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Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Tim Pawlenty: DADT dead-ender all the way

By Adam Serwer

Yesterday in Iowa, Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) told the Center for American Progress's Igor Volsky that he is so opposed to the repeal of don't ask don't tell that he would be willing to defund it:

PAWLENTY: We have to pay great deference, I think, to those combat units, their sentiments and their leaders. That's one of the reasons why I said we shouldn't have repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell and I would support reinstatement.

TP: And rescinding the funds for implementation, implementation of repeal?

PAWLENTY: That would be a reasonable step as well.

Either Pawlenty sincerely believes, against all available empirical and real world evidence, that DADT repeal will harm military effectiveness and that it must urgently be reinstated, or he's just trying to signal disdain for gays and lesbians, including those willing to give their lives in service to their country, to homophobes in the Republican base. Possibly both. 

Pawlenty seems to have mistaken DADT for the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, most Republicans actually supported repeal, so unlike the ACA, DADT isn't a gaping emotional wound that needs to be treated. Pawlenty first voiced support for reinstating DADT on the radio show of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, who believes sex between gays and lesbians is a form of "domestic terrorism" and wants to ban Muslims from serving in the U.S. military.

A Pawlenty spokesperson tried to hide behind the military leadership in a statement to Politico's Ben Smith, clarifying that Pawlenty does not "support using resources to implement a policy" the "commanding generals" oppose. But with the exception of Marine Commandant General James Amos, the opinions of the service chiefs were mixed, and absolutely none of them have endorsed reinstating DADT, which is what Pawlenty is proposing. Repealing repeal would be a logistical nightmare for the military, and it's unlikely the service chiefs want to spend the next few years refighting DADT repeal.

Pawlenty also seems to have gotten the whole "civilian control of the military" thing backwards. Given that servicemembers and military leadership were far more opposed to racial integration in the 1940s than they are to repealing DADT today someone should ask Pawlenty whether he thought Harry Truman was wrong to order integration of the military in 1948.

More disturbing than Pawlenty's unworkable proposal for reinstating DADT or defunding repeal is that even in 2012, a Republican primary candidate might feel it necessary offer disdain for gays and lesbians as a selling point. Ultimately, though, it feels a little desperate, a way for a relatively bland candidate to distinguish himself from his more colorful rivals. The message was presumably received by Iowa's heavily evangelical Republican caucus voters; we'll find out soon enough how impressed they were.

By Adam Serwer  | February 8, 2011; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  2012, gay rights  
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Comments

Oh my. someone with the nerve to speak out in America and say things in opposition to the liberal agenda. What is the world coming to? Can you imagine this? A conservative who not only opposes the liberal/gay agenda but has the temerity to say so, gasp!!!!, on the record.

I just don't know how thin skinned folks like Mr Serwer will survive in these troubling times. Life, no doubt, was far easier when PC speech codes were more strigently enforced.

Frankly it is just amazing that with all that is going on in the world, Mr Serwer joins the undies in a wad squad about this. I guess Ms Rubin didn't have story lines today. I'll ask her to step up production for Adam's sake.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Wow someone is standing up against the liberal agenda and declining morality in America. It will probably not help his career but perhaps he cares more about what is right.

In reference to the word homophobe: If it means we are afraid of deviant perverts it does not apply to most of us and is grossly negligently applied. We are disgusted not afraid...two different things.

And the comparison to racial struggle really grinds my gears. I am not a minority but if I was I would be offended by the way the liberals make this comparison. Call us bigots because we find something morally reprehensible? Really? Is saying gay men have sex with other men a stereotype...sounds more like fact to me but feel free to correct me.

Posted by: moralsailor1 | February 8, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

His comments strike me as a play on theme of Washington being out of touch. The combat units know better than the paper-pushers at the Pentagon .. or something like that.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 8, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how the helps T-Paw. The majority of republicans supported repeal. This antic won't help him get their votes. It will appeal to the base, but there aren't enough of them to elect him.

In any case, T-Paw now owns this position, and it could very well haunt him should he be the nominee.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 8, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Seriously skip and moralsailor?

Adam doesn't call for censorship or anything resembling that. He merely counters Pawlenty's argument, pointing out how his words are carefully crafted to elude the clutches of the evil Pentagon poll.

Moral, your last sentence is laugable, the stereotype isn't that homosexual men want to have sex with other men, it's that they are unable to control the sexual urges and, by implication, follow orders.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 8, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"perhaps he cares more about what is right."

Right Forrest! You fear, bigotry, and hatred have totally eaten your brain cells.

Pawlenty is just another Newt Gingrich.
Pathetic pandering Pols who would sell their souls to the devil to become President. Gingrich and Pawlenty are far worse than Palin or Bachmann..they KNOW better.

But go on drinking the kool aid..or perhaps I should simply say...run Forrest..run.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Pawlenty, a pathetic grasping pol, who needs both hands to drink his milk.

Posted by: filmnoia | February 8, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The irony with the Pawlenty (or maybe his dilemma) is that MN is one of the more welcoming places for gays with a particularly vibrant community in Minneapolis. But the thing with him is that he real is conservative on issues. The moderate/mild demeanor is just a gloss.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 8, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Not fund DADT? Does he have any concept how the military runs?

Guess he's just focused on money, not people.

Posted by: Robynmarigny | February 8, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

That would be really is conservative.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 8, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

All, I just spoke to Arianna Huffington, and she shared interesting new details about her major expansion plan:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/arianna_planning_huge_expansio.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 8, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It's entertaining to watch the Republican presidential candidates try to outrun each other to the extreme right to grab the nomination. A big thank you to the teaparty radicals and their poster boy, Beck.

Posted by: Beeliever | February 8, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I live in Minnesota, and it's been clear for years that Pawlenty is running in 2012. It was obvious while he was governor, and even more so lately. Therefore he's publishing an autobiography ("Courage to Stand", the #1,979 bestseller on Amazon) and genuflecting before the far right. He's a generic 2012 Republican candidate (white, male, Evangelical and closeted), but with the current field, and the failure of any national Democrats to embrace Keynes and FDR to improve the economy, he just might win.

Posted by: stonedone | February 8, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh come now. the message is quite clear. the American left seeks to make gays acceptable and one way to do that is to stifle dissention.

No, he doesn't call for censorship. He doesn't have to. It is all about the left arrogating to itself the right to define the norms of society.

Here, read this again:
"More disturbing than Pawlenty's unworkable proposal for reinstating DADT or defunding repeal is that even in 2012, a Republican primary candidate might feel it necessary offer disdain for gays and lesbians as a selling point."

Just imagine the nerve ashot. The nerve of Mr Pawlenty. Why, believing that gayness is anything other than completely normal and totally acceptable is, gasp, offering disdain. My goodness.

Many in America find gays to be perverts. the left invented the word "homophobe" as a way to silence those people. As the sailor points out, I'm not irrationally afraid of gays, I just find their sexual proclivities to be perverse.

What will the liberals do now? Already in the Obama regime the magical incantation "racist!" losts its ability to silence critics. Now the term "homophobe" won't work any longer.

It is armaggedon for liberals. They will actually have to defend their positions instead of smearing those who disagree with them. I just don't see how they can do that. Liberalism cannot be supported by logic.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 and moralsailor1 are too funny!

You know what? You name on thing gays do behind closed doors that straights, including yourselves, don't do with the partner of your choice and yet you call them perverse. You do realize you are calling yourself a pervert then too don't you? Or do you not engage in oral or anal sex and stick to straight missionary?

I'm calling you hypocrites. If you have ever engaged in those acts with a partner of your choice you have no right to suggest others don't have the very same rights as yourself. Hypocrites.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 8, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 writes
"Frankly it is just amazing that with all that is going on in the world, Mr Serwer joins the undies in a wad squad about this."


Frankly it is just amazing that with all that is going on in the world, Mr Pawlenty joins the undies in a wad squad about this.

Really; after the joint chiefs have come out in support of the repeal, Pawlenty thinks its necessary to defund the initiative? Is this really what a presidential hopeful should be spending time on? By the time the next POTUS takes the oath of office, this issue is long over. Yet the undies in a wad squad are still wringing their hands over it. Nice priorities.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 8, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

touche bsimon1. Yet Obama went for it and the running dogs of liberalism that follow him cheered.

It seems that the gays needed some bucking up after getting whacked in California. Isn't it amazing that every time gay rights or marriage gets on the ballot it gets defeated? Alone, the in remaining privacy of the ballot box the American public votes against the onslaught of this agenda. The gays lose every time. The left has managed to cow their opponents into public silence, but that's not to be confused with private concerns.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

why should I care a whit what you call me "kindness"?

I remember that scene in the Holy Grail, wherein the knights that say nit force King Arthur to grovel simply by saying "nit". No one in their right mind would give up that kind of power over themselves. Am I supposed to, you know, feel remorse because you think I'm a hypocrit? Just too funny. Why I'm cut to the quick (not).

as I just noted, the American public routinely turns back the gay onslaught, every time they get their "rights" issues on the ballot. We don't want it, and we show in at the ballot box every chance we get.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Oh come now. the message is quite clear. the American left seeks to make gays acceptable and one way to do that is to stifle dissention."

Since the majority of Americans have supported ending DADT for about the last decade, either DADT is a bad example of the left activist gay agenda, America is more left than you realize, or you're statement should just read the Americans people seek to make gays acceptable.

"It is all about the left arrogating to itself the right to define the norms of society."

And the right isn't doing the same? Again given the overwhelming support for ending DADT within society it would seem you and Pawlenty are the ones trying for force your norms on society.

The other thing I don't understand is if homosexuality is such an affront to Americans and so perverse why do you and Pawlenty stop at reinstating DADT? That hardly seems to be a sufficient remendy.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 8, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I, too, object. Using my tax dollars to fund unnatural, sexual, agenda items is an outrage to me. May as well use tax money to fund equal rights for nose pickers.

Defund the repeal. Starve the thing.

It was all a lame-duck ambush anyhow.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 8, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

battlegroud51 - it was a lame duck vote in both the House and the Senate which passed with a majority in both houses, including Republicans who voted for it.

You can't blame the repeal of DADT only on President Obama or the Democratic party. Repubs had a hand in it passing as well. Congradulations btw.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 8, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"American left seeks to make gays acceptable"

LMAO!!! Gays are acceptable. In fact in the opinion of many folks far more acceptable than bigoted pinheads like you skippy.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

OK, so now the best basis for sound policy in the military is opinion polling? How, exactly, does that make any sense?

And your defense of the left's attempt to close off discussions of which they don't approve is "the right does it too"?

Really?

for the best illustration of America's real norms, look at the track record of gay rights ballot initiatives. They are, what?, 0 for 35 at this point? they lost big time in California at the same time that the voters supported Mr Obama.

Polling data is simply not the same as the choices people make in private. In the voting booth, when voters are alone with thier conscience and don't have to consider how others might view them they overwhelmingly reject the advancement of the gay agenda.

This is why the left relies so heavily on the courts. Since they can't win at the ballot, they rely on a few weakling liberals judges to impose their will on us. So a law abiding public must suffer the indignity of having their basic beliefs trod upon by a few folks in black robes. For how much longer do you think that strategy will work before the backlash begins?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Um, skip, by the argument you're making, I assume you want us to retroactively undo the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, since it didn't match the "real norms" of bigotry that limited blacks' access to voting and housing? You're not very bright, bigot.

Posted by: nitpicker | February 8, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

yet more proof that the modern g.o.p. is the political equivalent of a zombie. the cancers of fundamentalist religion and economic reaction have finally sucked the last drops of integrity, honor, and patriotism from the corpse of a once serious party, leaving nothing but know-nothingnism and pavlovian opposition to anything that smacks of tolerance, intelligence, or progress.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | February 8, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

skip- You originally cited this as an example of the left forcing their norms on people. My response was that most Americans approved repealing DADT.

You respond by changing the discussion from norms to military decision making.

Why is the best understanding of American norms the ballot box? Simply because you said so? Lots of people don't vote skip, so how exactly does the ballot box reflect there norms?

Besides, the voters elected Obama who promised to end DADT and liberal Congressmen/women who also supported repeal. I suppose you could interpret the 2010 elections as a rejection of that position, but I think we can agree that wasn't what 2010 was about. To my knowledge DADT repeal was never put in front of voters other than vicariously through the election of Obama and a liberal Congress.

Really, the "left relies on the courts" when commenting on the repeal of DADT voted on by Congress which only happened after the Pentagon survey occurred?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 8, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: skipsailing28 and your reference to Monty Python

You do know that Graham Chapman (aka the guy that played King Arthur) was gay, right?

And anyone whose username references both 'skipping' and 'sailing' really doesn't start from a strong point to talk about men and their proper level of masculinity.

Posted by: dave205 | February 8, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

First, let's dispense with the notion that gay "rights" are the same as "civil rights". The two are dramatically different. Treating people differently because of their skin color is just plain wrong.

BTW, here in Ohio a whiney black state rep complained that Mr Kasich, the new govenor, MUST name blacks to his cabinet. That's racism folks. Just sayin is all.

so much for the civil rights act comparison.

Next, I didn't bring up polling, you did. Your argument in favor of doing away with DADT, ashot, is that it is what the polls show that Americans believe. I don't think this is so for the reason I stated: in the real public opinion polls gay "rights" loses every time. And I explained why I believe the disparity between your polling data and the track record of the gays at the voting booth are so divergent. Sorry if it wasn't clear enough.

and yes, the left has relied on the courts to get what they cannot get at the ballot box. Apparently you missed the whole taking the people of california to court for their nerve in voting for prop 8. It certainly seems that way.

In response to dave205: so what? Is there a point to your comment? some hidden meaning that I need a liberal decoding ring to discern?

Yeah, the name thing. You must be new here pal.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@RUK
you said:
"LMAO!!! Gays are acceptable. In fact in the opinion of many folks far more acceptable than bigoted pinheads like you skippy."

then tell us all here why it is that gay "rights" ballot initiative lose everytime. California is a perfect example. In a year when America elected a black man to the presidency gay "rights" went down to a significant defeat. Acceptable? To whom?

But hey, don't let facts get in the way of a truly fine and long lasting snit boy.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

First, let's dispense with the notion that gay "rights" are the same as "civil rights". The two are dramatically different. Treating people differently because of their skin color is just plain wrong.
*******************************************
That seems like a convenient distinction. Why is treating people differently based on sexual orientation any better than treating them differently based on race? It seems like the only real distinction being made is that race discrimination is considered so toxic it can no longer be defended, while discrimination based on sexual orientation has not reached that point yet.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 8, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Skip- I know I raised the polling. When did I say otherwise? I used the polling to rebut your position that DADT repeal is an example of the left forcing their norms on Americans. Your response is essentially polls on DADT don't matter, votes on gay marriage do. I trust that you can see your poor logic in that argument. They are two seperate issues. I think lots of people feel differently on the two topics. Again polling data would back that up. Why are 50% of Americans fine telling pollster that they oppose gay marriage, but somehow 25% or so get shamed into agreeing to repeal DADT?

No DADT repeal has ever been on the ballot. So with respect to the topic we are discussing, DADT, your ballot argument is unpersuasive.

As to your civil rights comment, for a long time it was completely fine for people to be treated differently because of their skin. Even after it was no longer legally acceptable to do so, the norms of society still thought it was fine. I suspect that will happen with homosexuality.

I am aware that the courts have long been used by minorities to get rights deprived of them by majorities. However, with respect to DADT, that wasn't the case. It's just odd that you see that as such a bad thing. I suppose you don't like the end run suits to repeal Obamacare?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 8, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh nonsense mustang. Just plain nonsense.

To many in America homosexuality is perversion. And tolerating perversion is, to those people, simply wrong.

this is why the left has argued, in vain I might add, that being gay isn't a conscious choice. In making this argument they seek to bring being gay to the same basis as being, oh say, asian. If people don't chose "gayness" any more than they chose their race, then their sexual proclivities should not be held against them.

Yeah, well the problem with that argument is that it doesn't seem to be persuading America's voters. Again I point out that when it comes to the ballot box, the gay agenda loses everytime.

Further, implicit in your argument is the notion that Americans simply MUST discriminate against some group and if blacks are off limits, we're just going to move on to some other group. I hope that's not what you meant, but it is, IMHO, a fair reading of your words.

yours is a nice piece of sophistry and if that's what sustains your outlook, go for it. But the facts remain stubborn things.

In this past election some judges in Iowa lost their jobs because they decided against the people and for gay "rights". So it seems that even the left's favorite route to power: the judiciary is now threatened by those pesky voters.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 8, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

To many in America homosexuality is perversion. And tolerating perversion is, to those people, simply wrong.
***************************
Skip,

You realize this was the kind of thinking applied to laws barring interracial marriage before they were struck down by the Supreme Court in the 1960s right?

In terms of the ballot box, a good example of the gay rights winning at the ballot box was the voters of Washington State voting to uphold Washington State's law granting of most of the same rights of marriage to gay couples in 2009. I realize it dilutes your argument, but as you say, facts are stubborn things.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 8, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Tim Pawlenty has spent more time thinking about soldier-on-soldier sex than most gay porn companies.

Does anyone honestly believe that Pawlenty cares about this issue?

Posted by: homer4 | February 8, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty would not even fix bridges in MN and it cost the lives of 13 people. And his supporters think he could run the Defense Department. Pawlenty was a phony, Pawlenty is a phony, Pawlenty will always be a phony.

Posted by: ners1507 | February 8, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing-i think someone protesteth too much....
seriously though, skip-every argument of yours has failed-religious views that gays are perverted and sinful (and yes, vast majority against gay equality are religious minded) has no place in a secular govt
DADT repeal was favored in the public by almost 68%-if voted on, pretty clear the public was approving of gay equality in the military

your kind is dying off-all polls show that 18 to 35 overwhelmingly favor gay equality-just a matter of time before the old religious guard dies off...

i know its scary-knowing your time is almost up...but too bad

Posted by: Amalgamate | February 8, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

"even in 2012, a Republican primary candidate might feel it necessary offer disdain for gays and lesbians as a selling point"

You find it disturbing? I find it quite predictable. The only Republicans who don't offer disdain for gays and lesbians are the occasional spouse or child, well daughter, of a GOP pol. And they only seem to do that just before a campaign drive or an election and they offer their support in gay or liberal publications, never in GOP rags.

Posted by: rmnelson | February 9, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 wrote: the left has argued, in vain I might add, that being gay isn't a conscious choice.
__________________

The "left"? You mean the medical, psychological, social work and education professions? Not to mention essentially every gay person on the planet. You're an idiot, and your opinion doesn't matter.

Posted by: Manwolf | February 9, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 wrote: the left has argued, in vain I might add, that being gay isn't a conscious choice.
__________________

The "left"? You mean the medical, psychological, social work and education professions? Not to mention essentially every gay person on the planet. You're an idiot, and your opinion doesn't matter.

Posted by: Manwolf | February 9, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Great post. FYI - Troops are saying "Do Ask, Do Tell" at http://OutMilitary.com - the New Social Network for Gay Service Members.

Posted by: skoa | February 10, 2011 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Pawlenty is nothing more or less than another egocentric hack politician. President Obama, regardless of what you might think of him, will probably win in2012, seperate and apart from his policies. This is true for several reasons. For one, there are no charismatic heavy-weight Repubicans on the horizon that can compete with him, that can communicate better than he can. No matter how important deficit cutting is, and it really is important, it's the President who speaks of "building" America, that excites interest and produces winners at the polls. History shows us that the Churchillian offer of only "Blood, sweat and tears," works fine in time of war, but it's a message that falls on deaf ears in our time. The thing is, people are not moved by abstractions, even when there is some truth to them. Voting Americans do not focus hard on the notion that cutting taxes necessarily creates jobs. True or not, it's, for the voter, nothing more than an uninspired and unproven abstraction for economists to argue over. Obama, whether you love him or hate him-or something in between, has a stronger message of hope--and his plea for high-speed passenger trains, rebuilding our infrastructure, and developing new sources of energy, are comforting reminders what what we are capable of doing as a people. I can hear a critic say "Yeah, but where are we going to get the money?" Obama answers that question with an imperative that may be right or wrong, but it sounds good: "You've got to spend money to make money." All of the above plus the great answer to Democrat's prayers: The Tea Party-their extremism and their treatment of the Constitution as holy scripture, will move the Republicans far to the right, draining away indpendant voters, giving President Obama a landslide win in November of 2012. In sum, there are more dreamers in America than conservative bean-counters bent over their tables adding up the cost of running the country. Americans want to be called to a higher purpose, and believing that Americans will find inspiration in prudence and cost-cutting is nothing short of a dream. Call all of this a shame, call it an outrage. But these are the facts as they appear to me, and the reason I see a Democrat in the White House for years to come.

Posted by: Maurice10 | February 12, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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