The news today that all 42 Republican senators have agreed to block any legislation in the lame duck session unrelated to extending tax cuts to the mega-rich or funding the government lays bare the GOP’s real motive for opposing repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: bigotry.
Make no mistake that this latest stall tactic has nothing to do with the party’s interest in aiding the economy. It’s yet another smokescreen designed to take a gay rights issue off the table.
When Republicans opposed to repeal said they wanted to study the issue, President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates gave them the most exhaustive survey to date — hundreds of thousands of surveys sent to troops and even their family members. Never mind the issue has been studied to death, with at least 22 such reports issued since the law was enacted in 1993.
Now that the results of this latest study reveal that the overwhelming majority of those most directly impacted by repeal are OK with it, Republicans have switched their approach again. They claim time should be spent on extending tax cuts for their fat-cat donors and little else. One GOP House leader suggested punting the issue to the next Congress. But we all know what that means: No action for at least two years with Republicans in control of the House.
This is folly and blatant pandering to the far right wing that continues to control the party. There is no excuse for failing to do what most Americans want — and what the troops themselves have now endorsed — and repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
With this latest effort at blocking repeal, the GOP leadership is thoroughly unmasked for what it is: extremist, out of touch and deeply homophobic.