President Obama has said repeatedly he thinks Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is bad policy that “hurts our national security,” but he wants Congress to take the lead in rescinding the law. We can all see the logic here: It would continue a terrible Bush-era precedent (not to mention reek of hypocrisy) if Obama were to issue an executive order eliminating an act of Congress.
We all understand that logic. But I’m having trouble understanding this: Florida House Democrat Alcee Hastings introduced an amendment this week to a military appropriations bill that would cut off funds for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell investigations. The next day, he says, colleagues in Congress and in the White House urged him to withdraw the amendment, which he did.
Why would the White House get in Congress’ way? The Senate has already committed to hearings on DADT; the House’s bill to eliminate the policy has 165 cosponsors. It’s not as if quashing Hastings’ amendment will slow the momentum. Or will it? Because what kind of message does this send to House members unsure about whether or not to support DADT’s end?
Last night, Hastings tried to make sense of it with Rachel Maddow.