Republicans Refuse To Listen To The American People On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
May 25, 2010 12:23 pm ET by Matt Finkelstein
Yesterday, the White House gave its backing to a proposal to end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy this year. The plan would allow Congress to take up a repeal bill "as soon as this week," but changes would not take effect until after the Pentagon completes an official review of the policy.
As one would expect, congressional Republicans are indicating that they will fight to keep DADT in place. For example, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) complained this morning that Democrats are trying to "jam through" a new policy. Meanwhile, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) "promised unified GOP opposition to lifting the ban."
"The American people don't want the military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda," Pence said.
However, conservative lawmakers may want to reconsider their opposition. A new poll released today shows that an overwhelming majority of the public supports every American's right to serve his or her country:
Most Americans say people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.
"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."
Republican politicians, especially in the House, have spent a lot of time lately insisting that they -- and not Democrats -- are "listening" to the American people. Indeed, the party's just-launched "America Speaking Out" website is based on exactly that premise.
When it comes to DADT, the American people have spoken loud and clear. Will Republicans actually listen?