The troops don’t mind, either

THE TROOPS DON’T MIND, EITHER…. During his discussion with bloggers at the White House this week, President Obama was asked about the future of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay asked, “Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to…” and the president interrupted to say, “Yes.”

Pressed for some details, Obama added, “I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy … and my hope is that will culminate in getting this thing overturned before the end of the year.” The president went on to say with just a couple of GOP votes to overcome the Republican filibuster, “this is done.”

And by “this,” I think the president meant ending DADT entirely.

I have no idea what strategy the White House has in mind, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this had something to do with it.

A majority of active-duty and reserve service members surveyed by the Defense Department would not object to serving and living alongside openly gay troops, according to multiple people familiar with the findings.

The survey’s results are expected to be included in a Pentagon report, due to President Obama on Dec. 1, regarding how the military would end enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bans openly gay men and lesbians from serving in uniform.

Not surprisingly, the results were not unanimous, and some servicemen and women — many of whom almost certainly already serve alongside gay colleagues– would rather quit than be part of an armed services with openly-gay volunteers. According to the reports, though, these anti-gay troops were in the minority.

The significance of the report, still a month away from release, relates strongly to the debate in the Senate. Several weeks ago, Republicans, led by the strongly anti-gay John McCain, blocked funding for the troops because of a provision that could lead to DADT’s repeal. To hear Republicans tell it, Congress couldn’t possibly move on this before first reading the results of the Pentagon’s poll of 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops, as well as 150,000 family members.

The idea, I suspect, is to bring the defense authorization bill back to the floor in the lame-duck session, after Dec. 1, so McCain and his cohorts will have their main talking point taken away. At that point, a majority of the troops, a majority of American civilians, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and two of his recent predecessors will all be saying the exact same thing: it’s time to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

And at that point, McCain and other anti-gay senators will come up with some new rationale, and depending on how things turn out in the Senate races in Illinois and Delaware, Dems will have to struggle even more to find GOP votes to overcome the filibuster.