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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't pander, don't delay

After Scott Brown voted with the majority to pass the Senate version of financial regulation reform, some observers suggested that Brown was, at his roots, just a traditional moderate New England Republican. Don't believe it.

The junior senator continues to carve out a conservative record on social issues, in direct contrast to the mold of fiscal conservative, social moderate that characterized Frank Sargent, Ed Brooke and Leverett Saltonstall and other leaders of the now virtually extinct breed.

I've been a skeptic, thinking Brown has been more interested in the national stage he has been afforded than the serious business of navigating his way through the thicket of shrill arguments that characterize politics today. Now, we have additional proof with Brown's high-profile rejection of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

The plan put forward by congressional Democrats is timid on its face: take a symbolic vote now and give Barack Obama and the gay community a victory over fear, then formally repeal the policy in December after a Pentagon study. And midterm elections.

What more can we learn in a study of 17 years in which the United States has fought two overseas wars where gays served alongside straights and have not undermined "good military order and discipline"? Does anyone truly believe there are horror stories that have been covered up?

It's significant that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen are not calling for delay because of concerns over lifting the policy but rather to devise a plan to avoid turmoil. And I suspect they know that turmoil will be whipped up by conservative politics, not military considerations.

Yet our very own National Guard JAG lawyer apparently believes this already over-studied policy needs his own personal review above and beyond that of the Joint Chiefs.

At least Brown is consistent: he opposed gay marriage. The error in that stance has been proven by the fact Massachusetts has not become Sodom and Gomorrah in the wake of extending human rights to all citizens.

There is also no evidence that don't ask, don't tell, has kept gay bashers out of the military -- not that excluding them would be a bad move.

The policy was a fig leaf devised 17 years ago when the last Democratic president needed an excuse to address a fundamental grievance while keeping baying conservatives away from his door. It has outlived its usefulness and should go, sooner rather than later.

Even if another baying conservative, this one from Massachusetts, thinks otherwise.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One problem with your "extending human rights" to all citizens. Your left wing, left out polygamists. Consenting behaviour between adults was the rallying cry of the gays, why didn't you include polygamists. Very inconsistent. For the record I am against all civil marriage, we should all have civil unions of any form you want.

May 26, 2010 12:07 PM  

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