Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 8, 2011

THE LENGTHS SOME WILL GO TO IMPRESS THE GOP BASE.... The fight over "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" came to a satisfying end in December, when Congress repealed the discriminatory policy with bipartisan support. And yet, some dead-enders just can't let it go. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) is arguably the most ridiculous.

It's bad enough on Capitol Hill. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel, has vowed to fight to bring DADT back, and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is looking for ways to prevent implementation.

But Pawlenty, the all-but-announced GOP presidential candidate, is apparently trying to distinguish himself from his rivals through homophobia. In January, the former governor announced he would "support reinstating" the repealed, discriminatory policy. Yesterday, Pawlenty went even further, when pressed by Igor Volsky at an event in Iowa.

Pawlenty: We have to pay great deference, I think to those combat units, their sentiments and their leaders. That's one of the reasons why I said we shouldn't have repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell and I would support reinstatement.

Volsky: And rescinding the funds for implementation, implementation of repeal?

Pawlenty: That would be a reasonable step as well.

So, let me get this straight. The DADT repeal effort was backed by the Pentagon, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, most American servicemen and women, the vast majority of the public, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, and the White House. Conservatives nevertheless fought to keep the old policy, but lost.

And despite all of this, Tim Pawlenty is so desperate to impress unhinged, right-wing activists in Iowa, he wants to not only bring back the unpopular, discriminatory, and ineffective policy, he thinks it's "reasonable" to deny the Defense Department funding to implement its own policies.

I'm inclined to call Pawlenty a DADT "dead-ender," but I'm not even sure he believes his own nonsense. It seems more likely this is just shameless, cynical pandering, which is arguably worse than garden-variety hate.

But as long as Pawlenty's pushing this, maybe it should be another 2012 litmus test for the GOP field. We now have one candidate who wants to reinstate DADT and block funding for the military to prevent its implementation. What does the rest of the burgeoning field have to say about this? Romney? Huckabee? Gingrich? Barbour?

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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I'm inclined to call Pawlenty a DADT "dead-ender," but I'm not even sure he believes his own nonsense.

Does it matter whether he believes it? He's willing to say it. He has to own it now.

Posted by: sue on February 8, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

He has a blandness problem so he's trying to correct that. Rabid is a far better attribute for a Republican candidate.

Posted by: mlm on February 8, 2011 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty and people like him spout rhetoric which in other times other people would label as greedy. Greedy for votes, power, and eventual wealth at all costs. This is the kind of speech that some say slanders the serious sentient being in us all and points straight to serious situations involving muscled people with guns.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on February 8, 2011 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Uhm, did you ever see Pawlenty's book cover for "Courage to Stand?"

Take a look:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I1KZU2/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1414345720&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1AGVPR3HYP5467H1475A

Me thinks he doth protest too much...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 8, 2011 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

It seems more likely this is just shameless, cynical pandering, which is arguably worse than garden-variety hate.

Shameless, cynical pandering indeed. Like another former statewide office-holder from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Pawlenty is an empty man, willing to do or say anything that he thinks will get him votes. What's saddest about it is that he's throwing any principles he might have out the window for no good reason. Pawlenty himself seems to be one of only about a dozen people in the whole country who don't seem to understand that Pawlenty doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing Pawlenty would come in third, at best, in a GOP poll for president in his own state.

Posted by: David Bailey on February 8, 2011 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

T-Paws overriding ambition is his main feature. There is no central principle or concern at his core. Just ambition. He will be what ever he thinks he has to be to get to his next big achievement.

He is the best argument yet against a strong 3rd party.

Posted by: the seal on February 8, 2011 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Why do you keep attacking Republicans like Pawlenty? Our freedom-loving, patriot Americans (republicans) know that as long as 1 person in any combat unit anywhere is opposed to ending DADT, then that is what must be done!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on February 8, 2011 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

A practical question: Are homophobes, like the anti-abortion crowd, single issue voters? Will it drive them to the polls?

Posted by: DAY on February 8, 2011 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

So the headline in "Pawlenty Calls For Cuts In The Military"?

Posted by: martin on February 8, 2011 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) is arguably the most ridiculous.

Are you kidding? Pawlenty is not even the most ridiculous Republican from Minnesota...

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on February 8, 2011 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Look at the bright side. When DADT was implemented, the right wing said "NO! Gays can't serve in the military!" Now that DADT is being phased out, the right wing is going "NO! Gays can serve, but ONLY if they remain in the CLOSET!"


Soooooo...that'sssss...progress?

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 8, 2011 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

These people have taken the wrong approach. Keeping Gays in the Military places them in harms way with a good chance of being killed. Given all the wars our past and current POTUS's enjoy starting and continuing, elimination of Gays has a much better chance of happening than if you let them roam the safe streets of our proud nation with only a slight chance of accidental death.

By the way, that cover to Pawlenty's book is quite a statement on his virility...

Posted by: stevio on February 8, 2011 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

"A practical question: Are homophobes, like the anti-abortion crowd, single issue voters? Will it drive them to the polls?"

DADT won't be re-instated, but it will be a potent issue for Republicans in 2012. Maybe the public at large doesn't care about the issue, but it will be a lightening rod for the GOP's weird base. I'm guessing it will be a high-profile issue in the Republican primary campaign...you know, naked soldiers in the showers with homosexuals.

Posted by: SaintZak on February 8, 2011 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Would , most visible person of ridiculous perceptions and poses in Minnesota , be acceptable ?

Posted by: FRP on February 8, 2011 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty rightly knows that the GOP nominee will eventually be anointed by the evangelical Christian base. He rightly knows that Romney or Huntsman will never make it because of their Mormonism and occasional gestures toward moderation. Pawlenty is trailing Huckabee and probably Palin with that demographic, so he'll do and say what he needs to make inroads. He doesn't have a prayer, but he'll fight until the last Amen.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on February 8, 2011 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

What does the rest of the burgeoning field have to say about this? Romney? Huckabee? Gingrich? Barbour?

Looking at the "field", it's increasingly obvious the GOP intends to sit 2012 out and let Obama finish cleaning up their fucking mess. They'll get back to us when there's a country worth raping and pillaging again.

Posted by: Oh my on February 8, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

*snicker* Pawlenty's wee willy wilted and now he's mad and pouty.

Posted by: Silver Owl on February 8, 2011 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

"So, let me get this straight."

Did you really type this?

Posted by: Keith G on February 8, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

JOBS?????? Still waiting for the GOP to come forward with its proposal for creating more JOBS for Americans....anyone....anyone...Buehler?????

Posted by: dweb on February 8, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Tim Pawlenty will believe whatever he is paid to believe. He only wants to be president because the people who pay him would be well served to have him as president. He proved as governor of MN that he has no soul, no essence that he can call his own.

Posted by: gbear on February 8, 2011 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

He's a bigot. Call him that. Language can be used precisely or to obfuscate. Calling him a "dead-ender" is unclear and damn near meaningless. He's a bigot and his logic would have been welcome in the 1950s army.

I don't like bigots, so fuck him.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on February 8, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm inclined to call Pawlenty a DADT "dead-ender," but I'm not even sure he believes his own nonsense. It seems more likely this is just shameless, cynical pandering, which is arguably worse than garden-variety hate." - SB

Sounds familiar.

Meet the new maverick. Same as the old maverick.

Posted by: burro on February 8, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Do not be deluded. There is nothing to Tim Pawlenty other than being a "shameless cynical panderer". As governor of Minnesota, he proved to be only two things: that and intensely dependable for the rich business men who put him in office to not raise taxes. The rest was just talk and no follow through. Remember, he was never elected by a majority of Minnesotans.

Posted by: Karl Sonneman on February 8, 2011 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

There's no one on the Rethug side who can beat Obama in '12 at the moment. Their problem is more to limit his coat tails than to take back the WH. A loony-toon candidate like Palin or Bachmann might make their base orgasmic, but would likely cost the Rethugs a lot of seats in congress and state legislatures if Obama gets the vote out as he did in 2008.

Pawlenty is a non-starter. He can pander to the right-wing base all he wants. The others of his ilk are much better at it than he is. He comes across as little more than a weak 'me-too'. Wherever the Koch brothers put their money, that's the candidate to watch, and it isn't this guy.

Posted by: rrk1 on February 8, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I have a friend, a retired Marine officer, who served with the current Commandant of the Corps when both were junior officers. He tells me that General Amos was the biggest homophobe he ever met in the Marines, a guy who was terrified of any sort of behavior that someone might think "un-manly." So this is why this guy has reacted as he has, and given these wingnuts the ammo they need. Of course, he's not the only one in the USMC to be a neanderthal. The old saying goes, "You can always tell a Marine, you just can't tell him very much."

Posted by: TCinLA on February 8, 2011 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

All indications are that Pawlenty doesn't stand much of a chance of capturing the Presidential nomination. So why keep at it? Perhaps he's hoping that all, or most, of the more likely potential candidates pass on running. Perhaps he's positioning himself for a VP slot. Perhaps he's just delusional.

In any event, pushing on the DADT repeal issue seems like poor judgment. I just don't see this issue as having a lot of traction on the right 6 months or a year from now. It would have been easiy enough for Pawlenty to say that, while he disagreed with the decision, it's now been made and we should support cautious implementation, and then move on.

Posted by: DRF on February 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

It puzzles me why implementing the repeal takes extra money. It's the military right? Just issue an order to commanders and grunts alike that they accept it or ignore it or they get discharged from the service and forgo their pensions like gay service people did. Easy and cheap.

Posted by: CDW on February 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

CDW, I imagine that the "costs" are those for training, classes, and the like. Courses/seminars are developed, usually by private contractors, and all members of the military are required to pass/attend and THAT is included in each member's personnel record. THEN, if someone screws up, they can't say "I didn't know!"
When I was in the Navy, we went through two such cycles. The first concerned African-Americans, began in the late 1960s and lasted a decade, and finally ended the de facto segregation that still existed in the Navy.
The second was due to the increasing number of females in the All Volunteer armed forces. That started in the early 1980s and also lasted for about a decade. Special attention was paid to various forms of harassment, subtle and not so subtle, and what could and could not be expected of a pregnant sailor, as I remember.
I'm presuming that the training had to be continued until those who managed to stay just inside the legal boundaries either retired or got out. I fully expect such training regarding gays/lesbians to last just as long.

Posted by: Doug on February 8, 2011 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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