Donnelly: Obama Should Uphold Law on 'Don't Ask'

Thursday, 28 Jan 2010 12:07 AM

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President Barack Obama is expected to push for acceptance of professed gays in the military, a goal that can only be achieved legally by passage of a new “LGBT Law” for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders in the armed forces. In response, the Center for Military Readiness predicted that the effort would fail for three basic reasons:
  • Members of Congress are becoming aware that repeal of the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible for military service, usually mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” would undermine recruiting, retention, and readiness in our military. More than 1,160 retired Flag & General Officers for the Military have personally signed a statement supporting the 1993 law (Section 654, Title 10), and expressing concerns about consequences of repeal that would “break the All-Volunteer Force.”
  • A decision by the Commander-in-Chief to violate his oath of office by suspending enforcement of the law would alienate members of Congress and break faith with the troops he leads.
  • Political dynamics of the issue could develop in ways similar to 1994, when Republicans regained majority control of Congress, and no GOP incumbents were defeated.

CMR President Elaine Donnelly noted that even if President Obama keeps pushing for a new LGBT Law for the military, some members of Congress may be more concerned about lessons learned in the recent Massachusetts special election, as well as in 1994. Said Donnelly, “Voters are concerned about national security, and they don’t want America’s military to be used for any purpose other than national defense.”
  • In 1994, a survey done for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) by Stanley Greenberg, President Clinton’s own pollster, indicated the second most important factor that shifted control of Congress to the Republicans in the 1994 mid-term election was President Bill Clinton’s 1993 push for gays in the military.
  • That finding was reported by Dan Balz in a November 14, 1994, Washington Post article titled “Health Plan Was Albatross for Democrats: Big Government Label Hurt Party, Poll Finds.” Greenburg found that 54% of 1,250 voters surveyed named the Health Care Task Force issue as the number one reason they cast a “vote of dissatisfaction” in the leadership of Clinton and the Democrats controlling Congress in 1993. Greenberg also identified a second issue, called “cultural liberalism,” which was cited by 51% of respondents and symbolized by Bill Clinton’s failed 1993 campaign for homosexuals in the military.
  • Greenberg’s survey was significant because gays-in-the-military was not even an issue in the 1994 elections. Congress had already settled the issue in 1993, and bipartisan veto-proof majorities had approved current law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military. The voters punished Democrats anyway, due to a lingering impression of what Greenberg called “cultural liberalism.” Those concerns could emerge again if President Obama and LGBT Left liberals in Congress insist on votes for gays in the military.

In 2010, the Massachusetts special election detected public opposition to similar issues involving what is usually called “political correctness in the military.” In an article titled “It’s the Enemy, Stupid,” Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online quoted Senator-elect Scott Brown’s top strategist, Eric Fehrnstrom, who said that the campaign’s internal polling showed “terrorism and the treatment of enemy combatants” to be an even bigger issue than health care.

Said Donnelly, “Liberals and Blue Dog Democrats can dismiss the national security message sent by Massachusetts, as well as Stanley Greenburg’s post-1994-election analysis, but they would do so with political risk.”

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