It looks like Obama will address the horrendous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy in his State of the Union address tonight. 365gay.com is reporting that the reason Sen. Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, pushed back his scheduled hearing on DADT in January was because the Administration asked him to hold off until the State of the Union:
We were told by the Pentagon that they expected the president to say something in the State of the Union on it," Levin said.
Levin, who favors repealing the law, said he does not know what Obama will say. He said he plans to hold hearings in February and would like to hear testimony from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mike Mullen.
This news comes at a time of mixed signals from within the government about the future of DADT. Obama has repeatedly promised to lift the ban and many lawmakers (like Rep. Alcee Hasting of FL and Rep. Patrick Murphy of PA) continuously pressuring him to move faster. Yet some senior Pentagon lawyers and politicians have openly opposed repealing DADT or asked Obama to "slow down" due to the multiple wars the country is fighting (because who needs qualified soldiers at war time, right?).
So will the State of the Union be more soaring, yet in the end empty, rhetoric or a real moment of leadership and policy change?
From what Levin seems to imply, it looks like it could possibly be more of the old campaign promises of Obama's intentions to repeal DADT. More rhetoric without a real plan on how to move forward or from the top leadership.
The Marie Times, however, takes a different view of what could come down during the State of the Union (h/t Pam's House Blend):
The announcement of congressional hearings on the ban on open military service by homosexuals has been delayed at the request of the Obama administration until after Wednesday night's State of the Union Address because the president may announce that military leaders will support changing the law, according to a key lawmaker.
The Senate Armed Services Committee expects to have a series of hearings, one focusing on the views of military leaders, another on the views of outside witnesses and possibly panels of junior officers and noncommissioned officers, said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee chairman.
That announcement- if true- could be big news. That's a big "if."
Publicly stating before both houses of Congress (and the American people) that Military leaders support changing the ban could mean faster movement on DADT and could be the beginning of real leadership on the issue. On the other hand, a quick throw-away comment about it being a "goal" will be more of the same.
Which will it be? Fierce Advocate or Foot Dragging?