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Morning Joe: Either White House Got Played on DADT, or They Lied

I was on Morning Joe talking about the White House campaign to silence its critics and set them up as scapegoats for Democratic losses in November. Joe Scarborough asked me why people on the left are upset, and I said it’s because people don’t like it when the President says one thing and does another.

There has been a 19 point shift in the margin of support among Hispanics from Democrats to Republicans since July, per Gallup. That’s AFTER the passage of the Arizona immigration law in April:

Those numbers kept dropping even after Eric Holder said the Justice Department would sue to oppose the Arizona law.

People don’t like it when they feel like they’ve been played.  Deportations have increased under the Obama Administration:

Instead of doing anything about that, Robert Menendez introduced another “comprehensive immigration bill,” and went on the Sunday talk shows touting the fact that they could bring it up in the lame duck or new session.

As Dave Dayen said, “allow me to contain my laughter.”

I wrote earlier that in the era of “big data,” it’s easier for issue advocates to see when someone’s actions don’t match up with their words.  Anyone can watch Joe Biden on the Rachel Maddow Show on September 15, and hear him say “we have enough votes to sustain support for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Vote [sic].  And we’re just gonna push it as hard as we can.”

Maddow then asked why the President doesn’t suspend DADT discharges in the mean time:

MADDOW: [W]hy not suspend the discharges of people under the policy now, pending that Defense Department review?  Why keep kicking people out now while all of this movement is happening towards ending the policy?

BIDEN: Because that is the compromise we basically had to make to get the votes to finally repeal it.

“Because that is the compromise we basically had to make to get the votes to finally repeal it.”

Well, that didn’t work, did it?  They didn’t even have the support of the Democrats in the Senate, let alone the Republican votes needed to prevent a filibuster.  Both Lincoln and Pryor helped DADT go down to defeat.

So either Biden got played, or he lied.  Either they didn’t have the votes in the first place, or they couldn’t hold them.  In either case, there is nothing preventing the President, as the Commander in Chief, from suspending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell discharges pending the Pentagon review if he’s sincere and that’s what he really wants.  He could do it today.

Obama says liberals are hurting Democrats and depressing turnout when they criticize him.  Well, he’s not up for reelection in November, and we’re doing plenty to support Democrats.  We’ve raised nearly $40,000 for Russ Feingold in the past week alone.

But right before an election is the time that the public is supposed to express their concerns and hold their representatives accountable.  That’s why we have elections in the first place.  It’s the last chance people will have to push their elected officials on how they plan to vote on the Catfood Commission’s recommendations in December, which members of the commission say will include cuts in Social Security benefits.  A bill that Obama plans to sign.

Anyone who tells people to be silent now is telling you to give up your last chance to fight to keep Congress from voting to reduce the deficit on the backs of senior citizens.

But Obama’s not talking about the fact that people are unhappy about his Catfood Commission plans.  He says that people expect too much too soon, but that’s a straw man.  That’s not what’s happening at all.

People understand when they’re being played.  And they don’t like it.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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