The president is not powerless:
In the most vocal plea for the White House to take the lead in allowing gays to serve openly in the military, 76 Democratic lawmakers today urged President Obama to use his executive powers to order a halt to military discharges under the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and work aggressively with Congress to pass new legislation to overturn what they describe as a discriminatory policy that harms national security.
"We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until Congress repeals the law," states the letter, organized by Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat of California. "To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
The military has been discharging gay people at the rate of two a day since Obama took office—and President Barack "Fierce Urgency of Now" Obama has the authority to stop discharges under DADT today, right now, with the stroke of a pen. Yes he can. But will he?