In yet another indication that the GOP is happy to be the party of old, southern, straight, white men, Senate Republicans today banded together — joined by Arkansas Democrats — to derail repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Although President Obama isn’t blameless in this debacle — the White House was MIA throughout the repeal process — the blame for today’s disappointing setback lies squarely with Republicans who are determined to obstruct everything they can, while biding time until the mid-term elections.
They have seriously miscalculated on this one. The American public overwhelmingly favors repeal, by as much as 80 percent in recent polls. Yet, this Congress failed to advance the defense authorization bill that contains repeal language. It’s a stunning outcome and one that young voters in particular won’t forget.
Arkansas Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor must be held accountable for their votes, too. But where are the voices of the so-called moderate Republicans? Some of the most prominent Republicans, along with military leaders and one federal judge, have said “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” constitutes unconstitutional discrimination. Yet not one of them had the courage to stand up to their party and do the right thing to end this odious law.
To make matters worse, the nation’s two gay conservative groups, GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans, released mindboggling statements pinning the blame on Sen. Harry Reid for allegedly failing to compromise.
“Sen. Reid failed to reach a compromise with Republicans and our military service members will need to wait until the November elections are over for the U.S. Senate to vote on a repeal,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin’s executive director. “This partisan arrogance is an example of why voters will be turning away from Democrats on Nov. 2.”
Well, let’s hope voters don’t turn to these Republicans for help in ending discrimination.
Not to be outdone, GOProud, which is becoming quite adept at bomb throwing, released a statement accusing Reid of killing “Don’t Ask” repeal.
“The defeat of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal lies solely with Harry Reid and the Democrat leadership. Harry Reid is playing political games with the lives of the brave gay men and women serving in our military. It’s clear now that Lady Gaga should have held her Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal rally in Nevada instead of Maine.”
This is delusional. Putting aside the deliberately obnoxious practice of referring to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Party,” this statement fails to address the Republicans’ unwillingness to advance anything on the president’s agenda. And ridiculing Lady Gaga, who has 7 million Twitter followers awaiting her every instruction, is naïve and further evidence that Republicans are woefully out of touch with young voters.
It will be those voters who will deliver the GOP its comeuppance. It won’t happen in November. And it might not happen in 2012. But the next generation is watching — and they’re pissed at John McCain and the rest of his merry band of dinosaurs playing games with the livelihoods of thousands of brave gay and lesbian service members.