Not Acting Presidential

This lovefest for Democrats and their progressive rebuke of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” is fascinating:

The presidential candidates are dividing starkly along party lines on one of the signature fights of the 1990s: whether the 14-year-old policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be repealed and gay men and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military.

In back-to-back debates in New Hampshire this week, every Democratic candidate raised his or her hand in support of repealing that policy, while not a single Republican embraced the idea. Democrats argued with striking unanimity that it was time to end the uneasy compromise that President Bill Clinton reached in 1993, after his attempt to lift the ban on gay men and lesbians in the military provoked one of the most wrenching fights of his young administration.

Right. Allow me to quote Kip:

… If Biden, Dodd, Obama and Clinton are all so yippee-ki-yay to abolish this abomination, then why haven’t any of them actually introduced a bill in the Senate to do so? Recall that the House version already exists (although it is languishing in committee) — all any Senator has to do is introduce the same text. …

That’s obvious, and as Kip also points out, Sen. Clinton is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where such a bill would begin. So why exactly should those of us who think that members of our military should be judged solely on their conduct be happy about this?

Geoffrey Garin, a Democratic pollster who also works for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, argues, “Iraq and the war on terror have created a whole new narrative around the issue of gays serving in the military.” Advocates of changing the policy increasingly argue that it is costing the military talent and manpower it badly needs.

On the other hand, there are political risks, which Republican candidates hinted at this week. If the Democrats emphasized the issue, even in their primaries, it could seem a distraction from issues that are more important to most Americans, including the war, gasoline prices and health care, said David Winston, a Republican pollster. Beyond that, in the view of some Republicans, the issue feeds into the criticism that surfaced in the early 1990s — that the military should not be a laboratory for social engineering.

Why should I vote for a Democratic candidate who can’t figure out that a narrative explaining why booting translators, who are in short supply, from the military during a war in which those skills are most needed is the perfect, impenetrable argument against such nonsense that the war demands institutionalized bigotry? If they can’t understand that, they are idiots incapable of formulating any strategy more complex than basic pandering. If they understand it, they are cowards afraid to challenge stupidity. I’ll vote for neither.

Post Script: Mitt Romney believes that now is not the time to repeal “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” because we should not undertake a “social experiment” in a time of war. First, as currently defined, that war is permanent. Quite the convenient catch-22. Second, Romney believes that equality under the law is a “social experiment.” I don’t know which point makes him more unfit to be president.