The vast majority of the American people want the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy repealed. A majority of conservatives want it repealed. A soon-to-be-released Defense Department study finds U.S. servicemembers do not mind serving alongside gay soldiers. Admiral Mike Mullen wants DADT repealed. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants it repealed. So, naturally, Congressional Democrats are poised to turn tail and run from taking any kind of stand on the matter:
President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he wants to overturn the policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the armed forces. Advocates on both sides believed the issue had a chance of coming up in this month's post-election session of Congress. Now that looks unlikely.
Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it. With a repeal attached, and amid Republican complaints over the terms of the debate, the defense bill had failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle in the Senate in September.
Over at the American Prospect, Adam Serwer puts it pretty bluntly:
Look, if Democrats can't repeal a policy more than two thirds of the American people, including a majority of conservatives want gone then they can't expect people to vote for them.
We take you now live, to the scene of ever diminishing electoral expectations:
Republicans made significant inroads among gay and lesbian voters in the midterm elections, with national exit polls for the House races showing that the GOP captured 31 percent of the vote of this group this year, compared to 19 percent in 2008.
I think that GOP strategists are perfectly capable of understanding what "vast majority of the American people want DADT repealed" means. They are certainly capable of understanding what "31 percent of the LGBT vote" means. But if Democrats think that they can keep stringing along the LGBT community as a captive constituency for one more election cycle, then by all means, they should cave in to pressure and punt on DADT.
By the way, the "pressure" to not repeal DADT is coming from where, exactly?