DADT: Gates’ Statement Backfires, Why Pelosi’s Response Is Huge
This guest post by Scott Wooledge was originally published at Daily Kos today and is published here with his permission. Scott Wooledge writes at the Daily Kos under the handle Clarknt67.
At this point the fight surrounding the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has shifted. Settled is the question of whether it should stay or go. Joint Chief of Staff Mike Mullen effectively delivered the last word in that debate when he said in Senate testimony:
“Allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”
But a debate rages on, centering on how repeal should be pursued, legislatively. Gates attempted to shut down a growing movement calling for repeal now, not later. His strong arm-tactic may have backfired. Why after the fold and why Pelosi’s statement of support should not be under-appreciated.
There are two legislative strategy camps: let’s call them “the attachers” and the “stallers.”
The attachers want to attach the repeal language to the military spending budget being marked up in the House and the Senate this month. This is a smart move as it will essentially makes repeal-filibuster proof. It’s smart politics, too, as it will provides a lot of “cover” for conservadems who will not want to vote for DADT out on the open floor of a stand alone bill strategy.
And then there’s the “stallers” camp. They want to vote “later…” (they won’t really say when). We see a timeframe in Marc Ambinder’s piece in the Atlantic of “late 2010, early 2011,” which seems blithely unaware that there may well be a very different Congress sitting in “early 2011” than there is in “late 2010.” Â And absent a military budget to attach repeal to, one presumes this measure would be pursued by stand alone? Anyone know? Because I haven’t seen anyone advocating “vote later…” articulate an actual legislative plan.
Informed and invested repeal advocates recognize a standalone bill strategy as pure madness. It will require every Democrat in the Senate and 1 GOP. It just isn’t realistic to think that can happen. Congress is just not that into teh gays, even many Democrats.
Now, why Gates’ statementyesterday urging Congress not to act in this session, may well have been a major backfire in tamping down the “Repeal in 2010” movement.
Gates prompted Nancy Pelosi to post the following statement on her House Speaker website. And please note, it is a press release, not some backroom, anonymous source. It’s a direct hit, meant to be heard far and wide:
“We all look forward to the report on the review of the â€˜Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€™ policy by the Defense Department. Â In the meantime, the Administration should immediately place a moratorium on dismissals under this policy until the review has been completed and Congress has acted.”
Repeal bill lead sponsor Patrick Murphy (PA) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) also immediately piped up their respectful dissent on Gates’ directive. Now, those aren’t new positions for either of them. But added to Pelosi, it is now a story. Like kind of, like, a big story. Like kind of a big story the media can’t and won’t ignore, which they’ve mostly done up until now.
Media apathy was allowing the dates this month for military attachment Â to quietly pass with little or no comment. Drawing attention to this time period was the whole point of the civil disobedience events and the heckling of the President. Activists hoped to prod the media to look up for just a tiny moment and report on the sausage making process behind repeal and report reality.
And now, we have a full blown STORY on our hands: Gillibrand, Murphy, Pelosi vs. Gates & Obama. Epic battle! And it squares nicely with the media’s favorite topic: “Dems in disarray!” which is catnip to them. And there have been previous reports of Democrats disagreeing on this.
It’s possible in the coming weeks, the media might choose to dissect the strategies that repeal might take. And the chattering class is very likely to weigh in that the prospect of passing a stand alone bill in the lame duck session, as Marc Ambinder suggested was the alternative plan, is just not realistic. And finally someone other than the LGBT community will be saying that.
To deconstruct Pelosi’s statement we find while it is very brief it is very aggressive toward the administration.
And perhaps it’s no wonder. Obama promised repealing the policy in the campaign, over and over. He collected votes, money and volunteers on that goal. And now Nancy Pelosi is one of two Congressional leaders who are ultimately tasked with delivering repeal legislation to Obama’s desk.
And she’s not a dummy.
She knows military attachment to this year’s spending budget is the easiest, least painful, most surefire path to success. And that’s her job, to map out legislative strategies that are most likely to succeed and the least likely to leave blood on the battlefield. And Gates’ statement, and the White House ambivalence, completely undermine her ability to do that.
And she–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SF)–will feel the heat both locally and nationally should repeal efforts fail. Locally she’s sure to catch hell and be looking at a very painful midterm season.
Nationally, the buck for legislative repeal stops at her desk. She can’t do it all, but it’s her job to guide that legislation through the most successful path. And when bills fail, it is the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader who are held accountable for failures. “Oh, if only they could do their job better, the votes would be there!”
There are a few other points that make a rather uncomfortable public optics for the White House. The inclusion of word “immediately” is very interesting.
First of all it’s a welcome sound, she’s essentially saying: “DADT must end, it must end now!” Up until this point, for the most part, the only people saying that were in the LGBT community.
The implied threat that she’d like to see executive action “immediately” sounds me she’s actually owning her responsibility to solve the problem. And telling the White House, if you don’t stop discharges “immediately,” Â we’re going right ahead as we’ve been planning, Gates letter or not.
And she’s also refocusing the responsibility back at the administration: Pelosi has introduced the topic stop-loss, or DOD prerogative to administer DADT investigations as a means of ending DADT.
In doing so she threatens to robbed administration of a favorite dodge for owning the policy’s continuation 15 months into the Obama Presidency. Her executive action suggestion will be dissected and discussed, and people will conclude, it is a correct reading of the law. Obama does have the power to end discharges, but he has not exercised it. And as the months and years of discharges drag on, it will become an increasing problem for him, politically and morally.
Now, perhaps recognizing a full-blown disaster in the making, White House issues a release that, doesn’t really agree with Gates, don’t really disagree. Like nearly everything they’ve said about DADT, no one can really arrive at a consensus about what it’s really saying.
The press silence on this story has been it’s death knell, a sudden surge of interest could be it’s resurrection. Just yesterday, I was griping to a friend that even Daily Kos, had thus far, mostly not Front Paged any stories examining with any detail, the “attachment” vs. “stallers” debate. Now, just last night, we saw three in a matter of hours. (The lone previous example I can think of was Dante Atkins story. Unfortunately his tacit endorsement of GetEQUAL’s more controversial attention grabbing tactics distracted most who read it from listening to his serious and correct assessment of the political and legislative realities that brought him to the conclusion.)
And maybe the press will report that “Waiting for the study,” is a dodge and not a very convincing one. We just passed health insurance reform bill that has provisions that don’t take effect until 2014. There is no reason to pretend we cannot pass a repeal law that similarly, goes into effect at a later date. Congress does this all the time.
There is a reasonable offer on the table to vote in 2010 for repeal, with a delayed implementation until after the study is complete. The policy can be sunset for sometime in 2011. The major LGBT lobbying groups including Human Rights Campaign,Servicemembers Unitedand the Servicemembers Legal Defense Networkhave indicated they are amendable to such a compromise. And my sense is, the grassroots will be too.
To avert this compromise, the stallers camp has to find a way to make the story go away. And I find it a little hilarious, in response to Chris Geidner of the LGBT news organization, DC Agenda inquiry about the White House reaction to Gates, Marc Ambinder tweeted:
@chrisgeidner all I know is that letter took WH by surprise. Working on more.
So I guess we may see them running with the idea that the Secretary of Defense issuing marching orders to Congress yesterday was a freelance project.
And with tomorrow’s GetEQUAL protest Â event the story ain’t going away anytime soon.
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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