Andrew Sullivan posted a column recently about Obama's temperament and style. Although it doesn't touch on gay issues, it's still indicative of Obama's Game Plan: "The more you observe, the clearer it is that Obama is working on an eight-year time cycle. He wants deep structural change, not swift superficial grandstanding and conflict. He is taking his time and keeping his cool. The question is whether a volatile electorate in a terrible economic time will be patient enough to wait." The consensus (at least among rational commentators) is that Obama is a liberal in policy but a conservative in temperament: cautious, consensus-seeking, empirical. Look at Iran. Decisions were made after deliberation and study. No big emotional breast-beating on the international stage (as various conservatives here urged him to do). All options were kept open even as we watched the brutal repression. Let's look at the evolving "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Recently Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made statements that suggest a sign of change at the Pentagon. From Stars and Stripes: Gates said both he and senior military leaders broached the subject with administration officials last week, discussing legal parameters for a repeal and interim steps before Congress passes legislation changing the policy. One of the things were looking at: is there flexibility in how we apply this law, he said. To give an example if somebody is outed by a third party, does that force us to take action? I dont know the answer. But thats the kind of thing were looking at, seeing if theres a more humane way to apply the law until it gets changed. John McHugh is a republican serving New York as a congressman in the House. On June 2 (last Thursday), President Obama nominated him to the position of the U.S. Secretary of the Army. Gates and McHugh are going to be two of the top civilians working with the military on the repeal of Dont Ask, Dont Tell. Yesterday, Sunday, McHugh told Roll Call: I have no interest as either a Member of Congress or as secretary of the Army to exclude by some categorization a group of people otherwise qualified to serve, McHugh told Roll Call. He noted that the Armed Services Committee has not considered the policy in any formal way since 1993. In the meantime, certainly, the recruiting-age populations views have changed on that whole matter, he said. As you can see, Obama is slowly, methodically stacking the deck. And working on changing policy from within. -------------------- Though Sullivan does not bring up gay issues in his column, he does bring up healthcare, which again suggests that Obama is working on an eight-year time cycle: "Healthcare reform is an immensely delicate task that may well pass this summer or early autumn. Even if the healthcare plan is insufficient and the climate change bill too anaemic, they will both put down infrastructure that can be built on in the years ahead. Thats better than anyone in a very, very long time."