I guess my question from just a bit ago has already been answered:
FDL has written a lot about Obama’s serial capitulation to those — whether the Republican caucus or people like Joe Lieberman and Max Baucus — who hold legislation hostage.
But this victory, the biggest progressive victory under Obama, is largely due to the fact that a number of men and women chained themselves — took themselves hostages, effectively — to the gates of the White House.
And while I doubt the optics of environmentalists or housing activists chaining themselves to the White House (with their consequent arrest) will be so toxic to the White House, the lesson does seem to be that the only thing Obama (who bills himself a pragmatist and loves to claim he listens to all sides) listens to is hostage-taking.
Look, I like Emptywheel, but if this is the lesson you learned from DADT, you haven’t learned anything at all. Here’s FDL just a FEW days before the DADT repeal was passed:
Blah blah, Joe sucks, blah blah. I’ve written it a hundred times, fill in the blanks with your favorite “I hate Joe Lieberman” story.
But please tell me nobody fell for the DADT flim-flam. Joe Lieberman works for the Department of Defense. They did not want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed. The surest sign of that was when James Amos, Obama’s pick to lead the Marine Corps, said he opposed repealing DADT now. He would never have done that to his Commander in Chief without permission. It was an unmistakeable dog whistle to anyone who knew what they were listening for: the White House did not want this. And, clearly they don’t. Obama has the authority to make it happen if he wants. And you don’t see him waving that Presidential pen around, looking for a signing statement.
And so Lieberman was picked to run the show in the Senate. Know why so many Republicans piped up and said they’d support ending DADT? ‘Cos they knew they’d never have to take a vote. Lieberman put on a fine show, replete with press conferences and breathless announcements, then he and Susan Collins went through a superb theatrical moment as the whole thing melted down in “procedural issues” (cough).
It’s Harry Reid’s specialty.
I wanted to be wrong this time, to think there was a piece of decency in the guy, but it was a pretty sure signal that the whole thing was going to explode when Lieberman was designated to run point. Obama never reached out to Joe Manchin at any time (the one Democratic “no” vote), which one assumes he would have done if they were actually serious about passing it.
Lieberman is no hero, and he’s not going to champion DADT repeal through the Senate. Please don’t kick that football. You’ll be stuck in the trap of the Senate procedural flim-flam until you realize that the Senate Majority Leader has all kinds of tricks at his disposal that he uses to get what he wants, especially if he’s got the votes. He got what he wanted. Lieberman was just the half-time show, there to make sure everyone thought they might actually get something — before he stuck it to the liberals once again.
Since that post, DADT repeal passed, and it has been nothing but back-slapping and high-fiving among the activist set. Yes, pressure is good, but can you at least own up to the fact that Obama was right to take the time to get Mullin and Gates on board, right to take the time to do the study, right to take the time to build a coalition in the Senate, and most of all, right to not kick Joe Lieberman in the teeth after the 2008 election? Yes, like everything else done by this administration, it was a agonizingly slow high-wire act, but they got it done, didn’t they? Again.
Does anyone want me to dig up the archives from these very same activists and find out what they were saying about Obama’s making nice-nice with Joe Lieberman? Hell, I know what I was saying. Yes, he is an insufferable prick, but Lieberman has voted WITH us on almost every single legislation of any importance, whether it be START, HCR, FinReg, and most recently basically being the hero behind the scenes in the Senate regarding DADT. Obama was right. When I toyed with the idea of punishing Lieberman, I was wrong. Lieberman, asshole that he is, has come through when we needed him most.
If all you’ve learned from the repeal of DADT is to take hostages and to chain yourself to a fence, can I also recommend gags?