My recent post concerning Robert Gates' outward insubordination on the issue of repealing DADT have triggered a number of comments and e-mails to me on the issue of Obama, Robert Gates and one of my U.S. Senators, Jim Webb of Virginia. The writers almost unanimously see - some in scathing words - the Gates letter to a Congress as a coordinated plan involving Obama to sink DADT repeal this year. Yes, Senator Carl Levin has continued to say that repeal will happen this year "if the votes are there."
My concern is that, because of Defense Secretary Gates's letter, both GOP and Democrat homophobes have an excuse to defer a vote until after the November mid-term elections when chances of passage are believed to be less auspicious. Among the most disturbing questions raised is that of whether or not Jim Webb has ties to professional and mental basket case Elaine Donnelly.
Admittedly, Webb has a history of not wanting women in the military - one of Donnelly's other obsessions - but is there more to it? The following are highlights from some of the e-mails I have received and I welcome input from others who may be able to elaborate on this issue (my own letters to Webb concerning DADT have been met with mealy mouthed form letter responses, although he claims he is supporting ENDA):
But, I have become so bitter about what I see as NEEDLESS betrayal by Obama and the DNC on DADT and possibly ENDA and DOMA lawsuits [I get that DOMA repeal is a dog that will not hunt for a long time], for the first time in my life I am thinking, as you, of sitting out 2010 and 2012 elections. I probably won't, but it makes me ANGRIER that they've even driven me to consider it, just as my ultimate hatred for Bush was that he made me distrust EVERYTHING he said which no citizen should have to do.
Someone who attended the March 18th Senate hearing she attended, when DADT victims Mike Almy and Jenny Kopfstein testified, noted that Donnelly and someone with her went up to speak to Webb and he was really friendly with them. Per se, that, and the picture she took [above] is no proof of an actual friendship . . .
BUT, the rest of what she wrote made it very foreboding: "Prior to giving their testimony the witnesses walk up and greet the Senators. Of course, they don't greet them all, just the ones on their side. Elaine and Sen. Webb spoke for awhile and I took the picture[see above left]. Prior to the hearing everyone gathers in the lobby and get's in line to get seats at these hearings. Most have been standing room or overflow. I decided to stand by Elaine. It gave me an opportunity to overhear her conversations with other members of her group. One of Senator Webbs staffers came over to Elaine's group and shook everyone's hand and gave the impression this was not the first time they had met. I figured maybe Webb's staffer would then go over to Lt Col. Fehrenbach, Col. Cammermeyer, Jenny Kopfstein, or Michael Almy and shake their hand. Victor was in uniform, but no. Even though they were less than 6 feet away, the staffer just breezed right past them. Just like in the hearing room. Sen. Webb never personally greeted Jenny or Michael and you see how close they all were prior to the hearing."
And that reinforced what someone who has lobbied one of Webb's aides for repeal have reported, that the aide could barely control his indifference if not disdain.
WHY virtually every group but the Palm Center threw their legs in the air, as it were, rather than denouncing "The Study" in unison I may never understand. NOR, now that they SEEM to have realized how devious and vile Gates is, why are they STILL acting as if they HAVE to appease him..."Yes, go ahead with your homophobic study, just let us technically repeal before then, please, Master!" PLUS the fact that NO ONE is talking about that EXTRA year Gates wants.
Do Obama and Webb care that they may be setting the stage for LGBT voters to follow the Virginia 2009 election pattern where folks stay home because they are so uninspired by their alleged "friends" among the Democratic ranks? In a close race, LGBT votes could make the difference - e.g., in Glenn Nye's race - and absent passage of ENDA and a repeal of DADT, we've been given little reason to go out and vote.