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Dear Elaine Donnelly…

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 11:21 am - October 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Elections,Advocate Watch,Gays In Military

I had wanted to take some time off from commenting on The Campaign That Will Never End, but your latest screed criticizing retired General Colin Powell demands a response. While I share your disappointment in General Powell’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President, your remarks in expressing such are truly beyond the pale:

If General Powell is not concerned about the consequences of repealing the law, he cannot be described as a conservative or even the credible leader of the military that he used to be. If Powell does not favor all of these consequences, why has he announced his intent to vote for Senator Obama, who has promised to push for repeal of the 1993 law? Either way, General Powell is letting down the men and women of our military.

One would have thought that after Congressmen from both parties handed you your perfectly-coiffed head just three short months ago on Capitol Hill you would be reluctant to attack such a highly-decorated and highly-respected veteran like General Powell. Silly me. Perhaps this should be expected since your life’s work regarding DADT is about to be squelched, given the dramatically growing acceptance of gay and lesbian soldiers by their peers let alone the feelings of the public-at-large on this matter. You do remember that this is an all-volunteer force we are speaking about, tasked in the defense a nation that claims to hold to the ideal enshrined in our Constitution of We The People? I’m sure it must be galling to an out-of-touch activist such as yourself to see this great shift, but maligning someone like General Powell for such frivolous partisan reasons is not bound to help your lost cause. Indeed, most folks will only find this itself to be incredibly galling especially since you have never served a single day in the military yourself and have no earthly idea what you are talking about. Feel free to criticize General Powell for endorsing Senator Obama all you wish but kindly check this kind of rhetoric about his military service at the door. He has personally sacrificed and served our country honorably for far longer than you’ve been leading your anti-gay, anti-woman and frankly anti-military crusade. It has no place at all in this debate and does nothing more than expose the unsavory extremism of your side.

Oh and one more thing, with regards to your specious remark that those who support repeal of the ban against gays openly serving in the military “cannot be described as conservative”, such would be news to the late Senator Barry Goldwater, hailed by many as the “Father of Modern Conservatism”:

“Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

h/t The Bilerico Project

– John (Average Gay Joe)

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16 Comments

  1. I read the Elaine Donnelly remarks you quoted. Sorry, they aren’t “beyond the pale”. If she said “God hates fags” or “Let’s kill gays”, that would be beyond the pale. She didn’t. She stated her opinion: that it is irresponsible to repeal DADT, and Powell is irresponsible if he supports it, and Powell is not much of a conservative. She is wrong on the first two counts. (Right on the third: indeed, Colin Powell is not strongly conservative.) Although she is wrong on two important counts, let’s not be drama queens about it. Kindly save phrases like “beyond the pale” for remarks that are actually beyond the pale.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 11:34 am - October 27, 2008

  2. Someone please correct me on this, but I believe Powell is still against the DADT policy. And, Obama is on record that he would consult the military about the policy………..that’s all.

    Comment by Swampfox — October 27, 2008 @ 11:52 am - October 27, 2008

  3. To be clear: Powell helped architect DADT. Donnelly badly wants to keep DADT. Now that Powell has endorsed Obama, Donnelly wonders if Powell would support the current efforts to repeal DADT.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 12:04 pm - October 27, 2008

  4. P.S. “Repeal DADT” in the sense of allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Like Average Gay Joe, I favor “repeal” in that sense. (Not in the sense of going back to the pre-DADT policy of fully banning gays.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 12:08 pm - October 27, 2008

  5. Excuse me. I meant to say the Powell was still for DADT. I would have to wonder if his opinion on this has in fact changed.

    Comment by Swampfox — October 27, 2008 @ 12:18 pm - October 27, 2008

  6. ILC: I agree with Donnelly that Gen. Powell’s endorsement of Obama is disappointing, I myself cannot fathom how could do so, but that’s not all she said. I obviously strongly disagree with her continual championing of DADT, but that too was not what made her screed beyond the pale. It was her attempt to discredit the man’s service as a military leader because she thinks he may not share the same view as her. I don’t give a damn what his view on DADT is (which happens to be in favor of it last time I checked), there is no call for comments like that. He has served honorably and not even endorsing Obama takes a damn thing away from that. I am particularly unhappy that all of this is coming from a paid extremist shill who never wore the uniform herself and doesn’t have a damn clue what she is talking about. I don’t have to agree with the man to retain my respect for him since he has shown his mettle and contrary to Donnelly’s remarks, Powell remains a “credible leader of the military”.

    By all means, defend DADT and lay into Obama all you like but leave the man’s service alone.

    Comment by John — October 27, 2008 @ 12:19 pm - October 27, 2008

  7. It was her attempt to discredit the man’s service as a military leader

    Where has she done so? Where has she discredited Powell’s past service to the nation as a military leader?

    Let’s look again at the Donnelly quote you kindly provided:

    “If General Powell is not concerned about the consequences of repealing the law, he cannot be described as… the credible leader of the military that he used to be.”.

    Clearly, in her opinion, Powell “used to be” a credible and valid leader of the military. Thus, she acknowledges his service. Please note that Powell is, in fact, not *currently* serving the military in any post. She asserts wrongly that he is also not serving the military if he now supports DADT repeal / open gays. That is her wrong, wrong, wrong opinion. But, with the quote as you’ve given it, she in no way insults or discredits Powell’s military service (which happens to be past).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 1:00 pm - October 27, 2008

  8. But, with the quote as you’ve given it, she in no way insults or discredits Powell’s military service (which happens to be past).

    Yes, she does. It matters not what Powell’s view on DADT or Obama is, neither say anything about his service nor should someone who never even wore the uniform herself have even alluded to it. The support by Powell for repeal of DADT (I believe she’s incorrect with this claim) in no way discredits him as a military leader past, present or future. Donnelly clearly states that it does and that is out-of-bounds.

    Comment by John — October 27, 2008 @ 1:06 pm - October 27, 2008

  9. John, I guess we’re going to have to disagree about plain English. Donnelly’s remarks against Powell are present-tense. She carefully allows that yes, his military service to the nation – which, from her point of view, is now safely in the past – was honorable.

    This is the second part of her quote, that you might object to:

    “Either way, General Powell is letting down the men and women of our military.”

    Again, she uses the present tense – *is*. There is an implied sense of “now”, and a close tying of everything to DADT repeal / open gays. After giving great service to the nation, Powell *is now*, in her mistaken opinion, letting people down if he supports DADT repeal / open gays. That’s not beyond the pale; just horribly stupid. I don’t see any other way to read her remarks.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 1:12 pm - October 27, 2008

  10. (P.S. actually, present progressive tense)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 1:15 pm - October 27, 2008

  11. Again, she uses the present tense – *is*.

    OMG, are we really going to cover such Clintonian ground?!? Her meaning was clear enough and if such was not her intent than I suggest that she chooses her words more carefully in the future. FYI, the support for DADT that Donnelly incorrectly attributes to Powell has nothing to do with this so the sentence you quoted is irrelevant. She is free to claim that he has “let down” the men and women of the military, though God knoweth how she can given her complete ignorance of military service. Even if Powell supported repeal of DADT, this would in no way make him a discredited military leader as she states. He earned that through his sacrifice and service regardless of his views on DADT. She has no business making such a statement that maligns the man’s service.

    Comment by John — October 27, 2008 @ 2:01 pm - October 27, 2008

  12. Have to agree with John, Powell’s endorsement of Obama says nothing about his military credentials.

    As for Powell being a conservative, Powell was always a liberal to moderate Republican and was on the sh@tlist of the Religious Right for this.

    The problem the GOP faces is that independents and liberal/moderate Republicans don’t see a place for themselves in the party. That is a demographic doomsday scenario.

    Younger voters are more socially liberal in general. With the U.S. seeing increased non-white, Latino and Asian, population growth, the standard GOP use of racism to get out the vote, as seen in this and previous campaigns, is becoming a turn off. Witness the flight of Latino voters from the GOP after the Tancredo wing of the party took off.

    Comment by blakes — October 27, 2008 @ 4:17 pm - October 27, 2008

  13. Even if Powell supported repeal of DADT, this would in no way make him a discredited military leader as she states.

    Sorry, she doesn’t state that. She even injected a qualifying “If” – two times. No amount of claiming that present vs. past tense, a significant difference, is unimportant or Clintonian in English interpretation will alter that.

    I say, fighting the bitch effectively starts with representing her comments fairly enough that even she would have to agree with what you’ve represented.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 27, 2008 @ 10:48 pm - October 27, 2008

  14. Powell is still highly-respected? With all the backstabbing, leaking and sabotage he has engaged in? Even after he let people like Scooter Libby and Vice President Cheney twist in the wind for months knowing full well it was his deputy Armitage that leaked Plame’s identity?

    I agree that good people and good conservatives can support repeal of DADT, just not so sure I agree that Powell is good people.

    Comment by American Elephant — October 28, 2008 @ 5:29 am - October 28, 2008

  15. Well, since I’ve been off for a couple of days and this thread has essentially died I’ll just say that I disagree with the both of youz and leave it at that. ;-)

    Comment by John — October 30, 2008 @ 7:49 am - October 30, 2008

  16. In some ways, DADT has been a more consistent creator of Witch Hunts than the previous policy. I do think that rank-and-file outlook has changed, but there is great variability between commands, let alone services.

    As to Gen P’s “conservative” nature, he lost my respect when he echoed BHO’s sentiments on Islam. Speaking as a committer of the Sin of Lut, I see Islam – not just fundamentaist Islam – as a threat to the West’s traditions.

    Comment by Libertarian Homo — April 28, 2010 @ 8:50 pm - April 28, 2010

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