Sunday, September 09, 2012

Romney waffles on answering in questions on gay issues; concern grows over whether he would jeopardize repeal of "don't ask don't tell"

The Huffington Post has an article by Aaron Belkin,  Director of the Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara,  “Would Romney Reinstate DADT?”  The link was tweeted Saturday by SLDN.  (Belkin is the author of "How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of 'Don't Ask Dob't Tell'", the Huffington Post Media Group, 2011, apparently available only on Kindle.)

The article goes on to report the efforts of Lila Shapiro, reporter for the Huffington Post, to get statements from the Romney campaign on gay issues.  The campaign refuses to respond.

The GOP 2012 platform was discussed here Aug. 29, 2012, with a note that now the platform has been moderated to say that the military should not become a platform for social experimentation. Today, that might mean  “just” a denial of benefits for gay spouses.  In the past, when the “privacy in the barracks” argument of Sam Nunn (going back to 1993) had some credibility (history has not born that idea out in western countries), it would have seemed to justify “don’t ask don’t tell” or even outright “asking”, as with the “Old Ban” of 1981.

Belkin argues that if Romney wants to appeal to moderate voters, he has no self-interest in ducking questions on his willingness to promise that he won’t undo the repeal.  (Belkin’s article gives the history of the repeal process in 2010-2011.) Log Cabin Republicans says that the platform is a sign of “moderation”.  But the LCR may be turning itself into an “oxymoron”.  (Yesterday, a friend tweeted, “I think people like ‘Prairie Home Companion’ for the same reasons people are republican”.  It seems like some elements of the GOP are not unwilling to enforce conformity on some for the supposed “freedom” of others.

Even so, I have been personally willing to believe that Romney would leave his religious beliefs at the Oval Office door.  I was much more concerned of what could happen if Santorum got in:  had Santorum somehow stuck it out and won the nomination, he would have been less likely to win the election, but if he did win, he would probably have tried to reimplement the full ban.  Back in 1995, as speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich had suggested going back to "asking", but I don't think Gingrich would have pursued this matter now had he won.  (He's appropriately concerned about EMP and the power grid -- as below in this post.)  Early in the 2011 primaries, the gay press acted a lot less concerned about Romney and Ron Paul than the other candidates.  

The link for the Huffington story is here

On another topic:  Washington DC had its severe storms Saturday (as did NYC), but conditions were OK in town by late Saturday evening; no power problems, and very mild, comfortable early fall temperatures outside.  Nevertheless, after the storms, the crowd at TownDC seemed not quite as large as usual for September – usually one of the best months, since people are back from vacation.  The featured models from “Project Gogo” appeared on stage and then upstairs on an extended stage stand, with a fashion “review”.

Someone (rather beefy) wore a shirt that read “Polar bears are nice”.  It’s good to see “disco” people paying attention to the implications of climate change.  Remember (as Al Gore once said), “Nature does not give bailouts”. 

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