If you ever feel like the Right is getting a little too friendly towards Obama, Human Events’ mailing list (which it rents out to other right-wing groups) will quickly dispel that notion. The latest item to come over that wire is an email from ExposeObama.com that claims Obama will destroy the military by letting gays serve openly. “You can STOP this unholy alliance between Barack Hussein Obama, those who hate America and our men and women in uniform, and the radical homosexual movement,” ExposeObama claims, if you are willing to send spam faxes to the Republican and Democratic congressional leadership.
Aside from the homophobia, the most pathetic thing about this email is how ineffective it is likely to be. The country has changed a lot since the early 1990’s, when Bill Clinton faced a political firestorm over the issue of gays in the military. Today, a policy that costs the US military 4,000 troops a year just isn’t that popular. Three-quarters of Americans, including 64 percent of Republicans and a majority of evangelicals, support allowing gays to serve openly. That’s one reason, as Kevin noted last week, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs could say this:
Questioner: Is the new administration going to get rid of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy?
Gibbs: Thaddeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s yes.
So ExposeObama is right about one thing: Obama is going to allow gays to serve openly in the military. But the rest of the email just highlights how out of touch with today’s America the far Right really is. Towards the end, ExposeObama quotes Colin Powell, who “perhaps said it best” in a “1993 letter to then-Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder”:
Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument.
But today, even Powell thinks the policy should be reviewed. In December, he told Fareed Zakaria, “We definitely should re-evaluate [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell]. It’s been 15 years, attitudes have changed. This is not 1993, this is 2008. We should review the law.”
Part of ExposeObama’s argument against DADT’s repeal is their theory that homophobic soldiers will not reenlist, thereby causing a huge outflow of gay-haters from the military. As Mother Jones has noted before, there are certainly some homophobes in the military. But they’re a minority. Most service members will learn to deal with being around openly gay people at work—they’d probably have to do so in the private sector, too. And as Ezra Klein points out, we can’t let the blackmail of closeted people in the military continue. “DADT makes no more sense than a straight ban,” Klein writes. He’s right.