Mike Signorile on heeding the lesson of the path traveled to DADT repeal
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Michelangelo Signorile has a good clip up from his show, “Celebrate DADT Repeal, But Heed the Lesson,” where a listener from Oklahoma made the argument that Obama’s original plan (repeal of DADT via Congress) was what he wanted and eventually what was accomplished, despite calls from certain quarters for him not to appeal the ruling of Circuit Court Judge Virginia Phillips. Mike:
I took the opportunity to discuss why, though this is a big victory for the President, it only happened because of those activists — including grass roots activists and bloggers – putting the pressure on (I’ve posted a video from the segment below). Even Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Senator Levin, just a week before the vote, was pointing to the president’s foot-dragging, about which the Human Rights Campaign, throughout the year, was refusing to criticize the White House.
In the end, through a series of fateful events — from Harry Reid pulling the government spending bill, clearing the schedule, to Senators Lieberman and Collins creating a stand-alone bill — “don’t ask, don’t tell” passed. In addition to fate and timing, it was because DADT repeal took on a life of it’s own thanks to activists’ relentless pressure, disrupting the president’s events, protesting Congressional leaders. It’s not a coincidence that other promises made by the president, where there was much less pressure from the left early on, didn’t pan out. And that’s the lesson of the DADT repeal saga for the LGBT movement and for all progressives.
While things worked out positively (thank you Mr. President), it’s quite interesting that the revisionist history is already being created, where activists “hated” the President, criticizing the administration’s every move and that somehow bloggers were obstructionists. That sounds more like apologist mewling rather than actually reading the archives to see that the call was for the President that the promises the President made, along with his repeated statements to hold him accountable, was all that was going on.
Now admittedly, there was way more rancor here in the comments than in any posts I wrote on DADT, but usually those get conflated with my own opinions on things. Yeah, we were all very tough on the administration, but was there any time where I said he 1) needed to lose in 2012 or 2) needed a primary challenger? No. The fact is I simply wanted promises made to be kept. The Cheetos-PJ wearing crowd pointed out the strategy flops, the foot-dragging and the very real contentious, even combative nature of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs any time a DADT question was asked. Bloggers didn’t make that up.