DADT dead-enders just can’t help themselves

Remember back in December, when the political fight over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ended? Six months later, it appears many Republicans still haven’t come to terms with the fact that they lost.

Since taking over in January, House Republicans have tried unsuccessfully to stall or derail the military’s plans to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.

Their latest effort, which comes to the House floor next week as a series of amendments to the annual defense policy bill, is likely to flop as well. Even though the bill as amended is likely to pass, the process of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is moving faster than lawmakers’ efforts to thwart it.

The GOP amendments aren’t likely to get a welcome reception in the Democratic-controlled Senate. And even if they do, the Defense Department is moving toward completing the process of training troops for the change and certifying its readiness by mid-summer. The defense policy bill isn’t usually finalized until the end of September, or later.

I’m not sure whether to be annoyed with these efforts or to feel pity for right-wing lawmakers who can’t let this go. The fact that these GOP culture warriors are pursuing this, knowing full well that their crusade will fail, makes it that much more ridiculous.

For that matter, it’s far from clear who these guys are trying to impress. It’s not like there’s been widespread clamoring on Fox News or talk radio about why Republicans aren’t doing more to fight the end of DADT. The vast majority of GOP activists have moved on to other issues.

Maybe it’s time for Republicans to do the same thing? The political fight is over, and reason won. Implementation continues apace; polls show Americans supporting the DADT policy’s demise, and there’s nothing the GOP can do to bring the old policy from coming back.

Let it go.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.