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Got to admit it's getting better...

According to the Post's latest poll, 75% of Americans think gays should be able to serve openly in the military. Even in the Senate, that's enough to get something done. And maybe more encouragingly, that number is up 13% from 2001, and 31% from 1993.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 12, 2010; 7:52 AM ET
 
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Comments

If the GOP allows gays to serve openly, it will only be so they can use it as an issue in future elections.

Some polls suggest upwards of 70% of Americans want health care reform, yet that didn't compel conservative Senators to get anything done.

Posted by: Lomillialor | February 12, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with the other 25%?

Posted by: adamiani | February 12, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

as i recall, with the way the Senate is set up, can't Senators representated by something like 10% of the population block any changes?

Also, I think Dems need to work hard to frame this issue NOT as about gay rights (when it polls much lower) but about the needs of the military. Being in two wars we can't afford to lose a single qualified abled-body man or woman, etc.

(OR they should just show that clip from the West Wing where the black Chairman of the Joints Chief Fitzwallace compares objections to gays in the military and disrupting the unit to the same objections made against blacks in the military sixty years ago. The arguments are hilariously identical.)

Posted by: Levijohn | February 12, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Technically, many of them already are serving openly. Their service is a matter of public record. It's only their gayness that's in the closet.

I've seen in-your-face gay activism in the workplace. I feel sorry for anybody in the military who's made to feel uncomfortable as a result of this, finding themselves contractually unable to walk away from it. I realize this does not describe the agenda of most gay people who want to serve, but only a few isolated examples can make a *lot* of people living in very close quarters uncomfortable.

Posted by: cpurick | February 12, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Also, I think Dems need to work hard to frame this issue NOT as about gay rights (when it polls much lower) but about the needs of the military. Being in two wars we can't afford to lose a single qualified abled-body man or woman, etc." Posted by: Levijohn

That's exactly right. Until this latest economic disaster, the army in particular was having difficulty meeting recruitment needs, and there are a lot of talented people in the gay community who can fill some of the spots. At the same time, a lot of thought needs to be put into integrating gay people into the military structure. The problems cannot be ignored.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@bgmma50: "At the same time, a lot of thought needs to be put into integrating gay people into the military structure. The problems cannot be ignored."

All they have to do is live by the same rules. If they violate military structure/regulations/protocol, they get in trouble. I don't think it's any more complicated than that. Whatever people are afraid of regarding homosexuals in the military, I can't think of anything--sexual harassment, shooting gay porno movies in Iraq--that wouldn't be against the rules, anyhow.

However, they could just modify the current rules. Instead of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", they could make it "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and If You Tell We Didn't Hear You, Don't Tell Us Again, Okay? You Told Us One More Time But If You Tell Us Four Times Then That's It, Okay? La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la We Can't Hear You!"

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"All they have to do is live by the same rules. If they violate military structure/regulations/protocol, they get in trouble. I don't think it's any more complicated than that."

Where sexual issues are concerned, it's alwasys more complicated. And homophobia is more difficult to deal with, in my opinion, than racism and sexism. But it's still worthwhile. We can't afford to ignore the skills and talents of 10% of our population.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Why Doesn't Obama try to take care of this with an executive order? The polling is on his side, where as it was not, so much, when Clinton tried.

Obama seems to have been timid with the executive orders. He's had plenty, but a lot of them were amending previous executive orders or doing stuff like "Establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls" or "Waiver Under the Trade Act of 1974 With Respect to the Republic of Belarus". I'm sure these are important things, as is Executive Order 13513, "Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving". But I think he could be a little more aggressive. Executive orders is where an ideological president can show leadership, draw lines in the sand, and fight for his agenda. Admittedly, I'm not an Obama fan, but it seems to me that Obama's central agenda is that Obama is Totally Awesome and Everybody Else is Mean.

On a completely different point, one of his Executive Orders dealt with adjustments (re: increases) to certain rates of pay.

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-31098.pdf

Fun to read how much these people get paid. Most of the salaries seem pretty fair, and it certainly explains why so many in government think people who make over $250,000 are rich--because most of them make between $100k and $200k. And they aren't rich! Not off that money, anyway.

The Chief Justice makes $10,000 a year more than the Associate Justices. You rock, John Roberts!

The Vice-President makes $230,700 per year. The Speaker of the House makes $223,500 per year. Anyone think it's a coincidence that $250k is the level that's defined as "really rich and we gotta tax those guys".

In the abstract, I'm fine with slashing taxes on folks who make less than $100k a year--a group which I'm most definitely in--and raising taxes on everybody who makes more. Because not only do I not make $100k per year or more, it seems unlikely that I will at any point in the future. I'll be lucky if my household income ever amounts to that much (I'm 40 years old, and even with both and my wife and I worked full time, it never amounted to more than $79k, and that was, like, once). So I think people who make over $90,000 a year are rich. Tax those robber-barons!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"Where sexual issues are concerned, it's alwasys more complicated."

What about "Separate But Equal"? Or a special He-Man Unit where those that are a'scairt of homoshexuals could choose to serve.

Or just let things sort out themselves. Instead of "don't ask, don't tell" we could just try "don't ask, don't care".

In the end, you can't tell me that the most disruptive homosexual would be .00001% as bad as Major Nidal Hasan, who, though we didn't ask, freely told us he was sympathetic with Al Queda and was, basically, a terrorist. That was okay, but a man or woman who prefers their romantic liaisons with the same sex is a problem?

Our military is fine shape, people. Fine shape. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 12, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"What about "Separate But Equal"? Or a special He-Man Unit where those that are a'scairt of homoshexuals could choose to serve."

Nah. A little bit more diversity training might do the trick though. But not the sort of diversity training that results in a Major Nidal Hassan.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 12, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush, belatedly, got tough on spending increases. For FY 2009, though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office.

At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets. And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets.That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is:

I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.


Posted by: redhawk2 | February 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"I've seen in-your-face gay activism in the workplace. I feel sorry for anybody in the military who's made to feel uncomfortable as a result of this, finding themselves contractually unable to walk away from it."

Yes, when you're contractually obligated to be sent off for months at a time to fight people who, unencumbered by any laws, are trying to kill you, the thing that makes you most uncomfortable is the in-your-face gay activism being wrought by fellow soldiers bound by the same rules as you who are working with you to keep your unit safe.

Posted by: dpurp | February 12, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

levijohn wrote: >>they should just show that clip from the West Wing where the black Chairman of the Joints Chief [sic]compares objections to gays in the military and disrupting the unit to the same objections made against blacks in the military sixty years ago. The arguments are hilariously identical.)<<

In my view, the main problem with allowing professed or openly-practicing homosexuals in the military is that it would corrode morale and unit cohesion by increasing the incidence of sexual harassment, sexual favoritism, and suspicion of same. What *hilarious* parallel to that is there amongst the arguments once made against racial integration in the military?

Posted by: wumhenry | February 12, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"when you're contractually obligated to be sent off for months at a time to fight people who, unencumbered by any laws, are trying to kill you, the thing that makes you most uncomfortable is the in-your-face gay activism"

This is such a mischaracterization of what I said that it almost isn't worth a response.

The military is a full-time occupation, war or not, and you can't walk away from it. "Don't ask, don't tell" is far and away the most successful standard of conduct in the "real" world -- where people do have the option of walking away from jobs or situations that make them uncomfortable. People everywhere who just want to get the job done, and who don't want anybody on either side to be uncomfortable, live and work every day by "don't ask, don't tell."

I hear a lot of, well, garbage, from liberals who keep saying that gays are somehow excluded from the military. That is simply not the case (and never has been). Gays have served more openly, for decades, than you could imagine. Gay witch-hunting died a natural death years before "don't ask, don't tell."

Any allusions to gays who are somehow excluded from military service by "don't ask don't tell" refer to people who would rather "act gay" than be in the military. They choose "telling" over serving. That is their choice. Neither nature or nurture, it's just *conduct*.

Now, considering that nobody who is in the military can walk away voluntarily, what happens to the environment when one person decides to start "telling" -- loudly? Suppose it offends some rather traditional people -- what are they to do? If they complain, are they going to be guilty of discrimination? Because I'm thinking that's where this is heading.

Posted by: cpurick | February 13, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"If they complain, are they going to be guilty of discrimination? Because I'm thinking that's where this is heading."

Yup. That's what I meant when I said that the sort of diversity training that led to a Major Nidal Hassan won't do. It's one thing to teach and enforce tolerance of people who are minding their own business and confining their preferences to other consenting adults in the privacy of the bedroom. It's quite another to stifle the reporting and disciplining of conduct that violates "military structure/regulations/protocol".


Posted by: bgmma50 | February 13, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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