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Axelrod: 'Don't ask' appeal was 'custom'

By Matt DeLong and Ed O'Keefe

During a live video chat from the White House, senior adviser David Axelrod was asked why the Obama administration opted to appeal a federal judge's injunction to stop the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy while the president maintains that he wants to end the ban.

"It is the custom of the U.S. government to appeal laws of Congress that were challenged in lower courts," Axelrod replied. "It should be by no means read as an abandonment of a commitment, and we intend to keep it."

Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday with prominent liberal and gay rights groups about legislative efforts to repeal the policy banning gays from serving openly in the military. Among the groups set to participate in the meeting are:

Center for American Progress
Servicemembers United
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Human Rights Campaign
Log Cabin Republicans

Cross-posted on Federal Eye.

By Matt DeLong and Ed O'Keefe  | October 26, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

PNWMainah,

You must really, really be stupid to believe that DADT was going to disappear because one federal judge in California says she believes it's unconstitutional.

Here's what Olson said,

"'It happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law,' said former George W. Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson."

But I don't doubt that your leadership over-sold it to you in order to create a huge mess when you were disappointed.

It's wrong to force a person at work to appear naked before anyone who could become sexually or romantically attracted to him or her.

We don't require that a woman say or believe that all men are rapists for her to assert a privacy right from all men. Why do you call men homophobes and bigots when they assert a privacy right from all gays?

The only way you can win is to bully and ridicule every heterosexual into silence. Despite some heroic efforts, it isn't working.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 26, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Simply put yes, a single judge can end DADT or any other law established by congress.

"As was articulated last week by former United States Solicitor General Ted Olson, the Department of Justice is not obligated to appeal this ruling."

Posted by: PNWMainah | October 26, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

PNWMainah,

Tell me you expected DADT to end because a district court judge in California said so. I just want to see it in print that you believed DADT would be history all because of one federal judge.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 26, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Blasmiac, the voices are real and they really are out to get you!

Posted by: PNWMainah | October 26, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Axelrod is that the same kind of "custom" that keeps gays and lesbians out of the military now or the kind of "custom" that keeps the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages? Or is that "custom" actually a choice made by the administration?"

-------------

I don't doubt for a moment that the BLTG leadership over-sold the rank-and-file. But who really believed that a district court judge's ruling would end DADT forever?

Gays have always been permitted to serve in the military -- as heterosexuals.

DADT serves to protect the privacy rights of heterosexuals. We can efficiently billet soldiers who have no potential for sexual or romantic attraction to one another together.

Removal of DADT will require that each individual soldier be provided with his own or her own sleeping, bathing, and dressing area. The days of billeting soldiers on the cheap are ending.

The judge can decree it. Halliburton can build it. Congress can add it to its deficit.


Posted by: blasmaic | October 26, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"It is the custom of the U.S. government to appeal laws of Congress that were challenged in lower courts," Axelrod replied. "It should be by no means read as an abandonment of a commitment, and we intend to keep it."

Mr. Axelrod is that the same kind of "custom" that keeps gays and lesbians out of the military now or the kind of "custom" that keeps the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages? Or is that "custom" actually a choice made by the administration?

Posted by: PNWMainah | October 26, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

We do not require that a woman believe or say that all men are rapists to assert a privacy right from all men. Why do we call men homophobes and bigots -- or idiots -- when they assert a right from all gays?

Fair is fairness to all.

Each soldier's sexual orientation is inconsequential when each soldier has his own and her own private sleeping, bathing, and dressing area.

The judge can decree it. Halliburton can build it. Congress can add it to its deficit.

Why all the hatred?

Posted by: blasmaic | October 26, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

......We're awfully sorry, Rosa Parks, but it's the "custom" that you ride in the back of the bus.........

Posted by: wp121606 | October 26, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This talk about the fear of straights in the military of Gay soldiers being sexually attracted to them is nothing but hogwash.
1) Gay soldiers are currently among staright soldiers in the military and there are no reports of a problem in tis area.
2) ALL military personnel are accountable to adhere to the military's ban on sexual harrasment. The same rules apply to all soldiers, Gay and straight once DADT is eliminated
3) This is not a problem in the many military organizations ofcountries around the world (most countries including Britian, Israel, Russia)where Gays are allowed to serve openly.

Gay soldiers exist in our military now and have been in the military for as long as there has been a US military. Gay soldiers have a right to serve their country and to do so poenly. Gay soldiers will continue to live by the rules of the US military and will continue to make courageous and outstanding warriors for the United States.

Posted by: jamesangone | October 26, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

...then why was the Attorney General in Florida able to let the gay adoptions ban die by refusing to appeal?

The executive branch has the power to pick and choose its battles. The Obama administration chose to appeal the DADT decision, when it could have chosen to do NOTHING.

This is why Dems are losing power -- because they throw their base under the bus, fail to fullfill promises, make backroom deals with lobbyists, and.... oh yeah... hey... GITMO's STILL OPEN TOO!

Posted by: trambusto | October 26, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

...then why was the Attorney General in Florida able to let the gay adoptions ban die by refusing to appeal?

The executive branch has the power to pick and choose its battles. The Obama administration chose to appeal the DADT decision, when it could have chosen to do NOTHING.

This is why Dems are losing power -- because they throw their base under the bus, fail to fullfill promises, make backroom deals with lobbyists, and.... oh yeah... hey... GITMO's STILL OPEN TOO!

Posted by: trambusto | October 26, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

blasmaic wrote -
DADT exists to protect the privacy rights of heterosexuals. It is illegal to force a person to be naked at work in front of anyone who could become sexually or romatically attracted to him or her. ...............If the judge had courage she would decree it so. Halliburton can build it. Congress can add it to its deficit.
***********************
You are simply an idiot.

Posted by: overed | October 26, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

To Blasmaic: Your comment supposes that all homosexual men are attracted to all men, which is, of course, absurd. Most straight men worried about their privacy around gay men vastly overrate their own attractiveness. Further, your comment supposes that all gay men act on all sexual attractions. Equally absurd. Relax. The sky is not falling.

Posted by: bewestbrook | October 26, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

DADT exists to protect the privacy rights of heterosexuals. It is illegal to force a person to be naked at work in front of anyone who could become sexually or romatically attracted to him or her. That's why there is sex-segregation of males and females in sleeping, bathing, and dressing areas to begin with. Decades ago women had to sue to get female locker rooms added at manufacturing workplaces.

Remove DADT and you either have to bully and ridicule every heterosexual out of asserting his own or her own rights, or you have to provide private sleeping, bathing, and dressing areas for each soldier.

Radicals will fail to bully everyone into silence (although they are making a heroic effort)... so the days of billeting soldiers on the cheap are ending.

If the judge had courage she would decree it so. Halliburton can build it. Congress can add it to its deficit.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 26, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama the first time around. If he expects me to vote for him a second time, he'd better do more in the next two years than he's done in the past two. BTW, I'm not even gay.

Posted by: pzjagd1 | October 26, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Instead of being a leader on this issue and speaking as someone who came of age post civil rights, he is letting the change come without leadership.

Posted by: patb

= = = = = = = = = = =

No, Pat, that’s my point. Leading is important to Obama. So he’s preventing DADT from being overturned by the courts because he – Obama - isn’t leading the charge.

Once the Justice Dept. gets DADT reinstated, only THEN will Obama propose a law to overturn DADT. Then Obama will be the hero and leader and all will admire his leadership and say what a great guy he is.

The press will turn a blind eye to this year’s events and pretend that he didn’t save DADT before he voted against it.

.
.

Posted by: ZZim | October 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Another campaign promise that he didn't follow through on. And, does the upcoming elections mean more to him than following through on a previous campaign promise? Or/And can he use this as a scapegoat for his decision to appeal the ruling? I voted for the man but won't again. To me he wasn't honest and didn't follow through on what he said he was going to do during the campaign. Not only on this issue but also on several others.

Posted by: JimB20009 | October 26, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hisroc -- Your comment is complete nonsense, unless you think Axelrod had Holder hidden under the desk to answer any questions he was asked.

That said, it's pathetic. The lame duck attempt to repeal DADT will fail. Obama was suckered by the Generals and Republicans and conservative Democrats and didn't make this a priority like he promised.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | October 26, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The failure of the President to lead on DADT has left him without a transformational moment for history. Instead of being a leader on this issue and speaking as someone who came of age post civil rights, he is letting the change come without leadership.

In many respects that would be a metaphor for the last 2 years. Instead of "Hope and Change" we get "Hope for Change".

Posted by: patb | October 26, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The administration can't have it both ways. Ultimately, this amounts to a lie.

Posted by: eric_b | October 26, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It is instructive the explanation for the appeal is coming from Obama's campaign manager and not the Attorney General. That speaks volumes about where the priority is.

Posted by: hisroc | October 26, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dfhjadfjsdf | October 26, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Hehhheh, I wonder what game Obama is playing here?

I mean, appealing the decision is totally optional. So why is Obama opting to do appeal?

The only thing I can think of is if he doesn't appeal, then the repeal of DADT won't really be his doing, so he won't be able to take credit for it. If he appeals and wins, then passes a law next year repealing DADT, then he gets to take credit for the repeal and everyone in the press will call him a great hero.

.
.

Posted by: ZZim | October 26, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Axelrod,

Will the White House post on-line the language the "Justice" Department will resort to in appealing the lower court's decision to challenge this profoundly discriminatory law?

Posted by: d-robertson | October 26, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Bull....the President is the head of the Executive Branch and doesn't need to "defend" Congress.

Posted by: WildBill1 | October 26, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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