The high-profile collapse of what would have been a landmark bill triggered a round of second-guessing and recriminations from repeal proponents. Their main targets: President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and leaders of gay rights organizations who have helped set strategy for repeal efforts.
In the last few days, as the likelihood of defeat became apparent, some repeal advocates also blamed Republican obstructionism, but most said the president didn’t work hard enough to keep his campaign promise of repeal, and said Reid erred by rejecting Republican requests to allow the GOP to offer amendments
Some prominent advocates of repeal scolded McCain and Republicans for their role in the filibuster, but some strategists said Obama, gay rights groups and lawmakers had been too deferential to elements in the military who wanted to slow-walk any change to the policy.
“This is the result of an across-the-board failure of leadership by the president, the Pentagon and the Congress,” said Richard Socarides, who advised Clinton on gay issues. “Delaying repeal for another pentagon study was exactly the wrong strategy and played right into the hands of entrenched military interests opposed to open service now as they were in 1993.”
Others faulted Obama for being largely absent from the debate.