During President Obama’s press conference yesterday, ABC’s Jake Tapper said this:
I have a couple of questions about “don’t ask/don’t tell.” First of all, congratulations. What was your conversation like with Marine Commandant Amos when he expressed to you his concerns, and yet he said that he would abide by whatever — whatever the ruling was? Can you understand why he had the position he did? And then, on the other hand, is it intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?
The questions are very good ones — and Obama’s answer, especially on same-sex marriage, was an interesting one. But notice the second sentence in Tapper’s question/statement: “First of all, congratulations.”
I may be wrong, but that strikes me as a very unusual formulation coming from a White House correspondent, especially during a press conference. I can’t imagine, for example, any member of the White House press corps congratulating President Bush on successful passage of his tax-cut bill or successful implementation of, say, his stem-cell policy.
Now, I think Tapper is an excellent reporter. But it is revealing of a particular, widespread journalistic persuasion and worldview that Tapper would congratulation Obama on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I imagine he was speaking for almost all his colleagues.