Elaine Donnelly Still Trying To Keep Her Day Job
September 20th, 2011
It’s hard to know what the raison d’être for Elaine Donnelly’s Center for Military Effectiveness could possibly be except to hang around for a possible GOP president in 2013 who can reimpose “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” via executive order. Maybe that’s why she’s still pounding the pavement defending dead DADT. The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow commiserated with Donnelly on DADT’s passing this way:
“The law requires more than just PowerPoint presentations,” she tells OneNewsNow. “The administration is supposed to describe exactly what will happen under the new LGBT law. [But] they haven’t done that! They’re barreling ahead anyway. The president [is] just determined to impose LGBT law on the military, regardless of the concerns of Congress.”
The CMR leader predicts litigators for homosexual activists and the homosexual movement are going to have a field day. “Without the law on the books, they will go into court and challenge anything that stands in the way of what they perceive as a civil rights issue,” she warns.
Donnelly told Focus On the Family’s CitizenLink that people should “watch and report to Congress about the fallout from the repeal.”
DADT Repeal: Thank You Elaine!
July 22nd, 2011
Timothy Kincaid extends his appreciation to Log Cabin Republicans for their tireless efforts in helping to secure DADT’s repeal. I initially had a much harder time singling out one individual or organization for finally getting this repeal done.
And then I thought of Elaine Donnelly.
Her consistently incompetent appearances before Congress, her desperate attempts at building support for DADT’s retention, her weirdly fraudulent polls — I mean really. Can there be any doubt that Donnelly was at least as effective in moving DADT’s repeal forward as the Human Rights Campaign?
Thank you Elaine! I’m raising my margarita glass tonight to you!
How to conduct a fraudulent “poll”
August 13th, 2010
Hello, my name is Timothy and I’m from Fraudulent Polling, Inc., a national polling agency. Can I ask you a few questions about issues that you will face in the upcoming election? Thank you.
First I’d like to get your views on some general subjects. Please answer yes or no to the following:
* Do you kill and eat little frisky puppies and fluffy kittens?
* Do you think that those who eat little frisky puppies and fluffy kittens should be entitled to special rights?
* Do you think that people should be forced at gunpoint to kill and eat little frisky puppies and fluffy kittens?
* Do you agree that an important role of government is to protect the weak from those who are depraved and a threat to others?
* Do you agree that inhumanity to little frisky puppies and fluffy kittens shows true depravity of character?
* Would you mostly support, completely support, or overwhelmingly support legislators who want to ban the slaughter and eating of puppies and kittens by passing the new Healthy Nutrition Act?
Press Release: A new poll found that by a huge majority, Americans support the Healthy Nutrition Act, a vegan-only bill which would charge anyone who engaged in the eating of any meat or any animal-based product with first degree murder.
Of course that is silliness. But it isn’t that far off the mark of what some unscrupulous characters do to try and convince others that their unpopular views have support. And they don’t get much more unscrupulous than Elaine Donnelly, the extremely wacky president of the anti-gay Center for Military Readiness.
Elaine has commissioned and released a new “poll” that claims that Americans oppose the overturn of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And it’s a doozie. In fact, it’s nearly a case-study of how to conduct a fraudulent “poll”.
And here are a few of the very obvious reasons why.
First, we checked to see who conducted the “research”. The political association of a pollster does not automatically disqualify their findings, but if there is strong ideological bent then one must question whether the poll is legitimate or simply propaganda.
In this case it is some outfit called “the polling company inc. / WomanTrend”. Sounds good, right? Sure, until you realize that the group is headed by conservative strategist Kellyanne Conway (whose husband was heavily involved in efforts to impeach Bill Clinton) and conducts “research” for the Heritage Foundation and other such organizations. Red flag, number one.
Then we looked at the options for answers. Rather than give a range of possibilities, most included only variations of the answers that supported Donnelly’s agenda. In some cases “I don’t know” or “neither” were not provided as an option, cuing the participant to instead select between choices that might not be optimal.
Then we inspected at the language and found it deceptive and dishonest. For example, look at this little phrase in the summary of the “poll”,
Respondents were informed at the beginning of the survey, “Throughout this survey, “gay or lesbian” and “homosexual” are used interchangeably.” Numerous questions throughout this poll employed the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons”—terms that are used by leading advocates of overturning the law.
Well, that’s interesting. While it is true that “leading advocates” do use the term “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons”, it is a complete lie that they use it in context of this law. Because while “transgenders in the barracks” may frighten the horses, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell does not impact transgender people one way or the other.
Finally we analyzed the order of the questions to see if they “push” the participants towards a mindset or a viewpoint before the big question is asked. And Conway and Donnelly’s questions were about the most blatant that I’ve ever seen.
We aren’t provided with the exactly language of the script but it appears that the following questions were asked in this order:
1. In 1993 Congress passed a law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military. Please tell me whether you (ROTATE) agree or disagree with the following findings that are in the current law.
1.a. One finding says, QUOTE “The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.” END QUOTE
1.b. One finding says, QUOTE “The military is a specialized society…that is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions.” END QUOTE
OK, most everyone agreed to those two statements. These are not, of themselves, egregious questions, but they do set the tone and suggest that “the current law” has the right priorities. Let’s go on.
2. I will now read to you the opinions of two people. Please tell me which comes closest to your own view:
(ROTATED PERSON 1/PERSON 2)
Person 1: In considering this issue, Congress should listen mostly to advocates who want to overturn the law and to require the armed forces to accept professed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the military.
Person 2: In considering this issue, Congress should listen mostly to the four chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, who have expressed concerns about overturning the current law.
This question pits “advocates who want to require transgender persons” against “the chiefs of staff who have expressed concern”. A completely false dichotomy. (Amusingly, in the footnotes they praise themselves for not using the phrase “gay activist group”). Not only is this not about transgender persons, but there is no mention that the repeal is supported by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Yet, surprisingly, the support for person two was only 48% to 41%. Those pesky “advocates” and their transgender folk have more support than Conway and Donnelly like. So it’s time to smear the President.
3. In his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised that if he was elected President, he would seek to repeal, or overturn, the law regarding homosexuals in the military, often called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the law in 1993. Do you believe he is assigning high priority to this issue (ROTATED) mostly out of principle or mostly for political reasons?
Not too surprisingly, 57% found that Obama’s imagined motivations for “assigning high priority” are the same as the same reasons that our community suspects for his doing damn well little on the matter.
But now that they’ve introduced sinister motivation, they now need to imply a threat:
4. Please tell me which comes closest to your own view:
(ROTATED PERSON 1/PERSON 2)
Person 1: If the current law is overturned, the military should attempt to change personal attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality and impose “zero tolerance” career penalties on anyone who disagrees for any reason, including religious convictions.
Person 2: Even if the current law is overturned, the military should not attempt to change personal attitudes and feelings toward human sexuality. Imposing career penalties on anyone who disagrees would discriminate against military personnel and chaplains who do not support homosexuality.
Ookie spookie. Those advocates want to engage in mind control and court martial those who go to church. Good wholesome Christian kids will be stockaded and chaplains will be beaten if they don’t endorse the radical militant homosexual agenda.
Scared enough yet? Oh, but there’s more. You knew it was coming…
5. The military should modify training programs to promote acceptance of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in all military colleges, training programs, and schools run by the U.S. Defense Department.
Oh Noes! The children! They’re coming after the children!
6. Over the next six months, what should be the number one priority for Congress and the President?
(READ AND ROTATED. ACCEPTED ONLY ONE.)
Reducing Government spending/the deficit
Plugging the oil leak in the Gulf/cleaning up the oil spill
Winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Changing the law to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the Military
Well gosh, that proves that our legislators are Wasting! their Time! on these nefarious schemes because they can only do one thing at a time. And if DADT is overturned, jobs will be lost and pelicans will die.
And now, now that you know that it’s transgender advocates who are going against the most important purposes of the military and who are ignoring the concerns of military leaders so that they can push this unwanted effort to jail Christians and brainwash children, all of which is motivated by political cynicism, now let’s get your opinion.
7. Would you prefer that your elected representatives in Washington, DC (ROTATED) vote to overturn the 1993 law and allow homosexual persons to serve openly in the military, OR vote to keep the law as it is?
48% VOTE TO KEEP IT AS IT IS
45% VOTE TO OVERTURN
7% DO NOT KNOW/DEPENDS (VOLUNTEERED)
1% REFUSED (VOLUNTEERED)
And that’s how your conduct a completely fraudulent poll. It’s almost surprising that there weren’t questions about slaughtering puppies and kittens.
And amusingly, even after pushing the participants as hard as possible, less than half opposed repealing DADT. And even after trying to scare them with career penalties and brainwashed children, 34% of military members polled supported overturning DADT and enacting a “zero-tolerance” policy.
This is just downright funny. But what do you bet that John McCain ends up waiving it around in Washington.
“Elaine’s List” of 1,100 officers doesn’t represent today’s Military
March 9th, 2010
Elaine Donnelly, despite her best efforts, continuously illustrates that the case for keeping openly gay servicemembers from the US Military is based on bias, animus, fear, and irrationality.
Whether she’s being laughed out of Congress for her fears or marauding gangs of lesbians, babbling ineptly opposite Dan Choi on CNN, or claiming that retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili called for the repeal of the law because he’d suffered from a stroke, Elaine can always be counted on to make a fool of herself and her cause in ways we never could.
Yet in April 2009 when she came up with her declaration that “1,100 high-ranking retired Flag and General Officers for the Military have personally signed a statement expressing support for the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military”, I bought it. I figured that Elaine had found a way to link into a network of conservative former military officers who were now free to state their opposition to equality. Considering that military personnel generally are more conservative politically, and considering that those now retiring might reflect somewhat older perspectives, how hard would it be to get a legitimate and relevant list?
And I’m not the only one to assume that her 1,100 officers were representative of some segment of recent members of the Military. John McCain has been waving around this list in the Senate claiming that it represents the views of those who know best. But both McCain and I should have known better. This is Elaine Donnelly, after all.
But Servicemembers United wasn’t fooled; they took a closer look. They’ve not yet gotten through the entire list, but they’ve looked at 200 officers and have issued a preliminary report telling us a bit more about “Elaine’s List.”
So who are these 1,100 Officers?
Well, to start with, some of them make John McCain look like a spring chicken. The average age of their sample was 74, with the oldest living signatory being about 99. “Living signatory” you ask? Well, yes. Because at least one of them “signed” the letter after he died and several more are no longer living.
Others have no recollection of being asked about the list, several indignantly stating that they didn’t authorize the use of their name, and some saying that they don’t support the ban on gay servicemembers.
And then there was the scoundrel problem. Some of her glorious officers left service under some not-so-glorious circumstances. While most signatories were honorable, Elaine had no problem including the fellow who gave false testimony to Congress about an anthrax vaccine, the guy who severely threatened relations with Japan, or various other men of poor judgment.
But whether or not her officers are alive, lucid, and of good character, few were qualified to offer an opinion. Most had left the military long before DADT was put in place.
These guys hail from the good ol’ days when ‘darkies’ knew their place, obedient wives met you at the door with a cocktail in hand, whores were discreet, and an open attack on a fellow soldier suspected of being gay was not only socially acceptable but a sign of your own manhood. Although Captain Jim Jefferis never made it high enough in rank to sign Elaine’s List, his postcard from the 1940’s published at Peter LaBarbera’s site gives us an idea of the mindset of a few of these good ol’ boys.
During my enlisted service, homosexuals seemed to be a clumsy lot. They had a tendency to repeatedly fall headfirst down an engineroom ladder. Some were even known to trip on deck and “fall” overboard.
Yes, no doubt. But everything I’ve heard from service men and women today is that they are too busy fighting a complicated war to decide which of their fellow soldiers they were going to murder next. If today’s American soldiers share Jefferis’ appalling lack of character, then we have bigger worries than the Taliban.
So yes, Elaine has done it again. She’s proven again to be a valuable asset to our community. Now that opponents of open service are relying so strongly on Elaine’s List, the exposure of who’s on the list may well drive the nails into DADT’s coffin.
Mt. Vernon Statement – how can they not see the irony?
February 20th, 2010
A collection of America’s most extreme social conservatives have signed onto a new declaration of unanimity called the Mt. Vernon Statement. It has all the usual suspects, including virtually every anti-gay activist out there.
The basic premise of this statement is that they, unlike the rest of the country, truly support the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence:
Each one of these founding ideas is presently under sustained attack. In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics. The selfevident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant.
And they call for a return to upholding the principles of our founding documents. They so revere these documents that they met to sign their statement at Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s estate.
The only problem is that they don’t value the ideals of the Constitution. They support life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness… just as long as it is their own. But they most certainly do not support our right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.
Now – to be fair – most of these folks really wouldn’t call for our execution. Or not publicly. Though in private some probably share the view of Joel McDurmon, the Director of Research for American Vision, who thinks we should be executed. And, of course, Tony Perkins was on hand to oppose tracking those who target us for murder.
But as for “liberty” this group includes its most devoted enemies. Elaine Donnelly is there to oppose our liberty to serve in the military. Richard Viguerie doesn’t think we should have the liberty to “be out there trying to re-order society”.
And oh do they hate our pursuit of happiness. Surely there is no single issue more related to happiness than family, yet not a single signatory believes that I have the right to choose whom I marry, certainly not Ken Blackwell or Edwin Meese. And David McIntosh is on hand to make sure we can’t adopt. Heck, many of them don’t even believe that we should have the right to pursue a little happiness in the privacy of our own bedroom.
Signatory Brent Bozell… he even objects to our playing baseball together and Wendy Wright even objects to our being counted in the US Census. There is not a single right for gay people that these folks support.
I really wish that the signers of this statement would actually embrace the Mt. Vernon Statement. I wish they would champion life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The irony is that they think that they do.
Thank You, Elaine Donnelly
October 7th, 2009
CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted a debate between Dan Choi, West Point graduate and Iraq vet and an Arabic language specialist, and Elaine Donnelly, a woman who has never served a day in her life yet who argues on behalf of her “Center for Military Readiness” against gay people (and women in general) serving in the military.
Elaine’s performance was consistent with previous efforts at warning of the great scary, ooky, spooky, gay folks being in “forced intimacy” with good ol’ homophobes. Which makes me say, “Please God, please. All I want for Christmas is for Elaine Donnelly to stay the voice and face of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
HRC adds four anti-gay voices to its wall of shame
March 27th, 2009
The Human Rights Campaign has added four entries to its list of anti-gay voices at endtheLies.org. Here are the names, with quips:
America Forever, a Utah-based group, has been faxing hateful flyers denouncing marriage for lesbian and gay couples to businesses in Vermont, where marriage equality legislation is currently under consideration in the state legislature. The group claims that marriage for lesbian and gay couples would trample on the rights of children and that “HRC of the homosexuals is the most powerful lobbying group in the world.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if the HRC were in fact the most powerful lobbying group in the world? Maybe, maybe not, but this is certainly not the case. Why the insistence on using the medical term “homosexuality”?
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) created an anti-marriage equality radio ad playing in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. NOM’s website falsely and outlandishly warns that “religious groups may be denied the use of parks and other public facilities, unless they endorse gay marriage.” The three targeted states are all considering pro-LGBT equality legislation.
I have never understood the fundamentalist Christian persecution complex, which seems to interpret anything in society not in line with its worldview to be an instance of oppression that invariably means a Christian Holocaust is coming.
Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, claims that allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly in the military will sanction “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community” and “the ensuing sexual tension will hurt discipline and morale.”
Is this woman afraid that soldiers sent into battle can’t withstand a catty remark or two?
Hawaii State Minority Leader, Rep. Lynn Finnegan, voted against HB 444, a Hawaii civil unions bill. She said, “If we push to have government certify or make legal a union or marriage between the same sex, I believe that we push what is accepted to what will be promoted.”
When will politicians understand that accepting gay people does not mean there will be more gay people; it will just mean that they aren’t confined to the closet.
Sad, Sad Elaine Donnelly
September 30th, 2008
Her fight to keep gay folks from serving their country through military service is becoming a lonely and thankless task.
She showed up at Congress back in July only to find that it’s a different place than she’d like it to be. Gosh, anti-gay ranting just doesn’t get the response it used to. Now she found herself mocked by both Democrats and Republicans and those who she thought were on her side were ‘much too busy’ to make it to the hearing that day.
And the public just is no help any more. Three quarters of voters, at least, think that gay folks should be able to serve openly. And that not just those San Francisco liberals. No, 59% of conservative Republicans, conservative Republicans, think that gay people should be able to fight for their nation. Oh, the tragedy.
Even the military leaders are turning against her. First it was a general, and some prior Chaimen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then a Secretary of Defense, and some past Presidents, and then a commission of former military leaders, and now its hard to find anyone who will stand with Elaine and talk about “HIV positivity” and showers and black lesbian gang rapists.
What’s a girl to do?
Well Elaine is, if nothing else, tenatious. She just knows she can find an ally out there somewhere if she looks hard enough.
So she turned to the tried and true.
Elaine just knows that there are crusty old veterans full of stories about how awful the sissies were back in WWII. And if she could just get these venerable old men and remind America of the sacrifice they paid then surely the nation would come to its senses and run the gay folks out of town. And if there’s no one left to translate Arabic, well who cares? You don’t need to know what they’re saying to bomb ‘em back to the stone age.
So Elaine set up a extra-special super-secret meeting. She would get together with only the high level senior mucky-mucks of veterans organizations, come up with a list of dark misdeeds by the militant homoSEXuals (yes, militant, what other kind would be in the service?) and march back to Congress like Jeremiah of Old to confront the lawmakers with her anecdotes of woe and doom.
But, darn it, you can’t even rely on the octogenarians to hold onto their homophobia any more. Those crotchety ol’ back-stabing sneaks betrayed her. They leaked her letter.
And now PFLAG is telling everyone about her super-secret mission. Alas, alas. Her beautiful plan has gone to naught.
Oh but never fear, fair reader, for Elaine will rise again. For as long as she has strength to fight and heart to hate, Elaine will be there on the forefront saying any and every vile thing she can in her quest to drive the evil sodomite from the land.
FRC Disapointed With Donnelly’s Testimony?
July 25th, 2008
You bet they are. Yesterday, right on schedule, the Family “Research” Council sent out their daily Washington Update yesterday as they always do. Washington Updates typically consist of three stories, and yesterday’s top story was one which blamed Elaine Donnelly’s utterly deplorable testimony before the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee on “rude congressmen” instead of Donnelly’s own abysmal incompetence:
Rude Congressmen Tell and Don’t Ask at Hearing
For the first time since Congress beat back Bill Clinton’s effort to bring homosexuals into the military in 1993, there was a hearing on the topic yesterday on Capitol Hill, which FRC’s Vice President for Policy Peter Sprigg and several Witherspoon Fellows attended. The Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork for action next year, when they hope Barack Obama will be president, to overturn the law which codified the military’s longstanding policy excluding homosexuals. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, and Sgt. Major Brian Jones, a veteran of the Army’s elite Delta Force, ably defended the law in the face of shockingly disrespectful and even abusive questioning by members of the House Military Personnel subcommittee. Particularly egregious was the behavior of Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), who said that Donnelly’s concern about the impact of HIV-positive soldiers was “dumb” and that her testimony about behaviors common among homosexuals was “bonkers.” Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) used the silly line, “When did you decide to be heterosexual?” The false assumptions that people are “born gay” and can never change, and that homosexuality is equivalent to race, permeated the questioning. Yet no one explained how it would benefit the military to recruit service members who plan to commit acts which are criminal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
This morning, that lame defense of Donnelly is gone, along with the rest of the entire Washington Update for the day.
Press, Congressmen Skewer Donnelly’s Testimony
July 24th, 2008
Elaine Donnelly’s ridiculous testimony yesterday before the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee continues to elicit expressions of disbelief throughout Washington. Speaking before the first hearings on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 15 years, Donnelly set back the cause of excluding gays in the military and “torpedoe[d] her own ship,” according to Dana Milbank at The Washington Post:
Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) labeled her statement “just bonkers” and “dumb,” and he called her claims about an HIV menace “inappropriate.” Said Snyder: “By this analysis . . . we ought to recruit only lesbians for the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV in the country.”
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), a veteran of the war in Iraq, called Donnelly’s words “an insult to me and many of the soldiers” by saying they “aren’t professional enough to serve openly with gay troops while successfully completing their military mission.”
Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) pointed a finger at [retired Navy Capt. Joan] Darrah and glared at Donnelly. “Would you please tell me, Miss Donnelly, why I should give one twit about this woman’s sexual orientation, when it didn’t interfere one bit with her service?” Donnelly said something about “forced intimacy.” Donnelly returned to the case of “Cynthia Yost . . . assaulted by a group of lesbians.” She neglected to mention that the incident was alleged to have occurred in 1974.
Donnelly clearly seemed to unify lawmakers on both sides of the aisles against her. As Milbank pointed out, “It was tempting to think that Donnelly had been chosen by Democrats to sabotage the case against open military service for homosexuals.”
Donnelly wasn’t the only opponent of DADT to provide comic relief:
Donnelly was followed by [retired Army Sgt. Maj. Brian] Jones, a tough-talking businessman who suggested that the military’s tradition of “selfless service” would be undermined by gay men and lesbians. “In the military environment, team cohesion, morale and esprit de corps is a matter of life and death,” he said. His written statement spelled it “esprit decor”; it also warned of “a band of lesbians that harassed new females,” and noted his own military experience when “the only way to keep from freezing at night was to get as close as possible for body heat — which means skin to skin.”
Donnelly Repeats Bogus Statistics to Congress
July 23rd, 2008
Today in Congressional Hearings on whether the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell policy is effective or counter-productive, anti-gay activist Elaine Donnelly claimed that polls support her contention that military personnel don’t wish to serve with openly gay servicemen. The Army Times reports
Donnelly, head of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy group that focuses on military personnel issues and a longtime opponent of gays in the military, said the annual Military Times poll of service members consistently shows that between 57 percent and 59 percent of service members oppose allowing gays to serve openly in uniform.
But the poll that Donnelly quotes is not a representative poll of service members. We analyzed Donnelly’s claims in February, and found the following:
Using the 2000 statistics of the Heath Status of the United States Army (and assuming that there is not a strong variance between services) we can compare the Military Times poll to the Army’s report of those who actually serve.
- Army average age – 28; MT poll participant average age – 37
- 44% of service members between 17 and 24; 7% of MT poll participants fell in this category
- 8% of army personnel are 40 or older; 41% of MT poll participants are 40 or older
- 51% of army personnel are married; 82% of MT poll participants are married
As the Military Times put it, “The annual poll has come to be viewed by some as a barometer of the professional career military.”
In other words, this is NOT a poll of active service persons who are on the front lines eating, sleeping, and showering with their mates. In fact, only 2% of those polled lived in barracks. Unlike the Zogby poll, the Military Times poll is of those who have made the military their career.
Perhaps Donnelly isn’t edequately skilled to determine for herself that the Military Times poll is non-representative. Or perhaps she deliberately uses deception as a tool to advance her anti-gay agenda.
But in either case she should not be testifying before Congress.
Palm Center: Elaine Donnelly Not Qualified To Testify
July 23rd, 2008
The Palm Center has announced that the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy is set to publish a review of Elaine Donnelly’s 2007 article in the review. Donnelly, who is president of the Center for Military Readiness, opposes the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and was one of two witnesses testifying against repealing the military’s ban on gay servicemembers. According to Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, Donnelly’s testimony was drawn largely from her 2007 article which is “riddled with mistakes”:
“It’s unclear why Elaine Donnelly has a platform at all on this issue,” Belkin said. “She and her organization do no research.” Belkin noted, for example, that to bolster her point that the British military has been undermined by allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, her article cites a single footnote which refers to five newspaper and radio stories, none of which have anything to do with gays in the military.
Donnelly’s article is riddled with other errors, including misidentifying the Palm Center as a Berkeley organization, misreading the evidence on gay service during wartime and misunderstanding the statistical methodology of demographic data on the prevalence of gays in the U.S. military, as well as the research methods used in assessing polling data and the financial costs of the ban on open gays.
Here is an example of Donnelly’s performance in Washington today:
[Hat tip: Alvin McEwen]
No One Wants “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell”
This article is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin
July 23rd, 2008
The “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell” policy was a 1993 compromise between those who favored an all-out ban on gay service persons and those who favored a fully inclusive Military. It wasn’t much liked by either side at the time and is still not popular with either gays or anti-gays.
The anti-gay most visible on this issue is Elaine Donnelly, one of the two anti-gays scheduled to speak today in Congressional Hearings on the issue. Donnelly has long been opposed to the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell compromise and claims that it is actually contrary to the wording of the law passed in 1993. Donnelly’s position is that there are no provisions for “not asking” and that therefore the Military should have a restrictive ban including witch-hunt efforts.
To reinforce that idea, anti-gays were passing out buttons today that said “Keep the LAW, not the DADT policy.”
What then are the likely outcomes of the hearings?
Return to a full ban on all gay servicepersons.
The arguments of Elaine Donnelly are a bit limited. They cannot rely on studies, comparison to other nations, or any other tangible evidence.
Donnelly has to rely on two arguments: that gays are icky, and that heterosexuals don’t want to be around gay people. Because of this, she claims, the Military would be harmed by allowing gay persons to serve openly.
Because gays are icky, other service persons would be distracted from their job. And because heterosexuals don’t want to be around gay people, they won’t sign up for service.
While these claims do speak to the issue of open v. closeted service, neither of these arguments is particularly germane to a return to a ban. And because a return to a full ban would likely be seen by the public as homophobic and hateful, there is not likely to be much of a push in this direction.
Retain Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell
This is the Military’s position, as expressed to the chairman of the hearings. However, the Military did not send anyone to the hearings to articulate that position. Further, they told the chairman that they would abide by congressional orders.
Since the termination of Joint Chairman Peter Pace, the opinions coming from the Pentegon about DADT have been tepid at most. The impression, to me at least, is that while the Military dislikes change in general, no one is fired up to keep DADT in place.
Retaining DADT is also the default position of John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President. However, McCain’s support is couched in language that suggests a less-than-solid support for this position. Rather than state this position as his own, he defers to “senior military leaders”.
However, although there are few voices articulating support for the status quo, a position difficult to champion in either idealogical terms, this is by far the safest position for conservative or moderate legislators or either party.
Yes, the citizenry has come to the position where they want open service. And very few Senators or Congressmen openly state that gay servicepersons are incapable of serving their country well. But anti-gay sentiment is more more deeply felt than tolerance and while Americans don’t favor the policy, they aren’t rising up to demand its repeal.
As long as this issue is not brought up for a vote, no one needs to go on record as either opposing the Military, the populace, gay activists, or rightwing activists. Which probably explains why there has been no movement on this issue for 16 years in either Republican or Democratic controlled Congresses.
However, non-action may not be an option for much longer. Supporter in both parties are more vocal in their efforts to overturn this example of institutionalized discrimination. And the Congressional Hearings may indicate a willingness by Democratic Party leadership to allow Congress to readdress the issue.
As public opinion has shifted so far in favor of fully repealing the ban, and as more and more persons of expertise and experience have come to question is effectivity, legislators may find that they will need to take a stand and sooner rather than later.
Repealing the ban
This is the position favored by the citizens, a position that seems to cut across demographics.
It is also the position that seems to be enhanced with each new study, review, commentary, and observation. Over the past few years, a great many individuals and institutions that had been in opposition to full and open service have come to either reverse their thinking or to allow for reconsideration.
Most Democrats in Congress would find it difficult to vote to retain DADT. Even conservative pro-Military ex-servicemen Blue Dog Democrats like Congessman Patrick Murphy are skeptical about claims that servicemen are incapable of serving with their openly gay fellows.
Additionally, many Republican Congressmen will be hesitant to be seen to be too far out of the mainstream on this issue. As a majority of Republican voters favor lifting the ban, only the idealogues, or those who fear conservative activists, will feel pressured to take an anti-gay stance that is not popular with their constituents. Further, some Republicans may see this as a way to counterbalance their anti-marriage stance and appear reasonable and mainstream to the all-important Independent voters.
Although it may be a bit optimistic, I predict that a vote would result in nearly all Democrats favoring a reversal of the policy joined by a respectable number of Republicans.
The question is whether new legislation allowing for open service would be signed by the President into law.
Were such a bill to pass under the current administration, I think it likely that President Bush would use his veto. Although this has been a President hesitant to veto legislation, he seems to make exceptions for law that would put gay citizens on an equal footing.
I think it also extremely likely that a President Obama would not hesitate to sign. He has been open in his support for gay servicepersons.
The question, at least to me, would be what a President McCain would do. Although he has spoken against changing policy, he has done so in a passive way, deferring to the expertise of others and avoiding taking a personal idealogical position. With enough Republican support, McCain might announce that “senior military advisors” don’t see the change in policy to be detrimental to Military effectiveness or unit cohesion and sign the bill. Alternately, he might feel endebted to the rightwing and might veto. At this point, I don’t think I can predict his action.
The Dishonesty of Elaine Donnelly
May 1st, 2008
Elaine Donnelly has made it her life’s mission to return the military to the 1930’s. Through her Center for Military Readiness, she agitates against gays in the military and women in combat.
While gay people make her shudder, women are grudgingly acceptable in the service – as long as they don’t fight. It’s just not very lady-like, ya know.
But while Donnelly actively campaigns to reduce equal opportunities for women in the Military Service, you’d never know that from her new anti-gay campaign. On her new website established “build an online army” to fight against “gay activists”, there’s no reference to Donnelly’s hostility towards “Pentagon feminists” or any other anti-woman policies she espouses.
Instead, Donnelly states her purpose as “Support for Military Men and Women“. [emphasis mine]
And like so many anti-gays, Elaine Donnelly has given up even the slightest shred of integrity she may have ever held. To Donnelly truth is subjective and honesty inconvenient.
April 10th, 2008
Anti-gays often portray their attacks as being directed against a nebulous “homosexual agenda” or perhaps “the sin of homosexuality”. This is often packaged with a claim that they love individuals, or “the sinner”.
But sometimes their anti-gay activism reveals itself to be an obvious hateful attack on individuals.
For example, Tammy Baldwin has served as the representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district since 1999. And since that time Lauren Azar, her other half, has been accorded travel privileges on par with the spouses of other Congressmen. Although the House rules specify that spouses are given travel accomodations, the former House Speaker, Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), had waived the rules for Azar.
However, when Azar prepared to accompany Baldwin on a fact finding mission this year, the Pentagon blocked her from traveling on a military plane. The situation was resolved when current House Peaker Nancy Pelosi informed Defense Secretary Robert Gates that she was waiving the House rules to allow Azar to travel.
From the AP
The Pentagon still has in place its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars gays from serving openly in the military. But that had nothing to do with this case, said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
“This is strictly about following our statutory guidelines and the House rules,” he said.
Morrell said that Pelosi asked Gates to honor her decision to waive House rules to allow Azar to travel and that Gates asked her to put that request in writing.
“She did so, and he — in this one case only — agreed to it,” Morrell said. “This is not a precedent by any means. This does not open the doors for life partners to travel on congressional delegations.” But Gates has agreed to review future requests on a case-by-case basis, Morrell said.
Now most living breathing people see this as a simple act of decency. Most folks would think it odd to insist that Baldwin be the sole Congressman to travel alone.
However, Elaine Donnelly and the AFA spin it differently
Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness calls this situation “a slippery slope.” “This sets a disturbing precedent because it tends to suggest that marriage doesn’t matter, [and that] marriage of people of same-sex or any such association should be treated as the equivalent of marriage,” she contends.
Donnelly believes this gives ammunition to those who want to change the military’s policy of not allowing homosexuals in the military. “This is an incremental step forward for the gay rights agenda,” she continues. “These things are all interconnected. This radical social change doesn’t always happen overnight with a court ruling. Sometimes it comes creeping along incrementally.”
This is a single instance of a consideration granted to an associate in Congress. Donnelly’s concerns about a “slippery slope” ring hollow when compared to the assurances of the Pentagon.
So why, then, does Donnelly find Azur’s travel so objectionable? Why would she complain that Azur should not be granted passage?
Simply, because Baldwin and Azur are gay.
By her attack on the travel of a specific individual, Elaine Donnelly discredits any presumption of principled objection and reveals her agenda and herself to be petty, spiteful, and cruel.