So as those of you who care/are paying attention know, the federal appeals court in San Francisco (nice irony) agreed to stay Judge Virginia Phillips's order that Don't Ask, Don't Tell not be enforced during the appeals process in that Log Cabin Republicans case vs. the law. The DOJ has until Monday to explain why DADT should remain in effect pending appeal. If they lose, DADT will be unenforceable until that appeal is decided, which I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) won't happen until after lame-duck session in November/December, giving the Senate one last chance to legislatively kill DADT for good.
HuffPo—which usually seems to enjoy turning up the heat on Obama—has an interesting, to-the-point summary of why Obama is defending in court a law he has vowed to see killed legislatively.
Most of it I already knew, but the piece lists specific examples of presidents who have legally defended acts of Congress signed by other presidents simply because of the precedent.
But I think the reason this principled and traditional approach (similar to a defense attorney working with a notorious criminal) doesn't help Obama in the way it would help just about any other president is that Obama was viewed as non-traditional! That was the point—he was the embodiment of change. Bill Clinton got a free pass because while he failed on gays in the military, he spent political capital trying. George W. Bush was the devil. Obama is supposed to be better than all that.
The "impatience" (it can't really be called that after two years!) is coming directly from that disconnect. And it's only going to get worse if DADT isn't voted out of existence in the lame-duck session after the election. The only hope for that happening is persuading at least one Republican to allow it not to be filibustered. If it's not filibustered, the votes should be there. That's probably one too many "ifs."
If DADT survives '10, Obama's strategy will have failed and the only hope left for advocates of repeal will be the courts. Then, progressives will have the Log Cabin Republicans to cheer on, and to thank if their repeal is successful. And I don't see anyone patting Obama on the back for having been on our side even though he "had to" adhere to precedent.
UPDATE: An apparently new idea: If the lame-duck session fails to eradicate DADT, Obama's DOJ should inform the court that while it is appealing the court case, the executive branch feels the law is unconstitutional.
[One question I do have is this: The military is mainly to blame for DADT in the first place. They pressured Clinton (and Republicans piled on) and they clearly have made a deal with Obama that yes, they'll ruefully go along with repeal so long as it's done on their own timetable and with all due consideration for them and NOT via court order. So why does the military get off so easy in all of this? Why will gay people happily join the military once DADT is over and not hold it against them for being the driving force behind all this misery, while Obama will probably never be forgiven? (Okay, he'll be forgiven in several years like Clinton was.)]