John McCain received more support from gay voters with 27%, than Bush had in 2004 with 23% (link). Quite the improvement with the rest of the country trending towards the Democrats that year.
posted by bobo123 at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2010


Funny how completely unsurprised I am find a bunch of people who've complained pretty much every day since 2008 that it's Obama's fault legislation hasdn't passed to repeal DADT now complaining that Obama had nothing to do with it.
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2010 [28 favorites]


If this passes, they have to get Gen. James Amos on the bus or get him off the ride. Every time there is a conflict in the military, with a group of soldiers mistreating a woman, or a minority, you can chase the cause of it right up the totem pole. If we want soldiers to serve openly in the military, we can't have brass telling their underlings that this is a bad thing.

To be fair, you can't automatically sack people if they disagree on policy. I mean, you can, and maybe if it's big enough you do . . . but it's somewhat good to have people who can disagree with you working for you, as long as they obey. The good general might approach this from the "Well, I didn't want this, but now that it's law, I'll do my damnedest to execute it fairly." I'm not sure, of course. We will see.

Just holding my breath for the next few hours.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2010


Snowe and Collins, huh? Nice. Looks like Lady Gaga didn't waste the trip.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:39 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right now, I'm kind of digging this fantasy of how the repeal of DADT will enable a gay military takeover that will finally allow the left to enserf all thinking citizens.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:39 AM on December 18, 2010


The fact is, the key part of Republican congresscritters' private fantasies is that the military is full of secret gays. That doesn't work so well if they're not secret anymore. The whole reason they go on "fact-finding" missions to the world's "hot spots" is because they like the sound of having a "military escort".

As usual, The Onion got there first.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2010


To be fair, you can't automatically sack people if they disagree on policy.

Really? I wish this was the way it worked in the real world. I could get sacked from my job tomorrow just for not shaving.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2010


I expected DADT's repeal to be the first sacrificial lamb on the chopping block. I don't think I've ever been happier to be wrong about something in my entire life. This is a fantastic thing that just happened and I'm incredibly thankful I can be proud of Democrats today.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]



Funny how completely unsurprised I am find a bunch of people who've complained pretty much every day since 2008 that it's Obama's fault legislation hasdn't passed to repeal DADT now complaining that Obama had nothing to do with it.


Also funny, people doing the hypocrite-opposite of that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment.
DADT is (still) law. The President cannot simply write away a law, or at the very least is not supposed to be able to, and in my opinion should not be able to. Repealing a law takes either Congressional action or judicial action. DADT is not, with respect to this, similar to the segregation of black troops in the military, which was rescinded through executive order; that was not a law, it was a policy of the Department of Defense.

With all that said, he could have done something like the following: The law actually says that the manner in which people who are found to be gay are discharged is up to the Secretary of Defense. Obama could have instructed his Secretary of Defense to discharge such people in exactly the same way they would have been discharged otherwise - i.e. at the natural end of their term of service, unless they choose to reenlist.

However, I believe that such a "letter-of-the-law" workaround would have been viewed as "cheating" by a significant number of people, and in any case, it could have just been overturned by the next president.

And that last part goes for a hypothetical executive order, too: Even if Obama were allowed to do it (which he's not), and chose to do it, the next president could have just undone it, via another executive order. In some vague sense, the same can be said of what really happened - another Congress could theoretically reinstate DADT - but I find that to be absurdly unlikely. Especially compared to the likelihood of President Palin issuing an executive order, had the only thing stopping DADT been an executive order from Obama.

In short, this particular complaint that Obama should have issued an executive order strikes me as ill-founded in the actual legal working of government, in the precedent which would have been set by artificially overriding that actual legal working of government, and in the long-term efficacy of what would have been achieved by doing so.

Frankly, it seems to be just complaining about Obama for the sake of complaining about Obama. One of the things people were rightfully complaining about since the beginning of this session of Congress is on the verge of being rectified, but people still want to complain about it.
posted by Flunkie at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


a long time coming. a good day.
posted by clavdivs at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2010


Knew it would get done, doubters!
posted by Ironmouth at 10:55 AM on December 18, 2010


Knew it would get done, doubters!

Ah, but 6the morally superiour thing to have done would still have bene to have lost, then complained, then handed more of the country over to the tea baggers and complained about that.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The pols are so close to doing the right thing. It's the first time in ages—maybe a corner is about to be turned. Fingers crossed!
A corner is about to be turned, on January 3rd. Unfortunately, not the corner I suspect you are hoping for.
posted by Flunkie at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2010


This is, of course, just the first step in the larger agenda.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2010


Hey guys, in the midst of celebrating this victory, can we keep the guns turned on those (*cough* McCain *cough*) who are on the wrong side (of history) for a moment? I have my own frustrations with so-called purists, et cetera, but this should be a happy day. If you wanted repeal of DADT you are (almost certainly) about to get it, and in a form that will be exponentially more difficult for a future Congress to overturn.

So, doubters and haters or no, a hearty congrats to my fellow supporters of repeal. We may have disagreed on tactics but good God damn, we got it done.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:04 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Frankly, it seems to be just complaining about Obama for the sake of complaining about Obama.

Don't really have to search hard to find something else to complain about. Obama thinks gay people are second class citizens who should not be allowed to get married. DADT ending is nice, but if you told me, "I'll let black people serve in the military but I still support bans on miscegenation." I would still think you are a racist ass and complain about that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:10 AM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Dear John McCain:

Go to hell.

Signed, Mrs. Danf (as I was just reading her one of your quotes as of this morning)
posted by Danf at 11:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, but 6the morally superiour thing to have done would still have bene to have lost, then complained, then handed more of the country over to the tea baggers and complained about that.

Interesting exercise, seeing who here is asserting themselves as experts on moral superiority.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:11 AM on December 18, 2010


Don't really have to search hard to find something else to complain about.
Well then complain about that.
posted by Flunkie at 11:11 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's what I'm doing?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:12 AM on December 18, 2010


Keep at it. Defeat can be yours!
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on December 18, 2010


McCain voted against MLK Day, and has subsequently said that he regrets having done so. I wonder if he really does regret it, or if he's just saying that because popular opinion has become overwhelming against his position on the issue. Because if he genuinely regretted it, having truly realized that he came down on the wrong side of history, one would think that he might have thought about an issue like this in those terms: Am I coming down on the wrong side of history again?
posted by Flunkie at 11:13 AM on December 18, 2010


That's what I'm doing?
Congratulations. But that's not what the person who I was speaking about was doing.
posted by Flunkie at 11:14 AM on December 18, 2010


I guess When Obama leaves office and gay marriage is legal, dadt is repealed, we have universal health care and we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, everyone on the right will blame Obama for it and no one on the left will give him credit for it.
posted by empath at 11:16 AM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is no triumph for Obama other than it happened on his watch. He could have issued an executive order, but he obviously did not wish to invest political capital on equal treatment. The real credit here goes to the lame duck Democratic Congress.

Other than it was his idea, he had a study done, and now it has to be repealed to be overturned.

Haters gonna hate. Another promise fufilled.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:16 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny how completely unsurprised I am find a bunch of people who've complained pretty much every day since 2008 that it's Obama's fault legislation hasdn't passed to repeal DADT now complaining that Obama had nothing to do with it.

This is worse than wrong: It's actually that Obama has set his Justice Department to repeatedly make it a priority to keep DADT in place despite the courts calling it unconstitutional. It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 AM on December 18, 2010


I guess When Obama leaves office and [...] we have universal health care

I'm afraid that ship has already sailed.
posted by indubitable at 11:22 AM on December 18, 2010


I guess When Obama leaves office and gay marriage is legal, dadt is repealed, we have universal health care and we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, everyone on the right will blame Obama for it and no one on the left will give him credit for it.

I'm excited about this too, but let's count our chickens when he leaves office.
posted by EarBucket at 11:22 AM on December 18, 2010


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.

Oh, come on. There's precisely a zero percent chance of that happening.
posted by EarBucket at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2010


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.
I am willing to bet you an honor system $500 donation to the charity of the winner's choice that Obama will not veto this. Hell, I'll give you two to one odds. If you lose, you pay $500 to the American Civil Liberties Union. If I lose, I pay $1000 to the charity of your choice. Bet?
posted by Flunkie at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The majority leader has informed Lady Gaga of the bills imminent passage.
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.

You are out of your fucking mind.
posted by empath at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2010 [19 favorites]


Bet?

Nope. I don't have $500, but more than that I'm not betting on the decision-making skills of someone whose moral value system is as mercurial ("pragmatic") as Obama's.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congratulations. But that's not what the person who I was speaking about was doing.

@Flunkie: I know, that's why I mentioned it is easy to find something else to complain about instead. I don't care how dispreferred @ is, I'm using it full time from now on.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.

You are out of your fucking mind.


Seconded. If somehow an alien parasite takes over the President's body and forces him to veto DADT, I will personally paint myself blue and wait for a comet to take me home.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.

Okay, in the spirit of my earlier plea, can I civilly say that this claim is just nuts?
posted by joe lisboa at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: Excuse #1: I am willing to bet you any amount up to $500.

Re: Excuse #2: Yeah, nice excuse for why you're not willing to put money on the line to back up your absurd claim.
posted by Flunkie at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010


Scott Brown, Mark Kirk, George Voinovich, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe, particularly if one of them's from your state. All six are moderate-ish Republicans who voted to break the fillibuster and are going to be under tremendous pressure from the right to vote in lockstep with the party for the next two years.

I wonder about whether that pressure will work on Murkowski, though. Didn't she just prove she doesn't need the republican party to win reeelection? Kind of gives her some freedom to vote however she wants, rather however McConnell / Boehner / Beelzebub tell her to vote.
posted by dersins at 11:29 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


... it's not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We'll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way...
posted by Joe Beese at 11:32 AM on December 18, 2010


I would bet him my house, car and all future earnings and he can just put up a nickel that Obama won't veto this.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on December 18, 2010


@empath: Why would the left give credit to Obama for legalizing gay marriage? He opposes it, the only way it will get done is if congress overrides a veto which would make it slightly hard to give credit to Obama.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:32 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: Excuse #2: Yeah, nice excuse for why you're not willing to put money on the line to back up your absurd claim.

Obama has set his Justice Department against the repeal of DADT and that's just a plain fact, as unpleasant as it is. It's too bad that folks can't deal with his record on the issue.

In any case, I wouldn't recommend getting too excited about this just yet. There's still plenty of time for Obama to get in the way of progress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2010


[edited the post at ericb's request to be factually correct. Sorry about the confusion folks.]

Thanks, jessamyn!
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2010


Obama has set his Justice Department against the repeal of DADT and that's just a plain fact, as unpleasant as it is. It's too bad that folks can't deal with his record on the issue.
Twenty to one.
posted by Flunkie at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Murkowsi, Snowe and Collins are all basically pressure-proof. Murkowski can win without them and the distinguished ladies from Maine have the two most secure seats in all of the Senate. As for Brown, well, the RNC has to know that he's doomed to defeat if he votes along wigh them on everything and there's kind of a sentiment towards equal rights up there in Massachusetts.

As for Kirk and Voinovich, color me pleasantly surprised. Perhaps the holiday season awakened in them some basic humanity.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: "It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed."

So if Obama somehow, inexplicably, manages to accidentally sign this into law, will you dial down the cynicism by about 0.03%? Speaking as a very cynical person, I think that'd be just swell.

<statement void if somehow the cloture vote load to the passage of this thing, in which case I pledge to dial up my cynicism by 0.04%>
posted by Riki tiki at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2010


In the incredibly unlikely event that gay marriage gets past a senate fillibuster, there is pretty much no chance that Obama vetoes it.
posted by empath at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2010


Obama has set his Justice Department against the repeal of DADT and that's just a plain fact, as unpleasant as it is. It's too bad that folks can't deal with his record on the issue.

I suppose it is, but I'm not one of them, Blazecock Pileon! By allowing a legislative and executive law to supersede a previous law, it's a MUCH stronger foundation for the new policy. If it was all or nothing, either judicial review or no repeal, I'd take judicial in a heartbeat. But as it is, where the change in policy is obviously supported by the majority of Americans, a majority of the House and Senate, and the executive? I'd much rather have that play out. Sec. Gates articulated this same point about the source of change. At the end of the day, change is of course done, but how it's done can have longterm effects on how permanent it is, how it is received by the public, and how easy future changes can be.

So, thank you very much, but I can deal with his record on these issues.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow with the typo. "vote load" -> "vote fails to lead". No idea what just happened there, other than an epic fail to preview.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2010


Well, this was nice. Savor it, my friends, because such victories for the cause of justice and for the good of the country are about to come to a screeching halt when 2011 rolls around and Tea Bagger infused Republicans swarm into the legislature.

It's a nice end of year gift. Something to celebrate, before the dying light and coming dark ages.
posted by VikingSword at 11:41 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Obama isn't going to veto this. It's a big win for him.
posted by humanfont at 11:41 AM on December 18, 2010


My understanding was that Obama didn't want the DOJ to simply stop enforcing the law by his fiat, or simply to drop the appeal. He wants DADT, a law, killed through the legislative process.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:43 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, thank you very much, but I can deal with his record on these issues.

Not really. Instead of dealing with his headstrong opposition to DADT's repeal as what it is, we have a rationalization for it as some kind of three-dimensional chess play. (Where have we heard that before, health care reform?)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:44 AM on December 18, 2010


EarBucket: "Other Senators it might be worth emailing: Scott Brown, Mark Kirk, George Voinovich, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe, particularly if one of them's from your state."

Will do. Voinovich may be a Republican, but he often seems to be an upright sort of guy. Back when Bush was trying to sell his tax cuts, Voinovich refused to play along because he considered it financially irresponsible. (He did eventually vote for them, but it took Bush coming out to Columbus, locking himself in a closet with Voinovich and making him squeal like a pig.
posted by charred husk at 11:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any idea how long it will take to get a sane version of the sodomy article in the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
posted by ltl at 11:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead of dealing with his headstrong opposition to DADT's repeal as what it is, we have a rationalization for it as some kind of three-dimensional chess play.
Last offer:

If he vetoes DADT repeal, I pay $1000 to the charity of your choice.

If he does not, you pay $5 to the charity of your choice. Your choice.

That's 200-to-1 odds, wherein if you lose, you lose what I hope for you is not a terribly significant amount of money, wherein every possible result gets money to the charity of your choice.
posted by Flunkie at 11:47 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


@empath: Are you saying Obama is lying about his stance on gay marriage? Why would he possibly do that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:48 AM on December 18, 2010


November 11, 2010: Cindy McCain Speaks Out Against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as Part of NoH8 Campaign's Anti-Bullying PSA.

Two days later: Cindy McCain Repeals Her View ON DADT.

Something tells me that while John is still in D.C. Cindy and daughter Megan are going to secretly celebrate with 'their gays' at their favorite Phoenix drag bar, drinking Bolly Stolis and Cosmos and cackling at their 'Old Man'!
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on December 18, 2010


Not really. Instead of dealing with his headstrong opposition to DADT's repeal as what it is, we have a rationalization for it as some kind of three-dimensional chess play. (Where have we heard that before, health care reform?)

It's a rationalization, as it's a rational response to data, yes, I agree. If you think the only proper response to Obama and DADT is to believe that he's fought it tooth and nail, then I don't see your response as a rationalization at all. Just plain crazy.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:50 AM on December 18, 2010


Funny how completely unsurprised I am find a bunch of people who've complained pretty much every day since 2008 that it's Obama's fault legislation hasdn't passed to repeal DADT now complaining that Obama had nothing to do with it.

Thank you for actually making a few phone calls this time, Mr. President. It's a nice-tasting bone. Maybe next time we won't have to heckle your press conferences to get one.

In the meantime, could you please stop trying to cut Social Security?

Also, there are some hunger strikers in Guantanamo whose only wish for Christmas is the release of the death. Could you stop pumping gruel into their stomachs to keep them alive against their will?

But really, thanks for the bone.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:50 AM on December 18, 2010


Obama has set his Justice Department against the repeal of DADT and that's just a plain fact, as unpleasant as it is. It's too bad that folks can't deal with his record on the issue.

This is the crack talking. There is no basis in reality for this statement. None.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on December 18, 2010


Will do. Voinovich may be a Republican, but he often seems to be an upright sort of guy.

Actually, I recall now that Voinovich is retiring, making this something of a final "fuck you" to the extremists who have taken over his party, I suspect. But it'd be worth calling his office anyway to say thank you. I'm sure he's getting all kinds of calls from people who are insane with anger right now.
posted by EarBucket at 11:52 AM on December 18, 2010


of course obama's justice department upheld the law of the land. this is 3rd grade civics material. legislative makes the laws, executive enforces the law, and judicial interprets the law. DADT needed to be done away with in the legislative branch. it was frustrating to wait for and maddening to watch obama seemingly talk out of both sides of his mouth - but he was clear the whole time, he was fighting for the legislator to repeal DADT - any other maneuvering had too big a chance for another shitty compromise.

i assume you were speaking facetiously when you said obama might not sign this. the white house said today "It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law."
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on December 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.
"So here’s the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And I’m going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it.*"
He'll sign it. He will.
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on December 18, 2010


Not being in favor of gay marriage at this time doesn't mean he would veto a bill, were it presented to him. Presidents sign bills containing provisions they hadn't supported all the time.

In the completely different political climate that would have to exist for congress to pass gay marriage in both houses, gay marriage would have to be seen as a political winner.

Further, Obama, in case you didn't notice, is a politicians, who or about their positions pretty much constantly. I'm not saying he supports it or doesn't, but I doubt he would do much to stop it.
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2010


Man I hat the iPhone autocorrect
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


and the distinguished ladies from Maine have the two most secure seats in all of the Senate

This might have been true in the past, but unfortunately the Tea Party has taken over our State (new Republican Tea Party Gov & Republicans holding both houses for the first time since the 50's.) and they've set their sights on both - especially Snowe - as not being ideologically pure Republican Enough.

Its about to be a very strange two years up here. Scary and strange. I'm sure they could use your good wishes.
posted by anastasiav at 11:56 AM on December 18, 2010


It wouldn't be surprising to see Obama veto this, if it manages to get passed.

That will absolutely happen - IN CRACK SMOKER LAND.

Some of you really need to sit down and have a think about how good of a position it is to be in that you both hate Obama more than the Tea Party and have less attachment to reality than them.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on December 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wrong battle, instead of sending more grist to get chewed up in Obama's wars we should be getting everyone else out.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Opponents of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy are celebrating today's Senate vote to dismantle the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, but the actual repeal of the law could take up to a year to go into full effect.

In its present form, the bill states that repeal will not take effect until 60 days after Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and President Barack Obama 'certify' that the U.S. military is prepared for implementation.

Secretary Gates has predicted that the process of certification could take up to a year." *
posted by ericb at 11:57 AM on December 18, 2010


I rarely agree with my senator, but I've never doubted Voinovich's integrity.
posted by Mick at 11:58 AM on December 18, 2010


Watch the vote on C-SPAN2. (Right now they're discussing START, soon they will vote.)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:58 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny how completely unsurprised I am find a bunch of people who've complained pretty much every day since 2008 that it's Obama's fault legislation hasdn't passed to repeal DADT now complaining that Obama had nothing to do with it.

Reality, not important to these people. Arguments that "he didn't make phone calls" or some such have no basis in reality. He didn't want his own military appropriations bill to pass? Bullshit.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:59 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


What Obama really needs to do is issue an executive order today suspending discharges under DADT. Now that it's clear that it's over, there's no excuse for continuing to force people out. It should be big, too. Press conference in the Rose Garden, with some men and women who've been discharged standing behind him.
posted by EarBucket at 11:59 AM on December 18, 2010


Yeah, not to pile on, but claiming that there is a chance in hell Obama will veto DADT repeal is certifiable:

Obama Statement on Repeal of DADT (that was released within the past hour).

If you want to criticize Obama for not delivering on every promise, or for not including the details you would have liked (e.g., on HCR), or for extending the war in Afghanistan, have at it. His tenure has been far from perfect thus far. But the insistence by some to actively downplay the legislative accomplishments so far in the first term is something I just do not understand. It only makes sense to me if you have a tenuous grasp of civics or an unrealistic expectation of how government operates. I will no longer question the character or intentions of such critics, but I reserve the right to celebrate when shit gets done.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:00 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


of course obama's justice department upheld the law of the land

Even after the courts ruled that law unconstitutional, the zealous nature with which Obama pursued appeals is still a fact, as uncomfortable it may be to accept that.

i assume you were speaking facetiously when you said obama might not sign this

To be clear, if this passes and actually manages to get signed, I will be celebrating along with all my fellow gays and lesbians. Just don't count your chickens. You're setting yourself up for disappointment, should you get your hopes up and Obama once again pulls a 180 degree turn on his base.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 PM on December 18, 2010


Not being in favor of gay marriage at this time doesn't mean he would veto a bill, were it presented to him. Presidents sign bills containing provisions they hadn't supported all the time.

In the completely different political climate that would have to exist for congress to pass gay marriage in both houses, gay marriage would have to be seen as a political winner.

Further, Obama, in case you didn't notice, is a politicians, who or about their positions pretty much constantly. I'm not saying he supports it or doesn't, but I doubt he would do much to stop it.


@empath: In other words, take nothing Obama claims to support or oppose at face value because he can't be trusted to do what he says. You Obama bashers are out in force today.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2010


ou're setting yourself up for disappointment, should you get your hopes up and Obama once again pulls a 180 degree turn on his base.

I share your disillusionment, I really do. Obama's been really bad on a number of issues, gay rights foremost among them. But if you've honestly convinced yourself that he's going to veto this bill, you really need to step back, take a deep breath, and just not think about politics for a couple of days. Clear your head.
posted by EarBucket at 12:04 PM on December 18, 2010


I guess that's a no.
posted by Flunkie at 12:04 PM on December 18, 2010


Watching it live right now. This is very cool.
posted by caddis at 12:05 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And I really mean that in the best possible way, Blazecock Pileon. I think you're awesome, and you're one of my favorite members of the PoliticsFilter crowd. But that's really an irrational thing to think, and it makes me think your--perfectly justified--anger at Obama is clouding your judgement on this issue.)
posted by EarBucket at 12:05 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are they voting right now, or are they just taking attendance?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Extinction Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' — Questions And Answers.
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2010


Even after the courts ruled that law unconstitutional, the zealous nature with which Obama pursued appeals is still a fact, as uncomfortable it may be to accept that.

nothing uncomfortable to me in that. the rest of my statement stands. obama's stated goal from the beginning was to get the actual law overturned in the legislator. supporting the judicial overturning would have been bad for him, bad for democrats, and bad for the military. i know it's frustrating to play the wait and see game. i know it sucks when the mechanism of government is seemingly stilted and frozen. but, much like people who bitch about obama raising troop amounts in afghanistan - he's doing exactly what he said he'd do. if you believed he'd do something else or go about it in another way, that's on you.

do you have any evidence to support your belief that he'll go back on what he said about an hour ago? inside information we don't know about, maybe?
posted by nadawi at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2010


Are they voting right now, or are they just taking attendance?
They're voting, but not on this. They're voting on cloture for the START treaty. They are expected to vote on DADT repeal next.
posted by Flunkie at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2010


is there another source of the footage? looks like CSPAN is getting hammered.
posted by nadawi at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2010


In other words, take nothing Obama claims to support or oppose at face value because he can't be trusted to do what he says.

If you take anything a politician says at face value, you're a fool.

Hell, if I believed half of the shit Obama said during the campaign, I never would have supported him.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2010


Different link.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2010


Brown votes for repeal!
posted by EarBucket at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2010


Also Murkowski. Wow. Nice.
posted by EarBucket at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2010


In the completely different political climate that would have to exist for congress to pass gay marriage in both houses, gay marriage would have to be seen as a political winner.

Marriage is 100% a state matter. The federal government marries no one. Therefore, no such vote will ever take place.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:11 PM on December 18, 2010


Oh, and it's nice to see that David Vitter found time between diapering sessions with prostitutes to vote against letting gay people serve their country.
posted by EarBucket at 12:11 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Telling the DOJ not to appeal the DADT decision as a means of "repealing" DADT through the back door would not have been a good idea in the long term.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:11 PM on December 18, 2010


Senator Burr - aye??
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2010


Marriage is 100% a state matter. The federal government marries no one. Therefore, no such vote will ever take place.

The exception would be a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage, but it's hard to see that ever happening except as a symbolic act long after de facto nationwide legalization.
posted by EarBucket at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're voting, but not on this. They're voting on cloture for the START treaty. They are expected to vote on DADT repeal next.
Ooops, either I misread it or I missed the transition - they're voting on DADT repeal now.
posted by Flunkie at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010


Wait, what? Burr voted for repeal?
posted by EarBucket at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010


Marriage is 100% a state matter. The federal government marries no one. Therefore, no such vote will ever take place.

Yes, but DOMA was Federal anti-gay marriage legislation. Gay marriage is separate but unequal if the Federal government won't recognize the marriage as a marriage.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's what the lady said!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010


What fierce advocacy actually looks like
posted by Joe Beese at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Conrad - aye.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2010


Lindsey Graham votes no. What a cowardly little pig of a man.
posted by EarBucket at 12:15 PM on December 18, 2010



If you take anything a politician says at face value, you're a fool.

Hell, if I believed half of the shit Obama said during the campaign, I never would have supported him.


@empath: Haha, it's absurd how people bend to defend Obama. Look, I hate most everything George W. Bush did, but I knew exactly where he stood on every issue, he never surprised anyone. Not every politician lies about what they believe in, most don't and can be trusted to vote as you would predict.

"I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman." -Barack Obama, explaining why he will treat gay people as second class citizens in his capacity in government because of his religion.

In saying Obama will change his mind on gay marriage you are calling him a liar, a betrayer of his religious faith, and someone so callous as to sacrifice human rights for political expediency.

...and this is one of his apologists saying this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:15 PM on December 18, 2010


Ensign - aye???
Dorgan - aye
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:16 PM on December 18, 2010


Voinovich - Aye
posted by joe lisboa at 12:16 PM on December 18, 2010


Nice to witness this. I hope the certification process doesn't drag out too long.

I have a "with all deliberate speed" concern here.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lindsey Graham votes no. What a cowardly little pig of a man.

Does he think we still don't know?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe, are you happy with anything Obama has done?
posted by nomadicink at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2010


Kirk - aye
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2010


What fierce advocacy actually looks like

All things considered, I'd prefer that things which reduce the possibility of nuclear holocaust in the future take precedence over pretty much anything.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lincoln - aye
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2010


Joe, are you happy with anything Obama has done?

Haha, for a second I thought this was a sarcastic potshot at my perceived boosterism. I will yield the remainder of my time to the Other Joe (I-MeFi).
posted by joe lisboa at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


All things considered, I'd prefer that things which reduce the possibility of nuclear holocaust in the future take precedence over pretty much anything.

He's not saying it shouldn't - he's just saying that it's a good comparison point, and it is.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2010


Murkowski - aye
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2010


Nice of Lincoln to bother to show up to do her fucking job.
posted by EarBucket at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, but DOMA was Federal anti-gay marriage legislation. Gay marriage is separate but unequal if the Federal government won't recognize the marriage as a marriage.

DOMA is unconstitutional in that it violates the full faith and credit clause. Even those who voted for it know that.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:20 PM on December 18, 2010


Yup, Burr was an aye. Wow. He's been my senator for six years now, and this is the first time I can remember him doing something right. Going to call his office and thank him now.
posted by EarBucket at 12:22 PM on December 18, 2010


Burr and Ensign so far are big surprises.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:22 PM on December 18, 2010


Late to the thread... just saw this and am too pleasantly shocked to have any clever quip at hand. We may make it into the twenty-first century yet.
posted by scody at 12:22 PM on December 18, 2010


Pryor - aye
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2010


Joe, are you happy with anything Obama has done?

Glenn Greenwald has not approved of Obama yet.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Would be nice if C-Span would show unofficial running totals of the vote.
posted by Flunkie at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2010


Ok, for everyone who's bitching and moaning that Obama didn't do enough: It got done. He said years ago he was going to push for review by the joint chiefs and have it go through the legislative process. Which is exactly what happened.

A lot has pissed me off about Obama's powerlessness and inability to wave his magic wand and fix our broken system of government but goddamnit he did just what he said he would do. You spend only the political capital you need to get everything done. End of rant.


No goddamnit this is a party! So happy for all of you for whom this helps personally!
posted by slapshot57 at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald has not approved of Obama yet.

I'd prefer this not turn into a general Joe Beese pile on, just curious if he's happy with anything Obama has done or the way he's done it.
posted by nomadicink at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2010


Joe, are you happy with anything Obama has done?

I can think of one thing.

When Iran was in revolt over their stolen election, Obama kept his mouth shut, essentially. Given our history in the region, I thought that seemly on his part.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2010


It is finished.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2010


(i.e., passes majority threshold)
posted by joe lisboa at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2010


The people wanting Obama to do all of this counter-constitutional things like just refuse to appeal things and order the government not to enforce the laws are just opening the door for the GOP to do the same.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


It has passed! Woo-hoo. This indeed is a momentous day!
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2010


DOMA is unconstitutional in that it violates the full faith and credit clause. Even those who voted for it know that.

You're absolutely right that it's flagrantly unconstitutional, but it's still on the books.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2010


The people wanting Obama to do all of this counter-constitutional things like just refuse to appeal things and order the government not to enforce the laws are just opening the door for the GOP to do the same.

I think part of what's so frustrating is that he seems pretty cheerful about embracing the parts of the unitary executive theory that let him kidnap and assassinate and spy on people, just not the ones that he could use to make people's lives better.
posted by EarBucket at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who is Joe Lieberman? I don't know any Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman is a clean slate to me. There is no "me and Joe Lieberman". Not any more.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can think of one thing.
Not a fan of the Lilly Ledbetter Act?
posted by Flunkie at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2010



The people wanting Obama to do all of this counter-constitutional things like just refuse to appeal things and order the government not to enforce the laws are just opening the door for the GOP to do the same.


Crossed that bridge a while back, he already ordered government not to enforce portions of federal drug law in California and a few other states.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2010


65-31. Kick ass.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


WOOHOO!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


and it's official .... IT PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so pleased.
posted by caddis at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2010


In saying Obama will change his mind on gay marriage you are calling him a liar, a betrayer of his religious faith, and someone so callous as to sacrifice human rights for political expediency.

...and this is one of his apologists saying this.


Who said I'm an apologist? I never thought the man walked on water. I vote for politicians who will push forward what I care about, not honest men and not ideologues. Your point about knowing where Bush stands for doesn't really help your case, because he was one of the worst presidents we've ever had. If someone is going to punch me in the mouth, I could care less if they tell me ahead of time they're going to do it.

Further, I'd remind you that Bush's 2000 campaign was based entirely on a bullshit premise called 'compassionate conservatism' that he tossed out of the window the day after he got elected.

Do people really believe what politicians say? I find that hard to believe.

Look, when reading what a politician says, you have to keep in mind that he needs to get elected to do anything, and to do that he needs to get both money and votes. To get money and votes, he has to make promises to various 'interest groups' which will deliver those resources during the campaign.

It's nearly impossible for a politician to craft a platform that delivers 50% of the votes that isn't in some way internally inconsistent, and further, he needs allies in government to get things passed, many of whom promised things which are completely opposed to what the politician himself promised.

And so compromises are made.

When reading what a politician says, forget the specific promises, because they were never get passed, and see if you can discern the broad outlines of the politicians agenda. And read his non-political, more abstract speeches to get a feel for how he sees the world.

It was clear from Obama's campaign that he was going to push in the direction of more civil rights for gays, which he has done. He was going to try to call a truce with religious groups in the culture wars, which I think he has more or less effectively done. He was going to push for wider access to health care, which he has done. He was going to take a less bellicose approach to foreign policy, which he has done. And so on.

I'm more or less happy with what the direction he has taken us as a country since being sworn in. Am I disappointed about a lot of things? Sure, I was surprised by how often he took the side of the wealthy against the middle class. But all in all, he was a hell of a lot better than McCain would have been (i mean really), and I think Hillary Clinton would have been far, far less effective, if she had managed to win at all.

I voted for Obama and still support him because he's the best choice we have that can actually win an election and get anything done. That's the best you can hope for from a politician, and if you keep hoping for a messiah, you are going to be disappointed time and again.
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2010 [23 favorites]


:-D A great day for the military
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:31 PM on December 18, 2010


Come on and join your fellow man!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every time I watch C-SPAN, I'm struck anew by what absolutely horrible public speakers most politicians are. My god.
posted by EarBucket at 12:34 PM on December 18, 2010


They'll have to rewrite the general orders of each service, come up with policies on housing, etc. The practicalities are just details--it will probably take 6-8 months and will be handled near-perfectly by Gates.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:34 PM on December 18, 2010


Crossed that bridge a while back, he already ordered government not to enforce portions of federal drug law in California and a few other states.

A troubling precedent which I disagree with, even though I favor legalization.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:36 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not a fan of the Lilly Ledbetter Act?

It always amused me when that came up in "What Obama has in fact done for us" claims.

House Democrats passed a bill in 2008. It was defeated by Republicans in the Senate that Obama then belonged to.

After Obama was elected with dominant majorities in both chambers, the bill made it to the President's desk and he signed it.

A Democratic President signing legislation written by Democratic congresspersons. How prostrate with gratitude am I supposed to be for that?

Bunch of low expectation having motherfuckers in your party.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:36 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't Gates leaving sometime next year? I wonder if that will motivate them to hurry up the process to get it done before he leaves, or give them an excuse to put it off until the next guy's gotten comfortable in his office. I'm not feeling wildly optimistic about it.
posted by EarBucket at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2010


Posting in epic thread.
posted by valkane at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gee Joe, sorry for holding it up as the greatest accomplishment in the history of mankind, and certainly 100% due to Obama. I thought I was just responding to your statement that you could only think of one thing that he's done which you approve of.
posted by Flunkie at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2010


LESS ARGUING MORE VILLAGE PEOPLE.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


MEANING THIS IS A GOOD AND HAPPY DAY NOW GO CELEBRATE YOU BIG GALOOTS.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:40 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


A Democratic President signing legislation written by Democratic congresspersons. How prostrate with gratitude am I supposed to be for that?

So the only thing a Democratic President could ever do that you'd be happy with is A) lose Congress, then B) sign the Republicans' bills into law? That seems counterintuitive.
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2010


It's not signed, yet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2010


So the only thing a Democratic President could ever do that you'd be happy with is A) lose Congress, then B) sign the Republicans' bills into law? That seems counterintuitive.

Hey, it worked for Clinton.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:45 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I believe that in the copy of the constitution Mr Beese has, the president's powers are delineated as:

1) Craft and enact legislation, without consulting with congress
2) Do not execute the laws of the country.
3) You may be commander in chief of the military, unless it involves actually killing anyone.
posted by empath at 12:46 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mixed feelings: My friends and lovers are now free to kill and be killed in unjust military engagements.

On the one hand, "free!"

On the other hand, "killing."

Nothing's ever simple.
posted by philotes at 12:47 PM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Even after the courts ruled that law unconstitutional, the zealous nature with which Obama pursued appeals is still a fact, as uncomfortable it may be to accept that.

How to Really End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
posted by Amanojaku at 12:47 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not signed, yet.
Which means there's still time for you to take the bet.
posted by Flunkie at 12:48 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's not signed, yet.

Wow. Just ... wow.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:51 PM on December 18, 2010


Craig Ferguson, puppets, and the usual gang's "In The Navy" cold-open.
posted by tzikeh at 12:52 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which means there's still time for you to take the bet.

Do you enjoy bullying people?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2010


Well, there's good news. Joe Manchin skipped the date because of a family event, so in the event of a veto, they'll have sixty-six aye votes and only need to woo over one more Republican to override.
posted by EarBucket at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2010


LESS ARGUING MORE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

And the official In The Navy video!
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on December 18, 2010


It's not signed, yet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:43 PM on December 18 [+] [!]


I'm someone who shares your general disappointment with Obama, but this really is completely daft. He's said for two years that he wanted to overturn DADT using the legislative process -- over my objections and apparently yours, when we wanted him to take the more expedient executive-branch paths available to him -- but he's gone ahead and delivered exactly what he promised. There is absolutely no chance he won't sign this law. You're being ridiculous.

If you want to be angry about something, be angry about the DREAM Act. I am! But the repeal of DADT is a victory -- and Obama's victory at that. Relax.

(And don't even get me started on having to think good thoughts about Joe Lieberman. Ugh.)
posted by gerryblog at 12:56 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I take back what I said about John McCain upthread.

He's just a frightened, angry, pathetic little man.
posted by marxchivist at 12:57 PM on December 18, 2010


You feel bullied by me proposing a bet with extremely advantageous terms for you -- 200-to-1 odds, a small amount of money if you lose, and your charity winning in every event -- in direct response to a seemingly absurd statement that you made, and which you continued to back up in every way except for accepting the bet?

If so, I apologize, and I won't mention it again.
posted by Flunkie at 12:57 PM on December 18, 2010


@empath: You are a King Apologist, you should get apologist of the year for what you are trying to do here.

We started this with you suggesting that when Obama leaves office gay marriage will be legal. I pointed out Obama opposes making it legal. You suggested he doesn't really believe that. What fucking possible higher level of apologist can there be than claiming someone is secretly a champion of something they publicly say they oppose? At least when defending his actions on the tax cuts you can at least point to when he publicly opposed them. To defend his stance on gay marriage you have to IGNORE his public statements, when apologizing for the tax cuts you have to cling to them.



Your point about knowing where Bush stands for doesn't really help your case, because he was one of the worst presidents we've ever had. If someone is going to punch me in the mouth, I could care less if they tell me ahead of time they're going to do it.

Further, I'd remind you that Bush's 2000 campaign was based entirely on a bullshit premise called 'compassionate conservatism' that he tossed out of the window the day after he got elected.


He passed multiple bills that qualify under his definition of compassionate conservatism, including NCLB and Medicare Part D. He did a lot of work on stuff like AIDS in Africa. If you ignore the bad stuff or pretend Bush wanted to do more but was restrained by political reality, he looks like a great president! If you ignore the bad, and pretend he held opposite beliefs to what he claimed.

The quality of his presidency is irrelevant however, since your point in this was that all successful politicians lie about their beliefs, which they don't. Bush quality #1 was, "I know where he stands." That helped him get elected, people respect that quality in a leader.

Do people really believe what politicians say? I find that hard to believe.

When they tell you if they support or do not support a policy or piece of legislation, you can believe them for the most part. Their voting record gets compared to what they say publicly and they pay a price when they don't match up that well.


Look, when reading what a politician says, you have to keep in mind that he needs to get elected to do anything, and to do that he needs to get both money and votes. To get money and votes, he has to make promises to various 'interest groups' which will deliver those resources during the campaign.


That's fine, you think Obama is willing to sacrifice human rights for his political goals. That is just fine. Don't try and tell me everyone does that though. When someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life, I believe them. Gay marriage is a similar issue that is very difficult to pivot on, especially when personal opposition has been framed as a religious matter as it is for Obama.

You are telling me if the politics are right, Obama will sacrifice his eternal soul and sign gay marriage into law? Or is he lying about his religion for political gain too? Jesus Christ, what kind of monster do you think this guy is? Maybe he really is a secret Muslim too!


It was clear from Obama's campaign that he was going to push in the direction of more civil rights for gays, which he has done.


Yes he has, and that is fine for him. However, he still thinks gays are second class citizens, even if he moved them up from third class citizens. Or is he willing to treat them as second class citizens because he has a political career to worry about, or something. Either way, who the fuck cares WHY HE IS DOING IT?

That's the best you can hope for from a politician, and if you keep hoping for a messiah, you are going to be disappointed time and again.


Yes, I am totally looking for a messiah because I criticize a President for vocally supporting discrimination against a class of people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Muppets: In The Navy.*

* -- where one can be a Viking!
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Twitter Obama seems to be in favor of the repeal.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2010


Bush quality #1 was, "I know where he stands."

"Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."*
posted by EarBucket at 1:01 PM on December 18, 2010


Twitter Obama

I like the idea of there being a separate incarnation of Obama for each social networking site.
posted by EarBucket at 1:02 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


You feel bullied by me proposing a bet

You're a bully because I explained why I wouldn't accept it, and you keep pushing the issue like you think it validates yourself, despite the fact that it doesn't. I wouldn't place a bet on a two-faced amoral politician like Obama, regardless of the amount. The amount doesn't even figure into it. Quit being a fucking bully.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on December 18, 2010


Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just sent out the following tweet explaining that President Obama will sign the repeal into law sometime next week: "Senate by a vote pof 65-31 has voted to repeal don't ask, don't tell joining the House...President to sign the new law next week."
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, you explained why you wouldn't take a $500 bet, and now that there's a $5 bet being offered you're throwing around loaded insults to make yourself seem like a victim for sharing your completely batshit opinions.
posted by kafziel at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thank The Troops For Making DADT Repeal Possible.
posted by ericb at 1:09 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought BP's position was not that Obama would definitely veto the bill, but rather that Obama is an unreliable politician. Pretty easy to make a bet about the first proposition, not so much with the second.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone, go easy on Blazecock Pileon... he's struggling to deal with the fact that Obama isn't the betrayer of everything he holds dear, just most things.
posted by fatbird at 1:10 PM on December 18, 2010


Hey guys would you please stop celebrating this monumental legislation? Blazecock is having a very poorly attended pity party and it's almost like you all care more about today's historic success than agreeing with his clearly incorrect conjecture!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can anyone take the bet? Cause I'd sign up for a guaranteed 5 dollars going to a charity of my choice. ;-)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:11 PM on December 18, 2010


My girlfriend is in the Air Force.

I can actually say that to people now.
posted by jnaps at 1:12 PM on December 18, 2010 [85 favorites]


So will they have to change article 125 of the UCMJ, or just leave "unnatural" understood to not cover same-sex, uh, sex? Cause it sure would be a drag to be in the position of "ok to be gay, in a philosophical kind of way" but not "ok to actually be gay, as in does gay things."
posted by ctmf at 1:12 PM on December 18, 2010


If you guys really want some quality lulz, check out the blaring ALL CAPS headline at the Drudge Report.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the bet?

yes i'm too lazy to scroll

Anyway, ericb damn you're awesome.
posted by cashman at 1:13 PM on December 18, 2010


I can actually say that to people now.

Just.. be careful..technically you can't yet. I mean, you probably can in practice... but not technically.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:13 PM on December 18, 2010


Really BP, there is 0% chance of a veto. Join me in bitching about gay marriage instead.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:13 PM on December 18, 2010


you explained why you wouldn't take a $500 bet

"I'm not betting on the decision-making skills of someone whose moral value system is as mercurial as Obama's."

Celebration is called for, if and when it gets signed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:13 PM on December 18, 2010


If you guys really want some quality lulz, check out the blaring ALL CAPS headline at the Drudge Report.

"WINTER SOLSTICE, LUNAR ECLIPSE OVERLAP FIRST TIME IN 456 YEARS "
posted by cashman at 1:15 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


My girlfriend is in the Air Force.

I can actually say that to people now.


You've been able to for 17 years. She just hasn't been able to.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2010


My girlfriend is in the Air Force.

I can actually say that to people now.


FINALLY..... we're getting to the important things:

Awwwwwwwwwwww.... How cute. Congrats to you both!
posted by slapshot57 at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm very queer-friendly (LGBT, etc) - but I don't see why this is of any great importance.

Indeed, I see this as one of those symbolic battlefields like reproductive rights and global warming that both parties love because they rile their blood but that neither party really has to do much about. (It's not that I don't have very strong beliefs about these three areas, but I noted eight years of Republican government with almost no changes in access to abortion, and two years of Democratic rule with no changes on global warming.)

First, if I had to pick one important issue for the queer community, it'd be gay marriage, because it affects everyone.

Second, despite its personal importance to me, I no longer see queer rights as one of the great issues of our time, and that is because we have basically won. Yes, thousands of (mostly) young people are still tormented and even killed or take their own lives because of prejudice, but the fact is that the vast majority of people under 30 or so, conservative or not, really don't give a damn who you have sex with.

Famous people are openly gay and bring their partners out with them and the world accepts them. No, we aren't completely there yet but we just have to wait for a few more old people to die.

Third, the US has too much military. I don't think LGBT people should serve in the military, because I like queers - I don't think anyone should join the military, there are simply too many people and too much money in the military already, it's a great racket to funnel huge quantities of money into the hands of a small number of very rich people and no one should participate.

If I had to make a list of the ten most important issues facing the US today, I'd include the addiction to foreign wars and the military, the destruction of the educational system, the destruction of effective government, the destruction of due process and the Bill of Rights, the looting of the economy by Wall Street, global warming, the War on Drugs (people have forgotten about this, and haven't noticed that Mr. Obama has ramped that up again - but the War on Drugs causes far more ruined lives than DADT)...

I'm not even sure that "gay marriage" would make my top 10 serious issues. DADT would appear low, low, low on that list - below peak oil, below the treatment of illegal immigrants, below public transportation, the list stretches and stretches.

It seems to me that the US is in the middle of a collapse. I don't think allowing "gays in the military" is going to delay that collapse for even 30 seconds.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


jesus joe.
posted by clavdivs at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2010


"WINTER SOLSTICE, LUNAR ECLIPSE OVERLAP FIRST TIME IN 456 YEARS"

I told you that shit was quality.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


So will they have to change article 125 of the UCMJ, or just leave "unnatural" understood to not cover same-sex, uh, sex? Cause it sure would be a drag to be in the position of "ok to be gay, in a philosophical kind of way" but not "ok to actually be gay, as in does gay things."

Cleaning up stuff like this is exactly why they'll need some transition time to implement the repeal.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2010


So will they have to change article 125 of the UCMJ, or just leave "unnatural" understood to not cover same-sex, uh, sex? Cause it sure would be a drag to be in the position of "ok to be gay, in a philosophical kind of way" but not "ok to actually be gay, as in does gay things."

Actually, unnatural is used to refer to ANY non-missionary sex. Sure, it isn't enforced these days, but a woman giving a blowy to a man would be just as prosecutable as a guy doing it.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2010


My girlfriend is in the Air Force. I can actually say that to people now.

However, at this stage some recommend caution for your girlfriend in 'coming out' to the military.
QUESTION: I am a gay service member, can I come out?

The way the repeal has been written, DADT is still technically the law even after the Senate repeals and even after the President has signed the legislation. There will be an implementation period in which DADT is on its way out, but is still law of the land. That should give some of us caution about coming out. If you are concerned about this implementation period -- a fair concern given the history of the military's treatment of gays in the past -- use your judgment. There are policies in place that suggest that discharges may be less likely, or may not even happen. But that will be up to the DOD and the service branches. Nothing in the law right now says that you should come out. ...

QUESTION: How long with the implementation period last?

There is no answer here, especially given that Secretary Gates has made it quite clear that he sees orderly implementation taking a while. I would expect at least 6 months and up to a year for full implementation of open service. That time will be needed to craft new rules on all sorts of things. Given that these new rules will affect newly open gay service members, there may be some benefit to waiting to re-enlist or waiting to enlist in the first place until those rules are written down. Again, this advice is out of an abundance of caution."
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that the US is in the middle of a collapse. I don't think allowing "gays in the military" is going to delay that collapse for even 30 seconds.

Freedom is not a zero-sum game.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


My girlfriend is in the Air Force.

I can actually say that to people now.
posted by jnaps at 1:12 PM on December 18 [6 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


I am really really really happy for both of you. Congrats!
posted by Danf at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Third, the US has too much military. I don't think LGBT people should serve in the military, because I like queers - I don't think anyone should join the military, there are simply too many people and too much money in the military already, it's a great racket to funnel huge quantities of money into the hands of a small number of very rich people and no one should participate.

I would not wait for a flood of grateful letters from military gays in support of your principled stance against their choices.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm very queer-friendly
half my family is gay the other half in the military I am de facto "queer-friendly" and this is great thing. Collaspe is relative. This is about social progress. Republican/ commie/whatever hoopla and more of it. It is about who you fight and live with not who you love.
posted by clavdivs at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2010


'The 456' has a nice zeitgiest-lite feel, yes.
posted by clavdivs at 1:24 PM on December 18, 2010


Again, this advice is out of an abundance of caution.

Thanks for the link, ericb. The fact that gay servicemembers still need to tread carefully only underscores how ridiculous the ban is/was. A happy day and a long time coming, and hopefully indicative of a future where this sort of homophobic garbage is safely in the trashbin of history where it belongs.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:25 PM on December 18, 2010


Assuming the final vote passes and Obama doesn't veto (I'm joking. Mostly.), does the appeal of the Virginia ruling to the 9th Circuit get dropped?

If DADT no longer exists, then the appeal is moot.
"QUESTION: What does repeal mean for the Log Cabin case that declared DADT unconstitutional?

This is a bit fuzzy. Normally, if a law that is the subject of a constitutional challenge in the federal courts is repealed during the course of that trial or appeal, the case becomes 'moot'. That basically means what you think it means -- that there is no point to continuing the case. Federal courts require that there be an 'actual case or controversy' to render an opinion and if there is no longer a law to fight about, then there is no case or controversy.

But the kicker here is that, technically, even after repeal, DADT is not yet gone. The interim implementation period -- which is unique given that a full end to DADT will require certification from the secretary and others -- means that there is still a law hanging around. I would imagine, however, that either a party in the case will petition for postponement or the Log Cabiners and their attorneys could make the move to withdraw their case.

I sent an email to my contacts in the case, but I have yet to hear back with any comments for public consumption. As you might imagine, litigation plans are kept closely guarded. For all intents and purposes, though, the case should become meaningless, unless Log Cabin feels that they can get a judicial end to DADT before the Defense Department fully implements repeal. That is highly unlikely.

This is an amazing day. For many of us, repeal of DADT has real and personal meaning. There are many of us who have served, many of us who are serving and many of us who would serve if we were allowed to serve openly. The sense of relief, the sense of pride, the sense of empowerment and confidence is, at least for me, overwhelming. I knew this day would come and I knew it would come in this Congress, thanks to many leaders and many factors. That includes those who brought the federal challenges to the law in court. Their efforts at chipping away at the legitimacy of the law made repeal Congess much more likely. In this holiday season, say thank you to those senators and representatives and others you think deserve our gratitude. I know who I will be thanking. Send a card, send a gift, make a call and say 'thank you', do something to show that what Congress and the President did today made your life better."
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think allowing "gays in the military" is going to delay that collapse for even 30 seconds.

(I) arm could 500,000 "gays" and in three days have legions to thwart collaspe.
posted by clavdivs at 1:26 PM on December 18, 2010


Tea Party Jesus, courtesy of Joe Beese's McCain quote upthread.
posted by EarBucket at 1:28 PM on December 18, 2010


Guess the link would help.
posted by EarBucket at 1:28 PM on December 18, 2010


We started this with you suggesting that when Obama leaves office gay marriage will be legal. I pointed out Obama opposes making it legal. You suggested he doesn't really believe that. What fucking possible higher level of apologist can there be than claiming someone is secretly a champion of something they publicly say they oppose?

Well, for one thing, Obama has been very careful to say that religious beliefs shouldn't form the sole basis for political action, and wrote and delivered a very thoughtful speech to that effect.
. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing. And if you doubt that, let me give you an example.

We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.

Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion.

But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that we all see, and that we all hear, be it common laws or basic reason.

Secondly, let's take your quote in context, because it matters. It's from a 2004 interview with him when he was running for Senate against extreme religious conservative Alan Keyes
Earlier Friday, Obama clarified his position on gay marriage after several days of criticism from [GOP Senate candidate Alan] Keyes on the issue. Keyes, a vehement opponent of gay marriage who has called homosexuals “selfish hedonists,” charged during a campaign swing Downstate this week that Obama favors gay marriage.

But during a taping of WBBM-AM’s “At Issue,” Obama said that his Christian faith dictates that marriage should be between a man and woman.

“I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman,” Obama said.

Obama said he would not let his religious beliefs dictate the way he approaches public policy. He said he would supports civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as letting individual states determine if marriage between gay and lesbian couples should be legalized.

“Giving them a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn’t cause discrimination,” Obama said. “I think it is the right balance to strike in this society.”
He felt that he had to emphasize his religious stance on it, but he carefully says I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue. Those are not the words of a man who is set in stone on a topic.

Further, he gave another interview the same year, where he expanded on this:
WCT: What about the military's 'don't ask' policy?

Obama: I think it needs to be eliminated. ... I think it is safe to assume that we have a significant number of gay and lesbian soldiers in Iraq. The notion that somehow they should be treated differently is contrary to what this country is about.

WCT: Do you have a position on marriage vs. civil unions?

Obama: I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws. I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. I know that's true in the African-American community, for example. And if you asked people, 'should gay and lesbian people have the same rights to transfer property, and visit hospitals, and et cetera,' they would say, 'absolutely.' And then if you talk about, 'should they get married?', then suddenly ...

WCT: There are more than 1,000 federal benefits that come with marriage. Looking back in the 1960s and inter-racial marriage, the polls showed people against that as well.

Obama: Since I'm a product of an interracial marriage, I'm very keenly aware of ...

WCT: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn't going to happen so you won't support it at this time?

Obama: What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game.

WCT: If Massachusetts gets marriage and this gives momentum to the proposed federal Constitutional amendment against gay marriage?

Obama: I would oppose that.
Again, he's against gay marraige (but not civil unions, which he favors) for political, practical reasons, and he's being pragmatic in that he wants people to have the rights and benefits, and if the name isn't there, then they'll take what he can pass, and he staked a clear position as being against an anti-gay marriage amendment to the constitution.

You are trying to make a very tenuously held and stated opinion from 10 years ago stand as his one and only statement on the matter. I find that far more dishonest than anything Obama has done or said.
posted by empath at 1:31 PM on December 18, 2010 [23 favorites]


A Democratic President signing legislation written by Democratic congresspersons. How prostrate with gratitude am I supposed to be for that?

Well, what special powers does the president have otherwise in re to such domestic legislation? The office is not a dictatorship. The president has less power than most US governors, form a structural standpoint.
posted by raysmj at 1:33 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(sorry, 6 years ago)
posted by empath at 1:33 PM on December 18, 2010


@empath: I fail to see the part of that which repudiates his earlier quote.

For instance:

WCT: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn't going to happen so you won't support it at this time?

Obama: What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed.


He does not claim he opposes gay marriage because it is strategically unsound, he simply says civil unions are sound. At no point in any of his quotes does he suggest he supports gay marriage. He supports the separate but equal proposition of civil unions, that is not a shock to anyone. It simply isn't good enough for gays just like it wasn't for African Americans. In practice, it will not be equal and should not be separate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:41 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Freedom is not a zero-sum game.

(Freedom isn't any sort of a game at all, but let's let that pass...)

I have a degree in mathematics and have studied game theory, and I'm also an avid Go player and that sort of thing.

If you forget the ethical issues and evaluate the Democrat's strategies as if the whole thing were a game, then their performance is even more miserable.

I've written about this at great length here and other places, but the strategy of taking small but guaranteed scores ("sure things") as opposed to aiming for larger but uncertain scores is a losing one in almost every non-trivial game. In Go, a player who does this will end up with a secure but small territory - and will lose. In poker, you will win a lot of other people's antes, but end up walking away from the table with a hole in your pocket, because it costs you money to sit at the table and because you're still going to unexpectedly lose some of those "sure things". In finance, it's called risk vs. reward (which is still true, as long as you realistically evaluate risk). Sports has some name for this losing strategy that I can't remember right now...

In the same way, the Democrats don't have much time in one Administration to make progress. You say "Freedom is not a zero-sum game" - but the Democrats only have so much energy to spend on freedom before the Republicans get back in, and worse, if they don't make a good showing, the Republicans get back in that much earlier, as we have seen, and then prevent the Democrats from scoring.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:42 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


At the very least, let's give Obama credit for this: he saw the wisdom of keeping Lieberman in the Democratic caucus when a big chunk of the party was howling for his blood. Lieberman, for all that he's been a gigantic turd for much of his time in office, wrestled this one across the finish line largely by sheer willpower. He did real good today, and Obama was 100% right to keep him on board.
posted by EarBucket at 1:43 PM on December 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


From my friends tweet wall:

Cindy McCain: How was your day?

John McCain: Don't Ask.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:44 PM on December 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm very queer-friendly (LGBT, etc) - but I don't see why this is of any great importance.

It's very important.

You see, for a long time in the US, being homosexual was something which a person had to hide from everyone. You could be fired, denied housing, harassed in casual life, and were an easy target for blackmail if you were homosexual. Your sexuality was regarded as such a shameful thing that you were often denied jobs with any kind of secrecy or security measures in place because of the blackmail potential.

When the Stonewall Uprising took place, it marked the beginning of the end of that shame. People were finally not going to be told that they had to lie about their sexuality in order to be accepted and life lives without fear in the public arena. (I've pointed out before on the Blue, "gay pride" is about living a life without shame, not having an inflated sense of oneself.) The steps taken by those brave men and women who were marching and organizing in the early 1970s created problems in many of their lives as they came up against bigoted laws, and many of them paid pretty hefty prices for being willing to stand up in public and be recognized as homosexual.

Since that time, the fight has been a many-decade struggle to remove all of the barriers to complete honesty about one's orientation. In most if not all of the US, laws have been modified or enacted which mean to prevent basic discrimination against homosexuals in matters such as housing, employment, even basic partnership recognition (civil unions, domestic partnerships) and other household matters like adoption. And in the private sector, more and more companies recognizing the existence of homosexuals through measures such as offering health benefits to same-sex partners, etc.

But the pre-Stonewall stigma which leads men and women to live lives filled with fear of discovery still has hung over the military. It was a big step forward when DADT was put in place, actually, because before then, those believed to be homosexual could be actively investigated in any number of ways until proof of orientation was found and then the person was pushed out. With the enactment of DADT, gay men and lesbians in the military could at least have some small assurance of not having their personal lives gone over with a fine-toothed comb. As long as there was a wall between their private and professional lives, they could find a way to continue their careers.

It's a shitty way to live, but was still several notches better than what was going on before.

But ultimately, asking people to lie about a fundamental part of themselves in order to keep their jobs (and serve their country) is a really horrible thing to do. That kind of pressure has led many a strong person to despair of varying measure, and ultimately creates a shadow in the psyche which cannot be undone. The daily reminder that "you are really not worthy because of who you are" is simply not something which should be tolerated in our armed forces.

By repealing DADT, and coupling that with our New Millennium understanding of queer persons and how they can and should be integrated into our society without fear or shame, means that we have removed one of the last bastions of self-denial and self-loathing imposed officially and legally upon our LBGTQ brothers and sisters.

We may still have a way to go with the rest of our society's general acceptance of those with non-majority orientations, and there are still struggles to fight for full integration as equal citizens under the law... But this does indeed mean that a large amount of our institutionalized hatred toward this group of people has been swept off the law books. Anytime our country becomes less hateful and more tolerant and equal, it's very important indeed.
posted by hippybear at 1:45 PM on December 18, 2010 [27 favorites]


Fuck Joe Lieberman.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:46 PM on December 18, 2010


You could be fired, denied housing, harassed in casual life, and were an easy target for blackmail if you were homosexual.

In most of the United States, you still can be legally fired because of your sexual orientation. In even more of the United States, you can be legally fired because of your gender identity/expression.
posted by overglow at 1:54 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't 'meh' this enough.

There is so much cheering going on. I read someone call this the "Brown V. Board of Ed. of LGBT rights". When really, this was the lowest piece of hanging fruit. I can still get fired from my job for being gay. I can still be evicted for being gay. The rights my partner and I share can get taken away in a simple court dispute.

An actual civil rights bill for protection in employment and housing, I feel, is so much more important than this. And they could have done it. They could have brought the homophobes out clearly in the light. Instead, John McCain gets to express his deep concern for unit cohesion and military preparedness. "He is an old soldier, you see. It isn't about homophobia." I want C-Span with their cameras focused on Thune as he declares that companies have a right to fire fags because fags are fags and Jesus and shit.

Instead, the administration went and blew their load on DADT. HRC can pat themselves on their spineless back and we can forget about any movement on LGBT rights until House leadership changes and the President wants to do something.

That said, I am really happy for this and am glad the policy to spend millions of dollars to discharge over 13k troops is ending. Can we get to work now?
posted by munchingzombie at 1:56 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


munchingzombie, "Brown v. Board of Ed." solved one specific issue out of many, and it came a decade before the Civil Rights Act. I hope that other pieces of resistance to gay rights will fall a lot faster than they fell for black rights, but I don't think it's necessarily out of line to call this the "Brown v. Board of Ed. of LGBT rights" simply because it doesn't accomplish everything.
posted by Flunkie at 2:00 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


> You see, for a long time in the US, being homosexual was something which a person had to hide from everyone.

[lots more stuff about how hard it was to be gay in the US]

Do you think I'm unaware of this? I acknowledged exactly that in my post.


> But ultimately, asking people to lie about a fundamental part of themselves in order to keep their jobs (and serve their country) is a really horrible thing to do.

"Really horrible"? You really need to develop a sense of perspective.

Being forced to lie to keep a job is bad, but I've personally endured worse.

If that's "really horrible", what words do you use for getting terminal cancer, or for having Americans kill you and your family or... need I go on?

And frankly, I don't think people are "serving" their country at all by participating in this vast looting of the US Treasury and mass destruction of the lives and homes of individuals who have never offered the US one whit of harm.


> Anytime our country becomes less hateful and more tolerant and equal, it's very important indeed.

Your country is having a heart-attack and you are worrying about a hangnail. There are many, many things that are much more important than allowing gays to serve in the military - I listed quite a few of them above.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:02 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If that's "really horrible", what words do you use for getting terminal cancer, or for having Americans kill you and your family or... need I go on?

No, do go on. You won't have made your point until you've listed every single thing that could happen that would be worse than having to live a lie in order to keep your job. Be complete and verbose.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:04 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


(I also note the endless veneration these days of the military - and therefore it is no surprise to me that Americans consider being allowed to join the military such a key "civil right".)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:05 PM on December 18, 2010


> You won't have made your point until you've listed every single thing that could happen that would be worse than having to live a lie in order to keep your job. Be complete and verbose.

Absolutely. There are so many things that are so much more important than DADT that, as you say, making a complete list would be pointlessly long and verbose.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:06 PM on December 18, 2010


I also note the endless veneration these days of the military

I'm not sure which demographic you think you're addressing but there is about as much veneration of the military on mefi as there is Tea Party advocacy.
posted by elizardbits at 2:07 PM on December 18, 2010


I have a degree in mathematics and have studied game theory, and I'm also an avid Go player and that sort of thing.

If you forget the ethical issues and evaluate the Democrat's strategies as if the whole thing were a game, then their performance is even more miserable.


This isn't a game. This is real life. It does not respond to the laws of mathematics. It is orders of magnitude more complex than Go. And that is why those who just saw 60 dems in the Senate and thought that meant whatever program Obama wanted was instantly able to be passed and that the failure to pass certain people's visions of their pet programs meant that he was insufficently left enough and that he was insufficiently left were totally wrong. There are 544 1/2 persons with independent decision authority in the US government. Obama literally is one of those people. Yet he has passed HCR, the stimulus, financial services reform, the Lily Ledbetter Act and the repeal of DADT. No other person could have done that. No one.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:07 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you forget the ethical issues and evaluate the Democrat's strategies as if the whole thing were a game, then their performance is even more miserable.

You spend less time playing games and studying math and more time studying history. Then you wouldnt make such ridiculous statements.
posted by humanfont at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2010


You spend less time playing games and studying math and more time studying history. Then you wouldnt make such ridiculous statements.

Boiling this down to Go is like the drunk who searches for his keys by the light, because it's brighter under there.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:11 PM on December 18, 2010


Americans venerate the military because it is made up of our family members (or for some people, themselves), and we know those people joined for the right reasons. At the most basic level, joining is a self sacrifice made to protect a nation of people you don't even know. It's commendable. That is why we support the military even while opposing how they are used by our government and how some soldiers behave.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:11 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yet he has passed HCR, the stimulus, financial services reform, the Lily Ledbetter Act and the repeal of DADT. No other person could have done that. No one.

[citation needed]

I think Hillary and Biden could have done it, or just about any other generic Democrat given the congress Obama had.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Again, please note that a queer person still has no right against discrimination in the vast majority of the United States unless they wish to join the military.

Queers have made huge progress in US and the world since Stonewall. This is a step toward equality - but a tiny one.

I repeat that this is primarily a symbolic gesture and this is exactly why this is being passed - because they aren't actually going to do anything useful.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:13 PM on December 18, 2010


I think Hillary and Biden could have done it, or just about any other generic Democrat given the congress Obama had.

Hillary and Bill had the same numbers in Congress in '93, and failed out of the gate with health care reform. Obama didn't.
posted by fatbird at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2010


You're setting yourself up for disappointment, should you get your hopes up and Obama once again pulls a 180 degree turn on his base.

Blazecock, you're wrong.

Obama's base voted for this; Obama won't veto what his base voted for.

By Obama's base, of course I mean six center-right Republican "moderates".

Now had that nominal "bi-partisanship" not been attained, I'm sure Obama would have screwed up the courage to... punch a hippie and slap down the left that worked so hard to elect him.
posted by orthogonality at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2010


> Boiling this down to Go is like the drunk who searches for his keys by the light, because it's brighter under there.

I brought up the game analogy precisely because it was pointed out that "Freedom" wasn't a zero-sum game. I brought up several games and areas of human endeavour that weren't games.

I'm curious, though - is there something wrong with my argument? Are you going to actually try to rebut it? I'm saying, "the Democrats strategy of going for small, guaranteed wins appears to be a bad one, and here's why" - I provide an explanation as to why that is so, and also give analogies to other, well-known games.

No insult intended, but I think you can't really attack the central thesis, which I will expand to be "the Democrats' strategies for achieving their stated goals are poorly conceived and poorly executed", and are simply picking a few words from my whole reasoning and mocking them.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hillary and Bill had the same numbers in Congress in '93, and failed out of the gate with health care reform. Obama didn't.

Well, Obama didn't propose the same plan they did, did he? He passed what the Republicans were proposing in '93, if Bill had done that he probably would have passed it, right?

Also, they weren't working with a supermajority caucus in the senate so it isn't quite the same.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2010


I think tonight I'll have a drink in honor of Leonard Matlovich.

Who's with me?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:26 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy,

This was a piece of legislation with the sole purpose of demanding that - in the military - lesbians and gays will be permitted to serve openly. 65 Senators stood up when their names were called and voted for equal rights. Yes, it is small potatoes compared to everything that needs to be done, but this is more than symbolic.

This is two-thirds of the Senate standing together, reflecting the desires of 77% of the nation, and for (I believe the first time) voting as a federal body to expand the rights of Gays and Lesbians, at least in one instance, to meet those of their heterosexual counterparts. This included 8 Republicans, and one of those 8, Susan Collins, led the press conference afterwards about why this was so important.

In other words, this is some of the first fruit borne of Stonewall, at the federal level at least.

And now millions of Americans, mostly from more conservative family backgrounds, will have the chance to serve with open and public gay men and women. This is how change happens.

Marriage Equality is the big issue, but let's not diminish what happened here today.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


And frankly, I don't think people are "serving" their country at all by participating in this vast looting of the US Treasury and mass destruction of the lives and homes of individuals who have never offered the US one whit of harm.

Neither do I.

But this isn't about the worth of military service. It's about equality before the law.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Awesome, and it only cost us $700 billion in income tax cuts for the rich, another tax cut for the rich in the form of a drastically reduced estate tax, and moving up the insolvency of Social Security by cutting the payroll tax. I hope it's worth it.
posted by indubitable at 2:34 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're setting yourself up for disappointment, should you get your hopes up and Obama once again pulls a 180 degree turn on his base.

Just in my inbox. I'm thinking he's unlikely to go back on his base when he just emailed his base.
From: Barack Obama
Date: December 18, 2010 2:34:23 PM PST
To: Jamaro
Subject: Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Reply-To: info@barackobama.com

Jamaro --

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are.
posted by jamaro at 2:50 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mmmm, Freeper tears... so delicious...
I wonder if America needs a Pinochet to straighten things out?
Er... on second thought, I'll pass. These tears are a little rancid.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:54 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, some of those people are deeply, deeply confused about the US Constitution. Do they not know the military is subordinate to the Congress and President, and that the military is a federal, not a state issue?
posted by empath at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2010


Awesome, and it only cost us $700 billion in income tax cuts for the rich, another tax cut for the rich in the form of a drastically reduced estate tax, and moving up the insolvency of Social Security by cutting the payroll tax. I hope it's worth it

Unrelated. And if you had the votes for that we'd be fine. But we didn't. So we didn't get the votes because the Republicans who were willing to vote for cloture on DADT repeal weren't willing to vote for cloture on taxes.

Amazing how the Obama haters are actually disappointed at this result.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:59 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Boy, I was regretting clicking on the freeper link, but this comment made it worth it (emphasis added by me):
DON’T fear, You are smart, know THAT IT HAS JUST DIED.

FEAR GOD NOT MAN

Our leaders fear MAN NOT GOD.

The Consequences are around the corner.

It is called weeping and sowing
posted by Flunkie at 3:03 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess everyone in this thread will go ahead and vote for the Republican or stay home in 2012, because obviously all this would have still happened under John McCain's watch, and I'm sure President Palin will be the one that finally gets gay marriage passed.
posted by empath at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, Obama didn't propose the same plan they did, did he? He passed what the Republicans were proposing in '93, if Bill had done that he probably would have passed it, right?

Perhaps. As the Republicans keep demonstrating, they don't want what they ask for, they ask for what they can't have so they can put a face on opposition. Give them what they ask for, and they move the goalposts.

But in Obama's favour in the comparison, the Republicans in '93 weren't as dedicated to pure obstructionism as the Republicans Obama has, and the economic and social landscape weren't as difficult then either.
posted by fatbird at 3:05 PM on December 18, 2010


Your country is having a heart-attack and you are worrying about a hangnail. There are many, many things that are much more important than allowing gays to serve in the military - I listed quite a few of them above.

Yes. Absolutely. There are lots of things wrong in this country right now, and I think that illegal immigrants who go to college and/or enlist in the military absolutely deserve citizenship, that gay marriage would be a better bill, that there should be new (and higher) tax brackets in order to not leave our next generation in crippling debt, ect ect.

I don't agree with what the military is doing. I've had long arguments with my gf about it, including asking her how she could in good conscience participate in an institution that has A. Made it clear they don't want people like her there and B. contributed to the deaths of civilians in massive numbers. She joined before the wars started, but she said that she stayed in order to try and be a good person in a messed up situation, because maybe she change things better from the inside than the outside. I still don't know how much I agree, but I respect her viewpoint.

Maybe this isn't the best thing to celebrate, exactly. It's a small thing. It's probably a selfish thing, in my case. But to someone with a loved one deployed, it means a lot. Even if the actual law won't change for another year, it's changing. Things are changing.

I'm just taking a deep breath, hoping we don't take five steps backwards, and preparing to work on the next thing. Maybe I am hopelessly naive because I'm still in my twenties and I think things can actually change for the better, and maybe our country is in the middle of a cardiac arrest and there's nothing we can really do to help.

But I think that we should still try, because in spite of several generations of people trying to ruin this country, the idea we were founded on seems pretty solid, and keeps chugging along because even when it seems like everything is going to collapse, people keep doing what they can to make things, even small things, better.
posted by jnaps at 3:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not a great fan of Obama's presidency, but at least he followed through on this promise. Anybody who thinks McCain would have done this has obviously not been paying attention, to put it politely.

Of course the US still has light-years (and at least one generation) to go before LGBT people are truly treated equally. And I'm disgusted that our newly free servicemembers still have to put their lives on the line in obscenely stupid and wasteful wars. And the rich got their tax break. And the DREAM act failed. And our political spectrum is so red-shifted by our flight from reality that a center-rightist like Obama can actually be called a leftist without provoking howls of laughter. And and and, et cetera, ad nauseam.

HOWEVER.

Repealing DADT is still a hugely important symbolic milestone, and I think it's worth a moment of celebration. Congratulations, jnaps! I also give a heart-felt "Thank you!" to those who stuck it out serving our country even while having to hide who they are. Despite what our country has been doing with our military, service is still an honorable thing. Here's hoping that the actual implementation of repeal doesn't get stalled out forever.

In other news, I am happy to be making my first post on MeFi on this historic day, after years of lurking. That is all.
posted by Zimboe Metamonkey at 3:14 PM on December 18, 2010


Amazing how the Obama haters are actually disappointed at this result.

No. Just not willing to give him more credit than he deserves.
Obama announced in the 2010 State of the Union that he intended to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by the end of the year. However, Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April wrote a letter to Congressional leaders demanding no legislative changes to DADT until after the completion of a one-year Pentagon study, pushing out any action to after the beginning of a new Congress, when the votes may not be available for that policy shift.

Gay rights activists–especially those less established and with fewer historical ties to power–went to work. They heckled the President at rallies. They threatened to withhold money from Democratic campaign committees. They ruthlessly criticized the President and his advisors for being turncoats, sellouts, and hypocrites. Lt. Dan Choi, a gay Arabic translator then awaiting discharge from the New York Army National Guard for coming out, became one of Obama’s fiercest critics on the issue. Choi said in a Harvard speech that the President was effectively telling him, “Our country is not grateful. We do not welcome your sacrifice.” Within one month, Obama and the Defense Department reached a compromise–one that Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen were reluctant to accept–that would create a legislative repeal, with enactment dependent on the President and his military advisors after the Pentagon study and a review period. These same gay rights activists remain dissatisfied with this compromise–Choi went on a hunger strike shortly after the deal was struck–and I expect them to continue to fight right up until the day the actual repeal is signed.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:17 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Missed by not previewing:

But I think that we should still try, because in spite of several generations of people trying to ruin this country, the idea we were founded on seems pretty solid, and keeps chugging along because even when it seems like everything is going to collapse, people keep doing what they can to make things, even small things, better.

Thank you. You expressed that better than I could. Amen, and favorited!
posted by Zimboe Metamonkey at 3:19 PM on December 18, 2010



I guess everyone in this thread will go ahead and vote for the Republican or stay home in 2012, because obviously all this would have still happened under John McCain's watch, and I'm sure President Palin will be the one that finally gets gay marriage passed.


Just a reminder in case you forgot, Obama still opposes gay marriage.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:20 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just a reminder in case you forgot, McCain still opposes gays openly serving in the military.
posted by Flunkie at 3:22 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]



Just a reminder in case you forgot, McCain still opposes gays openly serving in the military.


And? DADT is over. I'm looking forward, not backward. Obama fans are supposed to be big on that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unrelated. And if you had the votes for that we'd be fine. But we didn't. So we didn't get the votes because the Republicans who were willing to vote for cloture on DADT repeal weren't willing to vote for cloture on taxes.

Utterly related. The Senate Republicans made it quite clear that no business would get done in the lame duck session until the tax cuts were extended across the board. No DADT repeal, no START treaty, etc. Given two options -- letting all the Bush tax cuts expire and losing your symbolic victories like DADT repeal but not fiscally ruining the country, OR mostly caving on the tax cut demands in exchange for some small but hugely symbolic issue to wave at your base, Obama chose financial ruin for political success.

I'm not saying I'm not happy for the tiny minority of Americans whom this affects, all I'm saying is that I'm pissed that Obama traded so much in return for so little.
posted by indubitable at 3:24 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And now that it's over, there's even less incentive for you not to stay home or vote Republican. Less meaningful difference between them, now.
posted by Flunkie at 3:26 PM on December 18, 2010



And now that it's over, there's even less incentive for you not to stay home or vote Republican. Less meaningful difference between them, now.


Now the most pressing issue on gay rights as far as I am concerned is gay marriage, which both Republicans and Obama oppose. I will be more likely to vote for some other candidate who holds the opinion that gay people should be equal and not separate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


losing your symbolic victories like DADT repeal

This is not symbolic. I thought we were in this together, gay and straight. I guess I stand corrected.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:29 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I served with people who were constantly afraid of who they were being revealed to the wrong people? It is NOT symbolic to them, nor to me.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:32 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(That should not be a question mark.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:33 PM on December 18, 2010


Gay rights activists–especially those less established and with fewer historical ties to power–went to work.

Yes, yes, it was the Gay rights activists, who it's said Obama regularly ignores, that convinced the President to change his mind. Uh huh.
posted by nomadicink at 3:35 PM on December 18, 2010


Most Christians oppose gay marriage since a core tenant in their religion defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

That's their deal and Obama has gone on record that he believes his religious beliefs should not interfere with his policies.

Unfortunately not everyone believes that, so getting gay marriage through congress is a very hard case to sell.

Civil unions (which in my opinion should replace marriage in the state's eyes for all couples) has the chance to give homosexuals the same rights that are granted to heterosexual couples.

So I agree with Obama albeit with mostly different reasons for why civil unions is a better way to provide the same rights to gay couples than marriage. I think marriage as a religious institution should be entirely separate from any government involvement.
posted by Allan Gordon at 3:36 PM on December 18, 2010


This is not symbolic. I thought we were in this together, gay and straight. I guess I stand corrected.

What I mean by this is that its perceived value far outweighs its actual value in terms of the number of people affected. When assigning priority to issues, you cannot assign them all infinity value, as much as we would all like to -- you must weigh their costs against their benefits. DADT repeal affects some subset of the already small population of the US military. National fiscal insolvency affects damn near everybody, and I don't think I need to tell you what it means if we start scaling back Social Security.

If it makes you feel better, though, you can continue to put words in my mouth and imply that I'm a bigot. I'm not terribly concerned about what some guy on the internet thinks of me.
posted by indubitable at 3:38 PM on December 18, 2010



Civil unions (which in my opinion should replace marriage in the state's eyes for all couples) has the chance to give homosexuals the same rights that are granted to heterosexual couples.


I would be fine with the get rid of marriage plan and just have civil unions for everyone, but that is NOT Obama's policy, and would face just as much opposition by Christians as gay marriage. The reality of civil unions is segregation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:41 PM on December 18, 2010


If it makes you feel better, though, you can continue to put words in my mouth and imply that I'm a bigot. I'm not terribly concerned about what some guy on the internet thinks of me.

If you think I implied you were a bigot (when I, for the record, did not intend to and do not believe I did) you might want to pause and more closely examine your logic here. I also think your zero-sum logic does not apply to the particulars of this case, but hey, I am just some guy on the internet.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:41 PM on December 18, 2010


Which is to say, I do not think this effort required nearly the amount of presidential (as opposed to, say, legislative) political capital as you evidently think it did. Pursuing an executive order at all costs approach most certainly would have. But Obama did not pursue that course. Much to the chagrin of many here, I might add. But the proof is in the pudding and the idea that DADT came at the expense of the recent tax bill compromises is conflating two unrelated issues. Like, say, conflating repeal of DADT and federal support for gay marriage.

But what better enemy of the good than the perfect(ly unrelated)? Happy holidays, all. I am celebrating this victory tonight with friends. Wish you all the best.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:45 PM on December 18, 2010


[few comments removed - take the day off Artw, everyone else, be decent to each other please, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 3:47 PM on December 18, 2010


I'm curious, though - is there something wrong with my argument? Are you going to actually try to rebut it? I'm saying, "the Democrats strategy of going for small, guaranteed wins appears to be a bad one, and here's why" - I provide an explanation as to why that is so, and also give analogies to other, well-known games.

Slow incremental gains have built this country. In 1968 a computer scientist demonstrated a working computer with a graphical user interface, video and audio conferencing, email, hypertext and everything else. Forty years of incrementalism and I have a device with those features in my pocket and it is also my phone. Incrementalism from Truman desegregating the armed forces, to Jackie Robison, to Brown, too
The Voting Rights act and the Civil Rights Act. It took almost 20 years and another 32 to elect Obama.

Hillary and Biden could not have accomplished what Obama has done. The proof is in the fact that they couldn't even win the nomination of party. Hillary Clinton had high approval ratings in the party, lots of money and connections. Obama had one really good speech at the 2004 convention. She's a talented pol, but Obama wiped the floor with her. How did he do it. Small little gains in caucus states, places like Guam that were not supposed to matter.

I'm pretty ignorant of poker, but if you insist we can play a few hands over at that place in 5th street by the river. Small stakes only, just to pass the time.
posted by humanfont at 3:50 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wonder what will happen when a married gay soldier is killed in action. Will his or her partner be denied survivor benefits? Will that be a death knell for DOMA?
posted by lullaby at 3:53 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates wrote: "This is a disgrace! On the other hand: Woo-hoo!! Immigrants who were brought to America when they were six months old still can't be citizens even if they join the military and/or go to college!! USA! USA!"

I had a teacher in high school who was one of those illegal immigrant babies. Her parents got her citizenship status fixed right up when she was a teenager. Of course, that was a long time ago, and her parents were US citizens...

furiousxgeorge wrote: "He opposes it, the only way it will get done is if congress overrides a veto which would make it slightly hard to give credit to Obama."

Has he said he would veto a DOMA repeal, or has he just said he's not for it? Presidents, even Bush, have often signed things they're personally opposed to where their feelings are not strong enough to make them believe they should veto Congress' decisions.

Anyway, it's my birthday, so I'm going to consider this one of the best birthday presents I've had in a long time, if ever. You haters can go fuck yourselves until tomorrow. :)
posted by wierdo at 3:55 PM on December 18, 2010


I'm curious, though - is there something wrong with my argument? Are you going to actually try to rebut it? I'm saying, "the Democrats strategy of going for small, guaranteed wins appears to be a bad one, and here's why" - I provide an explanation as to why that is so, and also give analogies to other, well-known games.

Depends on your definition of small, doesn't it? One thing about the Obama haters is that they automatically define their single view of what should occur as being easy and the obvious course of action--conveniently ignoring the fact that there are many different views within the Democratic party and amongst democratic voters. And there are hundreds of Democratic legislators, all of whom have their own views of these subjects. And the existence of the 60-vote, so-called "easy" filibuster is at the center of the problem. Every time I see the problem discussed amongst the Obama haters, the 60 votes who voted for Reid are described as a monolithic bloc, who merely need be called by Obama to put into action and vote as a complete whole.

The reality is far different, a kalidescope of shifting alliances, self-calculation, pragmatism and idealism, often all contained within a single vote by a single legislator. Herding such a group can never be easy, and the image presented by those angry at Obama--of a simple red v blue team model that the President refuses to lead, is flawed to the point of obscuring more than it reveals. It is hard work to win at this game and Obama has won all but one battle he has faced.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:01 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Senate Republicans made it quite clear that no business would get done in the lame duck session until the tax cuts were extended across the board. No DADT repeal, no START treaty, etc. Given two options -- letting all the Bush tax cuts expire and losing your symbolic victories like DADT repeal but not fiscally ruining the country, OR mostly caving on the tax cut demands in exchange for some small but hugely symbolic issue to wave at your base, Obama chose financial ruin for political success.

The Dems lacked the votes to break a filibuster of a tax bill only giving relief to the middle class. Therefore, they were never going to get it passed. Therefore, unrelated.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:06 PM on December 18, 2010


Pursuing an executive order at all costs approach most certainly would have. But Obama did not pursue that course. Much to the chagrin of many here, I might add.

An executive order would not have been the appropriate remedy. Executive orders only apply to the executive branch. While executive orders are sometimes used as a way for the President to effectively enact legislation, it's still technically unconstitutional to do so, and it could have led to a major legal shitstorm if Obama had tried to repeal DADT through such an order.

DADT was already a law, so it was appropriate to go through the legislative process in order to repeal it.

I'm curious, though - is there something wrong with my argument? Are you going to actually try to rebut it? I'm saying, "the Democrats strategy of going for small, guaranteed wins appears to be a bad one, and here's why" - I provide an explanation as to why that is so, and also give analogies to other, well-known games.

Your arguments ignore some political realities. One of these realities is that repealing DADT was not guaranteed (several prior bills to repeal all failed, even after the Dems gained majorities in 2006) and it was not small, unless we redefine "small" to mean "whatever we want to dismiss." Nobody is claiming that repealing DADT is the be-all and end-all of gay rights, but it's a major blow in the culture wars and it actually does have concrete, non-symbolic effect for hundreds of thousands of people, without even counting their friends, families, loved ones, and allies.

Your arguments also make the error of assuming that the Democrats represent a cohesive party with shared, what-in-America-we'd-call-leftist goals. The Democrats are, at best, a loose coalition of left-to-moderately-conservative politicians from a wide variety of states with very different cultures from one another. It's not merely an error of general strategy that keeps bullshit like the Bush tax cuts in play - it's also the fact that many Democrat politicians don't want to repeal those tax cuts.

This is not a minor fact, and that is why the comparisons to poker are inapt here. In poker, every player has the same ultimate goal - leave the table with the most money. So, while there are a variety of different poker strategies, and while some people might be in for a longer game than others, there's still a fundamental similarity between all the players, and as such we could say that a strategy which maximizes winnings is better than one that maximizes losses. Where this deviates from politics is the fact that not everyone has the same goal or priorities in politics, which is why it's much easier to teach yourself how to play a decent game of poker than it is to become a very successful career politician.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


@wierdo: Obama supports DOMA repeal.

Hillary and Biden could not have accomplished what Obama has done. The proof is in the fact that they couldn't even win the nomination of party.


Oh, BS. The ability to win a presidential primary is not the same thing as the ability to govern and strong arm votes in the Senate.

One thing about the Obama haters is that they automatically define their single view of what should occur as being easy and the obvious course of action


Take THAT strawman!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Lieberman had had his way, McCain would have been President, remember? So let's not be kissing his ass too hard over this.
posted by moorooka at 4:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, the "small victories don't work" metric crumbles when you examine the history behind the fight for equal rights for women and for blacks. There was no single watershed moment for either movement, although some were much larger than others, and even the large victories (Civil Rights Act of 1965) came in the wake of many smaller victories. Huge political gambles like the Equal Rights Amendment have a tendency to flop, even though, in the case of the ERA, there's also the fact that much of the ERA's meat was absorbed into other, smaller laws.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:12 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


And let's not forget that DADT leads directly to the following form of argument, which is a winner, almost any time it's used:

"If they're good enough to die for our country, then they are good enough to X" for almost anything you feel like substituting, marriage probably first among them.
posted by empath at 4:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Lieberman had had his way, McCain would have been President, remember? So let's not be kissing his ass too hard over this.
Ah, but there's no difference between McCain and Obama*. So, obviously, Lieberman would have got this done regardless.

* Except perhaps that Obama kept his mouth shut when Iran was in revolt over their stolen election
posted by Flunkie at 4:17 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pentagon: Lifting gay ban to take time
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on December 18, 2010


Most Christians oppose gay marriage since a core tenant in their religion defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

If most "Christians" were legitimately, actually Christians (as opposed to people who maybe go to church on Sunday and enjoy having those structures in their life) that would be awesome, because things would be a lot different.
posted by yo! at 4:22 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why? Because then they'd be saying that the effeminate deserve death?
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on December 18, 2010


OT literalism is really not what Christians are supposed to be following.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:24 PM on December 18, 2010


I was referring to the New Testament.
posted by Flunkie at 4:24 PM on December 18, 2010


Metafilter is just so depressing sometimes. This is a good thing. Maybe it's not the best thing ever but it's still a good thing. For whatever their individual motivations, Obama and the Democrats in Congress actually got it together and did the right thing. Why is it so hard to be happy about one thing? I know that Obama shot all of our collective dogs but just for once can't we accept that he did this thing right?
posted by octothorpe at 4:24 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]



I was referring to the New Testament.


Well whatever, there is a lot of good stuff in there too, you should just ignore the bad stuff on gay rights because there was a lot of other stuff that was good and hard to convince people to go along with. "Turn the other cheek" was an incremental step forward in human rights.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:27 PM on December 18, 2010


I want my goddamn pony.
posted by nomadicink at 4:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want my goddamn pony.

You've got a tail, two legs, and the stomach. Please wait right where you are for fifteen years for the rest of the horse.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2010


Why? Because then they'd be saying that the effeminate deserve death?

Yes. All gay men are effeminate, and only gay men are effeminate.

Alternately, don't do this.
posted by hippybear at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, not that pony, the other one.
posted by nomadicink at 4:32 PM on December 18, 2010


I didn't say that all gay men are effeminate, or that only gay men are effeminate. I said that the New Testament says that the effeminate deserve death.
posted by Flunkie at 4:38 PM on December 18, 2010


re: Obama and gay marriage, it's true that he said he doesn't support it, but that's a purely personal opinion ostensibly derived from his religious beliefs. When it comes to actual law, he's been a defender of equality for same-sex couples, publicly opposing DOMA, Prop 8, and DADT. His Justice Department may have fought to defend challenges to these laws, but that's pretty much the Justice Department's job, so I don't really count that against him. Especially when he's already done more positive things like extending hospital visitation rights and hiring more LGBT personnel into his administration than any other president in history. He also supports a civil union model that affords the same legal rights as marriage.

IMHO, his "opposition" to gay marriage is just rhetoric for the sake of politics, and if Perry v. Schwarzenegger winds up making it legal nationwide, I think he would welcome it.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:40 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I support amending the Constitution to remove the presidency entirely so that we can goddam talk about something else in political threads instead of just he is good/he is bad all the fucking time jesus christ DADT was repealed and that's awesome guys what the shit.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:42 PM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


*The Dems lacked the votes to break a filibuster of a tax bill only giving relief to the middle class. Therefore, they were never going to get it passed.

Nowhere did I mention a middle-class tax relief bill. I pretty clearly laid out (in the text you quoted, even) the two options available and which he chose. Really, if you're going to go to the trouble of quoting me, at least read what you're quoting.
posted by indubitable at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2010


Nowhere did I mention a middle-class tax relief bill. I pretty clearly laid out (in the text you quoted, even) the two options available and which he chose.

And then he pointed out how that was a false dichotomy. There weren't enough votes to get a tax bill through that didn't incorporate the Bush tax cuts anyhow, so the Republican threat to keep the Bush cuts "or else" was either toothless with regard to DADT, a bit of smart gamesmanship to make it appear as if the Dems are even weaker than they are, or some combination of both.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:01 PM on December 18, 2010


Oh, BS. The ability to win a presidential primary is not the same thing as the ability to govern and strong arm votes in the Senate.

Good luck strong arming a Senator. Washington doesn't work like that anymore. Obama had the most productive legislative session since LBJ. Even losingfhe house he's still getting stuff pushed through.
posted by humanfont at 5:02 PM on December 18, 2010


Well whatever, there is a lot of good stuff in there too, you should just ignore the bad stuff on gay rights

For what it's worth, Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. It's possible to consider oneself a follower of Jesus and still think there's a lot of backward, racist, homophobic Bronze Age nonsense in the Bible.
posted by EarBucket at 5:04 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good luck strong arming a Senator. Washington doesn't work like that anymore.
Anymore?
Yet the difficulty abroad was far less troublesome than the obstacles at home. The Senate had grown more and more unmanageable, even since the time of Andrew Johnson, and this was less the fault of the Senate than of the system. "A treaty of peace, in any normal state of things," said Hay, "ought to be ratified with unanimity in twenty-four hours. They wasted six weeks in wrangling over this one, and ratified it with one vote to spare. We have five or six matters now demanding settlement. I can settle them all, honorably and advantageously to our own side; and I am assured by leading men in the Senate that not one of these treaties, if negotiated, will pass the Senate. I should have a majority in every case, but a malcontent third would certainly dish every one of them. To such monstrous shape has the original mistake of the Constitution grown in the evolution of our politics. You must understand, it is not merely my solution the Senate will reject. They will reject, for instance, any treaty, whatever, on any subject, with England. I doubt if they would accept any treaty of consequence with Russia or Germany. The recalcitrant third would be differently composed, but it would be on hand. So that the real duties of a Secretary of State seem to be three: to fight claims upon us by other States; to press more or less fraudulent claims of our own citizens upon other countries; to find offices for the friends of Senators when there are none. Is it worth while -- for me -- to keep up this useless labor?"
The "Hay" being quoted here is John Hay, Secretary of State at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

From The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams.
posted by Flunkie at 5:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are so many things that are so much more important than DADT that, as you say, making a complete list would be pointlessly long and verbose.

There were a lot more important things than whether blacks could sit at the front of a bus or not.

I take it this is not your hangnail. That's still not an excise for your comment. You know, there are also worse things than having cancer. I suspect you wouldn't walk into an oncologist's office when somebody has gotten their notice that their cancer is in full remission and say "Who cares? There are people STARVING IN INDIA."

This is one of those circumstances where minimizing a triumph of justice, however small, does nothing except emphasize your own lack of taste, compassion, and tact. I'd highly recommend dialing it back. To zero.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


There are so many things that are so much more important than DADT that, as you say, making a complete list would be pointlessly long and verbose.

You're that kid who was complaining to the mall Santa about the crap he got last year, aren't you?
posted by EarBucket at 5:12 PM on December 18, 2010


I said that the New Testament says that the effeminate deserve death.

No it doesn't. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says the Malakoi do not deserve the kingdom of heaven. The word suggests intellectual or moral laxness or softness.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:17 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


IMHO, his "opposition" to gay marriage is just rhetoric for the sake of politics...

That's what I thought about his opposition to pulling out of Afghanistan.

Wishful thinking is a hell of a drug.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:24 PM on December 18, 2010


I don't know Greek, ancient or otherwise. I know that the King James says "effeminate". You're correct that that verse says they won't inherit the kingdom of God, rather than "deserve death". It also says, incidentally, that "abusers of themselves with mankind" fall into the same group (as do thieves and extortioners, among others), so a claimed translation of the Greek other than the one the KJV uses doesn't seem really relevant to the main point.

But, again, yes, it says they won't inherit the kingdom of God, rather than "death". I'm sorry, I was confusing this verse, off the top of my head, with Romans 1, which says "worthy of death".
posted by Flunkie at 5:30 PM on December 18, 2010


This is good.
posted by honeydew at 5:32 PM on December 18, 2010


I know that the King James says "effeminate".

King James is not the New Testament, and certainly not the only translation. Christians are certainly capable of reading a different version, which is more accurate, although perhaps lacking in King James' extraordinary poetry.

They can also choose the historically likely reading of Roman 1: As a condemnation of shrine prostitution.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:36 PM on December 18, 2010



Good luck strong arming a Senator. Washington doesn't work like that anymore. Obama had the most productive legislative session since LBJ. Even losingfhe house he's still getting stuff pushed through.


Ok, let me rephrase:

The ability to win a presidential primary is not the same thing as the ability to govern and persuade senators to vote with you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:38 PM on December 18, 2010


Oh, please. Do you really want to continue arguing this?

According to Wikipedia, "Malakoi" was associated with effeminacy. I'm not claiming that Wikipedia is infallible, but do you genuinely know how "Malakoi" was used in ancient Greece, or did you just google something and more or less quote the first thing that seemed reasonable?

And don't pretend that the KJV is alone in this; NIV: "men who have sex with men"; New American Standard: "homosexuals", New Living Version: "practice homosexuality", and I would bet lots and lots of others.

Finally, as for the purported interpretation of Romans 1 as being about "shrine prostitution", come on. Are you serious? Have you read it? It's a condemnation of everything that supposedly caused fall from grace with God for people in general, including not just men who lie with men and women who lie with women, but murderers, slanderers, the arrogant, and on and on. It doesn't say anything obviously related, to any degree, about shrines or prostitutes, let alone shrine prostitutes, as far as I can see, in any translation that I've seen.

Now, I'm not a Biblical scholar. Maybe all of that stuff about the general fall from grace is specifically about temple prostitutes. But it doesn't seem likely to me. Are you a Biblical scholar? And in any case, can you provide a cite for this "condemnation of shrine prostitution" being "historically likely"?
posted by Flunkie at 5:47 PM on December 18, 2010




IMHO, his "opposition" to gay marriage is just rhetoric for the sake of politics...

That's what I thought about his opposition to pulling out of Afghanistan.


A better comparison would be health care in this case.

Gay Marriage is socialized medicine. True believers know Obama secretly supports it, but it isn't politically realistic, so we compromise down to...

Civil Unions. The public option. Obama publicly supports it but it is hard to find evidence that he will work to overcome opposition to the policy so we end up with...

DADT and our seriously flawed health care bill. A good thing, better than nothing, not enough to inspire me not to look at other candidates.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:49 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why is it so hard to be happy about one thing?

Because it counters a narrative that people want to believe.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:53 PM on December 18, 2010


Flunkie, you really think one anti-gay passage in the NT taints the whole thing? Why don't you look at the whole body of work before you make a judgment? There is a lot of stuff in there that is a vast improvement on what came before. You shouldn't let one thing get in the way of a total net good. No religion or philosophy will be pure enough not to have one or two serious errors in its history.

Jesus had to choose his battles, he didn't have forever to do his thing and he faced strong opposition. He was still a transformative leader who brought hope to a lot of people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: If you didn't have such a long and established identity I'd be sure you were just trolling. I didn't think anyone could be that cynical and bitter towards Obama.

There zero chance that Obama will Veto this law.

Absolutely.

Completely.

Beyond Doubt.

Zero.

Since I do know you are sincere I will instead just kind of feel sorry for you. I hope that on the day this is signed into law your Grinch heart will grow at least one size.
posted by Bonzai at 6:04 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is more than one anti-gay passage in the NT, and yes, I think that a work purported to be that of the creator of the universe should be held to an extremely high standard, and that such a work is tainted when it includes hatred and bigotry.

But this is not really related to my original point, which is that it seems to me that referring to people who believe the bad parts, and not the good parts, of the Bible as in some sense "not really Christians" is no more accurate than would be referring to people who believe in the good parts, and not the bad parts, as such.

Obviously you can refer to the people who believe in the good parts as "good" and the people who believe in the bad parts as "bad", and if you were to do so, I would agree to you. But I don't agree that one of them has a better claim to being "Christian" than the other; both things are in the Christian holy book. That most Christians ignore the bad stuff, while (say) Fred Phelps ignores the good stuff, does not mean that Fred Phelps is wrong that the Bible has bad stuff; it means that most Christians are fundamentally decent people, and Fred Phelps is not.
posted by Flunkie at 6:06 PM on December 18, 2010


I'll shut up about this now. I didn't mean to derail the thread so much, and I regretted having done so as soon as I hit "Post" on the first such comment.
posted by Flunkie at 6:08 PM on December 18, 2010


Why DADT Repeal Will Pass and DREAM Won't:

Gays dropped their votes to Dems significantly from 2008 levels. Hispanics voted for Democrats at about 2008 levels despite horrible policies against them.  You only have leverage if you are willing to defect in a high profile fashion.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:11 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]



There is more than one anti-gay passage in the NT, and yes, I think that a work purported to be that of the creator of the universe should be held to an extremely high standard, and that such a work is tainted when it includes hatred and bigotry.


But it isn't really that, it's a book of philosophy written by men trying to be moral leaders. You have to take the good with the bad in any human product, but it is safe the say the bulk of the thrust of the message of the NT is to love your neighbor and take care of the sick and less fortunate. Only a purist who could not get over one or two bad things in the book would consider people who use it to encourage hate and violence equally true to the message. When you get right down to it, whoever it says to kill, it also has that thing about who should be the one to cast the first stone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Slow incremental gains have built this country. In 1968 a computer scientist demonstrated a working computer with a graphical user interface, video and audio conferencing, email, hypertext and everything else.

Are you really comparing the effectiveness of our current government to that of the computer industry? It's hard to think of ANY human undertaking that moved faster than the computer industry. (And you should check your facts - I'm assuming you're referring to Englebart's demos, which did not include email nor audio/video conferencing to the best of my knowledge...)

Perhaps it was made up of tiny increments (though from having lived through it as an active participant it seemed like new brilliancy after new brilliancy as fast as one could follow) but the rate at which these increments arrived was incredibly fast.

These two fields of endeavour are not at all comparable, anyway. If company X makes technological progress, it doesn't set back competitor Y - in fact, Y can often leap ahead of company X in their next generation by analyzing their competitor's product.

All electronics companies are more or less going in the same direction and are racing to get there. It's like a marathon race where other strong competitors will help you get a better time.

Contrast this to our current government where there are two sides with diametrically opposed positions who have basically ground progress to a halt - it's like a football game in the mud where neither team ever makes headway.

We had very little time in this last electoral cycle. There were huge problems besetting us at every side - the collapsing economy, the permanently unemployed, the endless war, the security state, health care, climate change, our collapsing infrastructure, the failed educational system - real, non-symbolic problems that demand concrete solutions.

We really haven't addressed one of these issues in an effective way in the last two years, and it's really hard to believe that we're going to do better in the next two years as we have been promised two years of gridlock.


So you can talk about your "incremental gains" all you like, but the US took some terrible blows in the last 10 years and is sinking fast, and we needed some serious wins, which we did not get.

We have no time for symbolic victories. But the only reason they are allowing us this victory is precisely because it is symbolic - because it only affects a small number of people, because it doesn't stop the military-industrial complex from pillaging the treasury, nor the investment banks from gutting the economy, or really change much of anything at all.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:19 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good news: more can get into the army
Bad news: fewer can get out of the army
posted by knoyers at 6:21 PM on December 18, 2010


Sticherbeast: "Also, the "small victories don't work" metric crumbles when you examine the history behind the fight for equal rights for women and for blacks. There was no single watershed moment for either movement, although some were much larger than others, and even the large victories (Civil Rights Act of 1965) came in the wake of many smaller victories. Huge political gambles like the Equal Rights Amendment have a tendency to flop, even though, in the case of the ERA, there's also the fact that much of the ERA's meat was absorbed into other, smaller laws"

Bears repeating. Christ, be happy about this already, even if it does nothing to change your mind about Obama.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:21 PM on December 18, 2010


Well, incremental victories don't work when you rest on your last small victory. No time to stop fighting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:29 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


No time to stop fighting.

from hippybear's link:

"Once this legislation is signed into law by the president, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully," Gates said. ... Meanwhile, he told troops, current law and policy will remain in effect. ... A servicewide memo will be sent instructing any gay or lesbian servicemembers not to openly declare their sexual orientation because they could potentially be subject to separation from the military, NBC News said.

In other words: "We'll get on it. But these things can't be rushed. In the mean time, keep your revolting queerness to yourself."
posted by Joe Beese at 6:39 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well of course not? That sort of goes with the whole idea there; they being "incremental" and all. The plural is latent there. Does this not go without saying?

Sorry, I'm not seeing anyone dusting off their hands and saying, "Welp, that's a wrap, everyone go home now - gay rights have reached their apex."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:39 PM on December 18, 2010


"Well of course not" being in response to furiousxgeorge there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:41 PM on December 18, 2010


I see a president who doesn't want to end gay marriage bans. Anyway, how is DOMA repeal coming, what's the game plan?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:42 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus had to choose his battles, he didn't have forever to do his thing and he faced strong opposition. He was still a transformative leader who brought hope to a lot of people.

It should be noted that Paul wrote Corinthians and Romans, and his only contact with Jesus was a hallucination after he fell off his horse.
posted by empath at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says the Malakoi do not deserve the kingdom of heaven.

That was a typo. It actually says Malachai doesn't deserve the kingdom of heaven. (Paul went to school with him, and he always wore his robes with popped collars. Guy was a douche.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


ays dropped their votes to Dems significantly from 2008 levels. Hispanics voted for Democrats at about 2008 levels

Joe Beese, I'm just not buying it, that the only reason DADT is passing is because gays made a fuss. Do you have any better arguments that might prove that point of view?
posted by nomadicink at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2010


> > Why is it so hard to be happy about one thing?
> Because it counters a narrative that people want to believe.

It's funny that we can use all the reasoning we like to justify our positions, and yet people will just attribute our reasoned positions to some sort of psychological issue on our parts.

Let me put this in terms of another game that people might know better - poker.

You have been playing all night and you are down ten thousand dollars, more money than you have in the bank. Then you win $100. Are you happy?

No - and you shouldn't be. You didn't get to the horrible state you're in by losing $100 pots - you aren't going to get back to some sort of reasonable state that way either.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2010


Joe Beese: "In other words: "We'll get on it. But these things can't be rushed. In the mean time, keep your revolting queerness to yourself."

Or, you know, maybe the Pentagon isn't actually a treehouse, and the military is a huge, byzantine structure that actually does take time to change from the top down in terms of issuing new orders, establishing new guidelines, training personal and so forth, and maybe Gates actually doesn't want to see anyone discharged for their sexual orientation over some bureaucratic error.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


DADT and our seriously flawed health care bill. A good thing, better than nothing, not enough to inspire me not to look at other candidates.

Lily Ledbetter restoring a woman's right to sue for wage discrimination. Saving GM and Chrysler. Energy policies in the stimulus bill that shift us to solar and wind and conservation (did you get new windows or insulation with the tax credit, did you notice the booming solar industry check out the FSLR). Increased funding to build out mass transit systems and high speed passenger rail. Increasnig CAFE standards and including light trucks. Nationalizing the student loan business saving millions in interest and unnecessary fees. Oh and the HCR bill doesn't include the public option, but it does include health care exchanges which the republicans seem to realize a just going to end up being the same thing, even if you are too busy reading Chomski or Nader to notice. Oh and we have pulled out all our combat troops from Iraq and most of the rest will be gone come summer. Even with the evolving situation in Afghanistan the president got the military review to agree that troops would still begin to pull out of Afghansitan this summer and be out by 2014. It sucks fhat unemployment is as 9.8%, but the Obama boom is coming.
posted by humanfont at 6:55 PM on December 18, 2010


No - and you shouldn't be. You didn't get to the horrible state you're in by losing $100 pots - you aren't going to get back to some sort of reasonable state that way either.

Why not? You have $100 more than you had last hand.
posted by empath at 6:55 PM on December 18, 2010


@humanfront: Yes, I am aware of that stuff not sure why you decided to post it.

It sucks fhat unemployment is as 9.8%, but the Obama boom is coming.


hahahahahahahahaha, yeah, this time the tax cuts for rich people will work.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:00 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Joe Beese, I'm just not buying it, that the only reason DADT is passing is because gays made a fuss. Do you have any better arguments that might prove that point of view?

In 2008, 19% of GLB votes went to Republicans.

In 2010, 31% of GLB votes went to Republicans.

(And gay rights donations fell to their lowest levels in 20 years.)

One month later, the President finally made some phone calls on behalf of repeal.

But perhaps one has nothing to do with the other. Perhaps it just took Obama two years to clear enough room on his schedule for this expression of his equality-loving* heart.

* Thought not supportive of equal marriage rights, because they make the baby Jesus cry.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


In 2010, 31% of GLB votes went to Republicans.

Yeah, read that link that first two times you posted it and noted that sample size was pretty small and there was a large room for error. Do you have any more substantial that could prove this point?

One month later, the President finally made some phone calls on behalf of repeal.

Cite, please?
posted by nomadicink at 7:18 PM on December 18, 2010


hiring more LGBT personnel into his administration

Only because many of the LGBT hired into the W administration are still deeply closeted.
posted by gyc at 7:19 PM on December 18, 2010


Joe Beese: You know the president isn't in charge of congress, don't you?
posted by gjc at 7:21 PM on December 18, 2010


You didn't get to the horrible state you're in by losing $100 pots - you aren't going to get back to some sort of reasonable state that way either.

Chasing your losses isn't a valid poker strategy, it's a sign of gambling addiction.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:22 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


... the military is a huge, byzantine structure that actually does take time to change from the top down...

We're not talking about issuing checks for partner benefits. We're talking about stopping discharges of people for saying they're gay.

Suspending all investigations and discharge proceedings requires sending exactly one memo. Its issuance can be made known to every person in the United States military - except those in a coma due to combat injuries - within 24 hours.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:23 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cite, please?

No point.

I gave you cites for the dramatic decline in gay votes and dollars. You sniffed at the first (though apparently unable to cite anything "better" to support your own view) and conveniently ignored the second.

Fortunately, "Is nomadicink convinced?" is a question towards which I can truthfully boast a supreme indifference.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:50 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, seriously, your links don't support what you wrote. At best, it's just guess work, there's no there there you know? I usually ignore your links these days, but I was curious this time. But there is no firm connection between low gay voter turn out and Obama pushing for DADT repeal now, at least not in the links you yourself posted.
posted by nomadicink at 8:14 PM on December 18, 2010


I'm more confused at why almost a third of all self-identified gays and lesbians would have voted for a party whose platform has a "gays aren't real Americans" plank this year. They can't all live in Maine, right?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:31 PM on December 18, 2010


I'm more confused at why almost a third of all self-identified gays and lesbians would have voted for a party whose platform has a "gays aren't real Americans" plank this year. They can't all live in Maine, right?

I don't blame gay people for being angry and feeling betrayed by the Demos. I can, in that context, see how some may lash out, and withhold their vote from the same Demos - staying home, as it were, and not voting. But actually voting for the Republicans?! That's pretty counterproductive and depressing. Unless those are Repubs who are gay-friendly vs the do-nothing Demo, but well, that's not exactly the rule.

The other aspect of it, is that gay people are simply people like anybody else. There are gays of all political beliefs. There are not inconsiderable numbers who are conservative. And much as I'm appalled by those who go out of their way to throw in their lot with their oppressors, it's their right to do so. In any political calculus, you must always count a percentage as going in the "less likely" direction. That's how you get 20% Latinos supporting racist GOP anti-immigrant and Latino-bashing politicians. And so on. So it's not really all that shocking.

The number though in this case is distressing... over 30%... wow! Sometimes it really feels hopeless. I mean, I'm straight, and I certainly rallied, contributed financially, organized and so on, and well, it's depressing when you realize that every third person not only doesn't give a fuck, but is gonna vote in exactly the opposite way. Ultimately, you go on, simply because it's the right thing to do. But yeah, it can get depressing. And this certainly is a depressing number.
posted by VikingSword at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2010


I never thought I'd thank Smokin' Joe Lieberman for anything.

But thank you, sir.
posted by bardic at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2010


I thank Sarah Palin for this. Without her, Lieberman would have been the VP nominee and they would have had a better chance to win. With McCain in office, this would have hit a veto.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 PM on December 18, 2010


> Chasing your losses isn't a valid poker strategy, it's a sign of gambling addiction.

I really do feel that people pick a random sentence from what I post and simply textually rebut it, without any heed for its context.

Unfortunately, as should be obvious, you cannot get out of this game. Someone has to govern the country, and by refusing to participate entirely, you allow the bad guys to win.


>> No - and you shouldn't be. You didn't get to the horrible state you're in by losing $100 pots - you aren't going to get back to some sort of reasonable state that way either.

> Why not? You have $100 more than you had last hand.

Would you really be happy? You have just lost everything you had - and more. Then you do win - but it's a tiny amount that won't possibly change the terrible outcome.

You only get a certain number of wins - in poker, in life, in anything. You have to make these count. You have to pay attention to the magnitude of these wins - or you'll be happy with a free Pepsi while you're about to lose your house.

If you keep alternating small wins and huge losses, you will lose overall. You should not be happy with these small wins - they show the bankruptcy of your strategy.


Actually, I don't think most of you understand gaming at all or you wouldn't make these arguments.

So... it's Christmas... you are expecting a bike or a puppy but you get underwear. You should be happy! You didn't have these underwear and now you do!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:15 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Sorry, I'm not seeing anyone dusting off their hands and saying, "Welp, that's a wrap, everyone go home now"

This is the end of the legislative session. In the next session, the Republicans will control Congress.

So in fact, yes, this is a wrap. You aren't going to see any more progressive legislation for a long, long time.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:20 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, maybe one more, not sure if this is progressive as much as common fucking decency though:

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said Saturday that she and other sponsors of a stalled 9/11 health bill had won new Republican support for the measure and intended to try again to pass it before the end of the 111th Congress.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:25 PM on December 18, 2010


While executive orders are sometimes used as a way for the President to effectively enact legislation, it's still technically unconstitutional to do so, and it could have led to a major legal shitstorm if Obama had tried to repeal DADT through such an order.

DADT was already a law, so it was appropriate to go through the legislative process in order to repeal it.


Uh, I think you totally misunderstood my point.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:05 PM on December 18, 2010


So... it's Christmas... you are expecting a bike or a puppy but you get underwear. You should be happy! You didn't have these underwear and now you do!

Yeah, most of us are not 9 years old.
posted by empath at 10:33 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Malakoi is Greek for "soft." But I'm glad you know how to use Wikipedia. You clearly didn't read it closely enough, however, to see that it's association with effeminacy is nothing like our current understanding of it, but instead lacking courage. Neither do you seem to have read down to the fact that the first two uses of it in the New Testament refer to expensive clothing, and the third is generally translated now as "temple prostitute."

I'm not sure why you're arguing this. You started out arguing that real Christians would demand the death of gay people, and it has deteriorated as you have revealed that you don't know the New Testament, and certainly don't know Greek. I'm happy to count the number of angels on the end of a pin with somebody else, but only with somebody who actually knows what an angel and what a pin is.

Finally, as for the purported interpretation of Romans 1 as being about "shrine prostitution", come on. Are you serious? Have you read it?

I've read it in the original Greek and done textural comparisons with Greek texts from the era. Have you?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:49 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Flunkie: "Finally, as for the purported interpretation of Romans 1 as being about "shrine prostitution", come on. Are you serious? Have you read it? "

Astro Zombie: "I've read it in the original Greek and done textural comparisons with Greek texts from the era. Have you?"

Ωψηεδ
posted by Rhaomi at 10:55 PM on December 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


That's brilliant, Rhaomi, even if I did spend a few minutes trying to figure out what an Awpseed was.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:06 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Ωψηεδ

I googled it, scratched my head at why google had never seen it before, did a fry squint.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:10 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh, I plugged it into Google Translate and got "Oopsied," which somehow works even better in context.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:13 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just for clarification, I get into a bit of a snit of the "Bible says homosexuality is bad" because it's just not true. There really is nothing about homosexuality as we currently know it. There's a lot of stuff in opposition to pagan cultic practices, which is quite evident from reading the texts in their original language and comparing word usage with how the same words are used elsewhere. But we're stuck with translations done centuries after the books were written, often at times when Greek scholarship had deteriorates and the original cultural context had been forgotten.

And this is an issue because people use these verses to oppress gay people, and that's not just not very Christian, or, for that matter, just very decent -- it's bad scholarship.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:20 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Yeah, most of us are not 9 years old.

It's like you're deliberately avoiding even mentioning my actual arguments in order to, again, pick out some textual zinger.

We are making tiny progress.

We need to make huge progress.

Soon the Republicans will come back in and we won't have a chance to make any progress at all.

To see this last Congress as anything other than a miserable failure is self-delusion. To see the repeal of DADT as anything other than a tiny consolation prize shows a complete lack of a sense of perspective.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:23 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


To see this last Congress as anything other than a miserable failure is self-delusion.

Oh, that's ridiculous. The accomplishments of this Congress are sizable, and I'd enumerate them, but it's not my job to summarize the past two years of legislative accomplishment for someone who apparently can't be arsed to read a newspaper or do two seconds of online research.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:26 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy: "To see this last Congress Senate as anything other than a miserable failure is self-delusion. "

FTFY. Pelosi kicked ass this session.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:28 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fortunately, "Is nomadicink convinced?" is a question towards which I can truthfully boast a supreme indifference.

I think you do care. I think you want to demonstrate you are right. Otherwise, why would you even say you were indifferent?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:40 PM on December 18, 2010


So you can talk about your "incremental gains" all you like, but the US took some terrible blows in the last 10 years and is sinking fast, and we needed some serious wins, which we did not get.

Yeah right. The U.S. is always sinking fast. It's always five years away from utter disaster, and always has been since I was a child. Any and all progress is always discounted because of the latest thing the bastards managed to do. I remember I used to be that way too, wailing that because George Bush senior got elected it was going to be the end of the world. And I couldn't understand why my mother was so sanguine. Of course she had friends who fought and died in the Abraham Lincoln brigade and lost everything in the great Depression. She remembered when things were worse. And now I kind of understand her position.

Anyway, people who can't celebrate the minor victories, who can't settle for incremental progress in the hope for a great revolution, eventually render themselves useless through bitterness and negativity. They may even lose enough faith in the future to become science fiction writers.

Myself, I'll celebrate this little victory and remember that there's always progress to be made. And that we're always five years from utter disaster.
posted by happyroach at 11:48 PM on December 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


To see this last Congress as anything other than a miserable failure is self-delusion. To see the repeal of DADT as anything other than a tiny consolation prize shows a complete lack of a sense of perspective.

Your entire case stands on minimizing legislation actually passed. There's nothing weaker than that. You cannot deny that programs of titanic import and size were passed. All you can try to do is say that these bills aren't very good. You cannot point to a lack of effort or passed results. Compare these bills to those of any other first two years of any presidency. Do it. Tell me who is better. The names you'll conjure up are the titanic political movers of our history. That's who you could even say was better.

And that's saying this President has done a tremendous job.<
posted by Ironmouth at 11:57 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


1) Flunkie: Most legitimate modern scholarship agrees that the bible -- both the old *and* the new testaments -- had pretty much nothing to say about homosexuality. I have not read the new testament in the original Greek, but I have read the old testament in the original Hebrew, and could explain the mistranslations there, if you like. (I am aware that this doesn't matter for how most modern Christians interpret the old and new testament, but for what it's worth, Astro Zombie is completely correct; they do not properly understand their own holy texts.)

2) lupus_yonderboy: You may feel that people are nitpicking, but what they have been trying to tell you that your analysis of poker strategy is not only deeply flawed, but in fact the opposite of true. Making relatively small incremental gains by betting on sure things is one of the best, if not the best, strategy for winning money in poker and/or making back previous poker losses. And since it was your analogy to begin with, they have been implying that your lack of understanding of good poker strategy may also reflect a lack of understanding of good political strategy. I.e., if politics is actually anything like poker, then your description of the best strategy is incorrect. They are not nitpicking so much as trying to say that there are different views of what the best strategy is, and the analogy you chose would actually support them far more than you.

3) Far more important than the first two, superceding them ... this in, in fact, HUGE. This is a big deal. Does it only directly affect a small number of people? Sure. So did miscegenation laws. This is about, slowly but surely, making the rules the same for everyone. An incremental step, yes, but a very visible and important one. A blow to the idea that homosexuals are different/other/inferior/unworthy. Hit that idea with enough blows, and someday it may come tumbling down.
posted by kyrademon at 3:19 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rachel Maddow:
"Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President's victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done."
posted by ericb at 3:25 AM on December 19, 2010


"I'm very queer-friendly (LGBT, etc) - but I don't see why this is of any great importance."

Racial integration of the military helped spur racial integration and equal rights in the rest of society. Blacks and whites who previously may have avoided interacting were required to work together, giving them the opportunity to learn that a lot of their prejudices weren't true and sending them home with a better attitude about racial issues and equality.

When a major institution that ~10% of the people in your society will be involved in at some point in their lives takes an official stance in favor of equality, that affects not only them but everyone they influence for the rest of their lives.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:39 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), who has been evasive on Don't Ask Don't Tell, was not in the chamber [yesterday] for any of the votes. ABC News reports that he was instead attending a holiday party." *
posted by ericb at 5:02 AM on December 19, 2010


"'Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda,' said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Christian organization that promotes what it calls 'the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built.'

'This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military's ability to fulfill its mission,' Perkins said in a statement." *
posted by ericb at 5:09 AM on December 19, 2010


“‘It’s not possible to overestimate the historical significance,’ said David Mixner, a longtime Democratic political operative, fundraiser and gay rights advocate. ‘It’s a milestone and a historical moment and a turning point. In this incredible, epic, civil rights battle, it’s a huge victory — the first victory of this magnitude ever by the Congress of the United States.’

Still, aside from those deeply invested in the fight, most of America seemed likely to react with an approving shrug. With recent polls showing as many as 80 percent of the public in favor of repeal, the struggles repeal legislation faced over the past year suggested Washington’s consternation over the issue far exceeded worry about it across the country.

In a sign of the cultural shift, even some steadfast conservatives climbed aboard the repeal effort at the last moment. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) cast an unexpected vote in favor, citing a ‘generational transition that has taken place in our nation.’ Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also said he supported ending ‘don’t ask.’

‘It’s like this great wave. It’s molecular change — more and more of the public either understands that discrimination isn’t right, or they don’t get the issue being an issue at all,’ said Dudley Clendinen, an author and historian of the gay-rights movement.

‘It’s ludicrous that this is even a battle, but that’s just the reality. The Beltway is usually the last place to catch on what’s going on in the country,’ Mixner said.

The vote of Burr, 55, is especially illustrative of the shifting culture.

Such a stance would have been unthinkable just a few years ago by a GOP senator from the state that sent Jesse Helms to Washington for 30 years.

But North Carolina, like the rest of the country, isn't the same place as it was when the policy was implemented.

… Burr's vote and subsequent statement nodding to the changing times reflects a politician, just re-elected last month, who knows where the consensus on this once-thorny issue is moving and where it will squarely be in 2016.” *
posted by ericb at 5:19 AM on December 19, 2010


"Some top universities moved quickly Saturday to respond to the vote repealing the ban on gays in the military, and those who don't restore their ROTC programs in the wake of the vote are likely to face immediate pressure on the issue."
posted by octothorpe at 6:05 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]



It sucks fhat unemployment is as 9.8%, but the Obama boom is coming.

hahahahahahahahaha, yeah, this time the tax cuts for rich people will work.

furiousxgeorge seems like you don't give a shit about equal pay, the environment, public transportation, or unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. Cause we traded tax cuts for rich people to get all that. It sucks that we have to give every billionaire enough money to buy more 4 ferraris, but it that means a couple million people can continue to squeak along, that's not a bad thing IMO.
Record corporate profits, a few booming sectors like green manufacturing and IT that can create more jobs. Ultimately this will begin to drive up consumer spending. A weakening dollar will make domestic producers more competitive in exports as well as in selling in the US. It probably is still about 8-10 months out, but it is coming. Construction and housing is still the dumps, and that's the main thing keeping the economy down at the moment.

posted by humanfont at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2010


hahahahahahahahaha, yeah, this time the tax cuts for rich people will work.

There will be a boom coming, just because of the business cycle. Tax cuts and whatever else Obama passes won't make much difference, except at the edges.
posted by empath at 8:17 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Making relatively small incremental gains by betting on sure things is one of the best, if not the best, strategy for winning money in poker and/or making back previous poker losses.

Do you actually play the game? I've played rather a lot, myself.

As I have repeatedly said, a classic error that poker players make is being too conservative and never losing any hands. I have never seen any player win in the long term through the strategy you describe. Sometimes you only get small hands and have to content yourself with small wins but if your night is like that, you will definitely end up down.

Regarding claims that the US is fine, that we're always five years from collapse, etc. etc. - I listed a series of seemingly very dire issues.

Take, for example, the fact that our society appears to have restructured itself to have a permanent, unemployable underclass - that tens of millions of jobs appear to have permanently left. Are you claiming this isn't true? Are you claiming that this will solve itself - somehow? Or that Democrats and Republicans will somehow get together to solve it? Or the invisible hand will somehow draw back jobs from countries where people are paid a fraction of what they are here? Or that we'll recreate the safety net that exist in other countries so these people won't live like animals?

Do you somehow believe global warming will solve itself? That the US will suddenly give us back our human rights? That the US will suddenly stop wasting trillions on losing wars - somehow?

Or that these issues are simply not very important and, somehow, we'll all flourish despite living in a permanent war state with millions of permanently unemployed people?

You claim that the US is always five years from collapse - I put it to you that the US has only been in such dire straits once in the last century and that was the Great Depression - and that got solved by two things, the New Deal and WWII, neither of which is applicable now, because our gridlocked political system will not allow dramatic changes, and because we're already in two wars and cannot rely on that spending to bring us out of things.

Only time will tell, but I've been pretty pessimistic with my predictions on MeFi over the years, and reality has always been a lot worse than I predicted.

I stand by my claims. The US is facing multiple, serious issues, issues that will not solve themselves - and none of these issues is "gays in the military". Unless our elected officials wise up and actually start to deal with these issues, things will continue to get worse.

Feel free to email me when things get better to tell me I was wrong. I'd be overjoyed, I really don't want to see this place go down.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:34 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


As I have repeatedly said, a classic error that poker players make is being too conservative and never losing any hands. I have never seen any player win in the long term through the strategy you describe. Sometimes you only get small hands and have to content yourself with small wins but if your night is like that, you will definitely end up down.

This is a huge derail at this point, but the size of the hands and how much you've lost or won before the current hand are completely irrelevant and has no bearing on your current strategy. All that matters is the pot odds on the hand in front of you.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> There will be a boom coming, just because of the business cycle.

And yet the usual signs of an impending boom are completely absent. Leading indices like housing starts and machine tools are dark. Do you have any evidence that this will happen other than "The economy recovered all the previous times"?

There are numerous countries whose business cycles have more or less stopped and are enmired in perpetual doldrums. There's no reason in the world this couldn't happen to the US.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:49 AM on December 19, 2010


"Some top universities moved quickly Saturday to respond to the vote repealing the ban on gays in the military, and those who don't restore their ROTC programs in the wake of the vote are likely to face immediate pressure on the issue."

It's funny how we don't hear how universities are byzantine organizations that take a long time to change from the top down.

It seems that any bureaucracy can make surprisingly swift changes when its funding is threatened.

If Obama credibly promised to freeze all officer pay until repeal was fully effected, you'd see Rainbow Pride events in Fort Dix by the end of 2011.

But since Obama has never cared about this issue, after he milks the signing ceremony for all it's worth, expect his attitude towards GLBT rights to return to its baseline "You still here?"

And the excuses why partners still don't have benefits will become as commonplace as why American casualties are still rising in Afghanistan.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:57 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Joe Beese: "It's funny how we don't hear how universities are byzantine organizations that take a long time to change from the top down."

Just seemed to me to be a better explanation than "Gates thinks gays are icky", as per your uncharitable interpretation. But I guess we're all entitled to the way we want to see things. Don't let me get in the way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:03 AM on December 19, 2010


It's funny how we don't hear how universities are byzantine organizations that take a long time to change from the top down.

I know, right? Why just the other day I was talking with a Harvard vet about the the time their battalion came under fire in Baghdad, forcing them to retreat across the quad and hole up in the student lounge.

Point being, there's a big difference between a university and branches of the military in the midst of two wars. One, by nature, is probably prone to be more conservative with taking actions that might effect, oh say, unit cohesion.

But since Obama has never cared about this issue, after he milks the signing ceremony for all it's worth, expect his attitude towards GLBT rights to return to its baseline "You still here?"

But I thought the vocal and strong response from the gay community caused Obama to get behind repealing DADT? Surely now, after achieving this small victory, they're going to be shooting for the repeal of gay marriage, right?
posted by nomadicink at 9:08 AM on December 19, 2010


Just seemed to me to be a better explanation than "Gates thinks gays are icky", as per your uncharitable interpretation

It's a plausible excuse. But it's still an excuse.

Granted, for me to make uncharitable assumptions about a major Iran-Contra conspirator and CIA director under Bush Sr. is simply proof that I Hate America.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2010


And yet the usual signs of an impending boom are completely absent. Leading indices like housing starts and machine tools are dark. Do you have any evidence that this will happen other than "The economy recovered all the previous times"?

"Of 10 measures the Conference Board uses to calculate the leading indicators, nine increased in November. Only sluggish building permits, a signal of future home construction, pulled down the measure ...

Mark Zandi, a prominent economic forecaster with Moody's Analytics, expects a 3.9% pace of growth in 2011, up from an earlier forecast of 2.8%." *

It's not a boom, but every single indicator of the economy is pointing upward but one, which is stable. I don't know what your investment in pessimism is, but you've been counterfactual throughout this thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:11 AM on December 19, 2010


It's funny how we don't hear how universities are byzantine organizations that take a long time to change from the top down.

Show me a university with a million plus people and bases world-wide.

But that doesn't matter because these universities said they are "moving" to restore ROTC programs. Just like the military is "moving" to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. As not a single ROTC program has reopened due to a vote yesterday, it's not really a comparison between two plans that haven't been enacted.

If Obama credibly promised to freeze all officer pay until repeal was fully effected, you'd see Rainbow Pride events in Fort Dix by the end of 2011.

As a military officer, thanks bud. I guess us officers don't have to pay the mortgage like everyone else. But anyway, not paying us wouldn't have regs rewritten and EO advisors retrained. We move at the speed of smell, despite what you say. Dear lord, did you see how long it took when the Navy moved out it's new work uniform two years ago? So no, it isn't just because of yucky gays or anything.

And the excuses why partners still don't have benefits will become as commonplace as why American casualties are still rising in Afghanistan.

Nice mixing of issues.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:12 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Obama credibly promised to freeze all officer pay until repeal was fully effected, you'd see Rainbow Pride events in Fort Dix by the end of 2011.

Hee hee. I don't agree with you very often, Joe Beese, but that was funny. And most likely the plain truth. You can get a LOT done in the military by saying "I don't care if it IS impossible, I want it by next week, so fucking make it happen."

While I don't agree that Obama doesn't care in an absolute sense (given that not everything can be priority #1,) this thing wouldn't really be that hard to implement in a rapid-prototyping, just fucking do it and address problems as they pop up fashion. There doesn't have to be some elaborate 5-year phased implementation plan that will drag it out long enough to get the rug pulled out by the next congress. I don't think. But what do I know? I don't have any stars.
posted by ctmf at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I thought the vocal and strong response from the gay community caused Obama to get behind repealing DADT? Surely now, after achieving this small victory, they're going to be shooting for the repeal of gay marriage, right?

Not being part of the gay community - merely someone rooting for the success of their civil rights struggle - I couldn't say what their priorities will be. It might behoove them to focus on implementation of repeal while waiting for the Prop 8 appeal to make it to the Supreme Court.

If they do go for marriage equality next, I assure you it will require them embarrassing Obama as frequently as it did this time.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:14 AM on December 19, 2010


Lord Chancellor, I don't literally suggest not paying officers. Just that you know as well as I do that there's "working on" implementing something, and there's "fucking make this work right now" and all points in between. What's complicated about this?
posted by ctmf at 9:16 AM on December 19, 2010


> This is a huge derail at this point, but the size of the hands and how much you've lost or won before the current hand are completely irrelevant and has no bearing on your current strategy. All that matters is the pot odds on the hand in front of you.

You are clearly not a poker player, nor a mathematician.

Even in the purest mathematical formulation of poker, what you say just isn't true. You can think of the betting part of poker as being a "random walk with absorbing barriers", the "barriers" being when you run out of money and can no longer play. As such, the player with more money has a distinct advantage. This is particularly important in table-stakes games where you can force another player out of a rich pot and capture winnings that "should" have been theirs.

But in fact, poker is also very much a psychological game where the fact that the money is in fact meaningful to your opponent emotionally really does enter into your best play.

Even were your statement true, I don't see how it bears on my original statement.

A classic error that poker players make is playing too conservatively and never losing any hands - and this has nothing at all to do with "how much money is on the table". It's not just that you don't capture some of those wins where you win on a mediocre hand, or your hand improves as more cards appear - but also that if you only bet when you have a sure thing, your opponents will catch on pretty damned fast and simply fold when you have a good hand - unless they also have one.

The secret of successful poker playing is absolutely not "win as many hands as possible" - it's "maximize your wins and minimize your losses". Excessively conservative players do not maximize their wins - and they generally lose as a result.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:17 AM on December 19, 2010


[[ If Obama credibly promised to freeze all officer pay until repeal was fully effected, you'd see Rainbow Pride events in Fort Dix by the end of 2011. ]]

As a military officer, thanks bud. I guess us officers don't have to pay the mortgage like everyone else.


The company where I work ties pay increases to meeting performance metrics. Why shouldn't yours?

[[ And the excuses why partners still don't have benefits will become as commonplace as why American casualties are still rising in Afghanistan. ]]

Nice mixing of issues.


Is it?

Lieberman didn't push for this out of the goodness of his heart. He wants America on a permanent war footing and knows the grinder needs to be fed with as much meat as possible. The only difference between him and the Republicans on this is that he doesn't let homophobia get in the way of recruiting.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:25 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay Mr Grinch.
posted by empath at 9:27 AM on December 19, 2010


> Just seemed to me to be a better explanation than "Gates thinks gays are icky", as per your uncharitable interpretation.

My reading of Joe's ideas is that he's in fact claiming that Gates and the Democrats in general really don't care about this issue at all except as a sop to their "base".

And I agree. I frankly can't see why it should be any work at all to not start proceedings to expel gays from the military. It could literally be done overnight.

If you have specifics as to why it would take so long to stop doing something, in a military organization where you can just order people to do things and damn well jail if they don't obey, let us know.

Specifics, please, not just "this is a large organization" - because that doesn't explain why it would take so much time to stop something.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Keep your revolting sexuality to yourself" is, yes, "Gates thinks gays are icky."

lupus_yonderboy: "Specifics, please, not just "this is a large organization" - because that doesn't explain why it would take so much time to stop something"

Why it took so long to get here is a separate issue. I was offering a suggestion as to why it would take a bit of time to implement a fundamental policy change through as sprawling an institution as the US military. Clearly, this is the wrong interpretation, Obama doesn't give a shit about gay people, and the verdict is in. My bad.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2010


The company where I work ties pay increases to meeting performance metrics. Why shouldn't yours?

Hmmm, Joe, I apologize. I thought you meant to freeze pay as in not to pay people. Not paying people in the military tends to turn out very badly when it's done. As far as not increasing military pay, I really don't think that would be effective at all. The most resistant to putting it into place won't be the officers, but the senior enlisted. Which also happen to be the people that are normally the Equal Opportunity representatives that have to be retrained and repurposed to defend a class of people that they on average mock. Anyway, we'll get over this, one way or another; it'll just take a little bit of time, but not as much as I think you fear. I agree they should freeze discharges though when this goes through next week though.

Is it?

Lieberman didn't push for this out of the goodness of his heart. He wants America on a permanent war footing and knows the grinder needs to be fed with as much meat as possible. The only difference between him and the Republicans on this is that he doesn't let homophobia get in the way of recruiting.


I do see this as straight conspiracy thinking, one of the traits being to assign any action by someone else as reinforcing a conspiracy. Lieberman is against the repeal? He's a homophobe. Lieberman is for the repeal? He's just trying to get more chuck for the wagon. It's like a choose-your-own-adventure book where all choices go to the same page.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


If they do go for marriage equality next, I assure you it will require them embarrassing Obama as frequently as it did this time.

So wait, the gay electorate weren't embarrassing Obama about gay marriage or anything else, but they were embarrassing him over repealing DADT and said embarrassment was what prompted Obama to get behind his campaign promise?
posted by nomadicink at 9:47 AM on December 19, 2010


lupus_yonderboy: This is particularly important in table-stakes games where you can force another player out of a rich pot and capture winnings that "should" have been theirs.

You know if you are going to try and pose as an expert on something you really should try to avoid fundamental mistakes.

You can't force a player out of rich pot by raising by more than he has on the table. What you can do is force him all in, which means you raise by as much as it takes for him to bet everything he has left.
posted by Bonzai at 9:53 AM on December 19, 2010


So wait, the gay electorate weren't embarrassing Obama about gay marriage or anything else, but they were embarrassing him over repealing DADT and said embarrassment was what prompted Obama to get behind his campaign promise?

The first paragraph of the first Google search result for "obama heckled gay"

Last night, during a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, President Obama was heckled by gay rights protesters who are unhappy that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has yet to been repealed despite administration promises to do so."

Which occurred at the same time as this:

Six people in military uniforms, including Lt. Dan Choi, handcuffed themselves to the North Lawn fence of the White House today to protest the fact that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has not been repealed.

Still, I'm sure you would like it known that Obama remained stonily indifferent to these embarrassments.

So please pay attention, everyone: nomadicink is not convinced that this had anything to do with it!

The sample size was inadequate! The links don't support the argument! 

Seriously, you're boring me now. I wish you joy in believing whatever you like about the President. 
posted by Joe Beese at 10:09 AM on December 19, 2010


Bonzai: but forcing him to make an all-in decision raises the bar significantly on what kind of hand he needs to be looking at to call you. If I have a million chips, I might be willing to call you down on a thousand-chip bet with a chancy hand. However, I might not even call a hundred-chip bet with the same hand if I only have two hundred chips. Being a bully with a big stack is an effective strategy even if you technically can't force anyone to not see the showdown.
posted by ctmf at 10:12 AM on December 19, 2010


I forgot what the poker analogy was supposed to represent, so don't try to figure out what I'm saying about DADT in any way.
posted by ctmf at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2010


The poker analogy makes more sense if you see this conversation as a game of backgammon in which the board is DADT, the checkers are various parts of various analogies, the dice are the limitations of our own intellects, and the doubling cube represents our faith in Obama (or lack thereof, depending).
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:21 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


But yes, being a bully with a big stack of chips does mean that you can force someone to go all in on a weak hand.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2010


Anyone have a clear idea of what needs to be done? There has been a fair amount of lead up to this so I doubt they where taken by surprise. At a large corporation (admittedly a fraction of the size of the military) they would have revised rules ready, and been ready to start training this week.

Or is it like they are saying on freerepublic, they need time to paint all the tanks pink. Its kinda strange, I guess conservatives hate the military now?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:39 AM on December 19, 2010


McCain Hits Bottom, Digs
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok Lupus and Bonzai let's hear your personal performance stats at the table. Give us some ballparks. What's your typical return after a night out. Over that last calendar year what were your earnings vs. losses. Most of the gamblers I know talk about how great their strategies are until you actually totally up the w/l and then it becomes obvious that their strategies net put to playing until they are broke. Once we have assessed if you are actually decent strategists we can then return to the topic of checking POTUS vs success.
posted by humanfont at 10:48 AM on December 19, 2010



Still, I'm sure you would like it known that Obama remained stonily indifferent to these embarrassments.

I'm not concerned with Obama's emotional state or lack there of. Facts would be nice, thanks.

I'm looking for more information and cites for the claim you repeated, i.e. Why the DADT Repeal will pass. The link you cite implies it's because gays dropped their votes for Democrats, so obviously Obama has to do something to gain their votes back, like actually help repeal DADT. It's reasonable suggestion, but far from anything resembling definitive proof.


So please pay attention, everyone: nomadicink is not convinced that this had anything to do with it!


No, I'm asking you to provide further information, or links that will go further in proving this belief. 'Cause frankly, if it's true, then it means the gay electorate has enormous power to get Obama to jump through the hoops they want and frankly, I'd be curious to see proof of that and what their next goal is.

I'm not buying that, because logically there were larger, more important groups that had reduced support for Obama in the 2010 elections, so wouldn't he be more interested in those groups as opposed to the smaller group homosexual agenda?
posted by nomadicink at 10:49 AM on December 19, 2010


McCain's theme song.

You're old and in the way, John. Here, have a seat on this ice floe.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 AM on December 19, 2010


McCain Hits Bottom, Digs

He's a maverick dammit!!!
posted by nomadicink at 10:54 AM on December 19, 2010


This is a bizarre thread.
posted by kyrademon at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


No more poker derail from me. Sorry.
posted by Bonzai at 11:00 AM on December 19, 2010


But since Obama has never cared about this issue, after he milks the signing ceremony for all it's worth, expect his attitude towards GLBT rights to return to its baseline "You still here?"

Please stop telling us what certain people "care" about or do not "care" about. It weakens your arguments and forces us to spend time pointing out that you cannot read minds and that you have no idea what you are talking about and are only reacting to a strawman Obama in your head. Face it, a huge prop for all of your arguments of the past months, Obama's supposed inaction on DADT was spectacularly kicked out yesterday. And now amount of made up mind-reading will change that.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:00 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Asking the next logical question - when will you stop discharging members of the military under DADT? — Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly obtained a disturbing answer from Senior Administration Official at the White House today:
Saying that they had been “focused” on the vote, a senior White House aide intimately familiar with the administration’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal efforts was unwilling to say whether President Obama agrees with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that DADT-related investigations and discharges should be halted immediately.


Anyone care to defend the President's unwillingness to say that discharges should be halted immediately?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:14 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe is the Veruca Salt of politics.

I WANT IT NOW
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Then maybe Joe can answer this:

What the fuck is a beanfeast?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:23 AM on December 19, 2010


Joe is the Veruca Salt of politics.

Translation: I can't defend it.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:24 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone care to defend the President's unwillingness to say that discharges should be halted immediately?

Thanks for answering the question Joe. Glad to see you're bringing up stuff because you're interested in talking about it and not because you're relentlessly pushing a the same line of thought, over and over.
posted by nomadicink at 11:29 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


A beanfeast is a British tradition where the boss treats all the peons to a meal. And we don't even get that! It's almost as if Obama wants to eat all the beans and laugh while we starve.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2010


Glad to see you're bringing up stuff because you're interested in talking about it and not because you're relentlessly pushing a the same line of thought, over and over.

Translation: I can't defend it.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Translation: I can't defend it.

*sighs, moves over to Joe's new goal post*

Of course it can be defended, as politics 101: Never give a definitive answer when you don't have the votes lined up. The Marines are clearly throwing a hissy fit over this and it's understandable if this particular President doesn't do the "I'M THE DECIDER" thing, not his style.

There, now will you come sit by me and tell the secrets of the newly empowered gay electorate? I promised not to blab.
posted by nomadicink at 11:37 AM on December 19, 2010


Republican Jon Kyl: DADT Repeal Could Cost Lives
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on December 19, 2010


Dan Choi On DADT Repeal.
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on December 19, 2010


Anyone care to defend the President's unwillingness to say that discharges should be halted immediately?

This was an anonymous source who wasn't willing to confirm whether a position had been taken. There is a difference between that and what you're asking, so your question is unanswerable.
posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Republican Jon Kyl: DADT Repeal Could Cost Lives

I think he's correct, it will cost lives. Homophobia will rear its head and someone openly gay and in the military will probably be killed, probably in the Marines, based on the way they're resisting this.
posted by nomadicink at 11:44 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was an anonymous source who wasn't willing to confirm whether a position had been taken.

Has Obama in fact called for an immediate end to investigations and discharges? Seeing as how important the issue is to him?

No?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone care to defend the President's unwillingness to say that discharges should be halted immediately?

Come on--an anonymous senior official at the White House didn't want to go on the record committing the president to a course of action. Maybe he'll announce he's ending all discharges immediately, in which case he deserves at least a few kudos from you. Maybe he'll let discharges go on and drag out indefinitely, in which case he'll certainly be getting criticism from me.

Let's see what he says at the signing ceremony before we attack him for something he hasn't even done yet, shall we?
posted by EarBucket at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


*twiddles thumbs, looks furtively at the horizon, sighs*
posted by nomadicink at 12:00 PM on December 19, 2010


And I agree. I frankly can't see why it should be any work at all to not start proceedings to expel gays from the military. It could literally be done overnight.

Not sure if it will happen or not. Right now, the measure isn't even law . I suggest we wait, in the same way we waited to see if the predictions that the DADT report was a burying manuver by Obama, to see what happens.

But notice the goalpost moving over every thread on this matter. First, he hadn't passed it, so it wasn't enough. Then the report was a smoke screen for burying the whole thing. Then the fact it was in the military spending in the bill was an attempt to bury it. Then, one poster suggested he would actually veto the bill. Now, we are told that he had to do it as a sop to his base and that he never meant to do it.

Or, one could just apply Occam's Razor, and say he promised to do it, prodded Congress and it got done.

Whatever it is next, who knows. But it will be equally logic-twisted and requiring of a whole lot of wilfull suspension of disbelief.

And it will still be as wrong as it was when these arguments started. Why can't people just admit they were wrong on this one issue and that the President had, the entire time, wanted repeal? Because every other explanation is without basis in rationality. Why else does he send the brass up to the Hill? Why does Gates work his ass off for this? Why waste one ounce of political capital on this? It makes zero sense, especially as 70% of Americans are in favor.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:00 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has Obama in fact called for an immediate end to investigations and discharges? Seeing as how important the issue is to him?

No?


The bill was passed 24 hours ago. It isn't even signed yet. Keep moving those goalposts. Next week Obama will need to take a gay serviceman as a lover to satisfy the ever-changing goal line. Seriously, when does the Obama-hating stop on this issue?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:03 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Saying that they had been “focused” on the vote, a senior White House aide intimately familiar with the administration’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal efforts was unwilling to say whether President Obama agrees with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that DADT-related investigations and discharges should be halted immediately.

Anyone care to defend the President's unwillingness to say that discharges should be halted immediately?


What's to defend, exactly? You appear to be asking us to defend what the president didn't say, on the basis of what an aide was unwilling to assert, about whether Obama agrees with the statements of two other people, neither of whom are current members of the military, about the cessation of DADT investigations, based on a bill that has not yet been signed into law, and I feel like I'm having a stroke from the number of negations and indirections you've shoved into this conversation in order to load it as the next drop from your Truth Bomber onto the civilian populace of Obamaland. Yeeeeeeeeeehaw!
posted by Riki tiki at 12:05 PM on December 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


Has Obama in fact called for an immediate end to investigations and discharges? Seeing as how important the issue is to him?

No?


Have you in fact admitted that your previous question was unanswerable? Seeing as how important the truth is to you?

No?
posted by Etrigan at 12:12 PM on December 19, 2010


Obviously Obama is a homophobic bigot who thinks gays are second class citizens. It's OBVIOUS. Wake up sheeple.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2010


This is a bizarre thread.

Anyone up for some gay poker?
posted by ericb at 12:34 PM on December 19, 2010


Let's see what he says at the signing ceremony before we attack him for something he hasn't even done yet, shall we?

That takes me back to those days just before he doubled down on the promising bet of Afghanistan.

Those were some days.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:37 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Now the goalposts have moved so far they're a hockey net.
posted by Etrigan at 12:46 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the USMC is about to find out how many marines weren't telling.
posted by ctmf at 12:48 PM on December 19, 2010


Survey:
1. Are you gay? [ ] yes [ ] no
2. If being gay was totally ok, would you be gay? [ ] yes [ ] no

USMC: We can't repeal DADT. Surveys show it will make too many people turn gay.
posted by ctmf at 1:13 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


That takes me back to those days just before he doubled down on the promising bet of Afghanistan.

Those were some days.


Classic derail. Now that your predictions regarding DADT were totally blown out of the water, you just try to change the subject.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2010


> You can't force a player out of rich pot by raising by more than he has on the table.

Most certainly you can.

In many variants of table stakes games, when a player runs out of money during a pot you keep track of what part of the pot they can win. If they run out of money early in a hand, it's likely that they only have a claim on a small part of the pot.

Psychologically, you can also force players who are running low on cash to make bad decisions, like dropping out of marginal hands where they still have a net positive expectation.

Whew, someone wants my lifetime poker stats!

While I still study and read the literature, and the theory of games in general, I haven't played seriously in over two decades, since I left Wall Street, and I was never that good. Until my last big game, I'd been overall up a little over my lifetime, though the last game put me I believe somewhat in the red overall.

On the other hand, I'm not saying anything that any vaguely competent player wouldn't say. If you really believe you can win money in poker in the long term by only betting sure things, and that it is worthless to take the size of your stake and of your opponent's stake into account when considering best play, well, mediocre as I am, I'm sure I'm better than you.

These days, I play Go. I don't have a huge rating (yet), because I play fast games for fun, but I believe Go is a better metaphor for human competition than poker, and a lot better metaphor than chess.

You are required to nurture multiple, growing structures - you have to make both hard decisions and complicated compromises to win - unlike chess, best play often involves ignoring your opponent's large move so you can make a larger one elsewhere, and unlike chess, most games are not won by the collapse of your opponent's position but by marginally outperforming them over the entire board.

And again, only taking points you are sure you can keep is a classic beginner's mistake in Go.

When I started to play moderate handicap games against other competent players, I couldn't see how I could win against a decent player who started with, say, four more stones than me. But I realized that many of them simply didn't want to make big moves at all because they are certain to lose some of them, and so, even though they never make "wrong" moves I am able to expand at a much faster rate and so cream them even though they can capture any individual stone they put their minds to.


As for discussing as to whether Mr. Obama will implement this tiny change in a timely fashion, well, this is pretty small beans. It is strange to me that he already appears to be hedging on this, as it would appear to be something you could just say, "Make it so" and have it done without spending money or creating new positions - but if I don't care much about DADT, I care even less if the implementation of its repeal happens sooner or later.

I agree with Joe that the hedging is a disturbing sign - and I personally assume that Mr. Obama's past performance will be a good predictor of his future actions - but I also agree with others of you that we shouldn't assume in advance that Mr. Obama will not aggressively move to enact this legislation, we should wait and see.

Please note that queers still have no right to serve in the military - it's simply that a law allowing the military to discharge people for homosexuality has been repealed.

If I were the next Republican President, the day I took office I'd emit an executive order asking recruitment officers to explicitly ask candidates if they were gay, and refuse them if they were. Then if someone does manage to get into the military and turns out to be gay, you can fire them for lying on their recruitment form.

The hated Bush did this all the time (remember "stem cells"?) and I see no legal impediment to such an action.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:30 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Joe is the Veruca Salt of politics.
>
> I WANT IT NOW

While I have been enjoying all these metaphors, I do feel that they are perhaps somewhat of an impediment to polite discourse?

It is, in fact, 2010, and this administration is half over. Joe or anyone has the right to ask about the Change that we were promised, and reasonable people should also worry if a tiny achievement like the repeal of a bill regarding military recruiting is touted as a major achievement.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


pet peeve of mine - it's president obama, not mr. obama. i don't know why suddenly this presidency everyone forgot that. like him or not, he's earned the title for 4 (and possibly 8) years.
posted by nadawi at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2010


And really, the next Republican President doesn't have to do anything at all to kill the results of this repeal.

A single speech where he or she says that "gays are not welcome in the Armed Forces of the United States of America" would undo everything, and more. One speech, and you could rely on the aggression of the soldiers themselves to root out and expel the homosexuals, knowing they would face no consequences for gay-bashing (COs are reluctant to punish people for this at the best of times...)

This repeal is a tiny sandcastle. We've already experienced some huge waves over the last decade and there is every indication that there are huge waves to come.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:54 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


While I have been enjoying all these metaphors, I do feel that they are perhaps somewhat of an impediment to polite discourse?

Seriously? You've been gumming up this conversation over whether poker or go is more applicable to the situation at hand, and now you're accusing anyone else of gumming up the conversation with metaphor?

This repeal is a tiny sandcastle. We've already experienced some huge waves over the last decade...

Go away. Or stop. Either way.
posted by Etrigan at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


nadawi: "pet peeve of mine - it's president obama, not mr. obama. i don't know why suddenly this presidency everyone forgot that. like him or not, he's earned the title for 4 (and possibly 8) years."

It's actually President Obama, and while the 'P' in President is earned, the 'O' in Obama is just what we do with people's names.
posted by gman at 1:59 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's president obama, not mr. obama

You always referred to his predecessor as "President Bush"?

You sure about that?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:00 PM on December 19, 2010


Lupus thanks for sharing. For your information the guy sitting in the White House whom you deride hosted the most important regular game in Springfield during his time at the state legislature. In contrast to your mixed record he won consistently. A good player should always walk away up or just slightly down. I find in small stakes games I can clear 8-10/hour. It's more fun than waiting tables but too much work.
posted by humanfont at 2:02 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> pet peeve of mine - it's president obama, not mr. obama. i don't know why suddenly this presidency everyone forgot that. like him or not, he's earned the title for 4 (and possibly 8) years.

Oh, dear, is that right?? I actually use Mr. as a term of respect - you will note that I never ever refer to "Mr." Bush or "Mr." Cheney.

I'm originally from England, where you refer to "Mrs. Thatcher" or "Mr. Heath" (but it was always Harold Wilson or Gordon Brown because of their common last names).

Now, I just checked the BBC and they still also talk about "Mr. Obama." My father was a broadcaster for the BBC so I think I'm very safe in sticking with their usage.

He pointed out to me that in the BBC and the British press (at the time), when people are on trial or actually convicted of a crime, they are simply referred to by their surnames, but the moment they are acquitted, they go back to being "Mr." so-and-so again.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:03 PM on December 19, 2010


The poker analogy makes more sense if you see this conversation as a game of backgammon in which the board is DADT, the checkers are various parts of various analogies, the dice are the limitations of our own intellects, and the doubling cube represents our faith in Obama (or lack thereof, depending).

...and if we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:06 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


i'm certain i never used mr. bush. i might have said "bush" and i know i've said "obama" and "clinton," but if you're going to use a title, the title is president.

and you all can fight me about caps if you want, but i'm not budging on it, so you're talking to the wind.
posted by nadawi at 2:07 PM on December 19, 2010


One speech, and you could rely on the aggression of the soldiers themselves to root out and expel the homosexuals

nearly every member of the armed forces i know are for the repeal, for more recruits, for more people to take their place or a place next to them when deployed. i'm sure there are hateful assholes padding the ranks as well, but a lot of the enlisted men and women understand that gays in the military aren't a new thing and that DADT took away translators and nurses and good service members and made them weaker, not stronger.
posted by nadawi at 2:08 PM on December 19, 2010


It is, in fact, 2010, and this administration is half over. Joe or anyone has the right to ask about the Change that we were promised...

No one is disputing the right to ask, though of course many are disagreeing over whether Change has occurred. I, personally, am just waiting for Joe Beese to answer a question or two, but fear I shall left out on the dance floor, all alone.

...and reasonable people should also worry if a tiny achievement like the repeal of a bill regarding military recruiting is touted as a major achievement

On the one hand, I can sort of see thing. The damn thing should have never been enacted, so now that it's repealed, it's like "Alright, we've manage to take one step forward after taking one step backward." But that said, it's a positive step forwards and I'm not gonna get all over people who are celebrating it.
posted by nomadicink at 2:09 PM on December 19, 2010


> Seriously? You've been gumming up this conversation over whether poker or go is more applicable to the situation at hand, and now you're accusing anyone else of gumming up the conversation with metaphor?

I was politely trying to point out that he was being rude by comparing Joe Beese with Veruca Salt, in the same way that someone else was being rude by comparing me to a 9-year old child.

I did not bring up the game metaphor. I was told that "Freedom was not a zero sum game". I have argued, both directly using specific example, and indirectly with clear metaphors, that Mr. Obama and the Democrats having been using poor strategy and have consequentially been getting poor results, that time is running out for this Administration, and that tiny scores like this aren't going to hack it.

Is there one person here who believes that this bill won't be a campaign issue in 2012? That if the next President is a Republican, he or she won't simply sign an Executive Order officially making the Armed Forces a hostile place for queers?

I'm astonished to find out that Mr. Obama is a good poker player, and it makes me wonder if perhaps his actual goals are even further from his stated goals than I thought they were. It still doesn't make me think he's a winner in the realm of politics.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:20 PM on December 19, 2010


Newsweek: Now the hard part of DADT repeal begins.
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on December 19, 2010


Is there one person here who believes that this bill won't be a campaign issue in 2012?

Oh yeah, of course it will.

That if the next President is a Republican, he or she won't simply sign an Executive Order officially making the Armed Forces a hostile place for queers?

I don't believe that'll happen, no.
posted by nomadicink at 2:45 PM on December 19, 2010


Please note that queers still have no right to serve in the military ...

Technically they do, as long as they don't declare to others that they are gay -- or, admit such when asked.

Openly gays/lesbians don't have the right to serve in the military.
“The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The act specifies that service members who disclose they are homosexual or engage in homosexual conduct shall be separated (discharged) except when a service member's conduct was ‘for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service’ or when it ‘would not be in the best interest of the armed forces’ (10 U.S.C. § 654(e)).

As it exists, DADT specifies that the ‘don't ask’ part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a servicemember's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though credible and articulable evidence of homosexual behavior may cause an investigation. Violations of this aspect through unauthorized investigations and harassment of suspected servicemen and women resulted in the policy's current formulation as ‘don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass.’” *
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on December 19, 2010


It is, in fact, 2010, and this administration is half over. Joe or anyone has the right to ask about the Change that we were promised...

I challenge your position as dissatisfied Obama supporter. You were not a supporter of Obama. You have in fact worked to undermine him and dismiss any positive thing he has accomplished. Thus I posit your assessment of what "change was delivered" is just more nonsense. Until you demonstrate any objectivity in your analysis you will be dismissed as just spouting bile.
posted by humanfont at 2:53 PM on December 19, 2010


You were not a supporter of Obama. You have in fact worked to undermine him and dismiss any positive thing he has accomplished.

The Leader can not fail. He can only be failed.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:56 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese, I really do wish you'd say something coherent to help the discussion along, rather than just throwing out zingers. It doesn't really help anything you know? Seriously, what's your point with this, just amuse yourself, vex us or what?
posted by nomadicink at 3:13 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Joe or anyone has the right to ask about the Change that we were promised...

Okay ... I am getting fucking sick and tired of people who fail to recognize or acknowledge the accomplishments President Obama has made in two years.

So, let me list some here.

I make no apology for the posted list bordering on posting the Treaty of Westphalia. A point needs to be made.

Our President has indeed been responsible for significant -- and, in numerous cases -- historic CHANGE!
The 244 ACCOMPLISHMENTS of PRESIDENT OBAMA (as of November 01, 2010)

ETHICS

• Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009)

• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)

• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)

• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)

• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)

• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration

• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)

• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)

• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)

• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)

• Developed the “Do Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)

ECONOMY

• Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority

• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)

• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)

• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls

• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)

• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)

• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)

• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)

• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned

• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)

• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency

• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers

and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)

• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)

• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)

• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)

• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections

• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.

• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)

• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…

• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)

• Signed bill – US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)

• Signed bill – Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)

GOVERNANCE

• The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)

• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)

• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)

• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)

• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending

• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)

TAXES

• Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US

• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign

• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)

• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)

• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)

• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)

• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)

• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)

• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level

BUDGETING

• Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)

• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)

• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)

• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget

• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror

• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)

• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)

• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)

• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)

• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)

• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)

• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)

NATIONAL SECURITY

• Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)

• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.

• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda

• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)

• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)

• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)

• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)

• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)

• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009)

• Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of ‘nucs’; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use ‘nucs’ on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.

• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported

• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)

• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)

IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN

• Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)

• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)

• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)

• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)

• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)

MILITARY & VETERANS

• Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family

• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror

• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)

• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs

• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)

• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)

• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)

• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)

• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.

• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)

• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)

• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)

• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)

• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)

• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)

• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.

• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)

• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)

• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.

• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)


RIGHTS

• Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)

• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)

• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)

• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)

• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)

• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)

• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)

• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009) * Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet

• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)

• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)

• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)

• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)

• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)

• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)

• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)

• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)

• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled

• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)

• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)

• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)

• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession

EDUCATION

• Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)

• Increased funding for school construction (2009)

• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)

• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)

• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)

• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)

• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress

• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)

• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)

• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)

• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)

• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)

• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)

• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)

DISASTER RESPONSE

• Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)

• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status

• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)

• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)

• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)

Components of the response:

- The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief

- Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund

- Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department

- Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones

- Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K.

- Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti

- Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel

- Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support

- Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince

• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)

• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)

• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)

• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)

• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)

OTHER INITIATIVES

• New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)

• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)

• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)

• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)

• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)

• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)

• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)

• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status

• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)

* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress

• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)

• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)

• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (2010)

FOREIGN POLICY

• Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue

• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure

• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)

• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)

• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)

• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush

• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)

• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)

• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)

• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)

• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)

• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)

• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)

• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)

• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)

• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)

• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)

• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)

• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)

• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)

• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)

• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)


HEALTHCARE

• Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)

• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)

• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)

• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)

• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions

• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)

• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)

• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)

• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)

• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)

• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)

• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)

• Historic healthcare reform bill signed – $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years

Components of the bill

- Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014

- Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits

- Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill

- An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped

- Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount

- In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole”

- Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits

- Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance

- All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine

- Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care

- There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance

- Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26

- Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale”

- Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on December 19, 2010 [19 favorites]


RIGHTS

Held the first Seder in White House (2009)

posted by Joe Beese at 3:30 PM on December 19, 2010


Joe -- with your hand-picked reductive posted example, I don't know whether to laugh or cry for you. If nothing else, you are consistent in 'letting you colors show' in all things Obama.
posted by ericb at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2010


*letting your colors show*
posted by ericb at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2010


Good eye! That clearly invalidates the 200+ other items on that list.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:36 PM on December 19, 2010


Has Obama in fact called for an immediate end to investigations and discharges?

Isn't that essentially what they did in October when Gates instituted the policy requiring that service secretaries sign off on DADT discharges? As far as I'm aware, there haven't been any DADT discharges since then.
posted by lullaby at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2010


> You were not a supporter of Obama.

I most certainly was, though I had some reservations due to his FISA reversal.

> You have in fact worked to undermine him and dismiss any positive thing he has accomplished.

I had foolishly believed that Mr. Obama and I shared some common values based on my early encounter with him. Things like coming from a poor background, criticizing the Iraq War and Guantánamo, single payer, the pot smoking, and a lot of things I realize now were meaningless emotional terms like change led me to this conclusion.

I read about those first drone attacks in the first week and I was appalled. Perhaps this was just an emotional reaction but I felt it was such a message, to commit random murder in a foreign country in the very first week of the Presidency. The tiny article on page 8 of the Times made it very clear that this was done with the active participation of the Administration.

We then had such charming moments as when Mr. Obama fought to preserve the bonuses of Wall St bankers in the same week he pressured Ford to cut worker's pensions by about half.

We've had the endless persecution of whistleblowers. We've had the astonishing spectacle of Obama appointees going further even than Bush-era arguments about the government's ability to do whatever it pleases regardless of the rule of law. We've had the complete lack of criminal prosecutions of Wall St for blatant, admitted, deliberate crimes, and the mortgage brokers and of the Bush era torturers.

I have realized that on the great issues of the day, he and I are almost completely opposed. In this case, our interests are somewhat aligned, but I don't see DADT as one of the great issues of our age or even close, and Joe has presented fairly convincing evidence that Mr. Obama isn't really that interested in this issue either.


> Thus I posit your assessment of what "change was delivered" is just more nonsense. Until you demonstrate any objectivity in your analysis you will be dismissed as just spouting bile.

It seems to me that I've been attempting to make polite, rational arguments based on facts and logic, and it seems to me that your response is neither polite, nor an attempt at a rational rebuttal of those arguments.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:49 PM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Isn't that essentially what they did in October when Gates instituted the policy requiring that service secretaries sign off on DADT discharges?

Big difference between "No servicemember should be discharged for saying they're gay" and "Servicemembers should only be discharged for saying they're gay if a supervisor signs off on it".
posted by Joe Beese at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2010


The goalposts have now been moved and redefined so much by Joe and lupus that we're trying to kick a field goal through a crocodile swallowing Matt LeBlanc on a golf course in Paraguay.

With one shoe.
posted by Etrigan at 4:10 PM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Let's see what he says at the signing ceremony before we attack him for something he hasn't even done yet, shall we?

That takes me back to those days just before he doubled down on the promising bet of Afghanistan.


Hey, now. I think he should announce an immediate suspension of discharges the second he signs the bill into law. (Until he signs it, DADT is technically still the law of the land.) If he doesn't do that at the signing ceremony, I'll be back in here to complain about it. But attacking him for something that he may or may not do just seems silly. There's plenty of stuff to be mad about that he's actually already done.
posted by EarBucket at 4:25 PM on December 19, 2010


(Besides, he could still veto it, making the question of halting discharges moot.)
posted by EarBucket at 4:32 PM on December 19, 2010


I had foolishly believed that Mr. Obama and I shared some common values based on my early encounter with him. Things like coming from a poor background, criticizing the Iraq War and Guantánamo, single payer, the pot smoking, and a lot of things I realize now were meaningless emotional terms like change led me to this conclusion.

Despite the fact that he made his program clear from day one. Stoip blaming him. Please, ask Noam Chomsky to run. I'm certain he'll win Cambridge, MA at least. It will make President Palin's rule so much more acceptable, won't it?
posted by Ironmouth at 4:36 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Talk about resume padding. I still support the guy and even I think that list is nuts.

• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)

Let's add:
• Plays a mean game of b-ball
• Smells really good
• Likes long walks on the beach, dislikes self centered or mean people.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:03 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


[it's that time of the thread again. If all you have to contribute is snark directed at other users or general incendiary context-free snark, please consider MetaTalk or maybe some volunteer time at the food bank. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:13 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sooo, how 'bout the START treaty renewal?
posted by nomadicink at 6:21 PM on December 19, 2010


Ericb, I respect your contributions to the site, so I issue the following criticism in the context of Obama's general ability to market "accomplishments" while getting away with doing the exact opposite:

ETHICS

• Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009)


On the contrary:
An Associated Press review of Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that the use of nearly every one of the law's nine exemptions to withhold information from the public rose in fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.

Among the most frequently used exemptions: one that lets the government hide records that detail its internal decision-making. Obama specifically directed agencies to stop using that exemption so frequently, but that directive appears to have been widely ignored.

Major agencies cited that exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies. Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period.
Citation.

• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)

On the contrary:
In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.
Citation.

• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)

• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)


On the contrary:
[The public option in health care reform] was taken off the table as a result of the understanding that people had with the hospital association, with the insurance (AHIP), and others. I mean I think that part of the whole effort was based on a premise. That premise was, you had to have the stakeholders in the room and at the table... They wanted to keep those stakeholders in the room and this was the price some thought they had to pay.
Citation.

I could go on and address many of the remaining "accomplishments" in your comment, ericb, but the real issue, it seems, is that the Obama marketing often stands in stark contrast with plainly verifiable facts.

The evidence that contradicts so many of these "accomplishments" is on record, and is not invented by fringe, activist loonies, but being documented every day by reporters who work for outfits like The New York Times and the Associated Press, who are not exactly bastions of progressive thought or tabloid-like FOX News thoughtlessness.

So that brings us back to this utter disaster of a thread:

The constant, near incessant promotion of Obama, despite his record when the facts are examined, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

Shouting down people like Joe Beese and lupus_yonderboy, whose observations are based on fact, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

Bullying users who point out that Obama's moral compass is erratic at best, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

Before our elected officials can deliver hope and change, we need an honest accounting of their activities.

When it comes to cheerleading for Obama, you are by no means the worst offender in this thread. So I write this to you with all respect, ericb, but there are several others who share your views in this thread who really need to stop shouting down people who dare provide a reality-based criticism of Obama's actions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock, this thread only turned into a referendum on the entire Obama presidency because Joe and lupus (with a little help from others, but mostly on their own) first tried to convince us that Obama wasn't really doing anything for repeal, so it probably wouldn't pass the Senate after cloture; then that he might not sign it after it passed the Senate; then that even if he does sign it, he won't enforce it; then that he deserves blame for not having enforced it before he signed it; then that DADT repeal doesn't matter anyway; then that even if it does matter, it doesn't matter enough; then that they're just brave warriors fighting against the Obamautomatons who never picked this fight; then that HEY LOOK OVER THERE OBAMA DID SOMETHING JEWISH AHH! And there was a long, long derail about poker and go.

At best, they've been trolling. Defending them by name is not Voltairean, it's actively anti-discourse.
posted by Etrigan at 5:06 AM on December 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem with Joe isn't that he's anti-Obama, it's that his opinion on every single issue regarding Obama is so utterly predictable that actually expressing it adds nothing to the conversation.
posted by empath at 5:31 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shouting down people like Joe Beese and lupus_yonderboy, whose observations are based on fact, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

Bullying users who point out that Obama's moral compass is erratic at best, brings down discourse on Metafilter.


Stop calling people who disagree with you bullies. Free speech means being able to respect that other people are going to disagree with you.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:27 AM on December 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Big difference between "No servicemember should be discharged for saying they're gay" and "Servicemembers should only be discharged for saying they're gay if a supervisor signs off on it".

The Secretary of the Navy is hardly a "supervisor." The policy means, plain and simple, don't discharge anyone. But if you actually say that's what you are doing, you get accused of running an end-around. So, you get the policy and pay less cost for it.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:38 AM on December 20, 2010


Just because Obama is not the extreme liberal ideologue (Socialist?) that Fox News led you to believe does not mean he has not put forward an effective progressive agenda. He's more like Bill Clinton than Karl Marx, albeit without Bill's political cunningness.
posted by caddis at 7:00 AM on December 20, 2010


He's more like Bill Clinton than Karl Marx, albeit without Bill's political cunningness.

We all remember how Bill's cunning got universal health care passed and ended the ban on gay military service in his first two years in office.
posted by EarBucket at 7:04 AM on December 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Clinton's signature achievement as president was not getting impeached for fucking an intern.
posted by empath at 7:09 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd say Clinton's signature achievement was bequeathing a half-trillion dollar a year budget surplus to his successor. Think about that--when he left office, the government had too much money. We were on track to pay off the entire national debt by 2009.
posted by EarBucket at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Shouting down people like Joe Beese and lupus_yonderboy, whose observations are based on fact, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

Joe Beese's observations about Obama are just as fact-based and rational as Captain Ahab's about Moby Dick's.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:18 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


We were on track to pay off the entire national debt by 2009.

That's so depressing to think about.
posted by empath at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


The constant, near incessant promotion of Obama, despite his record when the facts are examined, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

So does the constant, near incessant demotion of Obama, despite his record when the facts are examined. This isn't discourse. And the simple fact is, in this case, Obama accomplished exactly what he said he planned to, in the amount of time that he specified. I think it's worthwhile remembering the creation of DADT. Clinton wanted to do the same thing that Obama has done, but we ended up with a compromise that was almost as unpalatable as the previous status quo. Say what you want about Obama otherwise, but he definitely deserves credit for this huge accomplishment.

Shouting down people like Joe Beese and lupus_yonderboy, whose observations are based on fact, brings down discourse on Metafilter.

But no one is shouting them down. I can read their comments just fine, they're not being crowded out by others' responses. But the fact is, in this specific case, Joe Beese and lupus_yonderboy - and you - are wrong. DADT will be repealed, Obama will sign the bill into law, and in the near future people won't be discharged from the service for their sexual identity. Obama may or may not be Hitler in every other respect - I'm not going to get into that now - but he did what he said he'd do here, and he did the right thing.

I don't know why that's so difficult to acknowledge. Even Bush did some good things, and I don't see why we can't simultaneously believe that his unjust wars, etc were bad and his African AIDS policy was good. Overall, he was a terrible president, but that doesn't mean that his few good acts and decisions were in fact bad.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:03 AM on December 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


"After Obama signs the legislation — passed by the Senate on Saturday — into law, the Pentagon must still certify to Congress that the change won't damage combat readiness.

So, for the time being the restrictions will remain on the books, though it's unclear how fully they will be enforced. Some people believe gay discharge cases will be dropped as soon as Obama signs the law. Military leaders, who have been divided on the issue, gave indications that the policy change will be aggressively pursued.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, who had argued against the policy change, said in a statement Sunday the Corps 'will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy' and that he would 'personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines.'

... Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who commanded a brigade in Iraq, said he believes the military — from top commanders to foot soldiers — will accept their new orders.

'Pretty much all the heated discussion is over and now it's a matter of the more mundane aspects of implementing the law,' Mansoor, a professor of military history at Ohio State University, said in a telephone interview.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a research institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara said only three steps are needed to assure a smooth and quick transition: an executive order suspending all gay discharges, a few weeks to put new regulations in place, immediate certification to Congress that the new law will work. But he said the military may require months of education and training well into 2011." *
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on December 20, 2010


E-mail from Norton A Schwartz, Chief of Staff, USAF

Fellow Airmen,

Yesterday, the Senate passed HR 2965, a bill designed to repeal Section 654 of Title 10 of the United States Code, known as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Once the President signs the bill into law, the Department of Defense will proceed to implement the change in a responsible, deliberate, and careful manner.

It is important to understand that the President’s signing of the new bill into law does not mean the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law will be repealed immediately. Instead, the Congressional language stipulates that repeal occurs 60 days after certification by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and the President that the necessary policies and regulations have been prepared to implement repeal and that repeal is consistent with standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. To repeat, the implementation and certification process will not happen immediately; it will take time. Meanwhile, the current law remains in effect. All Air Force members should conduct themselves accordingly.

In the coming days and weeks as we prepare for the repeal, we will provide education and training material to help all Airmen understand what is expected in a post-repeal environment.

Effective leadership, however, is key to implementing this change and success will rest on the shoulders of senior leaders like me, commanders, chiefs, first sergeants, and supervisors. The standards of conduct we expect of all Airmen will not change. Moreover, we will continue to treat each other, as members of the Air Force family, with dignity and respect.

I know each of you will approach this issue professionally and that you will continue to adhere faithfully to our core values of Integrity, Service before Self, and Excellence in all we do. By following our core values, we will successfully implement this change with the same unparalleled professionalism we have demonstrated with every transformation we have undertaken in peace and war.

posted by Comrade_robot at 10:47 AM on December 20, 2010


The constant, near incessant promotion of Obama, despite his record when the facts are examined, brings down discourse on Metafilter.


Facts what facts? We have opinions and spin. We have a moving goal line where every play in every down is questioned. We hear the same canard about how Obama is just Bush 3. Any fact like the passage of DADT, is spun into irrelevancy. Any action out of the broad consensus of moderates is spun into total capitulation.
posted by humanfont at 10:50 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Has this been discussed here yet? I lost track of the thread back when it was only 400 comments long...

Gitmo Transfer Ban, Pushed By Illinois Republicans, Was Part Of DADT Deal

Now, the defense authorization bill hasn't been passed yet, as far as I know. But if it is, and this provision isn't stripped out, there'll be no way to transfer Guantanamo detainees for trial in the US until "the end of September 2011, when the fiscal year ends."

That would be bad news, because the further delay would no doubt continue to be viewed as the Dem's fault.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:39 PM on December 20, 2010


We have a moving goal line

We sure do. Every time someone uses facts-on-record to contradict the general narrative of Obama's accomplishments that some of you keep promoting, we get an updated laundry list of excuses and multidimensional chess moves that rationalize Obama's actions. That defines moving goal posts, if anything does.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on December 20, 2010


Every time someone uses facts-on-record to contradict the general narrative of Obama being even worse than Bush that some of you keep promoting, we get an updated laundry list of excuses and multidimensional chess moves that rationalize why Obama's actions are either not really his, the exact opposite of what they are or both.

Funny how that works both ways. So when both sides are doing it, I choose to blame the people who turn every single action into part of a "general narrative" that they feel they have to attack, regardless of whether they actually agree with that particular action.
posted by Etrigan at 1:46 PM on December 20, 2010


Obama to sign 'don't ask' repeal this week -- may hold news conference
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2010


We have a moving goal line

We sure do. Every time someone uses facts-on-record to contradict the general narrative of Obama's accomplishments that some of you keep promoting, we get an updated laundry list of excuses and multidimensional chess moves that rationalize Obama's actions. That defines moving goal posts, if anything does.


Here's the problem--the facts supposedly supporting Obama being a terrible person are generally saying "what he did was not enough." Which is an opinion, not a fact. My opinion is you can name only one or two presidents who did more in their first two years than Obama.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:49 PM on December 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


In this post the facts were Obama requested that congress repeal DADT and they did. Then we heard a bunch of FUD trolling that he didn't try hard enough, he cares more for gays who didn't vote for him than hispanics who did, he will veto the bill, he won't move quckly enough to implement it. Also he's a terrible poker player and do nothing President. Also this action is a meaningless minor step for gay rights. How am I supposed to take your challenges to Obama seriously?
posted by humanfont at 2:47 PM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because they're utterly right, as demonstrated by an endless series of links to opinion columns from like-minded people and unrelated links to something bad Obama is doing somewhere else.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:52 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


opinion columns

According to the collective wisdom of Metafilter, the Associated Press and New York Times are now sneaking opinion columns under the guise of journalism. Keep moving those goal posts, folks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 PM on December 20, 2010


Tne one thing this thread makes clear is that you're a bunch of nitwits.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:16 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The NY Times:
“This might turn out to be a very good month for the president,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, which backs repeal. “Getting rid of D.A.D.T. is important not just to the gay community but to progressives as a whole. If he’s able to get this done, I think it will send an important message that he’s still got his progressive creds.’”

The AP:
The Passage delivers a resounding victory for Obama.
posted by humanfont at 3:29 PM on December 20, 2010


HRC President Joe Solmonese Says 'Every Player' Involved In The 'DADT' Repeal Process Let The Community Down
"Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, discusses the failed Senate 'DADT' repeal bill with CNN's John King.

Says Solmonese:
'Well I think everybody involved in this process let the community down. Every one of the players in this process let the community down because the fact of the matter was there was a path forward, whether it was the White House, the Democratic leadership, the Republicans who supported this bill. I have to believe we could have found that way forward and we could have gotten it done.'
Does he include HRC in that group? Since February, when folks were already expressing concern that there wasn't enough leadership from Congress or the White House on the repeal issue, HRC was insisting that there was a clear path to repeal.

We've seen a lot of things this year, but a clear path is not among them."
Pam Spaulding calls on Solmonese to resign.
posted by ericb at 3:35 PM on December 20, 2010


Every time someone uses facts-on-record to contradict the general narrative of Obama's accomplishments that some of you keep promoting ...

Oh ffs. I'm willing to concede that Obama hasn't done everything you'd like, or everything I'd like. I'd like him to be more to the left. But in THIS SPECIFIC CASE, the facts-on-record are pretty simple and clear: Obama promised that he'd fight to get DADT repealed before the end of the year, it's December and it's been repealed.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:40 PM on December 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ari Ezra Waldman: What The Repeal Of 'DADT' Means For Federal Benefits
"My thesis ... is that DADT repeal is a limited victory (but a great victory nonetheless!) for ultimate and full equality given that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents the military from treating the military's gay couples the same as its straight couples. ..." [more]
posted by ericb at 3:41 PM on December 20, 2010


Rush Limbaugh:
"Isn't it revealing, my friends, the same people who have only shown hatred and contempt for the US. military are the ones celebrating 'DADT' as a great historic accomplishment? So much irony in all this. So if we're not going to call it the PFC Bradley Manning Act, what are we going to call it? Show and tell? ... Does this mean Mrs. Clinton can finally ... join the Marines?"
posted by ericb at 3:47 PM on December 20, 2010


Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach: John McCain was the reason I joined the military.
posted by ericb at 3:52 PM on December 20, 2010


We've seen a lot of things this year, but a clear path is not among them."
Pam Spaulding calls on Solmonese to resign.


I think those links are from 12 days ago, when the first try failed.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:56 PM on December 20, 2010


Looks like Dan Choi is going to the signing ceremony!
posted by Ironmouth at 3:57 PM on December 20, 2010


Obama promised that he'd fight to get DADT repealed

It's an odd way of keeping a promise, by repeatedly fighting and appealing a federal court decision that overturned DADT, and vocally, notably, once again before a mid-term election that, regardless of pandering, brought in a number of extremist right-wing politicians.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:04 PM on December 20, 2010


Obama promised that he'd fight to get DADT repealed

It's an odd way of keeping a promise, by repeatedly fighting and appealing a federal court decision that overturned DADT, and vocally, notably, once again before a mid-term election that, regardless of pandering, brought in a number of extremist right-wing politicians.



The Chief Magistrate is required to defend the country from suits for money damages and to overturn laws passed by Congress. You're just asking for chaos. What if the GOP decided they weren't going to defend abortion clinics and wouldn't prosecute those who attacked them? It is a terrible way of going about things--its extra-legal. It sets a terrible precedent that bad people are going to use.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:09 PM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Chief Magistrate is required to defend the country from suits for money damages and to overturn laws passed by Congress.

I mean defend laws passed by Congress. The courts can overturn them. Note that the decision in question was a single district court decision.

The way the Administration did this is better. There's no issue with the repeal. They will have to get the whole thing revoted on to reinstate a ban. If Obama had not appealed the court decision, the GOP could have reinstated the policy, then someone would have had to sue again, with possibly different results.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's an odd way of keeping a promise, by repeatedly fighting and appealing a federal court decision that overturned DADT ...

You understand the difference between legislation and court decisions, right? He said we'd have legislation that repealed DADT. And look - we do!
posted by me & my monkey at 4:57 PM on December 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


wow, just wow:

A state lawmaker from Virginia is so upset about the Congress repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell that he wants to institute a mini-DADT banning gay men and lesbians from the Virginia National Guard.

"It's a distraction when I'm on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I'm worried about this guy whose got eyes on me," the lawmaker, Delegate Bob Marshall (R), told WUSA9. "If I needed a blood transfusion and the guy next to me had committed sodomy 14 times in the last month I'd be worried."


It strikes me about homophobia that it is mainly about men not wanting to have to face the same sexual scrutiny that women do presently. I mean there's a whole hell of a lot this going on for women in the military, no?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


But what does it mean for Batwoman?
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"'DADT' lawsuits to remain in place for now: 'The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said Monday it won't remove its lawsuit filed last week on behalf of three officers discharged under the ban until the veterans are reinstated. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also is considering the government's appeal of a California judge's September decision striking down the policy. Log Cabin Republicans says it won't move to end that case until the Pentagon certifies the repeal and stops investigating service members for being gay.'"*
posted by ericb at 3:17 PM on December 21, 2010


House's Loudest Bigot Louie Gohmert Warns Of Soldiers Crawling Into Each Other's Beds.
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on December 21, 2010


Barney Frank: 'I Will Confess That I Left My Purse At Home'
Rep. Barney Frank discussed Obama's accomplishments with Chris Matthews highlighting the recent repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and what it will do to diminish prejudice. Matthews nearly loses it as Barney injects a bit of sarcasm into the conversation.

Said Frank:
"I was reading the comments — a young Marine 18 years old - who said 'well I'm against this because we're macho. We're Marines. And gay men are girly. Now, I will confess that I left my purse at home....uh, and I'm sorry that I didn't live up to his prediction. Giving gay and lesbian people a chance to show, in the most important and challenging thing you can do in America, that we really are like everybody else except for our choices about what we do in intimate moments - that's a very important breakthrough."
posted by ericb at 3:30 PM on December 21, 2010


@empath: Obviously Obama is a homophobic bigot who thinks gays are second class citizens. It's OBVIOUS. Wake up sheeple.

Just a reminder, Obama STILL doesn't support gay marriage. His religion tells him gay relationships are a sin. Not changing any time soon!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:42 PM on December 21, 2010


Just a reminder, Obama STILL doesn't support gay marriage. His religion tells him gay relationships are a sin. Not changing any time soon!

Obama never said his religion tells him gay marriages are a sin. He said it tells him marriage is between a man and a woman. He also said he thinks that the states should have the right to decide if gay marriage is for them.

I disagree with his feelings on marriage. He's entitled to them. I can't have a president who agrees with me on everything unless I run and win.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2010


Obama never said his religion tells him gay marriages are a sin. He said it tells him marriage is between a man and a woman.

Weak dude, you know damn well these churches see homosexual practices as sin, which is why marriage isn't for the gays.

He also said he thinks that the states should have the right to decide if gay marriage is for them.

Interesting way to phrase it, I prefer, "He thinks states should be allowed to treat gays as second class citizens if they so choose, which many of them will."

I can agree and disagree with people, but refusing to defend basic human rights for minorities is kind of a deal breaker.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:39 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weak dude, you know damn well these churches see homosexual practices as sin, which is why marriage isn't for the gays.

Recently he's been seen at the local Episopal Church, which has rather different views. Perhaps his views will evolve.
posted by humanfont at 6:22 PM on December 21, 2010


Perhaps his views will evolve

Just as they did when the mid-term elections came around and he sent his Justice Department in to appeal DADT being struck down. But, of course, he's playing multidimension chess with people's inalienable rights! So it's all okay.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:38 PM on December 21, 2010


How many times will you need it explained that the Justice Department is required to defend all laws in court, regardless of whether or not the administration is lobbying to repeal them?
posted by kafziel at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2010


The Justice Department picks and chooses what it spends its time on. There was no good reason Obama had to have Holder make this a priority over other issues.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:53 PM on December 21, 2010


Anyway, I'm tired of the rationalizations and excuses. DADT will get repealed in spite of Obama, which is more important in the long run.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:55 PM on December 21, 2010


and also having the last word.
posted by empath at 8:43 PM on December 21, 2010


At least I have my integrity.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 PM on December 21, 2010


The Justice Department picks and chooses what it spends its time on. There was no good reason Obama had to have Holder make this a priority over other issues.

You have to file for an appeal within a certain period of time after a final decision, or else you lose your right to appeal. Stuff like that influences when the DOJ does what and why.

DADT will get repealed in spite of Obama

Hey, remember that time they introduced that bill to repeal DADT both before and after when the Dems took over Congress during the Bush administration and it passed both houses? Oh, wait, that didn't happen, it never passed both houses.

But hey, remember that time Barack Obama said that he'd like to consult with the military leaders about DADT and then repeal DADT through legislation? Like, nineteen days after he was elected into office? But that that process might get pushed back to 2010? And now it's 2010? And it got through, even during the lame duck session?

Yeah. Yeah, I remember that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


It is of intense fascination to me how much of the anti-Obama sentiment from both sides of the political spectrum falls into the category of "He can't be trusted, he's not who he says he is." Debate olicy all you want, but painting Obama as shadowy and nefarious is simply the cornerstone of irrational criticism.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:42 PM on December 21, 2010


At least I have my integrity.

You have the integrity of a person who was overjoyed with Republican gains in November and, and is utterly horrified by the repeal of DADT but makes rather weak efforts to pretend otherwise. That is not a lot of integrity.
posted by Artw at 9:47 PM on December 21, 2010


DADT will get repealed in spite of Obama

Besides, he's totally not gonna sign the bill.
posted by inigo2 at 10:11 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


He'll secretly be thinking nasty thoughts when he signs it.
posted by Artw at 10:17 PM on December 21, 2010


BP, my respected friend, you are being stupid in this thread. Really fucking stupid. Howzabout you stop it now, kthxbfn.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 PM on December 21, 2010


You have the integrity of a person who was overjoyed with Republican gains in November and, and is utterly horrified by the repeal of DADT but makes rather weak efforts to pretend otherwise. That is not a lot of integrity.

I'm fairly happy with my lie-free support for the repeal of DADT, at least within what I could do within the state of Washington. My integrity remains intact, unlike some people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:36 PM on December 21, 2010


Yeah, you're really happy right now.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on December 21, 2010


I'll get a ruler.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:56 PM on December 21, 2010


I'll get a ruler.

WE DO HAVE A RULER

KING OBAMA
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2010


My integrity remains intact, unlike some people.

For someone who's thrown around in this thread a version of the word "facts" that doesn't seem to jibe with anyone else's in the history of English, I suppose that it's not surprising how oddly you're defining "integrity." Or maybe it's just the pronouns where you're off.
posted by Etrigan at 5:38 AM on December 22, 2010


MSNBC.com is streaming the signing ceremony live.
posted by EarBucket at 6:14 AM on December 22, 2010


Obama promises to "get this done swiftly and efficiently. We're not going to be dragging our feet."
posted by EarBucket at 6:27 AM on December 22, 2010


Doesn't sound like he's suspending discharges yet. A lovely speech, now let's see some action backing it up. And fast.
posted by EarBucket at 6:33 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Doesn't sound like he's suspending discharges yet. A lovely speech, now let's see some action backing it up. And fast.

They've been suspended for some time. If a service wants to discharge anyone for being homosexual, the Secretary of the service, Army, Navy, Air Force, must personally sign off on it. This is an effective suspension of discharge proceedings.

all of the current court proceedings are people suing the government to get back again. Hence, they will continue.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:20 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


DADT FUD flingers please provide one example of an ongoing DADT discharge or investigation. Until you show some actual real person affected by the lack of an executive order halting discharges the issue is moot. As a manager I tend to wait until my subordinates demonstrate their inability to do the smart thing. This let's me figure out which ones are worth keeping.
posted by humanfont at 7:21 AM on December 22, 2010


I can agree and disagree with people, but refusing to defend basic human rights for minorities is kind of a deal breaker

Well, I'm sure President Palin will be all for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:22 AM on December 22, 2010


DADT FUD flingers please provide one example of an ongoing DADT discharge or investigation. Until you show some actual real person affected by the lack of an executive order halting discharges the issue is moot.

Agreed. And current court cases don't count, they are trying to reverse a past discharge and don't constitute action by the government.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2010


Doesn't sound like he's suspending discharges yet. A lovely speech, now let's see some action backing it up. And fast.

I believe his putting pen to paper right there constituted action on his part. Admit that he has fulfilled a promise that many here openly doubted him on. Continuing to move the goalposts isn't helping your anti-Obama (and pro-Palin) case.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:26 AM on December 22, 2010


Continuing to move the goalposts isn't helping your anti-Obama (and pro-Palin) case.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I think this is great, fantastic. I do think he's been a pretty bad president on civil liberties, even as he's done a pretty good job on foreign policy and an okay job on the economy. I organized for him in '08, and I'll organize for him again in 2012. Retaining the ability to see that not everything he's done has been ice cream and unicorns doesn't make me anti-Obama or pro-Palin, for god's sake.

This is a huge thing the president did today, and the people who are minimizing it are being unfair. But calling for Obama to move quickly to institute equal treatment for gay soldiers means you want Sarah Palin to be president now? Seriously?
posted by EarBucket at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


One other thing. There can be no successful discharge from here on out. If they attempt a court-martial, the attorney representing the service man or woman merely needs point to the law, which trumps all regulation.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2010


This is a huge thing the president did today, and the people who are minimizing it are being unfair. But calling for Obama to move quickly to institute equal treatment for gay soldiers means you want Sarah Palin to be president now? Seriously?

From a legal standpoint, there can be no discharges now. The Court-Martial would have to dismiss the charges because regardless of regulation, law trumps it. It is a rule of construction. You can't win on a discharge case right now. It is legally impossible.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:40 AM on December 22, 2010


If anyone recalls my participation during the various 2008 primary and election threads, you might remember that I hardly an enthusiastic supporter of Obama. I voted for him in the general election and have no regrets -- far better him than McCain. But I never expected him to be the fire-breathing leftist I would rather have in the White House than either of them. And nothing I have seen so far suggests that he ever will be.

Nonetheless ...

Come on. He did good here. DADT was a crappy, bigoted law and he got rid of it. He worked to get rid of it -- certainly not alone, but you're nuts if you think he just sat back and let it happen, or caved to recent pressure; he's obviously been working on this slowly but surely for two years.

Heck, he even got a solid number of *Republicans* to vote for getting rid of it, in the bipartisan reach-across-the-aisle way he ran on, which never seems to have worked before and might never work again, but he managed it this time.

And it's important. This is another step forward, and one that will pave the way for future civil rights victories.

I'm just saying ... there's nothing wrong with credit where it's due.
posted by kyrademon at 7:40 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Court-Martial would have to dismiss the charges because regardless of regulation, law trumps it.

As I understand it, this law doesn't guarantee gay servicemembers the right to serve; it merely releases the president from the obligation to discharge them if they reveal their orientation. It's up to Obama and the Joint Chiefs now to get rid of the regulations banning gays from service. They need to do it quickly. I honestly don't understand why that's a controversial position.
posted by EarBucket at 7:43 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Particularly since the president says he agrees that it needs to happen "swiftly and efficiently." I assume he means it, and hope he gets it done.)
posted by EarBucket at 7:45 AM on December 22, 2010


As I understand it, this law doesn't guarantee gay servicemembers the right to serve; it merely releases the president from the obligation to discharge them if they reveal their orientation. It's up to Obama and the Joint Chiefs now to get rid of the regulations banning gays from service. They need to do it quickly. I honestly don't understand why that's a controversial position.

This seems to indicate that it strikes 10 USC 654 in its entirety.

Once that's repealed (which is now), I don't see how you can sustain a discharge.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:49 AM on December 22, 2010


You're right, it does repeal the ban altogether. However, it doesn't do it until sixty days after Obama, Gates, and Mullen sign off on it--and they haven't indicated what kind of time frame it's going to take before they're ready to do that. Until that happens, DADT is still very much in place, and the promise of future repeal doesn't change current regulations. They can still discharge people if they want to. I suspect it's more likely there'll be a de facto suspension where everyone pretends the policy is still in place but it's not enforced. That's probably attractive to the Pentagon, because it gives them a transition period.
posted by EarBucket at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2010


Robert Gates promises to act carefully, methodically, purposefully, deliberately.

"It is therefore important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today’s historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect."

Today was a huge step toward making things right for gay servicemembers. They're not right yet, and people who care about that can't rest until it's done.
posted by EarBucket at 8:06 AM on December 22, 2010


They can still discharge people if they want to. I suspect it's more likely there'll be a de facto suspension where everyone pretends the policy is still in place but it's not enforced. That's probably attractive to the Pentagon, because it gives them a transition period.

I think that's basically the position we've been in since the first District Court decision, first a complete suspension, then a requirement that the Service Secretaries sign off on any discharge, which pretty much gums up the works. The only thing I see them signing off on is if there were other charges too, like lying or adultery or something like that. They still discharge you for that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:26 AM on December 22, 2010


Do you know if there's a list of discharges anywhere? It'd be interesting to look at the rate by month.
posted by EarBucket at 8:54 AM on December 22, 2010


According to this article, there weren't any discharges from October 21 through November 21, the thirty day period immediately following Gates's new rules narrowing who is allowed to discharge someone under DADT. Does anyone know if there have been any discharges since? If they've already effectively suspended enforcement, I'm pretty much happy with that. I'd rather the president get up there and say out loud that it's over, but I understand wanting to do it in an orderly fashion.
posted by EarBucket at 9:01 AM on December 22, 2010


Just for the protection of gay service members, I'd hope they don't start coming out of the closet until the military establishes clear guidelines not just for them, but for straight soldiers as well. You're dealing with soldiers, sure, but also a lot of 18 and 19 year old kids, and a lot of 18 and 19 year old kids without much education and worldliness, so the military is probably going to have to be really precise on what acceptable behavior toward gay colleagues is going to be.

I'm sure most soldiers will handle it just fine, but you know there is going to be an outspoken minority that will be a problem if they get unclear guidance and leadership from their superiors.
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on December 22, 2010


This is great news congratulations to all the gays!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:05 AM on December 22, 2010


You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this. I couldn’t be prouder.

Sixty-six years ago, in the dense, snow-covered forests of Western Europe, Allied Forces were beating back a massive assault in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. And in the final days of fighting, a regiment in the 80th Division of Patton’s Third Army came under fire. The men were traveling along a narrow trail. They were exposed and they were vulnerable. Hundreds of soldiers were cut down by the enemy.

And during the firefight, a private named Lloyd Corwin tumbled 40 feet down the deep side of a ravine. And dazed and trapped, he was as good as dead. But one soldier, a friend, turned back. And with shells landing around him, amid smoke and chaos and the screams of wounded men, this soldier, this friend, scaled down the icy slope, risking his own life to bring Private Corwin to safer ground.

For the rest of his years, Lloyd credited this soldier, this friend, named Andy Lee, with saving his life, knowing he would never have made it out alone. It was a full four decades after the war, when the two friends reunited in their golden years, that Lloyd learned that the man who saved his life, his friend Andy, was gay. He had no idea. And he didn’t much care. Lloyd knew what mattered. He knew what had kept him alive; what made it possible for him to come home and start a family and live the rest of his life. It was his friend.

And Lloyd’s son is with us today. And he knew that valor and sacrifice are no more limited by sexual orientation than they are by race or by gender or by religion or by creed; that what made it possible for him to survive the battlefields of Europe is the reason that we are here today. (Applause.) That's the reason we are here today. (Applause.)

So this morning, I am proud to sign a law that will bring an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (Applause.) It is a law -- this law I’m about to sign will strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend.

No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military -– regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance -– because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love. (Applause.)

As Admiral Mike Mullen has said, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.” (Applause.)

That’s why I believe this is the right thing to do for our military. That’s why I believe it is the right thing to do, period.

Now, many fought long and hard to reach this day. I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans who put conviction ahead of politics to get this done together. (Applause. I want to recognize Nancy Pelosi -- (applause) -- Steny Hoyer -- (applause) -- and Harry Reid. (Applause.)

Today we’re marking an historic milestone, but also the culmination of two of the most productive years in the history of Congress, in no small part because of their leadership. And so we are very grateful to them. (Applause.)

I want to thank Joe Lieberman -- (applause) -- and Susan Collins. (Applause.) And I think Carl Levin is still working -- (laughter) -- but I want to add Carl Levin. (Applause.) They held their shoulders to the wheel in the Senate. I am so proud of Susan Davis, who’s on the stage. (Applause.) And a guy you might know -- Barney Frank. (Applause.) They kept up the fight in the House. And I’ve got to acknowledge Patrick Murphy, a veteran himself, who helped lead the way in Congress. (Applause.)

I also want to commend our military leadership. Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a topic in my first meeting with Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs. (Applause.) We talked about how to end this policy. We talked about how success in both passing and implementing this change depended on working closely with the Pentagon. And that’s what we did.

And two years later, I’m confident that history will remember well the courage and the vision of Secretary Gates -- (applause) -- of Admiral Mike Mullen, who spoke from the heart and said what he believed was right -- (applause) -- of General James Cartwright, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Deputy Secretary William Lynn, who is here. (Applause.) Also, the authors of the Pentagon’s review, Jeh Johnson and General Carter Ham, who did outstanding and meticulous work -- (applause) -- and all those who laid the groundwork for this transition.

And finally, I want to express my gratitude to the men and women in this room who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Services. (Applause.) I want to thank all the patriots who are here today, all of them who were forced to hang up their uniforms as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” -- but who never stopped fighting for this country, and who rallied and who marched and fought for change. I want to thank everyone here who stood with them in that fight.

Because of these efforts, in the coming days we will begin the process laid out by this law. Now, the old policy remains in effect until Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and I certify the military’s readiness to implement the repeal. And it’s especially important for service members to remember that. But I have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently. We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done. (Applause.)

Now, with any change, there’s some apprehension. That’s natural. But as Commander-in-Chief, I am certain that we can effect this transition in a way that only strengthens our military readiness; that people will look back on this moment and wonder why it was ever a source of controversy in the first place.

I have every confidence in the professionalism and patriotism of our service members. Just as they have adapted and grown stronger with each of the other changes, I know they will do so again. I know that Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, as well as the vast majority of service members themselves, share this view. And they share it based on their own experiences, including the experience of serving with dedicated, duty-bound service members who were also gay.

As one special operations warfighter said during the Pentagon’s review -- this was one of my favorites -- it echoes the experience of Lloyd Corwin decades earlier: “We have a gay guy in the unit. He’s big, he’s mean, he kills lots of bad guys.” (Laughter.) “No one cared that he was gay.” (Laughter.) And I think that sums up perfectly the situation. (Applause.)

Finally, I want to speak directly to the gay men and women currently serving in our military. For a long time your service has demanded a particular kind of sacrifice. You’ve been asked to carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation. And all the while, you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you.

You’re not the first to have carried this burden, for while today marks the end of a particular struggle that has lasted almost two decades, this is a moment more than two centuries in the making.

There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country; their service has been obscured in history. It’s been lost to prejudices that have waned in our own lifetimes. But at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands.

There can be little doubt there were gay soldiers who fought for American independence, who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg, who manned the trenches along the Western Front, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Their names are etched into the walls of our memorials. Their headstones dot the grounds at Arlington.

And so, as the first generation to serve openly in our Armed Forces, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models to all who come after. And I know that you will fulfill this responsibility with integrity and honor, just as you have every other mission with which you’ve been charged.


And you need to look no further than the servicemen and women in this room -- distinguished officers like former Navy Commander Zoe Dunning. (Applause.) Marines like Eric Alva, one of the first Americans to be injured in Iraq. (Applause.) Leaders like Captain Jonathan Hopkins, who led a platoon into northern Iraq during the initial invasion, quelling an ethnic riot, earning a Bronze Star with valor. (Applause.) He was discharged, only to receive emails and letters from his soldiers saying they had known he was gay all along -- (laughter) -- and thought that he was the best commander they ever had. (Applause.)

There are a lot of stories like these -- stories that only underscore the importance of enlisting the service of all who are willing to fight for this country. That’s why I hope those soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have been discharged under this discriminatory policy will seek to reenlist once the repeal is implemented. (Applause.)

That is why I say to all Americans, gay or straight, who want nothing more than to defend this country in uniform: Your country needs you, your country wants you, and we will be honored to welcome you into the ranks of the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)

Some of you remembered I visited Afghanistan just a few weeks ago. And while I was walking along the rope line -- it was a big crowd, about 3,000 -- a young woman in uniform was shaking my hand and other people were grabbing and taking pictures. And she pulled me into a hug and she whispered in my ear, “Get ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ done.” (Laughter and applause.) And I said to her, “I promise you I will.” (Applause.)

For we are not a nation that says, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We are a nation that says, “Out of many, we are one.” (Applause.) We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. (Applause.) Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law. (Applause.)
posted by empath at 9:22 AM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's a fantastic speech, easily one of Obama's best in quite a while. Particularly that last paragraph. I've missed Obama the rhetorician; it was nice to see him put in an appearance today.
posted by EarBucket at 9:25 AM on December 22, 2010


Obama tells the Advocate "My strong sense is [implementation] is a matter of months. Absolutely not years." He also suggests they can get DOMA repealed in a two to four year time frame. That'd be a fantastic accomplishment.
posted by EarBucket at 9:30 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did anyone see if he had his fingers crossed behind his back?
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a fantastic speech, easily one of Obama's best in quite a while. Particularly that last paragraph. I've missed Obama the rhetorician; it was nice to see him put in an appearance today.

Well, he's been forced to explain a lot of bullshit compromises that nobody is happy with.
posted by empath at 9:34 AM on December 22, 2010


On the question of marriage equality, the president said his “attitudes are evolving.”

“Like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this,” he said. "I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.”

The president also signaled that he and his lawyers are reviewing “a range of options” when it comes to the administration’s responsibility to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, especially since repealing it over the next two years will be a nonstarter with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options. My preference wherever possible is to get things done legislatively,” Obama said, drawing a comparison with repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“That may not be possible in DOMA’s case,” he added. “That's something that I think we have to strategize on over the next several months.”


This sounds to me like he is thinking of dropping the appeal. It also doesn't sound to me like he's a bigot who thinks that gays should be denied the right to marry.
posted by empath at 9:46 AM on December 22, 2010


Good job Senate. Good job House. Good job Obama.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:03 AM on December 22, 2010


Congratulations to the Senate and House, as well as to the Log Cabin Republicans for successfully overturning an unconstitutional law. Hopefully, all the servicemen and women who had to suffer unjust treatment at the hands of the Commander-in-Chief will now begin to be treated fairly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on December 22, 2010


Congratulations to the Senate and House, as well as to the Log Cabin Republicans for successfully overturning an unconstitutional law. Hopefully, all the servicemen and women who had to suffer unjust treatment at the hands of the Commander-in-Chief will now begin to be treated fairly.

Evidently, the Senate and House overrid Obama's veto.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:13 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


BP lives in a world exclusively populated with heroes and villains. There's really no point arguing with him once he slots someone in one or the other.
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


BP lives in a world exclusively populated with heroes and villains

I don't know if Obama is a villain. Given his actions, it's doubtful he deserves as much of the credit he's being given, though. Good outcome for us, regardless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:27 AM on December 22, 2010


Congratulations to the Senate and House, as well as to the Log Cabin Republicans for successfully overturning an unconstitutional law. Hopefully, all the servicemen and women who had to suffer unjust treatment at the hands of the Commander-in-Chief will now begin to be treated fairly.

A law that was declared unconstitutional thanks in large part to public statements from that Commander-in-Chief, which the LCR presented in court as evidence that the policy was unnecessary. But go ahead and stay in your weird world where Obama had nothing to do with a bill he campaigned for, pushed for and signed.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you know if there's a list of discharges anywhere?

Total "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Discharges 1994-2006 (By Year) [PDF].
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on December 22, 2010


Number of DADT discharges || 1994 - 2009.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on December 22, 2010


No DADT Discharges in One Month || November 22, 2010:
No U.S. service members have been discharged for being openly gay in the month since the Defense Department adopted new rules regarding “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a Pentagon spokeswoman said Monday.

The new rules, signed October 21 by Defense secretary Robert Gates, limited authority to sign off on discharges to three service secretaries.

Spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told the Associated Press no discharges have been approved since October 21. Before then, any commanding officer with rank equivalent to a one-star general could discharge enlisted personnel under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says Senators will have blood on their hands for voting to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on December 22, 2010


The Family Research Council says opponents of the DADT repeal will sue to stop it.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2010



I can agree and disagree with people, but refusing to defend basic human rights for minorities is kind of a deal breaker

Well, I'm sure President Palin will be all for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.


Guess what? There are other candidates. If my vote is the difference, not my fault your candidate didn't speak to me. It's his job to win me over, not my job to approve of everything he does even when he is treating minorities like second class citizens.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:00 PM on December 22, 2010


Obama Says He's 'Wrestling' With Gay Marriage
Mr. President, do you think it’s time that gays and lesbians should be entitled to full marriage rights?

Well, I spoke about this recently with some bloggers who were here ...

Mr. Joe Sudbay.

Yes, and Joe asked me the same question. And since I've been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I’m not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am — which is, like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.

And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I’m continually asking myself this question, and I do think that — I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don’t understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.

And so this is an issue that I’m still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on December 22, 2010


@empath: It also doesn't sound to me like he's a bigot who thinks that gays should be denied the right to marry.

I think black people are less human than white people but my views might evolve someday, talk to me tommorow!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:04 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.


And I have black friends!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:05 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone born of a mixed-race couple in 1961 shouldn't have to wrestle with equality when it comes to marriage.
posted by EarBucket at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Video || Transcript: Signing of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2010


Barney Frank on the 'Radical Homosexual Agenda':
"It's to be protected against violent crimes driven by bigotry, it's to be able to get married, it's to be able to get a job, and it's to be able to fight for our country. For those who are worried about the radical homosexual agenda, let me put them on notice. Two down, two to go."
I ♥ Barney Frank!
posted by ericb at 2:22 PM on December 22, 2010


"This is only the beginning.... Sitting there watching the President talking about 'We're all created equal under the law,' ... but at the same time I can't get married, there's a moral discrepancy.

Today we congratulate the President, because we know if he wasn't the voice behind it, it never would have happened, but tomorrow we still have work to do....

You can fight in war and sacrifice for your neighbor's families, you should be able to fight for love...That's full citizenship....

Change is hard work, it's a choice we make that we have to constantly work at it. A lot of people kept saying 'Just wait, it's going to happen.' But it's not going to happen just by you saying it.... The government will do everything it can to not do the right thing. You have to make it happen."


Shut up Choi, go vote Palin.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did anyone see if he had his fingers crossed behind his back?

Probably Blazecock Pileon.

I keed. I keed.
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on December 22, 2010


Shut up Choi, go vote Palin.

You're a parody.
posted by fatbird at 2:38 PM on December 22, 2010


Yes, I know, it was a parody of Ironmouth. Glad you saw what I did there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:43 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh huh.
posted by fatbird at 2:47 PM on December 22, 2010


Yup.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2010


Guess what? There are other candidates. If my vote is the difference, not my fault your candidate didn't speak to me. It's his job to win me over, not my job to approve of everything he does even when he is treating minorities like second class citizens.

You should also recognize that there are other voters. If your vote is too hard to win you'll be scored into the unpursuadable column and the politician will go looking for easier to attain members of the coalition. If you want to get something done in politics you need to atop thinking just about yourself.
posted by humanfont at 2:52 PM on December 22, 2010


From furiousxgeorge's link to DailyKos regarding Dan Choi, please watch the video in which Harry Reid returns Choi's West Point ring to him.

Last July Choi gave Reid his ring. As a result, Reid said that he would return the ring only when the bill to repeal DADT was signed into law. The return happened today.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on December 22, 2010



You should also recognize that there are other voters. If your vote is too hard to win you'll be scored into the unpursuadable column and the politician will go looking for easier to attain members of the coalition.


This is fine, if another message has mass better mass appeal more votes for that candidate will be won, what I do is irrelevant because three others will be convinced by the message with mass appeal.

You think Obama is that guy, so he will win no problem, no need to worry about my vote going to the "gay people deserve the exact same rights as everyone else" fringe guy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:09 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I know, it was a parody of Ironmouth. Glad you saw what I did there.

Except Ironmouth is disagreeing with people that are saying that Obama had nothing to do with repeal of DADT. What they're saying isn't comparable at all to Choi's statement. But you knew that.
posted by inigo2 at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2010



Except Ironmouth is disagreeing with people that are saying that Obama had nothing to do with repeal of DADT. What they're saying isn't comparable at all to Choi's statement. But you knew that.


No, he was responding to me, who has not said that. But you knew that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:30 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you didnt vote for Obama in November you voted for McCain. It's that simple. And remember which one was on the senate floor throwing a tantrum.
posted by empath at 3:32 PM on December 22, 2010


Hi again Empath, Obama and McCain both still agree that gay marriage is wrong. Maybe he will evolve by the next thread on this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:38 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're certainly giving him reason to evolve.

"Here's a campaign promise fulfilled."
"Fuck you, you're a homophobe."
posted by Etrigan at 3:40 PM on December 22, 2010


I don't see why he would care what I think, he is a pragmatic decision maker that makes decisions based on what can pass and mass appeal. My views on gay people having equal non-segregated rights are clearly not pragmatic and lack mass appeal. That is fine, the people he is appealing to will vote for him and he will coast to re-election, why are you all so obsessed what what those of us on the small, tiny, fringe think?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:43 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Same reason you're so obsessed with telling us, I guess.
posted by Etrigan at 3:47 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


My side actually has to try and convince people, not just scare people about Sarah Palin. Hey, did you hear she just said something dumb on Twitter?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:53 PM on December 22, 2010


There's also this from Obama from a news conference today:

With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I’ve spoken about this recently.  As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving.  I struggle with this.  I have friends, I have people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions.  And they are extraordinary people, and this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about.

At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have.  And I think -- and I think that’s the right thing to do.  But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough, and I think is something that we’re going to continue to debate and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward.

posted by ekroh at 3:56 PM on December 22, 2010


"Here's a campaign promise fulfilled."

It's pretty disgusting that Obama gets to take any credit for this, after locking up Choi and sending the Justice Department over for repeated appeals of judicial rulings. Still, in the land of the blind, it needs blind hero worship.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:56 PM on December 22, 2010


*yawn*
posted by empath at 4:14 PM on December 22, 2010


It's pretty disgusting that Obama gets to take any credit for this, after locking up Choi and sending the Justice Department over for repeated appeals of judicial rulings. Still, in the land of the blind, it needs blind hero worship.

Stop the lies. The park police arrested Choi for chaining himself to the White House Fence. He wanted to be arrested to draw attention to the cause. The Justice department is required to defend the lawsuit. Obama pushed it through. Even Dan Choi gave him credit.
posted by humanfont at 4:23 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


after locking up Choi

I'm seriously puzzled by this. Are you talking about when he was arrested twice this year for handcuffing himself to the White House fence during DADT protests? Because those two arrests are the only events I can think of that even remotely match up to a "Obama locked up Choi" scenario, and getting there took so much effort in the way of fantastical logical gymnastics that I now feel rather nauseated and may need to lie down for a while.

I am genuinely concerned that you are out of touch with reality.
posted by palomar at 4:36 PM on December 22, 2010


"Today we congratulate the President, because we know if he wasn't the voice behind it, it never would have happened"--Dan Choi after attending the signing ceremony in the White House this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury Chewbaca is a Wookie, etc, etc, the defense rests.
posted by humanfont at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2010


I'm fairly happy with my lie-free support for the repeal of DADT, at least within what I could do within the state of Washington. My integrity remains intact, unlike some people.

I'm not sure what you mean by lie-free support here. Obama didn't lie about his support for DADT's repeal. He's said from the very beginning that he wanted to accomplish this through legislation, rather than letting the courts decide. You can question whether that was the appropriate choice, but there aren't any lies here.

And, unlike you, Obama has repealed DADT.* Which he said he'd do. And he did it before his self-imposed deadline of the end of 2010. So again, no lies there.

There are lots of worthy complaints to make about Obama. But it doesn't do your cause any good to say this is one of them.

Obama: 1, BP: 0 - your integrity is less valuable to my gay servicemember friends than his achievement.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:51 PM on December 22, 2010


I think the key thing to look at from Choi is this part of it:

The government will do everything it can to not do the right thing. You have to make it happen.

I presume he doesn't mean by relying on scaring people that it's okay gay people can't get married because Republicans are worse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:57 PM on December 22, 2010


^ and if you can't see how that was a dig at the Obama stalling Choi perceived you are crazy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:58 PM on December 22, 2010


BTW, New START passed today as well.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:00 PM on December 22, 2010


And, unlike you

That's true. I didn't lock anyone up or send my lawyers to overturn an unconstitutional law, while professing to be a friend of and voice for the GLBT community. Still, I figure my own support for local GLBT organizations and for Gregoire helped in ways that Obama couldn't (and wouldn't). Personal integrity still seems intact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 PM on December 22, 2010


BTW, New START passed today as well.

Obama didn't vote for that either. In fact, as far as I can tell. Obama hasn't voted for a single bill this congress. Someone really needs to alert the media about that.
posted by empath at 5:08 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama didn't vote for that either. In fact, as far as I can tell. Obama hasn't voted for a single bill this congress. Someone really needs to alert the media about that.

Not sure if you're trolling or being sarcastic or whatever, but Obama and Medvedev were the ones who brokered the agreement, and then the Senate provided its advise and consent.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:13 PM on December 22, 2010


Guess what? There are other candidates. If my vote is the difference, not my fault your candidate didn't speak to me. It's his job to win me over, not my job to approve of everything he does even when he is treating minorities like second class citizens.

I disagree. Voting is more a duty than a right. Lincoln said a goverment of the people by the people for the people. We are the people who are responsible for who runs this country. We are the people who are responsible. And 600 Nader voters put Bush in the White House, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the process. Setting aside that responsibility because a particular candidate didn't do exactly as you wished on every issue puts the Palins of this world in office. This is your responsibility.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2010



I disagree. Voting is more a duty than a right. Lincoln said a goverment of the people by the people for the people. We are the people who are responsible for who runs this country. We are the people who are responsible. And 600 Nader voters put Bush in the White House, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the process. Setting aside that responsibility because a particular candidate didn't do exactly as you wished on every issue puts the Palins of this world in office. This is your responsibility.


No, 600 extra Bush voters elected him. Anyway, this isn't even a debate. Obama crossed a line with me with the tax cut issue, you have your own line though it has not or may not be passed, but it exists. If Obama decided to invade Iran tomorrow, you (I assume) would not vote for him again. McCain would still be worse.

When you demand the right to dictate to people where they set their own lines, you are being a total douche. Stop it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:20 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


*past.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:20 PM on December 22, 2010


I didn't lock anyone up or send my lawyers to overturn an unconstitutional law

It was funny watching Obama sprint out of the White House and cuff Dan Choi, read him his rights, etc. You don't see that very often.

IF YOU CHAIN YOURSELF TO THE WHITE HOUSE FENCE, YOU WILL BE ARRESTED. The President has nothing to do with this. Try it sometime and see! That's really the point of the protest. The Park Police come and take you away.

while professing to be a friend of and voice for the GLBT community

I don't think that Obama has claimed to be a voice for the GLBT community. I do know that he's managed to accomplish more for the GLBT community than the last three presidents. Come to think of it, he's done more for the GLBT community than any president in history.

Your personal integrity may be intact, but your sense of balance seems pretty screwed up. Inner ear disorder?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:21 PM on December 22, 2010



That's true. I didn't lock anyone up or send my lawyers to overturn an unconstitutional law, while professing to be a friend of and voice for the GLBT community.


The fact that a single district court judge said it was unconstitutional doesn't make it so. If the President did not fulfill his duties to defend the US against lawsuits, even if he wanted the law reversed, then what would the GOP do if they were in power? Stop defending the abortion clinics? Stop enforcing equal enmployment laws? This is the most pernicious docrtrine that Glenn Greenwald has entered into the discourse--the idea that the President is not obligated to enforce the laws he or she does not agree with and should stop defending against lawsuits. This is the route to anarchy and division and the road to ruin. The evil that would befall us would be tremendous. We would stop being a nation of laws and our protections and liberties would evaporate.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:41 PM on December 22, 2010


Your personal integrity may be intact, but your sense of balance seems pretty screwed up. Inner ear disorder?

Blazecock is entitled to his beleifs without his sanity being questioned. I can't call people out for calling me a bootlicker and not call this out. This must be a battle of ideas. I agree with the rest of your statement, however.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:44 PM on December 22, 2010


And I bring up Cali and drug law again. If Obama can go down the dangerous road of lawlessness to make sure potheads can treat their headaches, he can do it for human rights.

I don't disagree with you on this part of it Ironmouth, but it makes no sense in a defense of the Obama administration.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2010


Forgetting potheads, we could talk about extra-judicial assassination authority, the idea of Obama being restrained by a fear of lawlessness is a joke.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:48 PM on December 22, 2010


I disagree. Voting is more a duty than a right. Lincoln said a goverment of the people by the people for the people. We are the people who are responsible for who runs this country. We are the people who are responsible. And 600 Nader voters put Bush in the White House, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the process. Setting aside that responsibility because a particular candidate didn't do exactly as you wished on every issue puts the Palins of this world in office. This is your responsibility.

No, 600 extra Bush voters elected him. Anyway, this isn't even a debate. Obama crossed a line with me with the tax cut issue, you have your own line though it has not or may not be passed, but it exists. If Obama decided to invade Iran tomorrow, you (I assume) would not vote for him again. McCain would still be worse.

When you demand the right to dictate to people where they set their own lines, you are being a total douche. Stop it.


I know the truth hurts, but had those 600 Nader voters voted for Gore, none of this would have happened.

Looking the other way is just denying the responsibility we all have.

As for Obama being responsible for the failure for the tax cuts, do you have a whip count of the senators who wouldn't filibuster it? On taxes? Never.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:51 PM on December 22, 2010


I know the truth hurts, but had those 600 Nader voters voted for Gore, none of this would have happened.

None of it would have happened if 600 Bush voters voted Democratic, but you don't ask THEM to compromise their ideals because only liberals have to do that. The sad fact is, as much as you want to have fun hippy punching, the Nader voters could have just stayed home and Bush still wins. It wasn't voting for Nader that was the problem, it was that Gore didn't make them want to vote for him. If Gore wanted them, he has to earn them, that is how it works.

The tea party just helped sweep in historic Republican gains. They had some high profile failures, but for the most part they ran to the right of their party and won. Liberals can do this too, as long as they aren't corralled by people peddling fear into voting against their principles.


As for Obama being responsible for the failure for the tax cuts, do you have a whip count of the senators who wouldn't filibuster it? On taxes? Never.


I have no need for whip counts as there was already a sunset provision in place. We aren't re-debating this though, there is no point. The tax cuts for the rich staying was not negotiable to me, I have a right to my fucking opinion and choice of who to vote for.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:03 PM on December 22, 2010


furiousxgeorge: "And I bring up Cali and drug law again. If Obama can go down the dangerous road of lawlessness to make sure potheads can treat their headaches, he can do it for human rights."

If Congress was dealing with high-profile legislation related to decriminalization of marijuana at the same time, I very much doubt that Obama would have acted the same way about California because he probably would have found it provided ammunition to Republicans when he needed at least a few of them to support it in the Senate. He has said repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that he supported overturning DADT via legislation, not via the courts. We can argue about the efficacy of concentrating on one method or the other, but supporting repeal by Congress and opposing repeal by the courts while Congress was wrestling with legislation opposed by almost all Republicans may have been the best long term approach that gave the culture warriors much less ammunition about activist judges and the like. It doesn't mean that Obama secretly hates gays and wants DADT to stay in place.

Supporting method A over method B of achieving goal X doesn't mean you secretly oppose goal X. When I want to go downtown, I can take the streetcar and short subway ride from one stop near my house (fast and reasonably scenic), the bus and a long subway ride from another stop near my house (faster, but more boring), or I can ride my bike (fastest and usually the most fun). If I ride the streetcar on a wet day when I'm wearing a dress, it doesn't mean I don't really want to go downtown: it means I don't want to arrive downtown in a wet dress on my bike.
posted by maudlin at 6:51 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree Maudlin, the appeal was the right thing to do. I simply reject the idea that Obama was forced to do it out of some nebulous fear of lawlessness.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:53 PM on December 22, 2010


Ironmouth: I know the truth hurts, but had those 600 Nader voters voted for Gore, none of this would have happened.

It doesn't matter. The greens lost. They can't get on the ballot in most states and poll fractions of a percent when they do. Stay-at-home and third-party progressives were not even statistical noise in the last election, and did little other than inspire a weekly series of flamewars on the internet.

Basic facts: Liberals are ~20% of the population. They were ~20% of the voters in the last election 90% of them voted for Democrats, which is better party discipline than any other demographic group.

Yelling at non-voting progressives is a lost cause, a waste of energy. They're the tail end of the Rogers curve. Kiss them goodbye and send them off into irrelevance, you have bigger problems on your ass.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:36 PM on December 22, 2010


No, he was responding to me, who has not said that. But you knew that?

He's responded to a lot of bullshit "Obama is anti-gay and has nothing to do with repealing DADT" in the this thread. Don't flatter yourself.
posted by inigo2 at 7:51 PM on December 22, 2010



No, he was responding to me, who has not said that. But you knew that?

He's responded to a lot of bullshit "Obama is anti-gay and has nothing to do with repealing DADT" in the this thread. Don't flatter yourself.


He posted a quote of mine. He posted his Palin thing. This was the entire content of the post I was replying to, please read the thread, thanks.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:54 PM on December 22, 2010


That was @inigo2, by the way, if anyone else is confused by the "quote in italics, response" format.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2010


So DOMA repeal. Who should get the activism money on this? Which congresscritters do we support? Which ones do we pressure? Which ones do we write off as a lost cause?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:06 PM on December 22, 2010


Blazecock is entitled to his beleifs without his sanity being questioned.

I'm not questioning his sanity, just his willingness to defend the indefensible.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:48 PM on December 22, 2010


So DOMA repeal. Who should get the activism money on this? Which congresscritters do we support?

Maybe Kirsten Gillibrand.
posted by ekroh at 5:08 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


None of it would have happened if 600 Bush voters voted Democratic, but you don't ask THEM to compromise their ideals because only liberals have to do that.

This is retarded. Presumably those Bush voters WANTED Bush to win.
posted by empath at 5:44 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama Closes Out Year With Major Legislative Victories.
posted by ericb at 6:30 AM on December 23, 2010


Howard Fineman: Obama's Got (Found) Game.
posted by ericb at 6:31 AM on December 23, 2010


empath: This is retarded. Presumably those Bush voters WANTED Bush to win.

No it's not. Obama got 60% of Moderates, 20% of Conservatives, and 52% of Independent voters in 2008. Gore, 52% of Moderates, 19% of Conservatives, and less than 47% of Independents. And those numbers are important because Moderates and Conservatives outnumber Liberals 3-1.

So, swing moderates outnumber progressives and are more likely to change their vote on election day.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:58 AM on December 23, 2010



This is retarded. Presumably those Bush voters WANTED Bush to win.


Precisely, you have made the amazing discovery that Bush voters are the people who elected him, not the Nader voters who wanted Nader to win. That feeling that made you call me retarded, that's cognitive dissonance trying to tell you something.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:59 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


And flies and honey works here. You're not going to get non-voting or third-party progressives on board by yelling at them. In 10 years I've never seen it work. All it does is make everyone involved miserable.

You might get them on board by doing what Obama did in his HRC speech:
1: acknowledge that the process was slow and frustrating
2: encouraged them to be involved in the process and keep pressure on congress and the courts.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:10 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It wasn't voters who put Bush in power. It was a judicial system grossly overstepping it's bounds and fraudulent voting machines.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on December 23, 2010


furiousxgeorge: "Precisely, you have made the amazing discovery that Bush voters are the people who elected him, not the Nader voters who wanted Nader to win."

This is not complicated.

Bush voters wanted Bush to be president, period. Had they voted Gore into office they would have ended up with a worse president than they got, by their measurement.

Nader voters wanted Nader to be president, but Gore would have been their second choice*. Had they voted Gore into office they would have ended up with a better president than they got.

Bush voters changing to Gore = worse for Bush voters, in reality.
Nader voters changing to Gore = better for Nader voters, in reality.

This is not the same as saying you owe the democrats, or Gore, or Obama, or anyone your vote. This asserting that it's naïve and damaging to your own causes to do otherwise (regardless of what that otherwise might be).

To reiterate:
DADT Repeal
Ayes: 65 (Democrat: 55; Republican: 8; Other: 2)
Nays: 31 (Democrat: 0; Republican: 31)

To which I'll add:
Presidential Signatures: 1 (Democrat: 1; Republican: 0; Other: 0)

How could you still think the Democrats don't support you on this issue? How much more can they give than 100%?

* overwhelmingly.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:14 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bush voters wanted Bush to be president, period. Had they voted Gore into office they would have ended up with a worse president than they got, by their measurement.

Nader voters wanted Nader to be president, but Gore would have been their second choice*.


You are presuming upon these voters, claiming mind reading powers. It is quite likely they knew what they were doing with their own votes, if they wanted Gore they would have voted for him. It seems very likely that in their opinion Gore and Bush were not majorly different. If they wanted to vote for Gore, they had that option. They made a choice not to do it because they didn't want Gore, just like the Bush voters. Or maybe they simply dislike the two party system. Maybe they disagreed strongly with Gore on an issue of key importance to them and might prefer Bush. Or maybe they had no political opinions at all but respected Nader for his earlier consumer safety work or something.

Voters are diverse, you don't get to tell them what they think. The people who elected Bush are the Bush voters, stop hippy punching and take on your real enemies. Or maybe all you Gore voters should have voted Nader, he was your second choice, right?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:42 PM on December 23, 2010


It seems very likely that in their opinion Gore and Bush were not majorly different,

If so, their opinion is stupid.
posted by empath at 12:44 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]



If so, their opinion is stupid.


Guess what? Voters are allowed to have opinions and values you don't personally approve of. There are many areas where there are no major differences, for instance if reducing the size of the military is the most important goal to someone, neither party can accomplish anything significant towards that end.

People make decisions like that all the time, for instance the abortion issue from either side can change the party a person votes for, regardless of any other positions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:49 PM on December 23, 2010


Bush voters wanted Bush to be president, period.

Except that just isn't true. Bush won two elections with the help of moderates who previously voted for Clinton. Obama won his election with the help of moderates (and some conservatives) who previously voted for Bush. Republicans won the House with the help of moderates who previously voted for Obama.

So who are you going to chase? The millions of voters who flip/flop from Republican, to Democrat, and back again? Or a statistically insignificant number of third-party progressives who are notoriously resistant to change?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:47 PM on December 23, 2010


Why people insist on squeezing blood from a turnip in the least effective ways possible is beyond me.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:50 PM on December 23, 2010


Guess what? Voters are allowed to have opinions and values you don't personally approve of.

But I get to call them out for voting in such a way that gets gw bush elected.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:13 PM on December 23, 2010


Sure, once you are done blaming the Bush voters, and the Gore campaign for not getting better turnout. You could also blame the Gore voters for not voting Nader.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on December 23, 2010


Obama Closes Out Year With Major Legislative Victories.

In related news: 111th Congress Was Most Productive Session Since ‘At Least’ The 1960s.
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on December 23, 2010


GOP Rep. Conaway Predicts Segregation Of Gay And Straight Troops After DADT Repeal.
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on December 23, 2010


Guess what? Voters are allowed to have opinions and values you don't personally approve of.

Yes, they are allowed to vote stupidly. And they did, and they do. And I'm allowed to think that they are stupid.
posted by empath at 2:56 PM on December 23, 2010


You are allowed that opinion. Exactly like conservatives think you are a dumbass for not voting for Palin.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:04 PM on December 23, 2010


American Family Association (AFA): Limp-Wristed Nancy Boys Can't Get Out Of The Military Anymore!
"'If a homosexual signs up now, he’s stuck with the whole magilla. Go to your superior officer now and say, hey, I’m a flaming homosexual, I hate the army, let me out of here, the superior officer will say, tough darts, those days are gone. You’re stuck with us now, Nancy-boy. So, who’s sorry now?

The more this message resounds, the fewer homosexuals will want to enlist. It’s one thing to be gay, and say, hey, I’ll give it a few weeks and then bail if I don’t like the food, can’t get enough action in the barracks, or thought I’d enjoy ogling male soldiers in the shower more than I did. Those days are now shortly to be a distant memory for our homosexual friends. They enlist, they’re stuck with the whole program just like everybody else.

In other words, they had preferential treatment and special privileges, a status and privileges and an exit strategy denied to their honest and straight counterparts. And homosexuals just bargained it away. Now, they will discover to their dismay, they’re back to having equal rights instead of special rights.'"
- American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer, who once predicted rampant gay rapes, AIDS infections, and battlefield boyfriend spats should DADT be repealed.
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on December 23, 2010


This is the group mystified about why they are being classified as a hate group, right?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:09 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the group mystified about why they are being classified as a hate group, right?

Yep.

Bryan Fischer On SPLC 'Hate Group' List: 'We Are Truth Groups, Not Hate Groups'.
posted by ericb at 3:16 PM on December 23, 2010


"Tough darts"?
posted by Skot at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2010


HATE IS TRUTH! DIE FOR DARKSEID!
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on December 23, 2010


Wow, that dude is Wide Stance Threat Level Omega. AFA really ought to make sure he's dosed on bromine and never allowed to go to the bathroom in public places or they're going to have an incident on their hands.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


.This is the group mystified about why they are being classified as a hate group, right?

And you don't recognize why it's more important that people like this _don't_ get elected than that your preferred candidate does?

I'm holding my nose and voting for the least offensive asshole because I don't want people like this to have any power or influence.
posted by empath at 4:20 PM on December 23, 2010



And you don't recognize why it's more important that people like this _don't_ get elected than that your preferred candidate does?

I'm holding my nose and voting for the least offensive asshole because I don't want people like this to have any power or influence.


I just checked again, Obama still thinks gay people don't deserve the same rights as straight people, sorry.

"I'm LESS of a bigot." doesn't quite do it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:55 PM on December 23, 2010


The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Shitting on Obama for not being perfect is wretchedly stupid; flawed as he is, he is undoubtedly a helluva lot better than the alternative you were offered. Obama is at least thinking about his beliefs and worldview, and has expressed a willingness to consider himself to have been mistaken. You expect a little too much when you expect a victim of religious brainwashing to instantly convert his opinion simply because he has become a President.

You could take some pointers from Barney Frank, and save yourself from coming across as an internet jackass. Supporting Obama in growth is going to be a lot more effective than beating him down, and electing imperfect progressives is better than withholding one's vote or pissing it away on a more-perfect loser.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Again, if your value system does not rank gay rights as highly as mine, that is fine. Everyone is free to make their own judgments on which issues are most critical.

No matter the brainwashing or the time and place, plenty of people were willing to stand up for rights for African Americans, it is not asking too much of a president to take a similar stand for gay rights. I know it's hard, I know there is a political price, but sometimes you just have to do the right thing.

If everyone lets him skate on this issue, he will never complete his evolution.

The government will do everything it can to not do the right thing. You have to make it happen.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:01 PM on December 23, 2010


Well, what with the change of guard at Congress it's pretty much the case that you're either going to be happy with what he's done legislatively with his first term or not, the rest is going to be sitting around trying not to let any crazy Tea party shit get through and dealing with whatever grounds for impeachment they come up with.
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on December 23, 2010


The single biggest political issue that affected me personally of the past few years was the Rave Act. I'm talking about something that directly affected businesses that I was involved with and affected a lot of my friends personally.

I donated money, signed petitions, helped organize protests to get that fucking bill stopped and I was fucking heart-broken when it passed. And you know who wrote the goddamned thing? The guy I helped elect Vice-President only a year later.

I'm capable of looking past issues that are extremely important to me and people that I cared about in service of achieving a greater good. And I'm confident that no matter what Obama does that I disagree with, or how slowly he gets done what I want him to do, it would have been far worse with the other guy. I have no problem sleeping at night knowing that I helped rescue the country from McCain.

And yes, I have gay friends and I have gay friends who want to get married and it's very important to me that they are some day able to get married. Obama's personal opinions on marriage aside, the fact that he supported civil unions and ending DADT meant that things would get better than they were before, and in fact they already have. There have been real, genuine results that will actually improve the lives of gay people.

That's more than would have happened under the McCain administration, and more than happened under the Bush administration, and it probably would have happened years ago if people hadn't thrown away their votes voting for Nader.

The Nader folks that voted for Bush in 2000 could have saved us from the horrors inflicted on this country by his presidency and helped put this country into a hole that it will take us decades to crawl out of. The Bush voters are at fault, too, but I can imagine that they sleep pretty well at night, because after all, he only delivered what they wanted.
posted by empath at 6:14 PM on December 23, 2010


he only delivered what they wanted.

Other than the windfall that was 9/11 and all the war starting, security pork and so on he got out of that did Bush actually achieve that much legislatively? His two big things were Social Secirity and immigration weren't they, neither of which went anywhere.
posted by Artw at 6:22 PM on December 23, 2010



The Nader folks that voted for Bush in 2000 could have saved us from the horrors inflicted on this country by his presidency and helped put this country into a hole that it will take us decades to crawl out of.


As could have the millions of Democratic voters that probably stayed home in 2000 as some always do. Again, Nader voters didn't want Gore, they wanted Nader. The fault lies with the Gore campaign and nobody else. Again, you aren't a mind reader, you don't get to tell Nader voters who there second choice is, for some of them it may have been Harry Brown. If your side in this feels so strongly that the right choice was to pool the Nader and Gore votes, your problem is with Al Gore for not endorsing Nader and telling Democratic voters to choose him. The supporters of another candidate have no obligation to elect yours for you because you couldn't convince enough voters to elect your candidate.

No matter where you perceive the greater good, there is something Obama could do that would be too far for you. I hope you don't have to find out what it is like when people try to shout down your personal values and insist they have a better understanding of what is good.

I never really understood what conservatives were talking about when they told me one thing they hated about liberals was how condescending they are, but as soon as I've started to try and explain how my views differ from the general opinion of liberals it has become pretty clear. It's a pretty educational experience.

Some people do not share your opinion of what is most important in politics because they make value based decisions. If someone thinks abortion is murder, they won't give a fuck about Lilly Ledbetter, that doesn't make them stupid or retarded, they have a different perception of the world and of what values can reasonably be compromised away for other goals.

I don't need to hear about how you and Obama have gay friends, I don't care. What I want is a president who will stand up and say, "I think gay marriage should be legal."

Oh, and by the way, Gore didn't support gay marriage in 2000 either. Gore supported DOMA. He self described his opinion as mirroring that of Dick Cheney. It took some years out of office and free of national political consideration for him to evolve. This isn't exactly the best way to try and make your case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:37 PM on December 23, 2010


You are holding politicians up to an impossible standard. There will never be a politician hoping to run for national office that publicly would support a policy that 70% of the country disagreed with, (the case in 2000 and 2004 which is the time frame you are talking about for Gore and Obama respectively) and if there were such a politician he would never get elected.

If you want incredibly unpopular positions made into law, you have two realistic remedies -- change public opinion or do it through the courts. It will never happen from an elected official, because any politician which publicly supported it would never get elected on the national level. That's reality. It doesn't matter if it's gay rights or drug legalization. It has absolutely nothing to do with principles.

Thankfully, public opinion on DADT moved to the point where it was popular and it passed, without requiring any real courage from the folks who voted for it.

And marriage is getting to that point now, and Obama's recent wavering on the issue is a sign of that.

Politics is a war of attrition. You win the battles you can, and wait on the ones you don't.
posted by empath at 7:05 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It has absolutely nothing to do with principles.

Ok, again, you don't get to pick what principles other people hold. I think that is our fundamental disconnect here.

Also, I do not think it is impossible for national politicians to do brave things, there are plenty of examples of it. Unpopular health care bills, for example, can be passed. Unpopular wars continued.

Again, you are free to fight whatever battle you want, no one is telling you otherwise. I think it has come to the point where it is more important to try and shift Obama's opinion than to cheerlead for him. I'll do that, you do your thing. He will be covered from both ends, and no one has to share hive mind on what is important.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:20 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Again, if your value system does not rank gay rights as highly as mine, that is fine.

How presumptuous. Arrogant. Insulting, probably incorrect, and pretty dickish.

So good luck with that attitude.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:04 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Other than the windfall that was 9/11 and all the war starting, security pork and so on he got out of that did Bush actually achieve that much legislatively? His two big things were Social Secirity and immigration weren't they, neither of which went anywhere.

Bush got the only legislative accomplishment Republicans actually care about: gigantic tax cuts for rich people.
posted by EarBucket at 11:12 PM on December 23, 2010


Bush's legislative accomplishments (other than tax cuts)
-PATRIOT Act
-Homeland Security
-Multiple free trade agreements
-Prescription Drugs
-No Child Left Behind
-Ban on partial birth abortions
-Healthy Forests (not so healthy)

That's just the stuf that pops into my head.
posted by humanfont at 2:54 AM on December 24, 2010



How presumptuous. Arrogant. Insulting, probably incorrect, and pretty dickish.

So good luck with that attitude.


Oh, we aren't allowed to be insulting? How wretchedly stupid of me, I'm such an internet jackass for hurting your precious feelings.

Look, if one person is willing to put gay rights in a non-negotiable position and another is willing to let their leaders sacrifice them because of the political winds, it's pretty clear who ranks them more highly.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:15 AM on December 24, 2010


I have no non-negotiable positions. And I happen to think that gradual change is more likely to achieve the goal that we both want (full equality for gays) than throwing temper tantrums and withholding support from ideological allies for being insufficiently fervent.
posted by empath at 7:39 AM on December 24, 2010


Empath, you are welcome to your opinion on this issue, have fun with it. You aren't getting me to trade my values for policy I don't agree with, it's getting tiring explaining that.

I have no non-negotiable positions.

What would you trade away a woman's right to choose for, how long do we need to extend unemployment to legalize slavery, will middle class tax cuts be sufficient payment to agree to war with Iran? Of course you have values you wouldn't negotiate on.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2010


Again, if your value system does not rank gay rights as highly as mine, that is fine.

Do you seriously beleive that anyone in this conversation does not rank gay rights highly?

This is not an argument about supporting gay rights or not. This is an argument about getting things done or... well, I'm really sure what exactly it is you're after, but it doesn't seem to be related to actually acheiving results.
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2010


as highly.

to the same degree, amount, or extent; similarly; equally: I don't think it's as hot and humid today as it was yesterday.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:07 AM on December 24, 2010


getting things done ...as in some portion of the things you want done get done, as opposed to sitting on your ass moaning.
posted by Artw at 9:10 AM on December 24, 2010


All you have is word twisting and sarcasm, that's impressive and all but it's not going to convince me to stop treating gay marriage as a top priority.

Artw, I was right on board with you cheerleading for everything he did even when I disagreed, but the tax cuts for the rich were a step too far to me. Now what I want to get done is not let the Overton window keep shifting to the right. Right now it's a losing tug of war that is doing long term damage like those tax cuts and it will only get worse.

If no one stands up on the left it will always be a losing fight, because the right will not capitulate on their values as easily. The time to be firm is now, since the best Obama can actually pass is done and the Pyrrhic strategy cost him the house. The legislation is only going to get more and more conservative, thanks to the manner in which things got done.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 AM on December 24, 2010


it's not going to convince me to stop treating gay marriage as a top priority.

Oh why fucking bother...

Time to hit Remove From Activity, since it's all over with bar the trolling. We can rejoin the conversation at the next election, probably with various people launching a profounding ignorant salvo of "why hasn't Obama done anything for 2 years".
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on December 24, 2010


Haha, more sarcasm and making up a position for me I haven't claimed, and I'm the troll here. Have a nice day, bro.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:39 AM on December 24, 2010


And you enjoy the electoral victories your hopeless single-issue candidate fails to achieve.

The rest of us gay rights supporters will hopefully succeed in bailing you out by choosing candidates who, while not perfect, are on the right path and can get in office.

It'll be a slow process. You can thank us a decade down the line. We're sorry it's not happening as fast as you like, but it's the best that can be done given the reality of the political system.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]



And you enjoy the electoral victories your hopeless single-issue candidate fails to achieve.


Are you enjoying the victory you had in the 2010 election? Yeah, no strategy is perfect. In that case the side that strayed from the center found itself with significant gains. The idea that running to the center and capitulating on your values is always the best strategy has been proven false over and over. I don't enjoy when my candidate loses, but this is a Democracy and you don't get everything you want. Switching your vote to be on the winning side is a silly thing to do.

Some of us have to actually stand up for things. If EVERYONE joins you there will be no pressure on centrist dems. I don't begrudge what you are doing at all, as I have said repeatedly, hold whatever view you want on these issues, I am simply explaining where I am coming from on this.

I have been through every argument you could possibly make about why supporting Obama is mandatory, I argued that way myself over and over, but my personal values are not compatible with those tax cuts. In light of that I can't look away on how Obama shifts his gay rights views, evolves and devolves, does what is politically safe.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:11 AM on December 24, 2010


if your value system does not rank gay rights as highly as mine, that is fine.

I'm pretty confident that my value system ranks gay rights as highly as yours. Perhaps even higher, since I'm an out, ex-military married gay man. And I'm an Obama supporter. Again, he's done more than any previous president for gay rights. It's not especially important to me that he come out in favor of gay marriage. What matters to me is what he'd do if a gay-positive bill crossed his desk. I'm pretty confident he'd sign it - no matter what it is or whether it conflicts with his personal religious beliefs.

I don't enjoy when my candidate loses, but this is a Democracy and you don't get everything you want.

But you're unwilling to compromise. In a democracy, that means you get nothing that you want. I'm willing to compromise, and I got some of what I want. The rest will - inevitably - come later. If you'd asked me 20 years ago whether I'd be out to the world and married to my partner now, or that gay people would be allowed to serve openly now, I'd have expressed serious doubts. But here we are - not in a perfect world, but in a better one than before. Obama deserves credit for what he's done, and even if you think he secretly eats puppies I don't know why you can't just acknowledge that.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:42 PM on December 24, 2010


Rights Activists Press Obama To Work For Gay Marriage.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty confident that my value system ranks gay rights as highly as yours.

Obviously it does not, if you are willing to compromise on gay marriage. There is nothing wrong with that, you are welcome to your opinion. Many of my rankings of various issues is out of step with the mainstream and extreme, that is my choice.

But you're unwilling to compromise.


On human rights, I am unwilling to accept compromise. On ruinous tax increases, I am willing to compromise but not in the way that it was done. There are plenty of things I am willing to compromise on, and I am getting kind of sick of my views being altered for the sake of trying to strawman them down ITT. I was okay with staying on the Obama cheerleader squad until the tax cuts.


Obama deserves credit for what he's done, and even if you think he secretly eats puppies I don't know why you can't just acknowledge that.


See again, I'm not the one denying what Obama has done, if you want to argue with BP or whoever toss them a mefimail.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:10 PM on December 24, 2010


*ruinous tax cuts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:11 PM on December 24, 2010


Biden Calls National Consensus On Gay Marriage 'Inevitable'
ABC News George Stephanopolous asked VP Joe Biden about Obama's remarks on same-sex marriage in an interview Friday:
The vice president agreed with Obama’s comments that his position on gay marriage is “evolving.” Biden said there is an “inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage.”

“I think the country's evolving. And I think you're going to see, you know, the next effort is probably going to be to deal with so called DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act],” he said.
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on December 24, 2010


Ann Coulter, Greg Gutfeld Mock Gays In The Military.
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on December 24, 2010


I doubt you'll find anybody in the world who is as strong an advocate for gay marriage as Andrew Sullivan (he literally wrote the book on it) and he also happens to be one of the most vocal and eloquent supporters of obama, largely because he felt that Obama was the vessel through which permanent change could happen.

(and just personally, it was sullivan, who I was largely reading at the time (2002 and 2003) mostly because liberal blogs were linking to him to say "look at this asshole Iraq war supporter" who first brought the issue of gay marriage to my attention as something that was worry of serious consideration. I had gay friends at the time, but they were all 20something ish party kids that I was going clubbing with, and marriage was the furthest thing from their minds, just as was the case for most of my straight friends.

I loathed Andrew Sullivan at the time as a political enemy, and still think his position on the Iraq war was contemptible, but his persistent, impassioned, and reasoned writing in pursuit of a goal that I had previously thought that not even many gays wanted made me a firm supporter of the issue.

He has written eloquently on why he feels like someone with obama's slow but persistent temperament is ideal for carrying forward radical societal change, and I think obama's liberal critics would do well to pay more attention to him and less to firedoglake.
posted by empath at 2:35 PM on December 24, 2010


I definitely will alter my values because of an asshole Iraq war supporter.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:41 PM on December 24, 2010


I mean wow, is there any better example than Iraq of the danger of liberals allowing themselves to be herded into supporting something in opposition to their values because of political considerations?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:43 PM on December 24, 2010


I'm with F3 on this. Social progress. It is a win-win. pops used to say, one battle at a time.
posted by clavdivs at 3:08 PM on December 24, 2010


I definitely will alter my values because of an asshole Iraq war supporter

Well, I guess that just shows the utter moral bankruptcy of your stand here, doesn't it? I mean if anybody in the world has done more for the cause of gay marriage, I'd like to know who it is.

And yet you completely disown him because of a long abandoned position he took a decade ago. It sounds to me that your only non-negotiable value is you own smug sense of self-superiority.
posted by empath at 3:45 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Keep digging that hole, FXG. By the time you pop out in China, gay marriage will be legal and you can claim credit.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:32 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Many pundits view Obama and Biden’s recent comments on gay rights as the administration preparing for an eventual about-face on same-sex marriage. Politico’s Jonathan Martin tweeted on Wednesday, 'Obama on gay marriage: "I struggle with this." Does anyone doubt that if he wins 2nd term, he’ll eventually flip?' Similarly, [George] Stephanopoulos argued after Obama’s press conference, '[gay marriage] is something that he’s clearly laying the groundwork to move on.'" *
posted by ericb at 1:08 AM on December 25, 2010


Just come out as being for gay marriage, Mr. President. It gets better.
posted by EarBucket at 12:32 PM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


NC Lawmaker Lashes Out At Burr For DADT Repeal Vote: ‘Homosexuals Are Sexual Predators’.
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2010


L.A. Times: Enough Agonizing, Mr. President -- "Obama says he is struggling with whether to endorse same-sex marriage. We say, support marriage equality."
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on December 30, 2010


Repealing DADT was so 2010. Marriage equality is 2011's hot topic. That, and space worms. They're coming, oh yes they are.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


NC Lawmaker Lashes Out At Burr For DADT Repeal Vote: ‘Homosexuals Are Sexual Predators’.

That's Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, who made news about a year ago when he responded to a fellow commissioner's story about the death of her son from AIDS by asking her "Your son was a homo, really?"

While researching a book I was writing last year, I found this essay on James's site: Fully Cooked Frog Serves 300 Million:

Blacks do not have 1/2 of their female population (age 14 to 49) infected because they sat on a toilet seat and it is not wholly because of 'genetics' so those in positions of power including the clergy should stop pretending that the problem is the same in every race, culture or creed. It is a prevarication of monumental proportions that costs US taxpayers a ton of money. The problem is worse in the African-American community because there is more promiscuous behavior and it has to be fixed there and programs have to be tailor there. (Emphasis in the original)

Mr. James also expresses a "50's desire for a 'Leave it to Beaver' world" later in the essay. Guy's a piece of work.
posted by EarBucket at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2011


In related news: Hopes for gay-rights gains shift to courts -- "GOP’s rise stalls effort in Congress."
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on January 2, 2011


I'm not seeing how recognizing that teen black girl STDs are a problem is any different than recognizing that teen LGBT suicides are a problem; nor that programs targeting those populations are "-ist". We've had the LGBT "it gets better" campaign; maybe there should be a black "use a condom" campaign. Seems very same-same to me.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 PM on January 2, 2011


The problem is that he argues that African-American women are genetically predisposed to sexual promiscuity.
posted by EarBucket at 9:42 PM on January 2, 2011


EarBucket, he's not arguing that at all:

So since there is a clear implication that Blacks are being more promiscuous than other races and since that could be used as a stereotype the MSM writer adds this little fake gem:

"the increased rate of infection in blacks is not due to increased risk behavior but likely due to biological factors that make women more susceptible"

Horsehocky !


Every reference to genetics or biological factors that he makes is dismissive. James is arguing that the problem is based in a lack of morals within African-American society, not a genetic predisposition to promiscuity, and he's pretty clearly implying, if not outright stating, that this is a problem that the overall American society has allowed to happen.
posted by Etrigan at 4:57 AM on January 3, 2011


The mistake is in calling it a defect in morality instead of a cultural behavior that causes social harm. The latter are quantifiable; the former is mere opinion.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:51 AM on January 3, 2011


I just got back from digging to China. I talked to our ambassador, he's a Republican and a Morman and he has the exact same opinion on gay rights as Obama. Presidential ambitions too. But I'll just enjoy grovelling to mega liberal Obama to beg him to adopt more progressive values than Republican Mormons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:37 PM on January 3, 2011


Yes, you figured out the code, fxg. Congratulations. That is exactly what we've been saying this entire time -- You must GROVEL to MEGA LIBERAL Obama. I cannot believe it took you so long to decipher that.
posted by Etrigan at 4:45 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older "What do we see when we look straight at the sun a...  |  Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments