President Barack Obama’s advisors say he can’t end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy because he has so many other important issues on his plate.
The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart believes the president needs a bigger plate.
In a segment entitled “The Gay After Tomorrow” — for which Stewart jokingly reprimanded his writers — the comedian chided Obama for delaying promised reforms of gay-rights policies. Stewart played a series of clips showing Obama on the campaign trail last year, promising to end the policy — enacted during the Clinton era — that forbids homosexuals from discussing their sexual orientation with their colleagues.
Stewart then played back-to-back clips of Obama administration officials saying the president has “too much on his plate” to tackle the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell issue at present. Those words were most recently echoed by Obama’s national security advisor, James Jones, who on Monday said the president would address the issue “at the right time.”
“As a thin man who smokes you may not understand the concept,” Stewart said, addressing Obama directly. “All that stuff you’ve been putting on your plate? It’s … chow time, brother.”
The declaration was met with a loud round of applause.
The comedian concluded: “Remember, you’re the president of America. When your plate gets too full, you get up and get a bigger plate, mister.”
Stewart’s remarks come as frustration grows in the gay-rights movement about the president’s reluctance to make good on his campaign promise to repeal DADT.
This weekend, rights activists will gather in Washington, DC, for the National Equity March, where they will demand an end to DADT, as well as the 13-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from granting same-sex couples the rights and privileges afforded heterosexual couples.
Just prior to the march, President Obama is scheduled to meet with gay-rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, and there is “cautious optimism” the president could signal a shift on the two controversial policies.
Last year alone, 634 individuals were ejected from the armed forces because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast Oct. 6, 2009.