Tag Archives: gays in the military

The Long, Slow March

The news this week of President Obama finally “coming out of the closet” on same sex marriage seemed to frame the issue in very stark, partisan terms: Democrats good, Republicans bad.  It didn’t help that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney fired back with his opposition to gay marriage.

The GOP is not where the Dems are on this issue.  You can’t try to dress up that pig.  But it’s also important to remember that there is a slow, but building movement of folks in the GOP who support gay marriage.  And it’s also important to remember that one GOP Senator was instrumental in allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Change can come slowly, but change does happen.  It may seem pointless at times, but I think one day in the very near future, there will be a GOP candidate for president who will voice support for same sex marriage and no one will bat an eye.

Is that a silly thing to believe?  Stranger things have happened- like a President actually coming out in favor of same sex marriage.

The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

I’m sorry I didn’t get to this sooner: I was out of town overnight for a family celebration.  It’s is a great thing to say that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the ban on gays serving openly in the military is basically dead.  It’s another step in the march towards equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

Being a Republican, I do think thanks are in order for the six Republican Senators who voted for fairness, especially Maine Senator Susan Collins who worked hard to get the DADT repeal to come to a vote.

Twilight for John McCain, Revisisted

The blogger over at Opinions and More takes issue on my remark about John McCain turning into Jesse Helms:

Dennis Sanders is a blogger who usually posts things with whom I agree. But about a week ago he posted a piece in which he accused John McCain of becoming Jesse Helms. And I have to say I think this is unfair. The thing is gthat Dennis Sanders is gay, makes no secret about this, and, I think, has made the mistake of judging McCain on his stand on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. But McCain is a military man. He was a high-ranking Naval officer, and bears the name of his father and grandfather, both of whom were even higher-ranking Naval officers, and I think he views this issue from the vantage point of Naval tradition. Perhaps, considering that McCain’s predecessor as an Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater, took a more enlightened view of gay rights, McCain’s position is unfortunate, but I think that it is understandable, though it would be a good thing if he could change it. But to make McCain into another Helms is totally unfair.

I will admit that my saying McCain is another Helms was a hyperbole and I shouldn’t have said it.  That said, I don’t think  it is unfair to judge McCain because of his stance on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or should I say his changing stance.  You see, I think that’s what has upset a lot of folks: in 2006 he stated that if the military said that if the leadership of the military came forward and asked him to drop DADT, he would support it.  Earlier this year when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen came foward and DADT need to go, McCain wasn’t ready to support their move:

In response, McCain declared himself “disappointed” in the testimony. “At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” he said bluntly, before describing it as “imperfect but effective.”

Politifact notes that his stance on gays in the military is a “full flop” meaning he flip-flopped on the issue.

Maybe it’s wrong to consider McCain a full-fledged bigot or “anti-gay.”  That said, it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt, when he has basically changed his stripes on the issue.

I will say that I know a lot of gay folks who really respected McCain because he at least appeared to be somewhat supportive of gay folks.  While there are many who are thankful for people like Susan Collins, who have worked to repeal DADT, McCain was admired because he was a military man who was willing to consider repealing this law.  His shifting stance was seen as a betrayal and made a lot of gay Republicans and conservatives look like fools.

I also need to remind Bruce that there are gay men and women who already serve in the armed forces.  Shouldn’t they be respected and allowed to serve openly?  Do they matter?

I don’t think John McCain hates gay people.  But for whatever reason, he is supporting a law that I think is unfair, and sadly history will judge him as blocking equality.  That might not make him anti-gay, but it does make him less honorable in my book.

DADT Over For Now

Log Cabin Republicans explains:

Log Cabin Republicans are deeply disappointed by the Senate Majority Leader’s choice to invoke cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act without coming to an agreement on the amendment process, effectively locking Republicans out of the debate.

“There is no other way to describe it – today Senator Reid torpedoed repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Despite heroic efforts by Senator Susan Collins to craft a fair and reasonable process for debating one of the most important bills addressed by Congress every year, Senator Reid chose to turn his back on days of negotiation in favor of blaming Republicans for his failures. Today could have been a day of celebration for all Americans who support our servicemembers to serve both honorably and honestly. Instead, brave men and women will continue to serve under a failed and unconstitutional policy that has been firmly rejected by the American people, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Log Cabin Republicans are angered and disappointed, but we are fully committed to continuing the fight against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ by whatever means necessary. We are tremendously grateful to Senator Collins for her efforts, and look forward to the day when together we will see this statute erased. (Read on…)

Log Cabin, Collins, Reid and DADT

A Press release from Log Cabin Republicans on lifting the ban on gays and lesbians in the military:

 Log Cabin Republicans call upon the Senate Majority Leader to follow through on promises to bring the National Defense Authorization Act to the floor with enough time for a fair and reasonable debate.

“Several Republicans, including Senators Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski have made it clear that they are ready to support repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Now it is up to the Majority Leader to make that possible by dealing with the tax issue and moving swiftly to a debate on defense authorization,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Senator Susan Collins has presented the majority leader with a plan that is entirely reasonable, accepting the Majority Leader’s suggested number of amendments and simply asking for four days time to debate this complicated and consequential bill. There has been no response from the majority leader. “ Read on

Twilight for John McCain

I’ve tried to be somewhat  judicious in my criticism of John McCain’s transformation into Jesse Helms. That’s partially because I don’t see the value of getting mad at him and partially because I’ve always been a bit cautious of him.

That said, I think blogger Jonathan Rauch is correct when he says this:

Back in 2006, when John McCain was still John McCain, he said that the time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be when military leaders called for repeal. Then, when military leaders called for repeal, he demanded a full study of the consequences.

Now the study is done and the military leadership still wants repeal, and McCain has moved the goalposts. They need to think the matter over another year. Then we can talk.

PolitiFact.com excavates the record and rates McCain’s position a “full flip-flop.” What a shabby sunset to a great career. And what a sad comparison to the man whose Senate seat McCain occupies, a fellow named Barry Goldwater.

Indeed.  I can understand some of the subtle shifting of his policies when he was running for the presidency and for the GOP Senate primary earlier in the year.  I understand politics and how pols have to meld their positions to fit the electorate. 

But I he’s not running anymore.  Unless he plans on running again in 2016 for another Senate term, I  guess he is pretty safe in his seat.  So is he block the way of progress on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

It is sad and fascinating to see this transformation happen.  I don’t think we will know until after McCain dies why he has made these changes.

All told, it is a shabby end to a political career.  The sad thing is when he does pass from the scene, he won’t be remembered fondly by anyone.  Conservatives never trusted him and see him as a squish, and liberals and moderates will now see him as a “Judas,” a betrayer.

It’s sad to say that I’ve lost  respect for the man.

Moderate Republican Voters Want DADT Repealed

From Greg Sargent:

As you’ve heard by now, the fate of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rests in the hands of a few moderate Republican Senators. With Senator John McCain continuing to threaten a filibuster of DADT repeal, only support from a handful of moderates, such as Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Dick Lugar and possibly John Ensign, will be enough to make repeal a reality.

Maybe someone should tell these moderate GOP officials that according to the internals of the new Pew poll, moderate Republican rank-and-filers strongly favor DADT’s repeal. Indeed, the only group that opposes repeal are conservative Republicans.

The Pew poll finds that Republicans overall are closely divided on DADT repeal, 40-44. But the breakdown of Republicans is striking. It finds that “moderate” and “liberal” Republicans strongly favor repeal, 62-26. The only reason Republicans are closely divided at all is because conservative Republicans oppose it, 28-52.

This becomes even more pronounced when you factor in Republicans and Republican “leaners.” It turns out that this group favors repeal of DADT, 44-39. And the only subset of this group who oppose repeal are those who support the Tea Party: They are against repeal 38-48.

By the way, independents overall also strongly favor repeal, 62-23.

My hope is that enough moderate GOP voters write to those moderate Senators asking that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell go the way the dodo.

The Myth of John McCain

There was a time in my life when I loved John McCain.

I saw him as the bulwark against the rise of the far right in the Republican Party. I cheered his every move. His stand against the Bush Tax Cuts. His participation in the so called “Gang of 14.” His strong environmental record. He seemingly strong stand on gay rights.

And then, little by little, I started falling out of love with McCain. As 2008 drew near, he started changing his positions on issues. By 2008 he started to look like someone that had sold out for the GOP nomination.

I don’t really know how many times, I’ve heard people talk about how John McCain has changed and how they have grown to hate the Senator from Arizona. The media, which really fell hard for McCain in 2000, has turned against him and can’t wait for a moment to report the latest infraction. In the eyes of many, John McCain sold his soul and many of his former followers are saying “good riddance.”

But did we really know who John McCain was? Did we see a few actions and imagined that he had to be “just like us” only find out that he wasn’t? Did John McCain really change? Continue reading

Military Recruiters Can Accept Openly Gay Applicants

This is a good sign:

The Pentagon has advised recruiting commands that they can accept openly gay and lesbian recruit candidates, given the recent federal court decision that bars the military from expelling openly gay service members, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The guidance from the Personnel and Readiness office was sent to recruiting commands on Friday, according to spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

The recruiters were told that if a candidate admits he or she is openly gay, and qualify under normal recruiting guidelines, their application can be processed. Recruiters are not allowed to ask candidates if they are gay as part of the application process.

The notice also reminded recruiters that they have to “manage expectations” of applicants by informing them that a reversal of the court decision might occur, whereby the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy could be reinstated, Smith said.