Running to Stand Still

Last Saturday President Obama addressed gay soldier the incident from the last Republican debate. For those unfamiliar with it, at the third Republican Presidential debate, an active, gay soldier serving in Iraq asked whether the candidates would repeal the overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Obama had this to say:

“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the President of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed,” Obama said. “You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States — even when it’s not politically convenient.”

The article included a Republican response to this:

Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, took exception after the speech to Obama’s criticism of Republican presidential candidates.

“President Obama’s focus on the booing at the latest GOP debate underscored his focus on politics over policy in his speech,” Berle said. “Such actions were quickly rebuked by Governors Huntsman and Johnson, after the debate, which was appropriate. His speech last night, much like his tenure as President, was more cheap shots and politics than substance on policy.”

I agree that Obama’s comment carries a certain amount of political capital, particularly given that he made it at the Human Rights Campaign’s 15th annual dinner. However, Berle missed President Obama’s point. If the candidates want to be president, they should not wait until after the debate to give some mealymouthed rebuke. You confront it at the debateContinue reading