Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that President Obama might veto a military spending bill that contains a provision allowing for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The proposed measure would repeal DADT following the conclusion of a military review (slated to end in December 2010), a finding by the military that ending the policy would not compromise military preparedness, and the promulgation of policies by the Defense Department implementing an end of the anti-gay law.
Gates said that the larger bill contains spending initiatives that Obama opposes. But Republicans also vigorously opposed the repeal language, and Obama did not openly solicit its inclusion in the bill. Instead, Senator Joe Lieberman and Representative Patrick Murphy proposed the measure. Furthermore, Pentagon officials, including Gates, opposed the repeal measure, and Obama has pursued a very guarded approach to this matter. During the interview, however, Gates said that he "think[s]" that Obama would veto the bill whether or not it also included the repeal provision.
A Volley of Questions
Will Obama actually veto the bill? Will he veto the bill due to spending measures or because he opposes the repeal provision? Can Congress repass the measure as a stand-alone policy or as part of a new bill that does not contain offending spending measures? If Congress repasses the measure, will it do so prior to the conclusion of the Defense Department review of DADT? Is the threatened veto simply a way of eliminating the repeal measure and allowing the DADT review to go forward without Congressional input? If Obama vetoes the measure, will this enrage GLBT advocates, eroding support for Obama among liberals? What do you think?