View From Washington: DADT 2010?

COMMENTARY: Even as President Bill Clinton begins to open up on LGBT issues, the question becomes whether LGBT rights can compete with health and immigration reform.

BY Kerry Eleveld

August 16 2009 11:00 PM ET

It could force exactly the type of media events that will demand attention from the administration, and as far as I can tell, every little bit of that exposure will be necessary since President Obama is sinking the entirety of his political capital into health reform.

In fact, the more I watch millions in advertising being spent by sundry special interest groups set against the backdrop of screaming town-hallers and elected officials like GOP senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa saying that people "have every right to fear" the government might "pull the plug on grandma," the more conceivable it seems that this administration might either break the political capital bank getting a bill passed or be so politically wounded by not passing one that they limp into the 2010 midterms.

President Obama himself conceded this week that immigration reform would have to wait till next year. Even in light of the administration's unflagging commitment to wooing Hispanic voters, they've apparently made the calculation that delivering Justice Sotomayor was trophy enough in year one to satisfy the Spanish-speaking constituency -- not to take anything away from her historic accomplishment.

Obama's announcement of Operation Immigration 2010 came right on the heels of Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, telling U.S. News & World Report that the White House will likely move on "don't ask, don't tell" next spring. While this pretty much matches previous comments from Rep. Barney Frank and other Washington insiders, all I can think is Really?

Just as a point of reference, President George W. Bush tried and failed twice to bag immigration reform during his tenure. Let's just take a leap of faith and say the Obama administration survives health reform with enough verve left to take a stab at immigration -- anybody have any guesstimates as to how much that debate will dominate the political landscape of 2010?

Tags: Politics

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