Butters vs Gays

Lindsey Graham's opposition to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is not very surprising. Not asking and not telling about sexual orientation is, after all, as central pillar of his own public identity as it is for Elena Kagan. But his smug dismissiveness toward a profound social and civil rights issue is illuminating:

"This is a political promise made by Senator Obama when he was running for president. There is no groundswell of opposition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell coming from our military. This is all politics. I don't believe there is anywhere near the votes to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. On the Republican side, I think we will be united in the lame duck [session] and the study I would be looking for is asking military members: Should it be repealed, not how to implement it once you as a politician decide to repeal it. So I think in a lame duck setting Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not going anywhere."

We should wait for the study, which asked open-ended questions of servicemembers about their views on the matter. But notice that he was echoed almost verbatim by McCain this morning:

“There was no uprising in the military. There were no problems in the military with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ... It’s called ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ OK? If you don’t ask them, you don’t ask somebody, and they don’t tell.”

(This, of course, is untrue, as blatant violations of this have been documented.) Notice too that Butters reduces this question to a campaign promise - as if a clear promise by a president who won a landlside victory is of no consequence whatever to Senate poobahs like him. Notice also that his criterion for such a change is a "groundswell" in the military. But the civilian branch controls the military and decides its policies - not the other way around. The House of Representatives, the commander-in-chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the defense secretary and a hefty majority of Americans in most polls all want the change. Who does Graham think he is to dismiss all of this with a "not going anywhere" back of the hand?

Recall that Graham, not so very long ago, was regarded as one of the more centrist and reasonable Republicans. The degeneracy of that party is well illustrated by his and his buddy McCain's evolution.