DADT Hot Button
Andrew Sullivan continues to fight back against my assertions that gays in the military is a hot button issue in much of the country.
He correctly pointed out recent polling shows that “78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.” I retorted that, while that may be, the politics of gays in the military are such that proponents of the status quo seem to be more passionate and politically powerful.
He rejoins that it’s not 1993 anymore and “Most Americans rightly see this is unfair discrimination that we can ill afford in wartime.”
We seem to be talking past each other here. We agree that it’s not 1993 and that an overwhelming majority of Americans at least intellectually support that idea of letting gays serve. And, indeed, we both agree that gays ought to be able to openly serve.
The only thing I’m asserting here is that the politics of this aren’t playing out as a 78-22 slam dunk. Obama and Congress worked out a gays in the military compromise, carefully walking around some of the touchstones. The Joint Chiefs have written strong letters urging Congress to wait on repeal. Republicans threatened to filibuster, forcing a compromise on the compromise. If that’s not evidence that this is a “hot button” issue, I don’t know what it would take.
I continue to think — as I stated in the post that started this discussion — that “it’s going to be very difficult to mount a credible argument opposing lifting the ban once the Pentagon certifies — which it almost certainly will — that doing so will not harm morale or be prejudicial to good order and discipline in the military.” There will be some angry words spoken and some attempts, led by Senators from the South and rural America, to delay. But it’ll almost certainly pass in the end.