One-word answer

ONE-WORD ANSWER…. During the campaign, Barack Obama vowed to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, a position that proved to be uncontroversial and generally endorsed by voters. Since Election Day, however, there have been at least some whispers about the policy and its eventual fate.

As part of the transition team’s “Open for Questions” project, press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to questions posed online and voted on by visitors to The final inquiry: Is the new administration going to get rid of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy?

Gibbs responded, “Thaddeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s yes.”

Good. It’s no-brainer, and it’s encouraging to hear Obama’s team make it abundantly clear that this bizarre policy, which has led to the discharge of far too many capable servicemen and women, is going to be scrapped.

Now, the one-word answer came to the right conclusion, but it left out a few details. Kevin Drum wondered, for example, what the Obama administration is going to replace DADT with. I’d add that the timing of the repeal obviously matters. (Waiting until the second term just won’t do.)

But those questions notwithstanding, it’s still the right answer. Michelle Goldberg suggested it might even “make up for Rick Warren,” arguing that eliminating DADT, unlike the Warren’s invocation, has “concrete repercussions.” Goldberg argued, “[I]f this pattern holds — symbolic sops to the right, followed by real-world gains for gays and lesbians — it will be a huge improvement over Bill Clinton, who did almost exactly the opposite.”

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