As has been noted by virtually everyone now, John McCain in 2010 is not the John McCain of 2006. And that might be the reason for his white-hot rage at the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both of whom endorsed an end to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy today. Long-time McCain aides couldn't point me to a specific incident when McCain changed his mind. And he did change his mind -- or so it seemed.
And I understand the opposition to it, and I've had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.
That's not unclear. Given today's developments, it would seem as if McCain should support the DADT repeal. He does not. Brooke Buchanan, a spokesperson, said that "there is no change to the senator's position. He is against repeal." Buchanan said that McCain wanted to wait and see the results of the one-year commission before deciding whether to reconsider his own position. McCain seemed a bit chagrined that Mullen, with whom he has a good working relationship, Buchanan said, testified about his own personal opinion, and not the opinions of the armed forces. (Indeed, at least one top Marine general James Conway opposes repeal.)
Still, McCain seemed quite angry today. Theory one is that he's worried that J.D. Hayworth will use it against him in the primaries. Theory two is that McCain has come to believe that Gates and Mullen undercut Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus at key moments during the Afghanistan debate. (Buchanan said this theory is absurd.) Theory three is that McCain, who, has, in private, expressed disdain at his party's anti-gay stances, has changed his mind and now has a different view of homosexuality.