Michael Hamar

What's Behind Senator Jim Webb's PR Campaign?

Filed By Michael Hamar | May 16, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats, DADT repeal, Equality Now, gays in the military, Jim Webb, openly gay

It turns out that I was not the only person to receive what at first appeared to be pro-active outreach from Senator Jim Webb's office on DADT. It seems I was but one of several.

Other recipients included field consultants and organizers on DADT in Virginia and a staff member of a progressive military families advocacy group. One can only conclude that Webb is attempting to engage in some sort of PR offensive in the hope of distracting the LGBT community from the fact that Webb is needlessly supporting delay. I summarized my view to one other blogger this way:

I suspect that one worry that Webb and other Democrats have is the 2010 mid--terms. In Virginia Glenn Nye in the 2nd District (my district) is facing a tough challenge (probably from Ken Cuccinelli want to be Scott Rigell - although the primary is not until June 8th) as is the incumbent in the 5th Diistrict. If progressives and LGBT voters stay home, these seats are definitely likely to be lost. Passage of ENDA and the repaeal of DADT before November could make for a strong turn out of such voters. Further delay and folks - like my partner and myself - may stay home come election day. We have already stopped giving money. I believe Webb is reacting to this reality.

I certainly have no intention of allowing Webb to get away with this apparently calculated deception.

I hope others will recognize that we are being played yet again. From the comments left on my prior post, it looks like many are seeing through the ruse. One comment clearly notes that the writer believes that Webb is involved in a ploy to get us to support the Democrats in the mid-term elections. His response to Webb is basically as follows:

I tell them [Congressional Democrats] "It is better to have an enemy you know you have to fight against than a supposed friend who you don't know is either going to run away or might stab you in the back". It they don't fulfill their campaign promises from 2006 and 2008,then they aren't the right people for the job. Do not let losers hold you responsible for their own failure. I only give and vote for candidates who have done specific things to move our country forward.

The truth is that the whole "study" argument serves only to provide cover for those who want delay - which sadly, I believe includes our anything but "fierce advocate" Barack Obama.

More than enough studies have already been done and they all support ending DADT. Moreover, a significant majority of Americans now support repeal - including some 56% of Republicans. Therefore, why the cowardly, chicken shit approach by Congressional Democrats like Jim Webb?

Here are some more highlights from the Columbia study that looked at the experience of U.S. allies that have ended the ban on openly gay service members:

As part of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers have fought for years alongside troops from twenty-two of the approximately twenty-four countries that allow gay servicemembers to serve openly.201 This service includes both training and combat. General Gregory S. Newbold, a vice-president at the Potomac Institute, reports that U.S. and British forces "have trained together a great deal, so that relationship is a very easy one to carry into combat."

Importantly, no one has reported that the presence of openly gay and lesbian members of other countries' militaries has had a negative effect on the ability of U.S. troops to serve effectively.203 For example, referring to gay soldiers under his command, Glenn Truitt, a former submarine officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said "[t]he homosexual men I knew in the military were much more professional about their sexuality than the heterosexuals, if only because they had to be" to gain full acceptance.204 The ability of U.S. soldiers to serve alongside openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from other countries in the Iraq war "demonstrates that the morale and cohesion of our forces is simply not affected by the presence of openly gay soldiers

The time for studies is over. Senator Webb needs to vote to repeal DADT this year. If not, he and other Congressional Democrats need to be ready to pay the price of gays shutting off the LGBT ATM and staying home in November. If that leads to electoral losses, Webb and those like him will have only themselves to blame.

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invalidresponse | May 16, 2010 4:54 PM

If ever the LGBT community was going to make a nation wide stand it should be now!! Our new rallying cry should be...

If you continue to delay votes on ENDA and DADT we will refuse to vote as well. Why not, Dem or Rep seems to make no real difference to us and our issues.


(now that headline would be an effective blog swarm headline!)

With respect, actually the time the "LGBT community (should be making) a nationwide stand" was at least nearly 4 months ago, on February 2nd.

Scene: the first Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing on gays in the militry since 1993. Just like Obama Inc., knew from the many times it had worked before, Gay Inc., and most of the community, was hypnotized into blindness and deafness by some pretty words thrown their way. In this case, the two most powerful men at the Pentagon, SECDEF Robert Gates and CJCS Mike Mullen, who had the entire previous year, just as they had their entire careers, suddenly revealed an alleged conversion of almost religious miracle dimensions: they were now FOR repeal of DADT. Our Lady of Lourdes! They came close to tearing up and declaring that, "Discharging gays hurts US more than it does them!"

Cue all the little gay Munchkins, professional and civilian:

"Tra la la la, la la la, la la la
Tra la la la la la la
From now on you'll be history.
You'll be history, you'll be history, you'll be history.
And we will glorify your name.
You will be a bust, be a bust, be a bust
In the Hall of Fame!"

That blindness and deafness? Oh, just to the fact that, then, their new favorite Uncles Bob and Mike, rather than stopping at announcing their newly found faith in out gay service, conveniently abandoned, as their boss, the Commander-in-Chief, had, their power to ORDER all of their circa 3 million subordinates, from generals to buck privates in the reserves, to get with the new program and, they, themselves simply say to the Senators: what can we do to help you repeal?

No, Gates, passionately seconded by Mullen, reached up his other sleeve and said, but, of course, my little Lullaby Leaguers and Lollypop Guilders, that’s just our PERSONAL opinion, and we owe it to our troops AND their families to ask THEIR opinions before you do anything. After all, the sky COULD FALL if repeal happens without that...could fall in any case...but “we have to find out.” And, no, none of all those previous studies have, IN OUR OPINION, answered the RIGHT questions (read: given us the PRO ban answers we want)...and, by the way, it will take about a year, and...as horrible sniff sniff and unfair as DADT is...and even tho we’ve acknowledged that repeal is probably inevitable, and that there are gays serving in silence now...you MUST not only NOT repeal in the meantime, even with a delayed implementation, you must NOT freeze discharges in the meantime...and, by the way, whenever you do repeal, IF you do, we’ll need AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR to continue discharges. Did you hear the part where we said it breaks our hearts?

While the VOLUNTARY blind and deaf gay Munchkins continued to work on busts of Gates and Mullen, they continued to say the same thing in various forums, and ever more explicitly: NO repeal & NO moratorium before “The Study” is done. And, hey, don’t doubt or blame US simply because that would be too late for repeal to legislatively succeed.

Because a few members of Congress, including Carl Levin, Chair of the SASC, and a few gays heard them the first time and kept talking of either or both moratorium and repeal BEFORE December EVEN THO the White House was telling them not to, Ike Skelton...the male wicked witch from the West, er powerful Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, began to get a little worried that the law he’d sponsored there in 1993, as now-retired Sam Nunn had sponsored it in the Senate, might somehow finally get repealed despite his success in blocking even discussion of it for years...sent for reinforcements; specifically, Uncle Bob and Mike to reinforce their objection, which they did forcefully. And the White House forcefully backed them up, effectively saying THEY would decide the timeline for what CONGRESS would do.

A little too forcefully, apparently, as what was meant to club the repeal rebels to death like baby seals instead made them angry and had the additional effect of the proverbial two-by-four on a mule’s head...and, pardon the mixed metaphors, the eyes and ears of the gay Munchkins were finally opened to the treachery of the White House-Pentagon plot to kill repeal by running out the clock...a tactic basketball-obsessed Obama knows well.

That Uncle Bob, who works smugly-unruffled the way RuPaul works a red carpet, was shocked to discover the seals still alive and more determined than ever was demonstrated a week later when he went on CNN and declared [as he had but much more passively in the past], in effect, that ANYONE who disagreed with him was STUPID! One could just hear the seals honking at that!

My purpose in deconstructing this is not simply to educate those unaware of its history, but of ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE. Yes, there’s a chance repeal might happen that turns out to have, more or less, no longer a delayed implementation [read: more discharges] than roughly six months which is what has been in the House repeal bill since it was introduced five years ago.

BUT WHY is no one in Gay Inc., talking about, planning for, Uncle Bob activating his other nuke, referenced but mostly ignored by others on Feb. 2nd: his demand for AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR after repeal to continue discharges?

Will they, despite their testicles having partially descended, extend the surrender they’ve unilaterally offered re the “The Study” when they should have declared war on it in February and say, “Sure, Uncle Bob, whatever you want. You just keep shitcanning all the gays we claim to be fighting for you want for as long as you want?

It’s not just the Jim Webbs of the world to whom we need to say, “No fucking way, Sparky!” We have some of our own to send a new, unconditional message.

Wake up you sleepy heads, rub your eyes, get out of bed! The Wicked Old Witch is NOT dead!

Here Here! I agree!
Why should I waste my time, money and effort to hear the same old, same old?
The "well, the poll numbers dont support it now" or "We're going to study it for feasability". With that kkind of attitude our forefathers would never have stood up to anyone for anything.
I've told my Representative and Senators exactly what I will not do this year. I will not support them if they do not support me. If I do not see them on TV or in the newspapers saying the right things and acting on them then I wasted my vote for them.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 17, 2010 2:35 AM

" If progressives and LGBT voters stay home, these seats are definitely likely to be lost. Passage of ENDA and the repeal of DADT before November could make for a strong turnout of such voters."

Or not. It's not likely to happen and in any case it's too little, too late to save the Democrats asses. The Obama administration and the Democrat controlled Congress are under fire for their actions on a number of key questions, not just LGBT equality.

A CNN poll in January showed that right wing support for the war steady at 39% with 60% opposed and 1% unsure. (The latest Gallup results show a steady 70% opposition to Clintons' DADT.)

The antiwar movement in quiescent for now but as the coffins keep piling up that will change. And it won't matter if the wars had their origins in the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush regimes. The wars belong to Obama and the Congress now.

The colossal ecological disaster on BPs Deepwater Horizon oil rig followed almost immediately on the news that Obama favored more offshore drilling and that his administration had authorized massive oil drilling operations without permits, including those for the BP Horizon rig. The US Minerals Management Service is notorious for its lax oversight no matter what party is in power.

The anger of union and unorganized workers, the long-term unemployed (now at 17.1%) and the homeless continues to swell as Congress and the states impose draconian cuts in social services. Workers and consumers alike remain enraged at the handout/bailouts of the Democrats.

As things stand now the Obama Administrations policies are constantly moving right. They alienate the left but earn no support from the panic-stricken racists who dominate Republican and Teabag politics.

It's as if Obama wakes up every day, carefully inserts his foot in his mouth and then shoots himself in the foot. He can't win for losing. Democrats running for Congress are running scared. Sentiment for a third party is at all time highs and confidence in Congress at an all time low. On Mar. 9, 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported that confidence in Congress is at 8% (doubling last year's 4% confidence level. Is that good news for Reid and Pelosi or not?)

The thing to do is stop trying to pressure the Democrats to do the right thing. They won't and can't. Our aim should be to destroy the political effectiveness of the Democrats and Republicans by boycotts, write ins and votes for third parties.

If you want to pressure someone pressure the new President of the AFL-CIOm brother Trumka. Tell him to unleash the unions Labor Party.


It's called "damage control."

The best part is that there have been several identical letters sent to various folks from multiple staffers. At least they could have tailored the e-mails to the audience if they didn't want to get busted.

It's a weird kind of damage control, too. They could just repeal DADT and see what we think of that.