Today’s Lesson from the White House: Take Hostages

As we celebrate President Obama signing into law the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I’d like to congratulate the activists who made it happen. This is the progressive high point of Obama’s presidency so far, and it came because of the hard work of a lot of people who relentlessly fought to win civil rights.

May this civil rights victory lead to full equality for gay men and women.

But I wanted to also note what this moment says about Obama’s system of governance: that the only thing he responds to is hostage-taking.

FDL has written a lot about Obama’s serial capitulation to those — whether the Republican caucus or people like Joe Lieberman and Max Baucus — who hold legislation hostage.

But this victory, the biggest progressive victory under Obama, is largely due to the fact that a number of men and women chained themselves — took themselves hostages, effectively — to the gates of the White House.

And while I doubt the optics of environmentalists or housing activists chaining themselves to the White House (with their consequent arrest) will be so toxic to the White House, the lesson does seem to be that the only thing Obama (who bills himself a pragmatist and loves to claim he listens to all sides) listens to is hostage-taking.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

135 replies
  1. BoxTurtle says:

    The question is: What hostage to take?

    We have to leave his family out of it, both for basic decency and because I don’t really want to cross his wife.

    There’s really nothing left on his legislative plate that he cares enough about, with the possible exception of catfood.

    I say we take his beer hostage. And we threaten to leave it out in the sun until he starts behaving like a president.

    Boxturtle (Obama likes to give the impression he’s being blackmailed into doing Bad Things against his will. Right)

  2. wirerat1 says:

    It makes me sick that Obama signed that legislation. He did nothing to make it a reality. It just happened to fall into place. He screwed the LGBT community for years and only now as a final gasp to save his own sorry hide, does he make DADT a thing of the past.

    He is far from someone who should be cheered. This along with the tax giveaways tell us everything we need to know about Dear Old President Obama.

    • warpublican says:

      This does not jive with reality – it makes you sick that he signed it? Do you think a republican would’ve signed it? Obama made this happen. it was a campaign promise, Obama ordered the pentagon study – to push fence sitters to the correct side – he’s the CinC and he’s signing the bill into law! His administration has put in place the most openly gay administration ever. he’s done more for gay people than any president ever! Name ONE who’s done more. Or even come close. We can all agree that Obama has pissed on progressives. But if the guy does the right thing, maybe you can clear your ODS for a few seconds to give him props…

      • Tom65 says:

        A. Fucking. Men.

        If Obama walked on water, this crew would give him shit for not taking public transportation. It’s old, and it’s not productive. Give it a fucking rest.

      • Sabre-Toothed Critter says:

        I did not get that from wirerat1’s post.

        I think wirerat1 was expressing disgust that Obama, the same guy who spent months trying to softly kill DADT repeal (by urging Pelosi not to bring it up, by calling it a distraction, by urging Reid to include it in the def auth bill that we all knew would be filibustered), the same guy whose DoJ equated LGBTs to pedophiles and beastialists, the same guy who was quiet as a churchmouse while people were chaining themselves to the White House fence, was the same guy taking credit for the bill he was signing.

        I did not get that wirerat1 was disgusted at the legislation.
        What I understood wirerat1 to be saying is that he is disgusted that Obama is going to claim this as HIS victory.

    • ruh17 says:

      agree. It disgusts me that this traitor gets to take credit for signing this repeal.

      I was a huge Obama supporter and now everytime he smiles i feel the need to shower.

    • cleek says:

      It makes me sick that Obama signed that legislation

      you’re right: he should’ve refused to sign it!

      (would that have pleased the True Progressives ?)

      • ruh17 says:

        That’s not the point. Nobody said they didn’t want the repeal signed. It’s the fact that now he get’s to use this and say, “see, im progressive. Im one of you. Don’t worry about all the other bills i’ve signed that will help ruin this country. I got DADT repealed.” I wish that someone who actualy had true progressive values and actualy fought for this day could be the one in office to sign the bill. Not someone who will just use the repeal for their own personal political advantage.

        • cleek says:

          Don’t worry about all the other bills i’ve signed that will help ruin this country.

          utter nonsense.

          I wish that someone who actualy had true progressive values and actualy fought for this day could be the one in office to sign the bill.

          yeah, well, guess what: that’s not how politics works. it’s not about your unattainable “true progressive” values. it’s about multiple competing factions each trying to steer the country in the way they think is best. nobody gets everything they want. so suck it up and enjoy the victories you get. or, be a perpetual malcontent. whatever floats your boat.

          • hotdog says:

            Suck on that bone you were just tossed and be happy, you cynical, retarded, on-drugs former supporter. You’ll take my selling you out to the corps at every turn and like it, or else. What are you going to do about it anyway? HAHAHAHAHAHA
            Oh yeah, vote for me in 2012, because your other choice will be a mean old republican.

          • ruh17 says:

            I think i’m more than capable to be able to enjoy this repeal while at the same time being disgusted by the kabuki theater that brought us here and the suit that signed the bill. The world i live inis grey not black and white. It is possible to have two competing emotions about the same subject.

            • cleek says:

              I think i’m more than capable to be able to enjoy this repeal

              and yet, whatever you’re “capable” of, you’ve done nothing but complain, on this thread. sounds like what you really enjoy is your own misery.

              • hotdog says:

                Here to sell some hope and change?
                You should solocit elsewhere, most of us here are tired of being ripped-off.

                  • ruh17 says:

                    What is your purpose here? I mean differing points of view are always good for critical discussion. But, if you think you are going to change any minds with your condescension you are barking up the wrong tree.

                    • cleek says:

                      my purpose here is to laugh at people who can’t allow themselves even a hint of a smile when the things they claim to care about most-deeply come to pass.

                      i promise i won’t stay long.

                    • ruh17 says:

                      Like i said before… I can smile at something and still be angry about the charade. If i can’t assume to know your life and motives then please don’t try and profile me. Seems fair.

                    • hotdog says:

                      Condescension is all matter of perspective. It’s especially entertaining when it comes from someone upside down with his/her head in the sand.

              • ruh17 says:

                Excuse me for wanting more from my government. It’s sad that there are people like you that just accept whatever the government throws at you. Maybe if there were more people complaining and not going along to get along then maybe we could force this country back on track. But too many people accept the bones that are thrown at them and think it’s filet mignon. Sounds like a defeatest attitude. Battered wife syndrom maybe?

  3. Margaret says:

    It doesn’t address transgendered service members, despite the fact that one of those brave people who chained themselves to the fence (Autumn Sandeen) is a transgendered American. So much for “equality”.

      • Margaret says:

        Yep, Dan Choi is a stand up guy even if people like John Aravosis aren’t. I’ll bet John stayed as far away from her as possible. Not sure why Autumn was inclined to attend, it’s not like it’s going to affect her. Don’t get me wrong: this makes me very happy. Civili rights progress is always to be celebrated. It would be remiss of me though to fail to point out that even in the light of progress, a whole group of people have been once again, left behind.

    • popyeye99 says:

      IMO he didn’t expect this legislation to actually pass. I loathe this man so much I can’t put it into words. I am so ashamed I voted for him and swayed other to vote for him. Thanks for your thoughts, until all Americans are equal the job is not done.

  4. Sabre-Toothed Critter says:

    We can take ourselves hostage. Like Terry Dolittle in Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

    “If you shoot me in the legs, I’ll…I’ll blow my brains out!”

    If you cut our social security, we’ll stop purchasing things! And we’ll have to, if we expect to make up the lost retirement income due to the cuts.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Take heart. It took ONE little old lady on the hood of Rostenkowski’s car to really change the debate. Dan sitting in the back with his “I’m ignoring you” look probably helped as well.

      Also, Obama has no detectable spine. It doesn’t take much push to get him to cave, once the media starts hammering it.

      Boxturtle (We’re stuck with a spineless president, we should get what advantage we can from it)

      • BeachPopulist says:

        Take heart. It took ONE little old lady on the hood of Rostenkowski’s car to really change the debate. Dan sitting in the back with his “I’m ignoring you” look probably helped as well.

        Not familiar with that story. Can you elaborate? (Hated that crook Rostenkowski, just never heard of this story.)

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Hoping you’re still around to read this. When Rosty was trying to cut SS, a photo was taken of his car plowing slowing through a crowd of protestors. One grandmotherly lady was sprawled acros the hood of his car, screaming and shaking her fist through the windshield. Rosty sat in the back with a stone face.

          It did as much to destroy him as aything did. He was gone shortly thereafter.

          Boxturtl (Couldn’t find the photo, must be copyrighted)

  5. sonofloud says:

    Yep, the democrats have gotten 40 years of carrots from the gay community, time to bring out the stick !

  6. Kassandra says:

    He didn’t look nearly as happy signing this bill as he did when he bartered away our economy in the tax extension bill.

    VERY interesting thread on Huffpo I found last night where the conservative and the left were having a reasonable discussion. first time I’ve seen it. Seems a few people are starting to agree:

    Obama Administration Preparing Order For Indefinite Detention Of Some Guantanamo Detainees

    I figure the mask is really going to come off in the next year when all the social programs are gutted and aid to the states is drastically curtailed.
    I think it’s time to seriously prepare for the collapse of the dollar, but that may be averted by starving the people, instead.
    However, we all know Obama’s measures never were designed to improve the economy for the people of this country. And it’s all going to get a lot worse in the next year-2.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      He didn’t look nearly as happy signing this bill as he did when he bartered away our economy in the tax extension bill.

      Likely because he’s not going to get any credit from either side for signing this. The right didn’t want it signed at all. The left knows the only reason Obama is signing it is because of massive pressure.

      So obama is signing something that will not raise money, will not help his re-election, and will not earn him any favors. Naturally, he’s not happy.

      Boxturtle (I think Obama doesn’t care one way or the other. He just wanted more in return)

      • Kassandra says:

        Oh, he’s getting lots of credit. People who were starting to waver got a bone thrown to them and now they think he’s the most progressive president EVER.
        DADT pays for all with these folks

  7. TomR says:

    The only thing we have to hold hostage against Obama is our vote. Perhaps FDL action could create a web page where people who previously voted for Obama pledge not to again unless our demands of X, Y, and Z are met. If we could get that number up into the millions, it might get his attention.

    – Tom

    • cd08 says:

      Good idea Tom. I’ve often thought a solid block of progressive voters could demand attention, not only from Obama but from all Democrats. We just need a vehicle for such a thing and we would definately need to show solidarity. I would also go a step further and show the whole country that he has opened Social Security to attack with his payroll deduction tax break. Whole page ads in USA Today and/or the NYT screaming “Obama attacks Social Security” would certainly get his attention and also serve to educate those who don’t follow politics (and the misinformed over at Faux). I believe he has purposely exposed Soc. Sec. and I do not trust him to do anything to protect it. We must be the ones to protect it. I would be the first to donate some seed money for such a campaign.

  8. tearloch7 says:

    Sorry folks, but bitching about Obama is like bitching about owning a lemon tree versus an orange tree .. take what you have and make the most of it .. where would we be with John McCain as prez?? .. what type of fruit would he bear?? I ask myself this question every time I am tempted to vent .. oh, and Happy Holidays

    • VJBinCT says:

      The answer is ‘Strange Fruit’, though it applies more to Haley Barbour. At that bash in South Carolina earlier in the week to celebrate secession, I would have killed to have been able to go up to the band and request that eerie and disturbing Billie Holiday song.

      • tearloch7 says:

        How very astute .. I am watching Billie sing just that song as I type these words.. seems the further we come, the farther we have to go .. as I intimated .. with every step the horizon widens, and as more is revealed, more is needed .. thinking of Barbour makes my toast want to purge itself ..

    • papau says:

      If McCain were President we would have the Bush tax cuts for the rich extended – but then we do have that with Obama.

      And we would not have a public option – and again Obama gifted us with that result

      and we would not have tough regulators like Warren running Treasuries new watchdog agency – but then Obama gave us the same gift

      and we would be cutting checks to insurance companies ($600 billion under Obama) and Social Security would be under attack – as it is under Obama

      And repeal DADT would be a McCain idea and would pass, as would an escalation in Afghanistan.

      I could go on – but after looking at the above, I have to agree, thank God we did not nominate Hillary, or elect McCain. s

  9. Margaret says:

    You know what? I quit. I try to point this out on Kos, on TPM and on Huffington Post and the reaction is unanimous. Transgendered = okay to discriminate against but gays and lesbians are not. Asking about civil rights for all is “petty”, “pathetic” and some other things less mod friendly. The only place I get even a modicum of sympathy for my position is right here. I quit. Done. I know some will be ecstatic about that. I’m just fucking depressed. So much for allies.

    • oldnslow says:

      I for one consider this an incomplete as a result of the exclusion of our transgenedered fellow citizens.

      You will always have allies at my house. Please don’t quit.

      • Margaret says:

        Didn’t mean to imply I’m quitting FDL! Just meant that I’m going to stop pissing on everybody’s parade today. The reaction so far has been overwhelmingly negative to my position. I was thinking about writing a diary on the subject. Kelly keeps after me to do so but after some of the reactions I’ve encountered, I think I’ll watch my blood pressure instead.
        And thanks for your support. :)

      • warpublican says:

        Really? maybe you should dismiss this because there’s age discrmination in the military – and certain illnesses, disabilities, and even political views can keep one out of the military. And, BTW, there’s nothing to stop a pre-op transgendered person from joining the US military – nothing at all – except they have to share living space with the gender identified by their external body…

        • Margaret says:

          And, BTW, there’s nothing to stop a pre-op transgendered person from joining the US military – nothing at all

          Speaking as a post op (who was pre-op when I served) who lost all of her rights and benefits after five years of honorable service, DESPITE having never violated the UCMJ, I have one word for your opinion on the subject.

            • Margaret says:

              It’s not your god damned business. Maybe I’ll write a diary on it but the reason I haven’t yet is because of ignorant, uninformed statements like the one you just made and I just don’t know if I’m ready to face all of that just now. It would be a full time commitment of several hours answering questions and debunking ridiculous myths.

              • BoxTurtle says:

                Please write it. I know NOTHING about TG life or problems, in the military or anywhere. I’m sure I’ve got a reasonable collection of incorrect generalities, unwarrented assumptions, and outright incorrect “facts” that I’d like to get rid of.

                Boxturtle (And please forgive me for any inadvertent rudeness and the questions I might ask)

          • papau says:

            Hang in there Margaret – some folks post fact free words so as to justify their position and should be on a Fox News board.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          even political views can keep one out of the military

          Outside of behavior that would prevent a security clearence, I can’t think of a political position that would prevent one from signing up. Political views might prevent a promotion above a certain level, depending on the commander.

          Got a link to a story or a policy, maybe?

          Boxturtle (Note that moslems are welcome and there are even moslem chaplins)

          • Margaret says:

            Got a link to a story or a policy, maybe?

            Of course not! I entirely debunked on of his/her statements without scratching my head or putting on my thinking cap. S/he already shows a proclivity to talk about things of which s/he has no idea. I doubt you’ll get a link from anybody more credible than Alex Jones.

        • oldnslow says:

          Incomplete. I stick by that. Untill ALL of us are considered worthy of equal treatment, NONE of us are free. What fucking part of that is lost on you?

          • warpublican says:

            your ideals are correct – but why not recognize incremental progress? I guess Lt. Choi wasted his fucking time outing himself and chaining himself to the WH…what a moron THAT man was – trying to improve things without fixing everything at once…

            • oldnslow says:

              Not sure what the fuck you’re talking about exactly but you have pick the wrong VETERAN to get shitty with.

              I have not so much as suggested the bullshit you are assigning to me.

    • arcadesproject says:

      Margaret, you are right. And right is right. Keep up the fight.

      As to Obama and his hostages: I’ll add my agreement to those who have observed that Obama’s game is to accomplish right wing, corporate goals. He’s doing great at that. He is a cold, cruel, deceitful narcissist and we are stuck with him.

    • tearloch7 says:

      Until all of us are free, none of us are free .. with that in mind, hang in there .. at least these are steps forward .. and each small step opens the horizon wider and encompasses more ..

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I get really confused when people bellow for civil rights for most people. It applies to ALL or it might as well apply to none.

      A battle has been won, but the war goes on. Don’t surrender, we’re actually ahead!

      Boxturtle (Straight white male in favor of civil rights for all. It’s lonely over here)

    • Kassandra says:

      It IS really hard. I can’t even talk to my old politico buddies anymore, not about Obama. It’s all the republicans fault.
      Even the fake net neutrality couldn’t get one of my friends off his keister, he just found something to vindicate it.

      No matter what this guy does, people think he’s better than Bush. The Obama bots want so desperately to believe they weren’t wrong. and that any criticism of Obama is because he’s black.
      Meanwhile, the media suppresses what’s going on in our wars and WH. since it’s the corporate media, I think they have a stake in maintaining the illusion as long as possible.

      I wonder what the bots will think when he dismalest SS in his SOTU speech? They’ll find some excuse.

  10. bayville says:

    Taking hostages…and political cover from your opponents was the only reason this thing is now repealed.

    Gay activists and equal rights supporters were relentless — but if it weren’t for people like the Log Cabin Republicans, retired Generals, Ted Olson, Lieberman and the non-religious fundamentalist in the GOP, Obama wouldn’t even consider signing the repeal of DADT.

  11. Ymhotep says:

    Obama is not “capitulating” nor is he “compromising.” What Obama is doing is premeditated. Whatever bills are passed in the House and in the Senate are exactly what he intends our Representatives and Senators to pass for his signature. The form and language of these bills is dictated by the oligarchy. Please stop saying that Obama is “caving-in” or “capitulating” or “compromising” because he is not. He is delivering to us what he is instructed to deliver by his bosses the oligarchy. Peace

    • wigwam says:

      Obama is not “capitulating” nor is he “compromising.” What Obama is doing is premeditated.

      Exactly. He is keeping his fingerprints off the implementation of his true agenda, just as he did with the public option. Scapegoating the Republicans and Lieberman and Lincoln, etc.

      • warpublican says:

        I’m glad you have a roadmap to Obama’s motives and thinking. It’s good to know that some folks have that special power…

        • BoxTurtle says:

          YOU could have that power too. All you have to do is listen to what Obama says, watch what he does himself, and watch what his congresscritter friends do for him.

          Boxturtle (the above assumes sufficient brainpower to correlate the gathered data)

  12. wigwam says:

    But I wanted to also note what this moment says about Obama’s system of governance: that the only thing he responds to is hostage-taking.

    Exactly! So, let’s hold his presidency hostage. Someone like Ralph Nader or Bernie Sanders should announce that they are considering a third-party run. It’s a credible threat. “Nader” became a transitive verb as a result of Bush v. Gore. And, Obama knows that re-election will not be easy in the best of circumstances. If Bernie or Ralph attracted a large fraction of the Democratic base, Obama’s chances of re-election would be very slim.

    I’m not saying that they should do a third-party run but, rather, they should credibly threaten to do so and be prepared to follow through. They should appear to be willing to do so out of pure vindictiveness, if Obama doesn’t respond.

  13. Margaret says:

    Maybe when I get back from my running around I’ll write a diary or maybe tomorrow. The more I think about it the more I think it needs to be said, no matter what my feelings about baring my soul are.

  14. Mason says:

    Margaret, I represented a transgendered woman many years ago when I was a criminal defense lawyer. It was a great opportunity for me to relearn that we are human beings first and as human beings we have considerably more in common than we realize. We are the same underneath the skin and there never is, never was, and never will be a valid reason to see another person as less deserving of love, kindness, forgiveness, and respect than we are. May negative judgments cease forever.

    I’m interested in reading about your experiences, if you’re willing to share them with us.


  15. Rayne says:

    Margaret — I want to encourage you to write a post at MyFDL about your situation, sharing as much as you want, so that we can begin the next leg of the journey.

    As Ted Kennedy said not once but twice in his lifetime,

    …the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

    The work goes on. Those of us who don’t know what the next task must be need your help to continue the work.

  16. bluefloridia says:

    To celebrate rights returned to us by those who had no right to take them from us in the first place leaves me disgusted. Just who the hell do those people think they are? Be thankful? I think not. DON’T BUY FROM TARGET, BTW. Throw their fliers away, deprive their stockholders of dividends, and help make Target a liability. Profiting from bigotry is worse than the bigotry.

  17. freeman says:

    I agree with this post EW . However allow me to add a few observations to qualify that agreement.

    1. The administration saw clear political advantages to this .

    Democrats and Obama having been handed a serious defeat in Nov. realise that unless they bring some of the sheep back into the fold again their chances in the next election aren’t looking much better.

    Also there is little down side to the democratic party or Obama in passing this legislation since it is both supported by the American public and the military itself largely. The dream act on the other hand is another story.

    Call me a cynic but the dream act is also held hostage to political calculation but there is a greater risk of passing it politically.
    The loss of slave labor in the US working in fear without basic rights.

    That’s bad for industry, so merely bringing the legislation up for a vote and not passing it is probably for the best in the eyes of the our corporate Renfields in Washington.Like I said , I’m a cynic.

    2. While I applaud the use of civil disobedience,as with the recent arrests over the war in which Chris Hedges and Daniel Ellsberg participated, the civil disobedience was entirely symbolic .

    The truth is that our country and it’s democracy are probably finished. Most Americans are both uneducated through lack of time and credible information and apathetic because they are not living in the streets and still in their homes.

    Americans sleep comfortably while their tax dollars fund death and misery abroad and their government proves itself , beyond the shadow of a doubt, to be brutal fascists who have no use for democracy except as a symbol for propaganda purposes.

    Symbolic protest will probably not be enough, and real opposition , even non violently , would probably be branded as treason and would entail huge courage.

    • Rayne says:

      saw clear political advantages in this

      Yeah, that’s why the White House did virtually nothing to encourage the passage of this legislation.

      the civil disobedience was entirely symbolic

      Uh-huh, it was pure symbolism from which Lt. Dan Choi was suffering when he sought treatment a week or so ago.

      • cleek says:

        (f. this was not supposed to be a reply to Rayne)

        But this victory, the biggest progressive victory under Obama, is largely due to the fact that a number of men and women chained themselves — took themselves hostages, effectively — to the gates of the White House.

        if chaining yourself to the WH fence is what gets things done, why are we still in Afghanistan ?

      • freeman says:

        I hear what your saying Raine but as to the first point the advantage politically was clear from in the passage of this legislation politically.

        I do not mean to suggest that those who participated in the protest were taking the easy way out . It is obvious it took huge courage and I applaud them for it .

        I believe that a movement which now embraces civil disobedience as it’s primary strategy must develop and the best way to begin is through such actions as these individual participated in .

        We must begin somewhere and if it turns out that this strategy of chaining ourselves to a fence is enough , no one will be as pleased as I.

        But as cleek poited out in his post @75 there is more going on here than the government folding to reason as a result of non violent protest .

  18. freeman says:

    Commenting on the news and advocting the strategies of using the primaries , signing petitions and voting in elections is ignoring the fact that the system is beyond repair and can no longer be used as a vehicle for opposing fascism.

    If you are not bothered by living in a dictatorship which spies on it’s population equally no matter the sexual preference or race (muslims excluded) while violating every law known to God and man than we are almost in the promised land.

    If you are not willing to accept that scenario than I suggest that even bothering to comment on the latest news about the latest legislation or Bo the dog is both ignoring the reality we now find ourselves in and actually empowering the abusers by giving the dog and pony process the stamp of credibility.

  19. cleek says:

    yes, just listen to Obama “take credit” for the end of DADT:

    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.

    what a greedy, selfish, glory-hogging bastard!

    OMG, he’s going to take even more credit:

    nd 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.

    makes me sick! sick, i say!

  20. malinowski says:

    EmptyWords conveniently forgets that the permanent, legislative fix to DADT was always Obama’s strategy, and that FDL and others on the Professional Left (including basically all the LGBT activists groups except HRC, which finally gave in to the other’s demands for an Executive approach just days before Obama was proven correct) fought hard against that strategy.

    Your hypocritical and dishonest attempt to sweep in at the last second and claim it was your victory is vile, and only serves as another example of the FireBag Cult’s historical revisionism and increasing divorce from reality.

    • hotdog says:

      Time for me to leave. The stitch in my side from laughing at that ridiculous statement requires some serious stretching and walking.

    • papau says:

      Obama’s strategy”

      to do nothing for the left or the middle-class – unless approved by the GOP, or forced by Congress.

      DADT was not an Obama strategy and as late as 3 weeks ago the WH was trying to kill it so as to preserve their tax cut bi-partisan approach.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, I don’t think the two points are irreconcilable. Cole admits straight up Lieberman is an insufferable prick that has caused all kinds of problems. That leaves it at Marcy’s point about “hostages” and that Jane called it wrong as to Lieberman’s late DADT repeal push. I fully admit to not trusting Lieberman and thinking, for whatever reasons and through whatever modalities, he was a stalking horse for chalking up some PR points but continuing the failure of DADT repeal legislation this Congress (which would have likely put a serious dent in chances in the next less friendly Congress). It was certainly not an unreasonable view to see it that way, it is supported by history and logic. But we were wrong. To Lieberman’s, and Obama’s, credit DADT repeal got passed. That doesn’t in any way necessarily invalidate Marcy’s point as to what it took to get there.

          If John Cole wants to play “I told you so”, where the fuck is his mea culpa on Dawn Johnsen? I’ll be waiting for that.

          • CTuttle says:

            Well, John Balloon Juice is nothing but hot air anyways…! ;-)

            A lot of vitriol was spewed in the comments…! I’m sure the mods here were hopping…! ;-)

            Da bestest Mods anywhere, btw…!

  21. BoxTurtle says:

    Kind of impressive how quickly new posters show up to critique EW when a post critical of Obama is made or the comments seem to be going against Obama.

    Boxturtle (Not sayin’ nuthin, just sayin’)

    • freeman says:

      I’m thinking the posters at Think Progress followed me here. If they are responded to the thread becomes a wash out and inteligent discussion ends.

      Call them the children of Cass Sunstein .

    • Tom65 says:

      Or in my case, an old poster who left out of disgust with Jane and her histrionics.

      I suppose I should thank her for creating this fever swamp, though – I just won $5 for correctly guessing that FDL would find some reason to moan about DADT repeal. All too predictable, really.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Unh, we’re not moaning about DADT repeal, we’re moaning about how Obama is going to take credit for it. When he could have effectively stopped it with an executive stop-loss order anytime after he took the oath of office.

        I suppose it was pretty predictable that the people paying closest attention would be the ones point out the hypocrisy. Who was the fool who put $5 against that?

        Boxturtle (Of the opinion that Jane’s ‘histrionics’ do quite a bit of good)

        • Tom65 says:

          Of course you’re moaning about. The second comment of this thread set the tone:

          It makes me sick that Obama signed that legislation. He did nothing to make it a reality. It just happened to fall into place. He screwed the LGBT community for years and only now as a final gasp to save his own sorry hide, does he make DADT a thing of the past.

          What really tickles me though is the fact that the repeal of DADT was being touted by some front-pagers here as THE litmus test for Obama’s progressive cred. Now that he’s signed it, you people still aren’t happy. As much as I deplore the use of the term, “derangement syndrome” really does apply here.

          • hotdog says:

            Tell us something else you deplore. How about deception? How about having your AHIP sponsors write their own permanent extortion scheme and signing it into law with 12 pens and a big smile on your face? How about indefinite detention? How about rendition? How about Bailing out Wall-Street? How about appointing the architects of economic collapse to your cabinet? Geez, I could go on, but you know, it’d seem like I didn’t get my pony and all.

            • Tom65 says:

              How about you accept the fact that incremental change is how politics works, and that Presidents don’t yield magic legislative wands? I’m not terribly happy about some of the things being done, but on balance I think we’re doing pretty damned good just two years into an adminstration facing the kind of shitstorm not seen since the 30’s, and with a conservative opposition willing to burn down the building rather than cede the smallest victory.

              My point is this: Obama promised the repeal of DADT, and he accomplished it. It was done correctly and deliberatively, in a manner that will be next to impossible for the GOP to counteract. Now that he’s done it, the same people who just last week were building this up as (yet another) ultimate test of Obama’s progressive cred are now slagging him off for having “nothing to do with it”, despite all evidence to the contrary. This is why Jane and the rest of the fever swampers don’t matter; it’s never good enough, so why bother engaging with you?

              • hotdog says:

                One small step forward, twenty giant leaps backward WITH a majority in both Houses and the Presidency is not “incremental change,” it’s piss-poor governance at best and absolute deception at worst.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            We are happy that DADT got repealed. We are NOT happy that Obama is going to take credit for it. At best, he simply did nothing one way or the other and let whatever would happen just happen. At worst, he was working behind the scenes to avoid the vote.

            It was all politics for him, it had nothing to do with civil rights denied. And here he is, trumpeting a major accomplishment…that could have been accomplished two years ago with a stroke of his pen. And he only acted now because the courts were going to kill it anyway and then he wouldn’t get any credit.

            I’d like to attribute the best of motives to Obama like you do, but it really seems to me this was simply another political calculation. And if the math had said he’d get even one more vote by veto than by signature, he’d have killed it on the spot.

            Boxturtle (And then likely have gone on Fox to defend the decision)

        • hotdog says:

          Histrionics? Is that anything like calling people “retarded,” or “on drugs?” :)

          Thank you Jane for being the hero you are and not an apologist suck-up.

  22. designcreature says:

    I feel all of the cheering and patting the prez on the back for signing the cancellation of DADT is a bit premature. This is not a done deal yet as far as I can tell. But maybe I am missing something. I hope I am because I fear that the actual implamentation of this ruling is a long, long way down the road and may yet be put on hold for another round of foot dragging.

  23. freeman says:

    Considering that the US spends as much as the entire planet on it’s military and is presently conducting wars for resources no different than Japan or Germany which have taken more than a miliion innocent lives and maimed and refugeed several times that, is this really a victory at all ?

      • hotdog says:

        There are a lot of sad facts out there, aren’t there. Too bad the presididn’t is definitely generating more rather than reducing the number.

  24. merlin1963 says:

    Thanks for the post emptywheel. Unfortunately, I really don’t think progressives have much in the way of taking hostages to get Obama’s attention. Democrats have lost the House, but even before that debacle, the Blue Dogs ran the show. Democrats still hold the Senate, but they are the most feckless bunch of bastards on the planet. If I see Sherrod “Skid Marks in My Underwear” Brown get on TV claiming that he is going to fight something, I’m going to shoot my TV. All I can think of is that rank and file Democrats need to stop giving any money to the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC. If Obama doesn’t see the cash coming in, it might get his attention. But I heartily agree that the listening to all sides blather from Obama is completely bullshit. I can’t tell you how many times I have emailed, snail mailed, and even called the White House, all to no avail.

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