October 28, 2010

A liberal blogger confronts Barack Obama about gay rights... with tediously grim results.

I'm going to pick apart the transcript from Obama's big meetup with the liberal bloggers. The "Q" is Joe Sudbay of Americablog.
Q ... do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?
That's exactly what I would ask him. You may remember my dissecting his MTV townhall last week and showing you how evasive he was about that.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.
See? Infuriating. He's the President. He took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" — "to the best of [his] ability." He won the Presidency in part because of his high achievement at Harvard Law School. He accepted responsibility for the U.S. military. His administration is fighting to defend DADT in courts. This issue didn't pop up yesterday, so his answer couldn't possibly be "just off the top of [his] head. He sure as hell better have an answer to the question. This preamble to his answer is therefore either a lie or an outrage.
I think that -- but here’s what I can say. 
Thanks for revealing that you know you are withholding what you really think.
I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned -- something that’s unprecedented.
That's his canned answer, which was also served up at the MTV townhall. It's completely nonresponsive to the question. 
And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests -- and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.
If you really believe it is that harmful and unjust, then how do you resist the conclusion, under the case law, that it is unconstitutional? Even at the level of minimal scrutiny, what is the rational basis for this law? You are saying — in so many words — that there is no rational basis, so why do you not conclude that it is unconstitutional? Are you lying when you intone your criticism of DADT, or are you lying when you purport to adhere to the sort of constitutional analysis that is done by the kind of people you nominate to be on the Supreme Court?

Are you trying to say you'd have joined Justice Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas? Here's Scalia: "What Texas has chosen to do is well within the range of traditional democratic action, and its hand should not be stayed through the invention of a brand-new 'constitutional right' by a Court that is impatient of democratic change. It is indeed true that 'later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress,'; and when that happens, later generations can repeal those laws. But it is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people, and not imposed by a governing caste that knows best." Hello? That's what Obama is saying about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Back to the transcript:
Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment.
Oh, yes! The larger issue is how people feel about Barack Obama. Constitutional rights just aren't that large compared to the grand question of Me. And apparently Joe doesn't have the nerve to stop the President and point out that there has been no answer to the question. The President has called him by name and wants to talk about his feelings.
I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history....
But no other President directly inspired the hopes of gay people and won big support with promises like you did. You're not even saying that you're better than all those other Presidents, only that none of them were any better. Your support for "the LGBT community" is as good as George Washington's. Thanks a lot.
On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.
Admit it: You love having your hands tied like that. Because you're fighting against a legal decision that deemed DADT unconstitutional! The rope of legislation was untied, and here you are begging for other judges to tie you back up again. Don't ask me to believe you don't love the bondage.
And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.
I'll be honest with you... Speaking of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's a "tell." He's lying. "I’ll be honest with you" means I'm about to lie to you.
Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.
Speaking of time, he's really trying to run the clock out on this interview. He's also, I imagine, ashamed of what he finds himself needing to say. He wants to identify with King, but he knows he's on the wrong side of King when he asks gay people to wait longer. Obama sounds like an old man rifling through his memories for something relevant to say. He calls “Letter from Birmingham Jail" "[o]ne of my favorite pieces of literature" — as if it's all about him and people who are waiting for their rights to be recognized are fascinated by what pleasure reading he enjoys. Under the circumstances of this conversation, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is or should be nagging at his conscience. ("Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of ... injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.")
So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing...
Begrudge! That he would even think of that word suggests these people are annoying him!
... but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.
The short answer to Sudbay's original answer was: Don't Ask.
Q So I have another gay question. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay, man. (Laughter.)
I am resisting typing curse words here. Look at Sudbay abasing himself. Now these rights he must care about are reduced to jocose "gay questions." Something to laugh at. There indeed was a time, and it was not too long ago, that the idea of gay rights itself seemed funny to people. And Sudbay allows himself to get pushed back toward that place. The President treats the remark as if it were an apology. He says "It's okay, man." Man. See? He's a cool guy. He's taming Sudbay.
Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there -- like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?
Another good question. Sudbay came prepared. Let's see if he lets Obama push him back again.
THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this --
Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course.

Q People in our community are really desperate to know.
Oh, don't beg, Joe. Don't apologize.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. 
That's big of him.
I think that -- I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.
Check out those weird plurals: understandings of the traditional definitions. That's another tell. He is lying, I presume. His opposition to same-sex marriage is, quite simply and obviously, politically expedient. It is impossible for me to believe that Obama, coming from his academic background, is hung-up on the traditional definition — or "definitions" — of marriage. He's posing as a seeker of truth, slowly coming round.
But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. 
Attitudes? I thought he was into traditional definitions.
And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.
So is he saying that previously he had an attitude that was antagonistic to gay people and by extensive social contact with gay people, he came around to perceiving them as fully human? I just don't believe that. And if I did, I would think less of him.
And I care about them deeply. 
You know, your position on the rights of others should not depend on whether they are your friends. That's not the way law works. People have rights whether you care about them or not. And rights don't spring into existence because you care about the people who want them.
And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)
Laughter. Oh, it's so lovely sitting with the President in the Roosevelt Room. Something that I think a lot about. Men have thought more clearly in jail.

Later, the conversation comes back to DADT, and the President intimates that he will try to push its repeal during the lame duck session of Congress. He makes an effort to shift the blame to the Republicans, especially John McCain, and he indicates that it will be a problem getting the votes for cloture. (He loves that problem, I'll bet. It's so helpful to appear to want to act and have your hands tied.)

He wonders why the Log Cabin Republican are pursuing their court case, when they could instead try to get a few Republican Senators to vote for repeal. He says he doesn't "understand the logic of" using the courts when you could go to Congress, but of course he does. People conceive of their equality in terms of their individual rights — which don't depend on the support of political majorities and supermajorities. As a Harvard-trained lawyer and sometime law professor, he knows that. He knows why people go to courts. I don't buy his understanding of the logic. Or should I say his understandings of the logics?

315 comments:

1 – 200 of 315   Newer›   Newest»
Trooper York said...

You dirty conservative you!

AllenS said...

Obama: "I'm voting present."

You don't need to read or hear the whole conversation to understand this man.

AllenS said...

because of his high achievement at Harvard Law School

I don't consider affirmative action to be an accomplishment.

Mark O said...

Most of this can be explained if one accepts the apparent truth that Obama is just not that smart.

If one refuses to accept that fact, it is hard work, indeed, to explain him.

traditionalguy said...

Rahm has told the President to keep each crisis pot boiling ...that makes his every word an oracle from on high...as GM and BP discovered. Note to self: never argue with Althouse unless she is mistaken on a subject she has not mastered. Gay rights stays at Def Con 5 for her in argument readyness. And I have called Obama a talented con man who always lies...but never proved it four times in one coment. Huah!

Sofa King said...

I am shocked at the racism in this post. Everyone knows that treating Gay Rights as an important issue is a manifestation of White Privilege. It's SWPL.

Gabriel Hanna said...

He's the executive, it's his discretion whether to defend the law. Just like Schwarzenegger chose not to defend California's law.

He's not violating separation of powers by pardoning criminals, or by refusing to sign a bill sent to him by both Houses of Congress, so why is he saying something so absurd as that he is forced to defend a law he says is unjust?

PatCA said...

Great post. All I can hope is that the viewers saw trough his malarkey as clearly as you did.

This struck me: "to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head."

Like scolding the SCOTUS in front of Congress and the world on Citizens United, which tested a law that Congress passed?

Mark O said...

As Larry Tribe told Obama about the “wise Latina,” “Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is.”

It seems endemic in this group.

Denver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chase said...

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.

So I take it he's learned from his uncalled-for pronouncement in his State of the Union about the Supreme Court judging a law that Congress passed.

edutcher said...

He's being a weaselly lawyer (no offense) like Willie was when he said, "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is". He doesn't want to answer the question because he'll get caught in a lie.

More to the point, even he can see this would be pure disaster politically if he campaigned to open up the military to homosexuals (yes, I know...). This has no more traction than homosexual marriage with the electorate and could cost the Demos even more next Tuesday, so he's going to lie through his teeth.

Assuming, of course, he ever meant it in the first place.

Ann Althouse said...

He won the Presidency in part because of his high achievement at Harvard Law School...

And we know this how? Since we've never seen his academic transcripts, we don't know if he was a high achiever or an affirmative action hire.

PS The armed forces bar a great many people from serving. It may be a requirement if there's a draft on (even then a lot of people are excluded), but it's not a right. We're again at that point where any given SCOTUS can impose any agenda they want and invent a hitherto unknown Constitutional right out of whole cloth and thin air to justify it.

Bob_R said...

Damned conservative wingnut.

"I'll be honest with you... Speaking of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's a "tell." He's lying. "I’ll be honest with you" means I'm about to lie to you."

Take the rest of the day off. Very unlikely to write a line better than that.

Denver said...

I am sure Ann if you were writing a hundred and fifty years ago you would be excoriating Abraham Lincoln for only freeing the slaves in the south with his proclamation while blabbering on how cool the confederates are.

It should also be noted that Ann has not once been critical of Republicans for filibustering in the Senate. Talk about duplicitous! Ann takes the cake. (Ann, why don't you pretend that you are the mother of a gay son?)

President Obama is clear that DADT needs to be repealed. But he has the resposibility to do it right.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Denver:

But he has the resposibility to do it right?

He is not obligated to defend the law in court. The buck stops at Obama. If he stopped defending the law, the law would be gone.

He is the executive. Read the Constitution once in a while, you might learn something.

Schwarzenegger isn't defending California's law. Seems he's a lot better on gay rights than Obama.

garage mahal said...

In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn.

Marshal said...

""I'll be honest with you... Speaking of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's a "tell." He's lying. "I’ll be honest with you" means I'm about to lie to you.""

Along the same lines, his constantly repeating "let me be clear" in fact means "I will not answer this question no matter how many times I am asked".

Jim B said...

He's obviously not as smart as people give him credit for being. If the last 20 months hadn't already clued you in to that, it's pretty difficult to avoid it smacking you in the face like a dead fish after reading this exchange.

If you invite Sudbay to your little get-together, then you have to KNOW questions about DADT and same-sex marriage are going to come up. How could they NOT? And yet, this stammering off-the-cuff tap dance is the best he can do?

Those answer reek of a lack of preparation and common sense: both of which point to a person (and a staff) which are severely lacking in basic intelligence.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garagemahal:

In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn.

To hell with your "consistency" bullshit.

The President is defending a law he claims he thinks is unjust, when he is not obligate to do so. Bob and weave all you like, the buck stops with him.

Marshal said...

garage mahal said...
In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn.

Sort of like leftists or liberals complaining about the deficit or Bush's spending? Missed your criticism of that.

Denver said...

Gabriel, this can be won through the legislative process. The electorate is quickly evolving on this issue. Are you saying that every future president should shop around for a district court to rule against some law they do not like as unconstitutional and then not appeal? Is that the new conservative idea of judicuial restraint?

AJ Lynch said...

IMSO sick of hearing about DADT [it is not a top priority IMO].

But gays must be sick of hearing Obama trying to be slick like Bill Clinton,

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garagemahal:

I want to hear one of two things from you:

Obama is right to defend DADT in court

Obama is wrong to defend DADT in court

Say what YOU think, coward, instead of a bunch of meta bullshit about how other people don't really care about whatever.

Jim B said...

garage -

In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn.

In which case that's: a) patently not true, and b) it's an attempted threadjack as that's not the point.

Even if you're the most ardent opponent of openly gay people serving in the military, you CARE. It MATTERS to you. Which is the definition of caring. If you're going to feign indifference, then at least don't do so with such obvious ignorance.

The POINT for many conservatives is that WE'VE BEEN TELLING YOU SINCE 2008 that he was a blatant liar, not as smart as he claims to be, and that all those things he promised he was going to do simply were never going to happen.

Now two years, after you've spent all that intervening time telling us how STUPID we were for saying those things, it's becoming painfully obvious JUST HOW RIGHT WE WERE. Which makes YOU the STUPID one for not having figured it out two years ago when all of us supposed numbskulls were telling you that all the warning signs were there.

So thanks for pointing out once again how lacking in basic intelligence YOU are for buying into the hype.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, why don't you pretend that you are the mother of a gay son?"

As I say in the post, I don't think rights depend on whether you know/love the people who are affected by those rights. If you support rights because they help you or your friends, it is less impressive than if you support them out of principle. I am making argument directed at everyone, and I am not asking for empathy or sympathy or whatever the hell you want to call it. This is about law and lying.

AllenS said...

Denver said...
Gabriel, this can be won through the legislative process. The electorate is quickly evolving on this issue.

I'll bet the vast majority of the electorate doesn't want DADT repealed, and also they don't want same sex marriage.

I know it, and so does Obama. Why don't you think that he's doing anything about it?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Denver:

Are you saying that every future president should shop around for a district court to rule against some law they do not like as unconstitutional and then not appeal? Is that the new conservative idea of judicuial restraint?

Way to make shit up and change the topic. Obama's not a judge and can't practice "judicial restraint".

Are you telling me that it is illegal and wrong for Schwarzenegger to refuse to defend California's law? If it is wrong for Obama to refuse to defend an unjust law, then why is it right for him to pardon a criminal when a court has clearly ruled the criminal is guilty and is to be punished?

Fact is, it's Obama's call, he made it, and you want to absolve him of any responsibility.
He had no trouble dropping the Black Panther lawsuit, though.

BJK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim B said...

Denver -

Obama made a campaign promise which he clearly isn't keeping. You'll have to point me to the part of that campaign promise which says that he'll just sit back and wait until Congress gets around to dealing with DADT before he'll lift a finger to address the issue.

Perhaps you can cite a position paper or a link on his website where his profound support for the LGBT community was reduced to "if Congress goes first."

He promised to lead. Instead, he's decided that he "needs to sit in the back." Nobobdy put him there. He climbed in the backseat of his own accord and now he's waiting for someone else to show up, start the engine and drive.

q12345q6789 said...

Beautiful take-down. Thank you.

Denver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denver said...

In this thread

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/10/lets-look-closely-at-what-white-house.html
Ann said that if she were president she would allow DADT to be declared unconstitutional by a lower court and not appeal because it would further her personal policy preference even though she is not sure DADT is actually unconstitutional.

And Ann has the nerve to call President Obama out on this?

Henry said...

@Chase, 11:00 AM. Nicely done.

* * *

What are the odds that the Obama DOJ decides not to continue fighting DADT in the courts AFTER the election?

* * *

@garage, 11:04. I would love it if Democrats, when in power, acted like social liberals. I would be even more happy if Republicans, when in power, acted like fiscal conservatives. Let the Democrats support gay marriage, legalize drugs, and bring the surveillance agencies to heel. Let the Republicans cut budgets, slash programs, and shred regulations. It would be a better country if the Democrats acted like their social stereotype and the Republicans like their economic one. Instead it's the other way around.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Denver:

And Ann has the nerve to call President Obama out on this?

Denver, why could Obama drop the Black Panther case yet somehow he has to go to the mat for DADT?

Where in the Constitution does it say the President has to defend laws he believes are burning injustices?

Say yes or no, Schwarzenegger was wrong to refuse to defend California's law.

Why is a Republican better on gay rights than Obama?

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you really believe it is that harmful and unjust, then how do you resist the conclusion, under the case law, that it is unconstitutional?

Probably by keeping in mind, as you have not, the difference between irrational and mistaken. Isn't that why rational-basis scrutiny is (or was) so deferential to lawmakers?

Michael said...

I believe JimB nailed this one. Our President is not as smart as they would have us believe. Not even close to that smart. Light years from how smart he thinks he is. Plus unprepared. And he would be unprepared because he has made it his entire life on bullshit undiluted by principle.

Denver said...

President Obama has taken a clear cut position against DADT. He has also made clear that the best way to settle the issue so that it will be accepted by the most number of people is to do so legislatively. Also, he understands that it is stressful on our system for the courts to settle continuous issues. (Roe v. Wade.) Given that the electorate is quickly evolving on this issue, it makes sense not to take the instant gratification route of killing DADT by judicial fiat. (A district court none the less!)

Ann knows the above, but she views this as just another political football to kick around.

If Ann had a gay or lesbian child that she loved she would not treat this issue in such a cavalier manner.

AllenS said...

If you really believe it is that harmful and unjust, then how do you resist the conclusion, under the case law, that it is unconstitutional?

You'll still have on the books the Uniform Code of Military Justice articles to contend with concerning homosexuality. I believe that would fall under statues. Yes? I used to make law books on my web offset press. Can you tell?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Denver:

Given that the electorate is quickly evolving on this issue, it makes sense not to take the instant gratification route of killing DADT by judicial fiat. (A district court none the less!)

Obama's not a judge and can't do anything by "judicial fiat".

I want to hear you condemn Schwarzenegger for refusing to defend California's law.

I want to hear you explain why Obama can drop other lawsuits but not THIS one which involves such an OBVIOUS INJUSTICE.

If Ann had a gay or lesbian child that she loved she would not treat this issue in such a cavalier manner.

you really are an idiot. And a hack.

shoutingthomas said...

Funny,

But gays do not equal blacks under Jim Crow. That's just silly.

I can only answer your post by analogy.

Gays in New York are workings themselves into a lather over a "crisis of bullying." The claims i that gays are being targeted for bullying.

I fought my way through a phalanx of bullies all through elementary school and junior high. And I'm straight. Bullying is a universal human affliction.

I, too, have a homosexual child, Ann. That does not translate automatically into support for the gay activist agenda, as you seem to assume.

The notion that gays are an oppressed class like blacks under Jim Crow is absolute nonsense. The notion that gays have been the subject of a war of terror based on their sexuality is nonsense.

Gay men do live in fear of violence. That's true. That lifestyle of picking up dozens of strangers in bars and bathroom will eventually lead you into violence. That's not the fault of straights.

chuck b. said...

"Why is a Republican better on gay rights than Obama?"

For one thing, because the presumptive Republican won't try to have it both ways, insulting everyone's dignity, including his own.

garage mahal said...

Say what YOU think, coward, instead of a bunch of meta bullshit about how other people don't really care about whatever.

I guess I'm not a mind reader like Althouse. Obama set in motion [before this ruling], a path to repeal on how he thought it should be done. DADT repeal has already passed the House, and even if a few Republicans would have voted for it, it would be done. I don't know how many times these facts have to smack you in the face before it finally sinks in. Republicans held it up. It would much more politically expedient, and easier, to just let a lower court decide it for him.

traditionalguy said...

Denver...Your last comment is obtuse, to say the least. Did you read the Professor's arguments? She nails Obama for saying "I love gay rights" while he acts to stop them anyway he can. That is a common religious trick: supporting a position as moral and righteous, but refusing to lift a finger to see it happen.

rhhardin said...

I was left behind in the fight at DADT its being unconstitutional.

I don't think it is unconstitutional.

I agree Obama exhibits community organizer honesty at every turn, but it's unrelated to DADT. It's related to some political advantage.

Sixty Grit said...

So the stupid half-black muslim dude doesn't like gays. Stop the presses.

MayBee said...

He thinks DADT is dangerous, and he is Commander in Chief. Yet he's fighting to defend it.
He thinks Gitmo is dangerous, and he is Commander in Chief. Yet he's stopped trying to close it.

He did have Secretary Gates call the guy who was going to burn the Koran, though. So it isn't that he is entirely unwilling to protect our troops.

MayBee said...

ps. How many of us are disappointed Obama didn't go all the way with the King quotes, and talk about the arc of history bending toward justice?

Denver said...

Trad Guy Dems, with no Republican support passed a repeal of DADT in the House and had 58 votes to repeal in the Senate. And you have the nerve to write Obama "acts to stop "gay rights" anyway he can.

We all know that after failing to repeal DADT legislatively this secession because of a Republican filibuster, if President Obama used this district court to achieve the end of DADT, that Ann would then excoriate him for it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You knew when you voted for him that questions that would obviously effect constitutional rights were 'above his pay grade'.

Daniel said...

I think Obama's plan is to end his first term with DADT over. And that he's playing chess, but Ann's demanding checkers.

Denver said...

To answer Gabriel Hanna,

Schwarzenegger is not President and the lawsuits you listed fall far short of constitutional law.

Alex said...

I think Obama's plan is to end his first term with DADT over. And that he's playing chess, but Ann's demanding checkers.

Yeah Obama's a real grandmaster. *roll eyes*

Richard Dolan said...

Ann delivers a harsh judgment and in many ways O deserves it. But hypocrisy is just a venial sin when we're talking about politicians, and sometimes it is no sin at all.

O's point (one that he will never make explicitly) is that constitutional adjudication in cases like DADT is seen by most Americans as illegitimate -- just a power grab dressed up as something else. Lawyers, and even less lawprofs, may scoff. For them, constitutional adjudication is the application of 'doctrine' derived from scripture as mediated by the disinterested high priests of the law through 'caselaw'. But beginning with Bork, the intense personalization of the nomination battles -- the open politicizing about how a nominee is a clear vote for one side or the other of a political divide -- makes that image impossible to sell.

I think Ann is right that O rejects that critique of constitutional adjudication as itself illegitimate. But he also knows that tremendous damage has already been done to the public's willingness to accept the judiciary's power to impose social policies in the name of applying constitutional vagaries. What's at stake is the judiciary's mandate of heaven. Once lost, it is hard to get back. I think O sees the limits that constrict the judiciary's institutional role and has the sense not to want to push past the breaking point. That was Scalia's basic point too (one that he will never make quite that explicitly either).

Of necessity, that requires O to engage in long-winded filibusters to disguise the basic hypocrisy that's going on. Then along comes someone like Ann to blow away his cover (not that it was working all that well anyway).

Despite it all, I think O has the better of this one. Hypocrisy has its virtues, and O embodies them perfectly. Selling snake-oil is what latter-day redeemers are really good at.

pm317 said...

He says he doesn't "understand the logic of" using the courts when you could go to Congress, but of course he does.

I don't "understand the logic of" him wanting the Congress to do something when he could very well have signed an executive order by now.

Good post but you still give him too much credit (maybe to rationalize your vote for him just like the questioner who would beg rather than accost).

Big Mike said...

It would have been interesting if Obama had responded to Sudbay by asking for a show of hands of all those who plan to enlist just as soon as DADT is dropped. None? Then why do they care?

Considering how many other rights the rest of us (what Katie Couric has lately called "the Great Unwashed") enjoy as civilians but relinquish upon joining the military (notably, cussing out your immediate boss and quitting, not to mention showing disrespect to the Commander-in-Chief) it seems to me that being openly gay is merely one among many civil rights that one agrees to surrenderin order to serve in uniform.

But I find a couple things interesting in your post, Professor. For instance you twice mention that he graduated from Harvard Law, but you overlook the fact that he was a lecturer -- apparently with faculty rank and privileges -- in Constitutional Law, and not at some 4th tier law school, either, but at the University of Chicago. Or did you and the other Con Law professors get together in a conference call to vote him out of your affinity group?

And I'm unhappy that you compared him as being no better with respect to support to the LGBT community than George Washington. I think the better comparison is to George Bush. Can I convince you to add an "Obama is like Bush" tag?

Hoosier Daddy said...

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court.

I guess that's above his pay grade too.

Honestly I don't get this debate at all. Again, I could care less about gays in the military and quite frankly wonder if its a mountain made from a molehill. Are there truly that many gay people rushing to enlist in the armed forces? Or is it just one of those issues like the chick who sued to go to the Citadel and then bailed after the first day?

Seriously in the grand scheme of national priorities, this is should ranked #1,293,478,429. The fact that its on the national spotlight is ridiculous.

1jpb said...

Sheesh.

Based on Althouse's definition of irrelevant pleasure reading, you'd think that BHO had brought "Twilight" into this conversation.

Anyway, I agree that BHO feels that it would be political suicide for him to push this issue any harder. He's probably looked down the road, beyond this particular decision, that has captivated Althouse. The cons would demagogue this to death. They'd crank up the 'here comes commie' scare machine. And, they'd ride the wave to electoral success (this year, and beyond), after which the courts and law would be more O'Donnellized. This is a one step forward, two steps back problem.

Althouse reminds me of the libs like Greenwald. Those folks are legitimately disappointed because BHO isn't the cavalier radical they had hoped for. And, they can point to plenty of evidence to justify their disapproval of BHO's handling of American national security and our liberties/rights. But, it can be argued that our country is better off because of BHO's caution.

Pragmatic is as pragmatic does.

MrBuddwing said...

Despite it all, I think O has the better of this one. Hypocrisy has its virtues, and O embodies them perfectly. Selling snake-oil is what latter-day redeemers are really good at.

?!?!?!?!?!?

You really had me going until that last paragraph.

Word verification: ungthi

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Denver:

Schwarzenegger is not President and the lawsuits you listed fall far short of constitutional law

Big surprise to Judge Walker, since he ruled that Prop 8 violated the constitution.

So, instead of bobbing and weaving, condemn Schwarzenegger for refusing to defend what you consider to be obvious discrimination against gays and lesbians, or admit you are a hack.

@garagemahal:

even if a few Republicans would have voted for it, it would be done. I don't know how many times these facts have to smack you in the face before it finally sinks in. Republicans held it up.

So if Republicans were bad for blocking gay rights, Obama is justified for doing that in court?

Well, we all know you ARE a hack.

pm317 said...

This feels like a question made for this post:

"Is the difficulty," Stewart asked, "that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered? You ran with such, if I may, audacity.... yet legislatively it has felt timid at times."

Jon Stewart on his show with the charlatan last night, I guess.

shoutingthomas said...

Seriously in the grand scheme of national priorities, this is should ranked #1,293,478,429. The fact that its on the national spotlight is ridiculous.

BINGO!

Why do we have a military?

Is it to provide a dating service for gays?

Make love not war!

Sigivald said...

"Do you think X is unconstitutional" is not a question that involves the Supreme Court. One would think that a supposed Constitutional Law Scholar would know that.

What he thinks about its constitutionality does not depend on a court decision, and is, in fact, a yes or no question. Not, I admit, necessarily a simple one, but not for the reasons he gave.

If he'd simply said "It's impolitic for me to give my opinion", I'd applaud him for speaking clearly. But he didn't.

(I am contrasting, explicitly, "do you think X is unconstitutional" with "do you think the Court will find X unconstitutional".

Unless the President is operating in a worldview such that nothing is or is not constitutional until the Supreme Court decides it, he should have an opinion on its constitutionality in the absence of a Supreme Court decision - especially since he was pushed on us as a Constitutional Scholar Here To Restore The Constitution From The Attacks Of The Hated Bush*.

And if he is operating in such a worldview, he should state it, so we can look at him in bemusement.)

(* Can you even imagine George W. Bush making the response President Obama made to this question?

I can see him saying "yes, I think it's constitutional". I can even see him saying "no, I don't think it's constitutional", though I think that's unlikely in the extreme.

I could see him saying the suggested response I made above, about how it'd be politically divisive or otherwise unwise to comment.

I can't imagine him pretending that as Executive he has no place even thinking about the Constitutionality of laws.)

MrBuddwing said...

Why do we have a military?

Is it to provide a dating service for gays?


Of course not! It's to provide a dating service for straight men and women, silly!

Word verification: crusc.

shoutingthomas said...

Oddly, I thought the purpose of the military was:

1. To blow things up

2. To kill people

1jpb said...

"That does not translate automatically into support for the gay activist agenda"

Ask Newt about that.

[But, avoid the Cheney household.]

MadisonMan said...

I think that's the longest blog entry I've ever seen here.

MnMark said...

Bottom line: homosexuality is not equal to heterosexuality. They are not mere preferences of no more import that whether you like red better than blue, or chocolate better than vanilla. And a primary reason they are not equal, and that it will be a social disaster in this country if they are treated as equal in custom and in law, is that for children to do best they need to be raised by their married biological mother and biological father. Children need to be raised by a mother, and a father - not two men, not two women. Some will say that being raised by a homosexual couple is better than nothing, but that is a false distinction. The choice is not between homosexuals and nothing. It is between homosexuals and heterosexuals, and heterosexual married parents are unquestionably healthier for children than homosexual. Already in some states homosexual couples are getting to adopt ahead of heterosexual couples who are waiting. Young children are being sent to be raised by a pair of homosexual men when there is a heterosexual couple ready and willing to take them. This is because these states are treating homosexuality and heterosexuality as equal, and they are not.

Even if you wanted to say that the actual sexual practices of homosexuals are in no important way different from that of heterosexuals (which is not true - the spread of AIDS is almost entirely by homosexual contact), the affect on children of deeming heterosexuality no better than homosexuality is wrong and most people know that at a gut level.

It's a shame that some people are born with whatever genetic mutation causes homosexuality, and I hope we will find a cure for it someday. But meanwhile we do real harm to children by pretending it is equal to heterosexuality. This is not a matter of "hate", or "homophobia", it is a matter of common sense about the nature of men, women, children, families, and normal healthy sexuality.

sunsong said...

I'll bet the vast majority of the electorate doesn't want DADT repealed, and also they don't want same sex marriage.

"...Seven in 10 respondents said they favor allowing “gay men and lesbians” to serve in the military, including nearly 6 in 10 who said they should be allowed to serve openly. But support was somewhat lower among those who were asked about allowing “homosexuals” to serve, with 59 percent in favor, including 44 percent who support allowing them to serve openly...."


http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/new-poll-shows-support-for-repeal-of-dont-ask-dont-tell/

garage mahal said...

Well, we all know you ARE a hack.

And you're position is. "well, Obama could just do this", without even explaining what that even means. So walk us through it smart ass. Tell us how Obama can do this so easily, and pls include how this would impact current laws, Congress, and how it would affect the application process in the military. I'll get you started:

1. Obama: Ok court, I agree!
2. ???

MrBuddwing said...

Oddly, I thought the purpose of the military was:

1. To blow things up

2. To kill people


Which, for some reason, gay people are apparently incapable of doing.

Word verification: stonintl

Lance said...

Both Obama and Scalia are right, sex is not a constitutional issue, neither in the positive nor normative sense.

SMGalbraith said...

Now we know why he carries the teleprompter everywhere he goes. Although that wouldn't help him here. The contradictions and inconsistencies can't be teleprompted over.

This was pretty awful.

Pettifoggery at its worst.

former law student said...

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Althouse wants the DADT policy repealed so that gays can serve openly in the military.

How would Obama's pronouncement that the policy is unconstitutional facilitate repeal?

Because everyone enthusiastically agrees that every idea Obama has is correct, and Obama's stating a position breeds no reaction by anyone anywhere?

Further, does Althouse really believe that the entire country is prepared to accept that this contentious issue has been settled for all time by Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside, California?

shoutingthomas said...

Oddly, I thought the purpose of the military was:

1. To blow things up

2. To kill people

Which, for some reason, gay people are apparently incapable of doing.

Certain gay people are capable of blowing things up and killing people.

They can do both while keeping their mouths shut about what they do in bed.

Mick said...

Professor Althouse really??!! Obama was elected partly because of his achievement at Harvard?

DADT was a compromise that allowed Gays to serve in the military. There is still a statute against Sodomy in the USMCJ.
Why don't you know this?

925. ART. 125. SODOMY
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.
(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.


Oh it's probably related to why you don't know that there is a Usurper in the White House (Obama's father was NEVER a citizen, therefor Obama 2 could not be a Natural Born Citizen).
Did you go to Harvard?

Fen said...

a new New York Times/CBS News poll

Two disquals in once sentence. Nice.

Hey Sunsong, maybe there's an honest poll out there supporting your view, but this isn't it.

sunsong said...

My view is that Obama's stance on gay marriage is the important one. He does not see that gays should have the same liberties as everyone else. To me, that pretty much explains how he can be so incoherent about DADT. He is not for gay rights - but wants gay votes.

It just doesn't add up that he consistently wants to move public opinion rather than get policy right. Look at his response to Arizona's law on illegal immigration. The public is with Arizona - but Obama doesn't care about that - he took them to court!

It is fascinating to watch people take one position on certain issues and then completely reverse themselves on other issues without being called on the hypocrisy of it.

It's like those who claimthey have nothing against gays - they could care less - except when it comes to marriage or serving in the military :-)

Obviously, this hypocrsy has worked for Obama so far - so he sees no need to change. It would be a very hopeful thing - if Obama were to positively change after this election.

Fen said...

MrBuddwing: Which, for some reason, gay people are apparently incapable of doing.

Are you trying to argue that DADT is because peeps think gays would't make good killers?

Here's a clue: Fat people can kill, near-sighted people can kill, married people can kill, short people can kill... and yet, the military rountinely discriminates against them, by either not letting them serve or by limiting the choices of MOS they can choose to serve in.

There is no "right" to serve in the military.

jr565 said...

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head


Like questions of abortion it's above his pay grade.

KS said...

"He wants to identify with King, but he knows he's on the wrong side of King when he asks gay people to wait longer."

We don't know what Rev. King would have said about DADT or same-sex marriage. I think that Obama's attitude about same-sex marriage didn't "evolve" before the 2008 election because he didn't want to alienate the traditional black churches.

Fen said...

Sunsong: It's like those who claimthey have nothing against gays - they could care less - except when it comes to serving in the military :-)

Fail.

You would say that because a woman doens't want to share her privacy [toilet, shower, bed, locker room] with men that it must mean she hates them.

dbp said...

"If you really believe it is that harmful and unjust, then how do you resist the conclusion, under the case law, that it is unconstitutional?"

I don't understand how a finite document like the US Constitution could possibly answer to every possible instance of harm or injustice. It is not a sort of ultimate justice encyclopaedia.

My view is that the Constitution is silent on this and many other things. It leaves it up to elected representatives to hammer out.

garage mahal said...

Where did Gabriel go I wonder. Hmmph

garage mahal said...

I'm guessing he is googling.

Fen said...

Obama was elected partly because of his achievement at Harvard?

"Obama applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn't even considered. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach. The Board told him he didn't have to be a member of the faculty, but they needed to give him a temporary position. He was never a professor and was hardly an adjunct.

The other professors hated him because he was lazy, unqualified, never attended any of the faculty meetings, and it was clear that the position was nothing more than a political stepping stool. According to my professor friend, he had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building"

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-be-lawyer-or-not-to-be.html

Chip Ahoy said...

Hahahahaha.

Good post, Professor. I especially like your little signposts. You have some very funny commenters. I hope I'm around when the realization hits.

former law student said...

My view is that Obama's stance on gay marriage is the important one. He does not see that gays should have the same liberties as everyone else. ...

It just doesn't add up that he consistently wants to move public opinion rather than get policy right. Look at his response to Arizona's law on illegal immigration. The public is with Arizona - but Obama doesn't care about that - he took them to court!


Re Arizona: Regulating immigration is part of foreign policy which has been the province of the federal government since day 1. States even duplicating federal immigration law have been slapped down by the Supreme Court in the past. No administration could let this usurpation slide.

Re gay marriage: Regulating marriage has been the province of state governments since day 1, except that the Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot deny this fundamental right to members of different races. No one has ever stopped gay people from getting married, only same-sex marriages have been prohibited.

SSM was unknown on planet Earth till the Netherlands allowed it in 2001.

Ann Althouse said...

"Further, does Althouse really believe that the entire country is prepared to accept that this contentious issue has been settled for all time by Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside, California?"

If the Obama administration said it was not appealing because it took the position that DADT was in fact a constitutional violation, then it wouldn't be just Judge Philips. It would be the judge and the President, who was elected by the entire country.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Where did Gabriel go I wonder. Hmmph

I'm guessing he is googling.


Went to lunch. That okay with you, assmonkey?

Step 1: District court rules that DADT is illegal discrimination

Step 2: Obama refuses to appeal. The end.

Suppose instead we'd had this:

Step 1: Obama issues executive order, that no one in the military will be discharged for being gay

Step 2: Executive order challenged in court, Obama loses, appeals, vows he will not stop fighting for gay rights

Totally different conversation we'd be having, garage mahal.

Instead, we have

Step 1: DADT repeal attached as rider to unrelated bill, loses

Step 2: DADT challenged in court, Obama defends it

Step 3: garage mahal says that's fine as paint, it's evil for Republicans to oppose gay rights in Congress but right and just for Obama to oppose them in court

JohnJ said...

He doesn't understand the logic of using the courts instead of the legislature? Doesn't this guy appoint judges based on their empathy?

MayBee said...

From a comment from John Aravosis at his blog:
The marriage one is newsworthy. Even the constitutional one is - a constitutional lawyers says he can't figure out the constitutionality of an anti- civil rights law? I think all the responses showed us something about the guy.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Where's garage mahal? Hmmph. Must be googling. Jerkass.

SMGalbraith said...

In defense of the President - okay a back-handed defense - these are not the words of a leftwing ideologue.

For those conservative critics who think he's some sort of one, there is simply no evidence here that he is.

MayBee said...


THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.


One of his jobs as President of the United States is to make pronouncements about the laws Congress passed- he is given the power to veto. That's the ultimate pronouncement.
As for laws already passed, he has always felt free to condemn laws passed by Congress such as the Bush Tax Cuts.

And why should this be off the top of his head? Is he saying he just hasn't thought about it? Why doesn't he have a fully formed opinion, (like he did on the Iraq war approval that Congress passed?)

Gabriel Hanna said...

@SMGalbraith:

these are not the words of a leftwing ideologue.


...who believes in gay rights. Why do you think a person who doesn't believe in gay rights can't be a left wing ideologue? It's like saying a conservative who's not a creationist isn't a conservative.

1jpb said...

"and the President, who was elected by the entire country."

Oh dear.

Althouse is using the 'it's true because BHO says so' argument. That's a new approach. Presumably, we won't be hearing more of that POV.

Fr Martin Fox said...

The President could easily make more rational defenses of his appeal of the case:

> "I'm appealing the case, but doing so very badly, because I want to lose this case; and I'd rather lose it in the court of final appeal, rather than a lower court."

> "I don't like DADT, but letting the courts rule it unconstitutional sets a precedent that is unhelpful to me, and my successors, in running the military."

> "I don't like DADT, but it's probably constitutional."

I don't know that any of these are his actual reasons, but they are all more reasonable than what he actually said. I'll let you surmise why--if any of these are his reasons--President Obama chose not to state them plainly.

Michael said...

Again, he doesn't have a clue as to what to do politically and he has no view of the right thing to do. As in the case of Guantanamo the DADT matter was one of liberal orthodoxy, a box to check. And he checked it because he is a liberal and hadn't given it a moment's thought because there was no need to, it was part of the catechism, fully memorized. Now comes reality. Now comes Guantanamo staying open with the same mandate as before. And DADT is a puzzle to our most brilliant president ever. A real puzzle.

I am as right wing as they come and I think this is a no brainer. Get rid of DADT by not appealing. Grow some balls and explain why. Grow some more balls and tell the military to deal with it. We might get the slightest bit of respect for this asshole if he did something as simple and straight (sorry) forward as that.

Fen said...

SSM was unknown on planet Earth till the Netherlands allowed it in 2001.

I remember this because one of the first things the SSM couples did was complain that man-wife paintings in the marriage office were offensive to them. They had them pulled down.

I recall thinking "thats the thanks we get for being tolerant?"

Soon as they get a foot in the door, they try to undermine traditonal marriage.

LarsPorsena said...

"Sunsong: It's like those who claimthey have nothing against gays - they could care less - except when it comes to serving in the military :-)

Fail.

You would say that because a woman doens't want to share her privacy [toilet, shower, bed, locker room] with men that it must mean she hates them."

You are also prohibited from enlisting if you have tattoos that can be seen on the face, neck, hands, or lower arms.

When will the HRC take up the cause of the tattooed?

AllenS said...

Obama got more of the votes, that's for sure, but I don't believe that Obama was elected by the entire country.

Bender said...

Why all this hyperventilating that a defense of the law is proceeding?

For one thing, if it really is unconstitutional, then the law will be rejected on appeal. So the reason for wanting Obama to not continue the appeal is because of a belief that the appellate courts will UPHOLD the law, and this is an attempt to collude with the other side of the lawsuit to prevent that from happening.

For another thing, it is quite curious that a group of lawyers (including a professor of law!) should have such a problem understanding that an attorney has an obligation to defend his client even if he does not like that client or personally believe in that client's position.

Moreover, Obama is not merely an attorney, he is the president, and he has taken an oath to defend and seek to uphold the laws of the country. It is not within the power of a president to essentially veto a law decades after it has been passed merely because of his own personal political views.

If Obama does not want to defend that laws of this country, then he should quit his job.

Revenant said...

But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine.

Obama's attitude towards gay marriage must be evolving. It certainly wasn't intelligently designed.

former law student said...

Good comment, Fr. Fox. I think the big one is that courts should not be directing the military. I would interpret Article 1 to say that Congress has the total say how the army should be organized, based on the Army-Navy clause and the Militia clause.

LarsPorsena said...

You are also prohibited from enlisting if you have tattoos that can be seen on the face, neck, hands, or lower arms.

When will the HRC take up the cause of the tattooed?

This is the 'Don't Look Don't Show. policy.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

I would interpret Article 1 to say that Congress has the total say how the army should be organized, based on the Army-Navy clause and the Militia clause.

This is exactly what I think. If Congress decides that the military needs to accept gays, or quadriplegics, or communists, then that's what the military has to do.

garage mahal said...


Step 2: Obama refuses to appeal. The end.


The end. Wow, I'm blown away with your mad legal skillz. I asked because I honestly don't know the nuts and bolts on how not appealing the ruling effects current law enacted by Congress. Not to mention is this the best way to handle policies moving forward - having courts decide military policy. I suspect you have no fucking clue either but are pretending to.

Gabriel Hanna said...

You know Bill Clinton, bless his heart, went to the mat for gays in the military and got burned bad. A lot of people think he had no principles and just went with what polled well, but we forget how many times those first few years he pushed hard for things and paid a heavy price for them.

What did Obama do that was comparable for gays? Nothing.

Schorsch said...

This is brilliant and beautiful, and makes me want to make the mistake of going to law school. I'll have to settle for my PhD, and to ask the Law Prof a question:

Do you think it's his philosophical approach to rights (i.e. that they are rightly subject to the whims of political power) that keeps him from acting, or the pragmatic problem that a large percentage of his supporters oppose gay marriage on religious grounds?

hombre said...

shoutingthomas wrote: Certain gay people are capable of blowing things up and killing people.

They can do both while keeping their mouths shut about what they do in bed.


Yes, but are they capable of keeping their mouths shut about what they are doing in bed? It appears not.

orbicularioculi said...

Obama is a coward, liar and dissembler. He is a one term President and probably the most destructive individual who has ever been elected to the Presidency.

I am a veteran, and I have relatives serving in the Military now, in combat. DADT works! There is no reason whatsoever to allow homosexuals to serve openly. The military is not a social club.

We can agree or disagree on this; if we want to have the best volunteer fighting force in the world we had best keep DADT. To do less will negatively affect our military's fighting capability.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Not to mention is this the best way to handle policies moving forward - having courts decide military policy.

Yeah, more of your meta bullshit. Of course you've ALWAYS thought that military policy is solely up to the President and courts can't interfere.

garage, what has Obama done for gay rights? Has he done ANYTHING but talk?

Where's his executive order saying that gays won't be discharged on his watch? Wouldn't he then be setting military policy, and not the courts?

But he doesn't want to be responsible. He won't risk anything for gay rights. He won't do what Clinton did.

And you defend him for it, because you care less about gay rights than you care about Obama.

MayBee said...

> "I'm appealing the case, but doing so very badly, because I want to lose this case; and I'd rather lose it in the court of final appeal, rather than a lower court."

> "I don't like DADT, but letting the courts rule it unconstitutional sets a precedent that is unhelpful to me, and my successors, in running the military."

> "I don't like DADT, but it's probably constitutional."


=====
Excellent, Fr Martin Fox.

I actually suspect it is #2, and as you said- even if it isn't- it would be an easy, satisfactory thing to say. It is surely true on some level.

SMGalbraith said...

...who believes in gay rights. Why do you think a person who doesn't believe in gay rights can't be a left wing ideologue? It's like saying a conservative who's not a creationist isn't a conservative.

Because the transcript of the conversation - or his comments - shows otherwise.

Those are simply not the words of a true believer. He's hemming and hawing and backtracking and cutting.

Ideologues don't do such things.

And his comments and views on healthcare in which he backed away from single payer also shows that he's willing to compromise.

Why isn't it sufficient to simply say he's a liberal?

He is what he is. A liberal Democrat.

Lincolntf said...

There is nothing unconstitutional about barring homosexuals (or any other person) from the military. Clinton's DADT policy was a sop to the gay groups and had zero to do with military effectiveness, civil rights or anything else.

Robin said...

Denver wrote: "President Obama has taken a clear cut position against DADT."

Comedy gold.

The President has shown absolutely no leadership on the issue at all. Actions speak louder than words, "clear cut" or not. Ms. Althouse has done a brilliant job of showing not merely his lack of leadership but his self-absorption about his own lack of leadership and any criticism of it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@SMGalbraith:
Ideologues don't do such things.

They do if they are dissembling.

I'm not invested in the idea that Obama is a leftist idealogue. A deeply liberal Democrat, sure.

I was objecting to your saying he couldn't possibly be an idealogue.

But the topic of this thread is Obama saying one thing and doing another. He cares so deeply about gay rights that he does not one goddamn thing to actually work for them and cannot even answer a straight question on why he doesn't.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Lincolntf:

Clinton's DADT policy was a sop to the gay groups

It wasn't Clinton's policy. It was an act of Congress. It was not what Bill Clinton wanted, but was forced to accept.

hombre said...

At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address.

Obviously, Oblahblah, who some have compared to Lincoln, is preparing an all out effort to have Congress repeal DADT rather than let a mere District Court deny the people the opportunity "to be their own rulers." ROTFLMA

garage mahal said...

But he doesn't want to be responsible. He won't risk anything for gay rights. He won't do what Clinton did.

So you think he is not aware there is public support for repealing DADT? What's the risk? His base wants it, he isn't going to lose any votes from people that already aren't going to vote for him or Democrats. Why doesn't he do the easy and politically expedient thing to do? According to you, he simply can decide not to appeal, and everything else just falls miraculously into place. He virtually [according to you] has to do nothing. Not appeal.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage, denver, and other members of the Obama Cult of Personality:

If Obama cares so much about gays and is only trying to do this in the right way--why did he ask for a stay of the ruling?

He asked the court to allow him to keep kicking gays out of the military until this is all cleared up!

Why did he do that? Can't he kick them out after he wins the appeal? Of course he hopes he loses. Or something.

He's saying to gays, "Just give me some time to go through the process", and saying to the Court, "please let me to continue to discharge gays while we sort this out".

Anything to say about that?

Hoosier Daddy said...

If Congress decides that the military needs to accept gays, or quadriplegics, or communists, then that's what the military has to do.

Barring a physical or mental deficiency that would prohibit a gay person from performing their assigned duties I simply can’t understand what the issue is here. Morale? Help me out here because there was a time when this country was far more hostile to blacks in the armed forces to the point of segregation despite repeated exceptional performance on the battlefield. I hear the refrain among those that served the only color is green so it would seem that if we can surmount the racial divide we can do the same with the gay divide.

Correct me if I am wrong but aren’t there rules within the military now regarding how relationships between two service members are handled? Is there any reason why these rules would be ineffective among gay service members?

damikesc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shoutingthomas said...

The amazing things about all this is that our primary enemy, which is the Jihadis, are virulently anti-gay.

And the left calls us bigots for noticing that the Jihadis are Muslims.

It's all so complex, I can't keep up.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Why doesn't he do the easy and politically expedient thing to do?

Who says it would be easy and politically expedient? Wasn't for Clinton. But Clinton actually tried to do the hard thing, and paid for it.

Once again--what has Obama done but talk?

According to you, he simply can decide not to appeal, and everything else just falls miraculously into place.

According to me, he could refuse to appeal and then not be actively fighting against gay rights. He could actively fight for them, if he wished, but he has never done so.

shoutingthomas said...

So, we're bigots if we're against gays in the military.

The enemy is Muslim Jihadis.

We're bigots if we notice that the Jihadis are Muslim.

Help me figure this out.

shoutingthomas said...

Bigotry is so multi-faceted, ubiquitous and omnipresent.

In fact, it appears that bigotry is everything.

Can anybody please tell me all of the current bigotries and the rules for bigotry prevention?

50 words or less.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

I'll repeat, in case you missed it:

If Obama cares so much about gays and is only trying to do this in the right way--why did he ask for a stay of the ruling?

He asked the court to allow him to keep kicking gays out of the military until this is all cleared up!

Why did he do that? Can't he kick them out after he wins the appeal? Of course he hopes he loses. Or something.

He's saying to gays, "Just give me some time to go through the process", and saying to the Court, "please let me to continue to discharge gays while we sort this out".

Anything to say about that?

LarsPorsena said...

"Barring a physical or mental deficiency that would prohibit a gay person from performing their assigned duties I simply can’t understand what the issue is here. Morale?.."

What about the tattooed? They are discriminated against.

1jpb said...

Here is a shorter version of Althouse:

But as it was, marriage equality supporters thought he was dishonest and cowardly, opponents thought he was dishonest and radical, and everyone ended up disappointed.

garage mahal said...

Anything to say about that?

There are a lot of pet issues I have that never even get discussed, quite a few in fact, but I don't get all butthurt about it. Gays in the military, as Hoosier said, is down on the priority list, for me anyway. YMMV.

prairie wind said...

It is impossible for me to believe that Obama, coming from his academic background, is hung-up on the traditional definition — or "definitions" — of marriage.

Why do you find it so impossible that O might deep down disagree with you? Because you are both academics? Don't assume that it's the darned politics making him say something other than what you both surely agree on. His actions show that O doesn't give a shit about gays--or about heteros or about the definitions of marriage. What he cares about is himself.

And rights don't spring into existence because you care about the people who want them.

Ah, but you could be wrong here, in Obama's head. He thinks he is a ruler, not a leader. If he could, he would endow and revoke "rights" based on whether he likes you.

Posted this without reading any other comments, so I'm probably the fortieth poster to point this out.

Lincolntf said...

"It was not what Bill Clinton wanted, but was forced to accept."


Clinton wanted to lift the ban on homosexual behavior in the military. and that's why he got the ball rolling. It ended up as DADT because the military, the Congress and the public recognized it for what it was, a sop to the gay groups.

Unrelated:
I had the dubious honor of serving in the Army with Bill Clinton as my Commander in Chief. The guy is. was, and always will be a worm.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

There are a lot of pet issues I have that never even get discussed, quite a few in fact, but I don't get all butthurt about it.

Yeah, you're not retreating, just advancing to the rear, so to speak.

You spent all that time calling me and everyone else out, and all for nothing.

c3 said...

I can't tell if BO:
1)Is truly and deeply ambivalent regarding DADT/Gay marriage.
2) Wary of the political flak BEFORE the mid-terms.
3) Working with the military hierarchy regarding DADT as a bargaining chip in other military matters (i.e. Afghanistan draw down)
4)Confused.

Though I tend toward social conservatism I have to ackowledge that there's not deep support for DADT/Gay Marriage within the Republican Party. Its a wedge issue that can be used against Republicans. Somehow, under BO, its become a wedge issue for Democrats.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Hoosier Daddy said...

As for this being a constitutional issue, Fen made an excellent point upthread in that the military discriminates on a variety of things that would be deemed unconstitutional. I never enlisted but from what I understand, you tend to check your constitutional rights at the door when you sign up. The issue here should be a common sense one. I would hate to think that we’re missing out on the next Audie Murphy or Carlos Hathcock because some guy loves to sing Ethel Mermen show tunes and collects Judy Garland memorabilia.

damikesc said...

Sad thing is, there are legitimate reasons to fight thid in court (judicial overreach into areas they have no Constitutional jurisdiction over or the also-mentioned UCMJ being far harsher and needing Congress to change that)...but he isn't intelligent enough to actually think of it himself.

Instead, he just blames Republicans and acts like he has no choices.

tim maguire said...

People have rights whether you care about them or not. And rights don't spring into existence because you care about the people who want them.

No wonder so many liberals think you're a conservative!

garage mahal said...

You spent all that time calling me and everyone else out, and all for nothing.

You really haven't cleared anything up. You haven't even explained why your position is the best way to handle it. Shouldn't you start there?

damikesc said...

And Obama doesn't want to sound off on a law before reading it? Man, didn't Holder do that about the AZ immigration bill?

Luke Lea said...

Ann writes: "As I say in the post, I don't think rights depend on whether you know/love the people who are affected by those rights."

Would you defend the right to polygamous marriages between consenting adults?

How about segregating gays in their own special barracks? Or integrating males and females together in the same barracks?

Please discuss -- I was taken aback by the vehemence of this post.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

You haven't even explained why your position is the best way to handle it. Shouldn't you start there?

Keep dodging, buddy. Barack Obama asked the court to let him keep kicking out gays and you have NOTHING to say about it.

Instead, I have to come up with legal solution on the spot. Nice try.

You are a hack. You do not care one bit whether Obama works for gay rights or against them--it's all about the D after his name.

Hoosier Daddy said...

What about the tattooed? They are discriminated against.
I remember reading about that and correct me if I am wrong but that was an administrative ruling by the military (I think the Marines started it) and not a legislative act. That said, yeah they’re discriminated against and I think the reasoning was that a lot of guys were doing the whole ‘excessive tattooing’ (full arm sleeves, etc) and the concern was the image was starting to look a little too ‘gangsta’.

Since I have more than a few tats myself I’m rather biased on the subject but I suppose you have to chalk it up to a ‘dress code’ matter. I also think they have regulations on hair length too.

shoutingthomas said...

How about this solution:

DADT for everybody!

Keep your mouth shut about what you do in bed, hetero or homo.

Don't prosecute your sex life at work.

Don't look for sexual partners at work.

DADT for everybody!

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Here's where you butted in:

In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn.

Here's where you ended up:

There are a lot of pet issues I have that never even get discussed, quite a few in fact, but I don't get all butthurt about it. Gays in the military, as Hoosier said, is down on the priority list, for me anyway. YMMV.

Res ipsa loquitur.

LarsPorsena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LarsPorsena said...

Hoosier:

The military doesn't really care about the tats as long as they are not a distraction. They don't go looking for tats. You have to shove it in their face. Sort of like DADT.


You can be gay just don't display.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Hoosier:

You asked about some of the rationales for opposing a change, or at least that's what I took you to be asking...

In another thread I posed some questions I'd like the President to be asked about all this; I'll see if I can reprise them from memory:

1. The military (as far as I know) seeks to house males and females separately. If DADT ends, and gays serve openly, will housing be apportioned also based on sexual orientation. If someone asks for this, why should this request not be honored, when it is honored in the case of sex?

2. How will such a new housing requirement work out?

3. With the end of DADT, will sexual orientation become a question that is asked of military applicants, just as sex is? If not, how will the military know where to assign personnel in housing? Will the military assume you are straight until you say otherwise? Is that right?

4. With the end of DADT, will there be an expectation that gays will out themselves? If personnel are asked if they are gay, what if they lie? Even if they aren't asked, but housing is separated, what happens when someone in "straight" housing turns out to be gay or bisexual?

5. How will any of this affect chaplains, or for that matter, individual service members expressing their beliefs about the wrongness of homosexual behavior? Will the government discourage, or even punish, expression of such beliefs?

Finally, to head off a critique offered last time I raised this: while it is true that members of the military do not enjoy just the same constitutional protections and rights normal to civilians, that is not the same as saying their constitutional rights are null.

So, for example, the right of service members to express their views and to practice their faith deserves--and is given--a fair amount of protection.

I think most Americans expect that military personnel's rights are only limited as necessary; I am sure we all want our military personnel to enjoy as many of their rights as they can, consistent with the military's ability to carry out its mission (which brings us back to justification for keeping DADT).

And if the intention is to protect the ability of service members to tell others they are gay--but at the same time, to strip away the ability of others to say that homosexual behavior is wrong--I would guess few Americans who favor changing this policy, are in favor of that tag-along. Hence my wish that someone would put that question to the President.

AllenS said...

You can put any number of questions to the President, but if he decides he doesn't want to give an answer, he won't.

LarsPorsena said...

How about polling the military?
They are the ones who will have to live with the day-to-day consequences.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Fr Martin Fox:

And if the intention is to protect the ability of service members to tell others they are gay--but at the same time, to strip away the ability of others to say that homosexual behavior is wrong--I would guess few Americans who favor changing this policy, are in favor of that tag-along.

I'm not sure that one follows from the other. But I, at least, am aware that integrating gays fully into the military is going to be difficult and probably cost something in military effectiveness, and I am in favor of doing it anyway. I can't speak for Obama supporters like garage mahal, of course, who only care about gays when they vote the right way.

I fail to see how integrating gays would strip anyone of the right to disapprove of homosexual behavior--for example, surely Christians in the military aren't required to say that all faiths are equally valid. I wouldn't know, not being in the military, maybe there is such a rule about thinking this or saying it.

bagoh20 said...

I have never been a fan of Obama, but Ann gives him absolutely no benefit of the doubt about anything he says, and I think that just leads to misinterpreting him. I agree that he lies often and it's not accidental, but I do think he believes at least some of what he says, because I agree with him on some of it, and so understand his points.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@LarsPosena:

How about polling the military?
They are the ones who will have to live with the day-to-day consequences.


Let's give them a vote about whether they want to go to war or not.

They have the same input you and I do-they can vote for the people who set the policy. Once the policy is set, they have to shut up and soldier.

LarsPorsena said...

The ardor for the repeal of DADT is inversely proportional to time in service

garage mahal said...

You are a hack. You do not care one bit whether Obama works for gay rights or against them--it's all about the D after his name

You haven't explained why your legal solution is the better legal solution than Obama's way. You haven't explained why Obama isn't taking the easy legal way in handling this, just in time for the midterm elections, a sure fire way to fire up a large of part of his base. The fact he isn't taking the easy way makes me believe he is at least honestly doing in the best way he thinks it should be. And just maybe, it is, in the end ,the best way. I'm not a narcissist who sits up at night obsessing that MY PET ISSUE TRUMPS EVERYONE ELSES! HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ME!

Get in line Jack, your pet issue isn't any more urgent than mine. I think millions of people rotting in prison for non violent drug usage is a much more urgent issue, unless you can show me where gays are getting locked up for being gay.

traditionalguy said...

As young attorneys we came to hold the general opinion not to expect anything good ever promised our clients by the government. The government deals were always changing and being reasoned about in a new light favorable to someone else. Private businesses could be sued and were in fear of breaching a contract...not so the government. But todays Super Obama Regime with Pelosi and Reid helping them are entirely a criminal enterprise. We can run but we cannot hide from that gang unless we vote out every single one of them.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Gabriel:

I agree that there is no necessity to DADT leading to shushing personnel, and chaplains, from expressing disapproval about homosexual behavior; but that doesn't mean it may not happen.

Why would it happen? Two reasons: first, because of the inevitable "sensitivity training"; and second, because of those who will insist this change is equivalent to racial integration, and should be treated that way. I'm not certain, but I'm willing to bet that military disapproves of personnel voicing pro-racial-segregation views.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Lars Porsena:

The ardor for the repeal of DADT is inversely proportional to time in service

I don't doubt it--but are you sure you want to run to the "chickenhawk" argument?

The military is subordinate to the civil government, this ain't Starship Troopers. (Actually, in the book, soliders couldn't vote at all.)

Soldiers have to be sent to places they don't want to go to be shot at by rude strangers. They don't get a choice about that, do they? How is that worse than serving with someone openly gay?

They'll get over it.

Remember what we said about those guys who tried to leave the army because they didn't want to go to Iraq? Gays in our military didn't kill 5000 of our soldiers, did they? But it's way too much to expect soldiers to put up with THAT, I guess.

Lincolntf said...

"...and probably cost something in military effectiveness, and I am in favor of doing it anyway..."

And that's the problem.
The military is not just another vehicle for Lefty social engineering projects. Be satisfied with making sure that a copy of "Heather Has Two Mommies" is in every grade-school, and leave the war-fighters out of the pissy little crusades that serve no purpose other than animating the complaining class.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

unless you can show me where gays are getting locked up for being gay.

They did until the government lost their lawsuits. Ann Althouse mentioned one of the cases in her post.

Okay, garage, a drug law is found unconstitutional and Obama appeals the decision, saying he's against the drug war but we have to go through the motions--AND at the same time asks the court for permission to keep sentencing drug offenders to mandatory minimums.

Got anything to say about that? No? Hack.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Lincolntf:

The military is not just another vehicle for Lefty social engineering projects.

I'm not a lefty, and I don't care if people like gays or not. They are people with civil rights, and those rights need to be respected. A gay soldier stops a bullet as well as straight one.

We don't need to kick out people who want to serve and can serve, just because you think what they do with their parts is icky.

bagoh20 said...

So if gays are permitted to serve openly in the service, and a particular gay man were to be so outward about it that it clearly did cause problems within his unit, could he be disciplined and even thrown out for it?

I expect the answer is: of course. But, would it be so simple? I do wish that all Americans could serve on an equal basis, but I'm very concerned with the effect on our forces, where lives are in the balance, and possibly even much more is at stake.

It's not simple, and I see both sides. I don't fault a liberal Commander in Chief for struggling with it. It's about the only area where I think he actually earns the hype of being a thoughtful man. He just lies so much that even thoughtfulness might look like deceit.

AllenS said...

Mr. Hanna,

It's a bit more complicated than that.

LarsPorsena said...

"Soldiers have to be sent to places they don't want to go to be shot at by rude strangers. They don't get a choice about that, do they?
How is that worse than serving with someone openly gay?"

Why don't you ask them?

Charlie Martin said...

He sure as hell better have an answer to the question.

He does.

"It's not my job."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@LarsPosena:

Why don't you ask them?

A: Get foot blown off by IED
B: Know that the guy three bunks over is gay

A or B, A or B, so hard to decide...

Why don't you explain why A is better than B and a soldier can't refuse the possibility of A but he should be able to refuse B.

Synova said...

"In which conservatives who couldn't care less about gays in the military, bash Obama, and pretend to care about gays in the military. Yawn."

In which garage, who pretends to care about gays in the military, gives Obama a pass.

former law student said...

If Obama cares so much about gays and is only trying to do this in the right way--why did he ask for a stay of the ruling?

He asked the court to allow him to keep kicking gays out of the military until this is all cleared up!


He wants gay soldiers to stay in the closet until DADT is all cleared up.

LarsPorsena said...

"Soldiers have to be sent to places they don't want to go to be shot at by rude strangers. They don't get a choice about that, do they?

They don't get a choice about a lot of things. They surrender a whole bundle of rights: speech, assembly, appearance (see tattoos above), openly gay behavior, fraternizing with subordinates, etc.

garage mahal said...

Got anything to say about that? No? Hack.

Yea I do. Besides being a douchebag, you still cannot explain why your way is the better way to integrate gays into the military. I've asked at least 3 times. You've never been in the military, Obama is in charge of it. I suspect he knows quite a bit more than you do on the military, and the laws currently on the books, and how all these pieces fit together. You haven't offered jack shit here other than emotional pleas that Obama can just ignore the ruling and everything just falls into place. The end.

Shanna said...

... but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.

I love that he thinks he can determine that that notion that his administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community is “wrong” . If they are disappointed, they are disappointed. You can’t disagree with that!

Lincolntf said...

Henna, doesn't matter what you call yourself, the idea that homosexual behavior cannot be prohibited by the military without violating someone's civil rights is Lefty.
This is not a food stamp program we're dealing with here, it's the armed forces. When we swear in, we deliberately swear away our rights to free expression, freedom to associate, even freedom of Religion in some cases. Homosexual behavior has been known as detrimental to fighting forces for as long as military culture has existed. Just like political sloganeering in uniform it has thus been banned.
Don't like it, don't volunteer for it.

Asiri said...

O.K. pay attention class: Being a soldior is NOT -- NOT a constitutional right. Neither, is being a gay soldior. Despite all asssertions otherwise -- it is NOT. If the judiciary wants to grant such a RIGHT -- the only way to override a military policy is to trump with the constitution. Doesn't work. Not in there. Judge Phillips decision is a stretch whether or not you agree with the military's policy.

LarsPorsena said...

"...You've never been in the military, Obama is in charge of it. I suspect he knows quite a bit more than you do on the military,.."

Your suspicions are unfounded.

former law student said...

How will any of this affect chaplains, or for that matter, individual service members expressing their beliefs about the wrongness of homosexual behavior? Will the government discourage, or even punish, expression of such beliefs?

Over the past couple centuries, we have left the question of people's sexual morality up to the consciences of the individuals involved, as long as everyone is over 18. Chaplains must counsel the souls in their care, of course, but they should not disturb the remainder of the troops.

Now I'm wondering: How often do chaplains preach against sex outside of marriage, masturbation, or birth control pills? Or is there a tacit realization that young men have certain needs which must be filled one way or another?

murgatroyd666 said...

He is lying, I presume. His opposition to same-sex marriage is, quite simply and obviously, politically expedient.

Too narrow. Obama's stated position on any issue, including same-sex marriage is whatever is politically expedient at that time and for that audience.

Big Mike wrote:

But I find a couple things interesting in your post, Professor. For instance you twice mention that he graduated from Harvard Law, but you overlook the fact that he was a lecturer -- apparently with faculty rank and privileges -- in Constitutional Law, and not at some 4th tier law school, either, but at the University of Chicago. Or did you and the other Con Law professors get together in a conference call to vote him out of your affinity group?

Before the 2008 election, Eugene Volokh posted Obama's final exam questions from the (five or six) years when he was a lecturer at Chicago. If I recall correctly, every question concerned minority-grievance civil rights law. If he's a "Constitutional scholar," then in his mind the whole of the Constitution must consist of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I don't believe he was caught flat-footed by the question. I believe he said exactly what he wanted to say, and didn't say exactly what he didn't want to say ... and the audience bought it.

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel Hanna said...

@lincolnrtf:

the idea that homosexual behavior cannot be prohibited by the military without violating someone's civil rights is Lefty.

Ah, the strawman. Homosexual behavior will get you kicked out--but openly gay, without any gay sex, gets you kicked out too.

That is where the civil rights come in. Homosexual identity gets you kicked out. Not just behavior.

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.

If you say "I am gay" you can be kicked out JUST FOR THAT, without doing anything else.

Don't like it, don't volunteer for it.

That is exactly what I will say when the law is changed and openly gay soldiers can serve. Don't like it, don't sign up.

Synova said...

The "why not" on DADT is that it would be a hassle. It's not really more than that. Women are a hassle too. I spent three days making beds before all of the rest of the girls arrived so that we had a full unit for basic training. Limits on jobs women can do are related to physical limitations, privacy limitations, and total numbers.

A woman physically capable of serving in special forces or infantry isn't allowed because she'd be the only girl and there aren't enough who qualify for an all girl unit.

Women AF officers are/were barred from being missile launch officers because there were not enough of them to have all girl launch teams to accommodate promotions and assignments and two weeks underground with married men was the sort of "Oh, dear Gawd no" interpersonal problem no commander wants to even hear about.

Women are a hassle and any woman joining the service ought to understand that and try very hard not to be more of a hassle than she has to be.

Openly gay and lesbian members of the military present similar issues. At present everyone just pretends they aren't there. But once they are serving openly there will be privacy issues, interpersonal issues, and corresponding limits on assignments that have to be dealt with officially.

Perhaps the next bill to do away with DADT can be attached to a spending bill to upgrade enlisted and junior officer housing on established bases to provide for privacy issues instead of attaching it deliberately to some unrelated and divisive bill guaranteed to be voted against.

There will still be limits on assignments, of course. Plan on not getting to do anything that the girls are prohibited from doing.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garge mahal:

Besides being a douchebag, you still cannot explain why your way is the better way to integrate gays into the military.

Stop trying to change the subject. The subject is a President who says one thing on gay rights and does the opposite; yet expect gays to support him when he offers nothing but vague generalizations--and hacks like you who say that's what he SHOULD do.

Take the drug war example, since you don't care about gays--if Obama didn't appeal the court's ruling striking down the law it would be - the end. Would that solve all the drug war problems? No. Would it tell you that Obama was trying to stop the drug war instead of making empty generalizations? Yes. Could I say Obama was a hypocrite shamelessly lying to opponents of the drug war to get their votes? No, because he walked the walk as well as talking the talk.

Almost Ali said...

Why anyone bothers to ask Obama a question, any question, is beyond rational.

More, the subsequent analysis of his answers borders on masochism.

ndspinelli said...

Barrister Althouse must be billing by the word.

MInTheGap said...

I think he's in line with Scalia in terms of his thinking.

It's actually scary to think of him not defending it, not because of the outcome to gay rights (whichever your position), but in terms of the erosion of the ability for the people to decide moral questions for themselves.

The more power that's absorbed by the Federal Gov't, the more choices that it makes on issues like this, where there's extreme polarization, the more it tears our nation apart.

Many compare this with civil rights, but this is more along the lines of abortion. Though someone may have an inclination toward gay activities, they have to choose to act on them, and furthermore choose to get married. Same with abortion-- you have to get yourself in the position to have one, and then choose to have one.

And the same goes for court vs. legislation. In countries that have legislated it instead of declared it by judicial decree, there has been much less unrest.

Is it not better to have the people come to agree than to force even those with moral convictions to accept it?

Synova said...

"Now I'm wondering: How often do chaplains preach against sex outside of marriage, masturbation, or birth control pills? Or is there a tacit realization that young men have certain needs which must be filled one way or another?"

Some 18 years ago now in the Air Force the chaplains were prohibited from preaching about *sin*. A friend who was an officer (not a chaplain but active in the chaplain system as a member of the congregation) got a disciplinary letter that explicitly said he was not allowed to name something a sin, even with scriptural backing, after he wrote a wrote a letter explaining that fear was a failure of the commandment to trust God, and was a sin.

I don't think that the military or chaplains are loath to prohibit sex... isn't that the gist of General Order #1?

JAY said...

It’s not a simple yes or no question

BWWWWAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!

That is hysterical.

Coming from a "former professor of constitutional law no less!

You leftists are such dupes.

Lincolntf said...

Where's the straw man? I'm talking from first hand experience and with knowledge of the facts, history and political reality involved. You're talking about your feelings.
It just doesn't seem fair, so it must not be. It's a simplistic and fruitless way of looking at the issue.

bagoh20 said...

It's happening. I'm feeling sorry for Obama. I'm defending him. Please find me, kill me, before I do damage. I don't want to live like this.

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hanna wrote:
I'm not a lefty, and I don't care if people like gays or not. They are people with civil rights, and those rights need to be respected. A gay soldier stops a bullet as well as straight one.

We don't need to kick out people who want to serve and can serve, just because you think what they do with their parts is icky.


And why could that soldier who's gay not stop that same bullet and simply not say hes gay while there?

holdfast said...

"He won the Presidency in part because of his high achievement at Harvard Law School."

Transcript or GTFO.

garage mahal said...

Stop trying to change the subject. The subject is a President who says one thing on gay rights and does the opposite; yet expect gays to support him when he offers nothing but vague generalizations--and hacks like you who say that's what he SHOULD do.

I said I didn't know. I asked you to explain, and you couldn't. His way of doing this could be the wrong way of course, it certainly isn't getting him or his party any votes. He's getting a lot of heat from gays, and again, the easy way for him would be taking your way.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

bagoh20 said...

So if gays are permitted to serve openly in the service, and a particular gay man were to be so outward about it that it clearly did cause problems within his unit, could he be disciplined and even thrown out for it?

I expect the answer is: of course. But, would it be so simple?


Commanders have to clamp down on disorderly behavior all the time. I don't see this as being different. If we postulate -- for the sake of argument -- that openly gay soldiers are not disruptive to order but certain behaviors by some openly gay soldiers is disruptive, I expect that commanders would deal with it much like any other disruptive behavior.

Titus said...

Personally, I am sick of hearing about gay rights, especially gay male fag rights.

Females doing female sex together is ok with me though.

Hi Birdy Dodsen!

DaveW said...

Here's what interested me:

"And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned -- something that’s unprecedented."

Well how about that. He's "gotten" Mullen and Gates "to say they think" DADT needs to be overturned. I thought as much but I never thought we'd know so clearly.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:

And why could that soldier who's gay not stop that same bullet and simply not say hes gay while there?

Let's have DADT for Presbyterians.

If you say you're a Presbyterian, we'll kick you out. If we find out you are a Presbyterian, we'll kick you out. Doesn't matter how well you speak Arabic or fix engines or fly jets or file papers or whatever other job it is we recruited you to do, if you say you are Presbyterian you are out, because nobody likes them and thinks they are icky.

Forget about the 'gay' part for a minute and look at it that way.

Does the military have a surplus of people? Haven't there been stop-loss orders and sailors sent to Iraq because there aren't as many people available as are needed?

So you have a guy who is good at keeping engines running. He's gay. Kick him out. We don't need guys like that fixing engines.

That makes sense to you?

JAY said...

You've never been in the military, Obama is in charge of it. I suspect he knows quite a bit more than you do on the military

Obama has never been in the military and knows nothing about it or the "laws" as indicated by his silly drivel.

JAY said...

Forget about the 'gay' part for a minute and look at it that way.

Hysterical.

Your "analogy" doesn't hold.

Which of course is why you're attempting it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

I asked you to explain, and you couldn't.

There's nothing to explain. Court rules DADT is unconstitutional. Obama refuses to appeal. Goes back to the White House and sits down with the Joint Chiefs and says, "Hey, the court says we can't do DADT anymore, let's figure out what we are going to do next." As Commander-in-Chief surely he can do that much?

Has he done that? No. Instead, he defends the law and asks for a stay so he can keep kicking the gays out until he loses--which makes no sense whatsoever for a guy who claims he's working for gay rights.

JAY said...

They are people with civil rights, and those rights need to be respected.

Um, their "civil rights" are attempted to be conferred by you based on their sexual behavior.

Which isn't really a good idea.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@JAY:

I'll repeat, since you want some of this too:

So you have a guy who is good at keeping engines running. He's gay. Kick him out. We don't need guys like that fixing engines.

That makes sense to you? Are engines not going to work as well if a gay man fixes them? Will the engines become gay and start swanning about or whatever it is you're worried gay guys are going to do?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@JAY:

their "civil rights" are attempted to be conferred by you based on their sexual behavior.

Right, you can point to the part of the Constitution that says "except gays".

Like Ann says, gays have civil rights now. They have them because they are human beings.

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