Rachel Maddow challenged President Obama Wednesday night, urging him to "[stand] up for what is right" on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Maddow made the appeal personal, highlighting three soldiers "whose military careers are being ended because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"As we take our time winding down this policy that everyone says will be ending, as we shamble toward justice, we as a country are continuing to put the lives of these
individuals through the meat grinder every day," she said. "Why are we kicking people out now, in the meantime, while we are waiting for the views of the commander-in-chief and the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs-of-staff to be implemented?"
Maddow said that the reason Obama isn't stopping enforcement of DADT now is because "that would take some political capital, that would take some guts."
And she argued that Obama should appeal to his base not just by pointing out the difference between Democrats and Republicans, but by giving Democratic supporters something they can support:
One less soul-sucking way to motivate your base and to win an election and to keep winning elections and to, frankly, have history look kindly upon you is to get your base to cheer for you -- not just to cheer against someone else, but to see you standing up, not just to bad guys with worse ideas than you, but you standing up for what is right because you know it is right, because we know you know it's right, even though you also know standing up for it is hard.
That is how you regain the enthusiasm of your base. That is how you win the respect of your base. That is how you win the respect of the country. And admit it: that is how you win your own self-respect, too.
"If Don't Ask, Don't Tell is going to end," she concluded, "the president could stop enforcement of the policy pending that change. Why isn't he?"
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more