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McCain softens on DADT

Timothy Kincaid

September 17th, 2010

The Washington Blade is noting that John McCain’s objections to the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill seem to have shifted.

The Arizona senator said Reid’s plans to attach to the legislation the DREAM Act, an immigration-related bill, and a measure addressing the “secret holds” U.S. senators can place on presidential nominations aren’t appropriate for defense legislation.

McCain also lamented how a hate crimes protections measure was attached last year to Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Act.

“Under this majority leader, we have witnessed the unfortunate and growing politicization of the national defense authorization act,” McCain said. “Time to offer and debate important, defense-related amendments to this bill on the floor is being limited or cut off, so that the majority leader can push through highly political legislation that has little or nothing to do with national defense — legislation that would never be referred to the [Senate] Armed Services Committee if it were introduced independently.”

Although this is hardly a new tactic (and one Republicans have employed before) I am sympathetic towards the complaint that the provisions to bills should be cohesive and related to each other.

They further note that McCain seems to be softening his stance on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

McCain also expressed discontent with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal language in the bill, but had a notable change in rhetoric from what he’s said previously on the provision.

The senator acknowledged the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” provision has relevance to the U.S. armed forces. McCain also said he has no position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal at this time, but wants to wait for the Pentagon working group to complete its study on the issue on Dec. 1.

“I want to make one thing very clear: I do not oppose or support the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ at this time, but I do oppose taking legislative action prior to the completion of a real and thorough review of the law,” McCain said. “A complete survey to evaluate the impact of repeal on the men and women serving in our military should be concluded before moving forward.”

Now that he is no longer facing a primary challenge from the right, it is not particularly surprising to see McCain’s new-found hardcore social conservatism start to melt a bit. While I’m glad that he’s backing off a bit (which may well result in the bill’s passage with the repeal intact), it truly is sad to see a once-principled statesman reveal himself to be a cynical politician in his waning years.



Richard W. Fitch
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

If McCain and his cronies had their way, it would require 17 more years of redundant, useless reports and another decade to fully implement any negotiated “integration” plan.

September 17th, 2010 | LINK

There’s a reason they call him McCain the Weathervane.

If you don’t like his position on something, just wait five minutes.

Cameron Mandrake
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

One thing that I noticed about the legislation is that it is very open to what happens if DADT is repealed. It could feasibly go back to the way it was before DADT where you could get booted from the military and you didn’t have to be asked or tell.

September 18th, 2010 | LINK

I am very disappointed in McCain. Even when I disagreed with the man I thought he had principles, yet apparently these only consist of furthering himself at the expense of others. I find that to be despicable. I much prefer the small government, low tax approach his party claims to believe in but not this nor the social con crap its been beholden to for far too long.

September 18th, 2010 | LINK


It could, nothing is without risk. Yet this is one I’m happy to take because it’s far easier to make a change without a legal impediment like DADT than with one. DADT proponents know that once the law is repealed while they might be able to drag things out a bit longer the path to full integration is wide open.

September 18th, 2010 | LINK

I remember the absolute disgust and rage I felt back in February when the hearings to discuss the repeal began, and McCain, over and over again, made bigoted, hateful statements that completely repudiated his campaign promises to consider the repeal. He gloried in his soapbox moment, and appeared to be deadly serious about blocking the repeal.

Now he says nothing about a change of heart? an awakening of awareness of the idiocy of his prior statements? He just says ‘whatever’ and expects people to respect him as their representative? He’s got other fish to fry, so his campaign to protect the dignity of all heterosexual servicemembers from unwanted shower ogling falls by the wayside? Way to go, John.

September 18th, 2010 | LINK

“[I]t truly is sad to see a once-principled statesman reveal himself to be a cynical politician in his waning years.”

One wishes he would wane more waxingly.

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