Saturday, January 30, 2010

John McCain and Don't Ask, Don't Tell

A decade ago, Arizona Republican John McCain was the Log Cabin Republicans' favored candidate for president. Given his support of Steve May, a Arizona Republican legislator drummed out of the National Guard for being honestly gay, McCain seemed to be the only Republican candidate open to overturning Bill Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy requiring gays and lesbians to be secretive, even dishonest, about their sexuality.

The Log Cabin picture of McCain as a supporter of LGBT service members never quite jived with the candidate's public statements, however. The cartoon above contrasts two of McCain's statements in 2000 Republican presidential candidate debates: one clearly supporting Don't Ask, Don't Tell; and the other hinting ever so obliquely that the policy doesn't work.

In 2008, candidate McCain forcefully supported Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and now he's the media's go-to guy for defending the policy. He keeps saying that the policy is working, but it's hard to see how. The U.S. military has lost the talent pool of dozens of Arabic translators, medics, foot soldiers, seamen and airmen over the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan countries for no better reason than that these service members refuse to live a lie.

(Meanwhile, two shocking examples of heterosexuals engaging in perverse shenanigans at Abu Ghraib and the American embassy in Kabul -- and documenting their exploits by posting photographs on the internet -- leaves one wondering just how much worse McCain thinks the damage gay and lesbian service members would inflict would be.)

Exactly how is Don't Ask, Don't Tell working, Senator? Replacing a flat tire with the emergency spare in most modern cars "works" ... but not for long.

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