DADT dead-enders just can’t help themselves

DADT DEAD-ENDERS JUST CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES…. About four months after the repeal of the indefensible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, a disturbing number of Republicans remain determined to repeal the repeal.

Most of the highest-profile talk has come at the national level, with three likely GOP presidential candidates — Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Mike Huckabee — vowing to bring back the discriminatory policy if they were to run and win.

But House Republicans haven’t forgotten about the issue, either.

The military’s repeal of its longstanding “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is not facing resistance from troops and is on track to take full effect this fall as planned, top commanders told a House committee on Friday.

Clifford Stanley, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel that the military has trained 9 percent of its forces over the past month without any resistance to the new policy. He said he expects to complete training of all forces by this summer, which means the military can repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” sometime this fall, as planned.

“It has gone extremely well so far,” Stanley told the panel.

Needless to say, this isn’t at all what Republicans wanted to hear. GOP members on the panel kept pressing the Pentagon leaders, looking for anything they could exploit. The right came up empty — troops aren’t quitting, service members aren’t complaining, and dire Republican warnings haven’t come to fruition.

Apparently, though, old prejudices die hard. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) suggested gay and lesbian service members who were discharged under DADT probably violated other standards of conduct, apparently working under the assumption that gays and lesbians must be troublemakers, even if they’re in the closet.

Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney tried to explain to Scott that this was simply wrong, and even shared an anecdote in which he dismissed an officer, simply because the officer had told his chaplain that he was gay.

“He did not violate your standard of conduct?” Scott asked.

“No, sir,” Gortney replied.

“That’s not the answer I thought you would give,” Scott said.

To which Gortney said quickly: “It happens to be the truth.”

Don’t bother Republicans with the truth; they have a culture war to fight.

Honestly, these pointless vanity exercises aren’t doing Republicans any favors. For one thing, the DADT fight is over; Americans support repeal; and there’s nothing the GOP can do to bring the old policy just coming back. It’s time to move on.

For another, Republicans aren’t exactly going to impress voters with this nonsense. What has the GOP House been working on lately? Let’s see, the new majority has wasted time on health care bills they know they can’t pass, abortion bills they know they can’t pass, climate bills they know they can’t pass, and budget bills they know they can’t pass. They’ve also invested considerable energy in recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty, going after NPR, holding a hearing on promoting “In God We Trust,” and now exploring how they can repeal the repeal of DADT.

This may not be what voters had in mind last November, but this is what they got.