My party has not covered itself in glory in the way it has handled repeal of the Clinton-era Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. Instead of considering repeal on the merits, all too many Republicans have opposed repeal not, in most cases, because of animus against homosexuals, but in order to throw a bone to social conservatives who want some assurance that Republicans are paying attention to them.
Democrats, on the other hand, have been trying to kick the can down the road, avoiding a vote so as not to risk offending those big-government social conservatives in their own (shrinking) coalition. They had hoped that the slavish support they receive from such lickspittle organizations like HRC would help them hold the gay vote, but they didn’t count on the failure of gay left bloggers to toe the party line.
Leftie bloggrs like Pam Spaulding and John Aravosis continued to speak out against legislative inaction on repeal, even threatening a boycott. In response to their threats to boycott the DNC, congressional Democrats finally acted. But, since his party was going about playing base politics, Senate Majority Harry Reid, now sliding in the polls, decided to throw a bone to another interest group, by tacking the DREAM Act onto the “defense legislation that includes the repeal.”
Now, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) who backs repeal joining the Republican filibuster, “because Democrats wouldn’t allow the Republicans sufficient leeway to offer amendments“, it looks like repeal won’t be possible before the November elections.
Both parties have failed on this issue. Reid should have not kept delaying a vote, allowing the issue to become further politicized. Republicans should not paid more attention to conservative arguments for repeal, many based on the numerous studies showing that allowing gay people to serve openly would not compromise unit cohesiveness nor military readiness. Instead all too many rushed to flash some silly credential to social conservatives, ever in need of validation. (more…)