Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 1, 2011

DADT DEAD-ENDERS JUST CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES.... About four months after the repeal of the indefensible "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a disturbing number of Republicans remain determined to repeal the repeal.

Most of the highest-profile talk has come at the national level, with three likely GOP presidential candidates -- Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Mike Huckabee -- vowing to bring back the discriminatory policy if they were to run and win.

But House Republicans haven't forgotten about the issue, either.

The military's repeal of its longstanding "don't ask, don't tell" policy is not facing resistance from troops and is on track to take full effect this fall as planned, top commanders told a House committee on Friday.

Clifford Stanley, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel that the military has trained 9 percent of its forces over the past month without any resistance to the new policy. He said he expects to complete training of all forces by this summer, which means the military can repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" sometime this fall, as planned.

"It has gone extremely well so far," Stanley told the panel.

Needless to say, this isn't at all what Republicans wanted to hear. GOP members on the panel kept pressing the Pentagon leaders, looking for anything they could exploit. The right came up empty -- troops aren't quitting, service members aren't complaining, and dire Republican warnings haven't come to fruition.

Apparently, though, old prejudices die hard. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) suggested gay and lesbian service members who were discharged under DADT probably violated other standards of conduct, apparently working under the assumption that gays and lesbians must be troublemakers, even if they're in the closet.

Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney tried to explain to Scott that this was simply wrong, and even shared an anecdote in which he dismissed an officer, simply because the officer had told his chaplain that he was gay.

"He did not violate your standard of conduct?" Scott asked.

"No, sir," Gortney replied.

"That's not the answer I thought you would give," Scott said.

To which Gortney said quickly: "It happens to be the truth."

Don't bother Republicans with the truth; they have a culture war to fight.

Honestly, these pointless vanity exercises aren't doing Republicans any favors. For one thing, the DADT fight is over; Americans support repeal; and there's nothing the GOP can do to bring the old policy just coming back. It's time to move on.

For another, Republicans aren't exactly going to impress voters with this nonsense. What has the GOP House been working on lately? Let's see, the new majority has wasted time on health care bills they know they can't pass, abortion bills they know they can't pass, climate bills they know they can't pass, and budget bills they know they can't pass. They've also invested considerable energy in recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty, going after NPR, holding a hearing on promoting "In God We Trust," and now exploring how they can repeal the repeal of DADT.

This may not be what voters had in mind last November, but this is what they got.

Steve Benen 2:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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"This may not be what voters had in mind last November"

Well then tell me what they did have in mind, because all of that nonsense you mentioned is pretty much the bread and butter of the Republican agenda. It's the same old scratched record we've heard over and over from them, so what else the voters had in mind is a mystery to me.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Don't Presidents get issued "report cards" after the first 100 days by the media? We are coming up on that date for the Republican House. So how about the media start getting those report cards ready for later this month.

Posted by: John Dillinger on April 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

this is actually a fantastic demonstration of how unprincipled right-wingers work.

at the time dadt was implemented, the right wingers hated it.

now that full equality is being implemented, the right wingers suddenly love dadt.

true conservatives (of which there are very, very few) either consistently oppose gays in the military or consistently embrace equality; they don't keep moving the goals posts.

but american right wingers aren't conservatives: they are nativist populists.

Posted by: howard on April 1, 2011 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

How many times does this need to be explained. This has nothing to do with repealing DADT. This is about bodies in voting booths. Just like abortion. There is a reason Reagan ended up appointing Pro-choice Justices to the Supreme Court. Republican leaders don't want to issues like this resolved. They want the ISSUE.

That's how they get low income and unemployed people to vote against their own economic interest. It's how they dominate off-year and local elections. Because this kind of stuff MOTIVATES people to go to the polls.

Democrats seriously need to figure this out and stop saying idiot things like 'the issue is over' or 'its been decided' and start figuring out ways to motivate their voters to get to the polls.

Posted by: thorin-1 on April 1, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Who liked DADT? It was a lame-o policy no matter which side of the allowing-Gay-Americans-to-risk-their-lives-so-I-can-sit-on-may-ass-and-bitch-about-America line.

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on April 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK


Words of wisdom, my friend. I could not even begin to describe how correct you are.

In my home town in Kentucky many people, friends and family both, who consistantly vote Republican only because of abortion and homosexuality. They may sit back and complain about other Republican policies that they disagree with, but for them (as Fundamentalist Christians) these issues trump everything.

I have an ex-girlfriend, for example, who actually supports the rights of homosexuals (very rare in rural Appalachia), and also agrees with Democrats than Republicans about nearly everything. Economics, regulation, human rights, etc. But she hates abortion. Hates it. And so votes Republican every time, even though she knows that it may hurt her in a million ways. Abortion is that important to her.

It's not even a religious thing in her case. Instead, I think, it's because she had a child at a young age and views abortion as the easy way out. She thinks that it's okay to have abortions due to rape, but that's it. Even the health of the mother doesn't matter to her, as she said to me, and I quote, "Mothers have died in childbirth forever, Mitch."

It's cold, for sure. But for a lot of people the mother is nowhere near as important as the baby. Logic, reason, facts. . . none of that matters in this discussion.

Same thing with homosexuality. Certain people HATE homosexuality so much that nothing else matters to them at all. No amount of logic or reason will ever change their minds. For many (if not most) they simply believe that God thinks it's a sin. That's enough of a reason for the "true believers" to always fight against it, regardless of how much they themselves suffer as a result. Indeed the suffering of the poor is a virtue in many forms of Christianity, never forget that.

The Republicans count on this hate to gain votes. That's why they have never made any real effort to get rid of Roe v. Wade, even when they had the majorities to try it in the early Dubya years. I don't imagine any Repug (with the exception of Huckabee) will ever really try to reinstate DADT; their campaigns NEED issues like this.

Let's face it, they won't win on facts. They win my exploiting the fears and hatred of those who do not know better, or who are blinded by idealogy or religion.

Posted by: Mitch on April 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm sure the people in general think the repubs are covering the most important things, I would like to add that they had better keep out of my medical records!

Posted by: joan on April 1, 2011 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

thorin-1 and mitch you're absolutely right. Another thing is that the conservative agenda is negative, and people, especially bitter people, feel better about themselves by acting out against others, so the voting booth becomes a weapon. The Republican's success is based on people's worst instincts. That's why gay issues, abortion, immigration will always work for them.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 1, 2011 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK


Amen to that. Nothing gets people motivated like appealing to their negative sides.

Posted by: Mitch on April 1, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

You read about these clowns and then you see something like this about a "Real American". I must say it moved me to tears and I don't well up nearly as easily as John "Crybaby" Boehner. I'm sorry I don't know how to post a direct link so cut and paste the link...it's worth taking the time to watch it.

On February 27th a brave man like this gave his life for his country and the demagogues who hold these hearing on Capitol Hill have no ideas to make our country great. They "lead" with only prejudice and hatred.

YOU TUBE: A tribute to Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay servicemember


Posted by: doyles on April 1, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Rethugs really only appeal to their narrow base, despite the outcome of last November. That base needs constant stroking and feeding, which abortion, gays, god and guns provides. Absent those cultural issues many of the faithful would stay home on election day reading their bibles, praying, and drinking beer.

Grandstanding on these issues allows the incumbents, when they campaign, to say they worked hard to make us into a fascist theocracy. Besides the obvious pandering, some of these reactionaries most likely also believe they won't have to be accountable to a larger electorate next year. With so many congressional races being nationalized, and literally tons of money from right-wing sources coming in the windows, doors and everywhere else - thanks to the obscenely named 'Citizens United' decision - the thinking is they are invulnerable.

That may turn out to be true.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 1, 2011 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I wish that Admiral Gortney had asked Scott why it was that he assumed that the dismissed gay officer had violated a standard of conduct. When these jerks expose themselves as being bigots or worse, the person being interrogated needs to call them on it.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 1, 2011 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

The part that I don't understand is why they're interested in reinstating DADT, as opposed to reinstating an outright ban on being gay in the military.

Posted by: daniel on April 1, 2011 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Thorin-1 & co have obviously all read "What's the Matter With Kansas", as have I. My focus is always "You know they'll never repeal Roe, don't you?".

Lead the morons to the light. If they were going to do it, they could have done it a dozen times in the last 30 years.

Posted by: PeteCO on April 1, 2011 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Mitch @ 4:05 PM NAILS IT!

The right-wingers ALWAYS *VOTE*, because they think it's their *holy* duty, or to feel self-righteous, no matter how much it hurts THEM.

That why Progressives ALWAYS have to *VOTE*, to counteract at least some of the stupidity.

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on April 1, 2011 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK



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