Posts Tagged As: John McCain

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.

Where is the outcry?

Timothy Kincaid

September 11th, 2010

After Judge Victoria Phillips found the Military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy to be in violation of the First and Fifth amendments of the US Constitution, the usual wacktivists shouted their indignation. But other than the wackadoodle fringe, no one seemed to be either surprised or upset by the decision.

We are in the middle of a sprint to elections and I’ve not yet heard a single politician seeking to make an issue over the end of DADT. No indignant speeches from Senators demanding that the will of the people be upheld. Not even the cantankerous military chiefs are grumbling. Nothing at all.

Which – more than any announcements by the President or congressional leadership – tells us that this policy is dead. Over.

And if there is any doubt, consider the most telling (and amusing) line from a Washington Post article:

McCain’s office did not return requests for comment.

McCain Begins to Flip On Federal Marriage Amendmet

Jim Burroway

August 6th, 2010

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) famously opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006 when it came to the Senate Floor, saying that “it usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them.” It’s not that McCain supported marriage equality (he supported California’s Prop 8 and Arizona’s Prop 102 in 2008), but that he saw it as a states rights issue. Now that a Federal Judge has found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, McCain is reconsidering his opposition to the FMA:

Asked whether he thinks backing the Federal Marriage Amendment, or a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, would be an appropriate response to the ruling, McCain said he hasn’t decided what action at this time is appropriate.

“I haven’t looked at the impact of the decision yet as far as what, if any, action needs to be taken,” he said. “I’ve been on the immigration issue, the defense authorization bill and this START treaty, so I really have not had an opportunity to talk to my people about it.”

McCain Blocks Defense Authorization Bill Over DADT

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2010

And complains about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act in the process.

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The threat to DADT repeal may come from Obama rather than McCain

Timothy Kincaid

June 20th, 2010

Two news reports offer an odd turn of events.

From the anti-gay uber-conservative Washington Times

No filibuster on gays

There will be no filibuster of the pending defense budget bill that contains a repeal of the military’s gay ban — at least not from Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is leading the fight to preserve the ban.

Contrary to a smattering of press reports, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee is not trying to find the votes to block the bill, which may reach the floor next week. A filibuster takes 60 votes to override.

“Sen. McCain is not filibustering the bill,” his spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told special correspondent Rowan Scarborough.

However that does not mean that the repeal will go through. From the AP

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Barack Obama could end up vetoing legislation that would lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

But Gates tells “Fox News Sunday” that Obama probably still would veto an upcoming spending bill that includes the repeal — if the bill also contains money for defense projects he says are wasteful.

If the bill is vetoed, the legislature will either override the veto or begin the process of revising the bill. It seems unlikely that there are adequate votes or political will to override the President. So political horse trading will resume.

Some legislators want to keep the spending in the bill so as to protect interests in their community. And DADT may become a bargaining chip because, let’s face it, very few legislators give our interests much priority.

“Elaine’s List” of 1,100 officers doesn’t represent today’s Military

Timothy Kincaid

March 9th, 2010

Elaine Donnelly testifying for 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?
WWII Memorial
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.

Fox News: DADT a failure and absurd

Timothy Kincaid

February 9th, 2010

On Fox and Friends Weekend, Col. David Hunt, a Fox military analyst, called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell an “abject failure”. Fox host Clayton Morris agreed, calling it a civil rights issue and absolutely absurd.

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They said Sen. John McCain is “flat wrong.”

McCain Gets 27% of Gay Vote

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2008

According to CNN’s exit polling, 70% of the gay vote went for Barack Obama, while 27% voted for McCain. This is in line with Bush’s gay votes in 2000 and 2004. It appears that no matter what, something around a quarter of LGBT voters will stick with the Republican candidate on other issues in presidential elections.

Palin Tells Dobson McCain Will Implement Full GOP Platform

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin told Focus On the Family’s James Dobson that she believes that John McCain will implement the full Republican Platform on taking office. That platform includes total bans on stem cell research, abortion and gay marriage — position which are far more conservative than those taken by McCain himself during the campaign.

Dobson began the interview on his radio program Wednesday by calling the GOP platform the “strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party.” Palin responded that she believes that a President McCain will implement the full platform:

“I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent.”

McCain has previously stated his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment on federalist grounds, but he has endorsed state constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage.

McCain’s Washington Blade Talking Points

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2008

As for the rest of McCain’s Interview with the Washington Blade, he touched on quite a few topics:

On LGBT Role Models: “I had the humbling experience of speaking at Mark Bingham’s funeral after the attacks on Sept. 11. Mark had supported me during the 2000 campaign. Unfortunately, I barely knew him, but our country learned about him after 9-11. He was one of the heroes on 9-11 who tried to retake control of United Flight 93. His efforts along with the other brave patriots could have saved hundreds of lives. I honor and respect Mark.  Memories of his sacrifice and the other victims from 9-11 motivate me everyday to make sure we keep our nation safe from the terrorists who want to attack our way of life because freedom is a threat to their message of hate.”

On HIV/AIDS: “I’m proud to have supported President Bush’s efforts to address the international AIDS crisis. History will remember him for the PEPFAR program, which has saved millions of lives. We’ve made progress on the domestic front too, but not enough. I am committed to supporting the development of a National AIDS Strategy. Countries receiving PEPFAR aid are required to develop a national plan; but we don’t have one in our country. … Recent CDC statistics show that gay men continue to be strongly impacted by the disease, and the disease is disproportionately affecting people of color. Our prevention and treatment efforts must be improved to address these challenges.”

On adoption by gay couples: “I hope my comments are not misinterpreted. I respect the hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian people who are doing their best to raise the children they have adopted. As someone who adopted a child, Cindy and I know better than most couples the amazing satisfaction that comes from providing love to an unwanted child. I believe a child is best raised by a mother and father because of the unique contributions that they make together to the development of a child.”

On gays in the military: “On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I’m going to defer to our military commanders. So far they have told me it’s working. I’m willing to have the policy reviewed to make sure that’s the case, but at the end of the day, I’m going to rely on the commanders who will be impacted by a change in the law.”

On the Defense of Marriage Act: “As a Republican, I am a strong advocate for federalism. States should be able to decide as many issues as possible. That’s certainly the case on the definition of marriage. My home state of Arizona shouldn’t be compelled to recognize a marriage from California or Massachusetts. Those states can decide that issue by themselves.”

On so-called “marriage amendments”: “My own view is that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. That’s what I supported in Arizona. I realize this is a controversial issue and we must conduct this debate in a way that respects the dignity of every person. … As I did in my home state of Arizona, I support the effort in California to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. However, the people of California will ultimately decide this issue, and I’ll of course respect the decision of the voters.”

On non-descrimination in the workplace: “Gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination in the workplace. I’ve always practiced that in my hiring. I select the best people, regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people. However, we need to make sure legislation doesn’t lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions. What I can say now is I will give careful consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk, and confer with Congress before making decisions.”

On Hate Crimes Legislation: “I have voted against the proposal several times. Let me make it clear that no one should face violence because of who they are. It’s un-American and morally repugnant. People who commit any violent crime should face tough penalties. However, I am not convinced that this is properly a federal issue, or that criminal sentences for terrible crimes should be longer because of the views of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim.”

McCain: “I Hope Gay and Lesbian Americans Will Give Full Consideration to Supporting Me”

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2008

In what is believed to be the first time a Republican presidential nominee made himself available to the gay press, John McCain participated in a written interview with the Washington Blade this week in which he said he appreciated the Log Cabin Republicans’ endorsement and hopes that “gay and lesbian Americans will give full consideration to supporting me.”

McCain wrote about working with former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) for 25 years. Kolbe was the first Republican Congressman to serve in the House as an openly gay man. McCain also spoke highly of former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano, who is now the executive director of GLAAD. Giuliano survived a recall election in 2001 over his sexual orientation. And McCain recalled giving the eulogy at Mark Bingham’s funeral. Bingham, a member of a San Francisco bay-area gay rugby team, died while bringing United Flight 93 down into a Pennsylvania cornfield on September 11, 2001. His actions along with others on the flight may have saved thousands of lives in Washington, D.C., which is believed to have been the hijackers’ target.

As for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” McCain said:

I promise to give full consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk. On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I’m going to defer to our military commanders. So far they have told me it’s working. I’m willing to have the policy reviewed to make sure that’s the case, but at the end of the day, I’m going to rely on the commanders who will be impacted by a change in the law.

I wonder if this somewhat non-committal answer will be satisfactory to his conservative base. For some, merely promising to have the policy reviewed might be too much for them. For example, Tom Minnery, head of Focus On the Family Action sent out an email alert identifying “Out in the barracks: homosexuality hits the armed forces” as an alarming headline we might see if Obama were elected.

McCain Campaign Accepts Log Cabin’s Endorsement

Timothy Kincaid

September 3rd, 2008

Yesterday at Log Cabin Republicans’ Big Tent Event, the McCain campaign accepted the gay group’s endorsement. Mike DuHaime, the National Political Director, spoke on behalf of the candidate and the campaign.

He told the crowd of 200 people, “On behalf of Senator McCain and the campaign, thank you for this endorsement. Sen. McCain is running an inclusive campaign and he’ll have an inclusive administration [as president].”

DuHaime also said that Sen. McCain will win this election because he is the “only one who has the ability to unite the entire party.” He went on to say that everyone supporting Sen. McCain must talk to others about why they’re voting for him. “This is so important in the gay and lesbian community,” said DuHaime.

As Ed Stoddard writing for Reuters noted,

The endorsement may boost McCain’s reputation as a maverick who reaches across partisan lines, but it may not go down well with his party’s conservative Christian base.

The campaign’s acceptance of endorsement, a first for Log Cabin, was also accompanied by unprecedented access to the convention. These steps, while not on par with the way in which the Democratic Party welcomed its gay delegates, are welcome and an indication of a growing acceptance of gay men and women in the fabric of the nation.

Log Cabin Endorses John McCain

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2008

Log Cabin Republicans has endorsed Sen. John McCain for President. Log Cabin appears to recognize that McCain’s agenda is not much in alignment with the goals of the gay community or the principles of equality:

“We have honest disagreements with Sen. McCain on a number of gay rights issues. Log Cabin will continue our conversation with him and other Republican leaders about issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans. We will speak out when there’s disagreement—either during the upcoming campaign or when John McCain is President,” said Sammon.

Their endorsement seems based on the following:

  • McCain led the Republican opposition to the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment
  • McCain has an “inclusive record” which has engendered support from grassroots members of the organization
  • McCain has a long history of dialogue and friendly association with Log Cabin
  • An endorsement will give Log Cabin better access to a McCain administration
  • Other issues (foreign policy, the economy, jobs, energy policy, health care reform, and taxes) are important to LGBT voters
  • Gay and lesbian Republicans believe Sen. John McCain is the most qualified person to lead our country.

There is no indication in the press release that Log Cabin had gained any concessions or clarifications of position from the McCain campaign before making their decision.

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Weekly Standard Editor: McCain Needs To Bash Gays

Jim Burroway

July 7th, 2008

Fred Barnes, editor of The Weekly Standard was on Fox News (where else?) yesterday with some advice for McCain:

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BARNES: McCain has to run a center-right campaign. He’s paying a lot of attention to the center, and he also needs to pay attention to the right, because these are the people … (crosstalk).

BARNES: And here’s what he needs to do. He needs to touch on some of the social issues which energize the right. In particular, gays in the military for one. We know Barack Obama is for allowing gays in the military, and Bill Clinton tried to do, but backed off. This is not a popular issue. Gay marriage is another one. These are both issues that I think McCain’s going to have to use. You can’t ignore the right. If he does, he’ll lose.

McCain’s been hearing this advice a lot lately. He heard it two weeks ago when he met with several Ohio social conservatives including Mike Gonidakis, head of Ohio Right to Life, and Phil Burress, head of Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values. Burress also sits on the board of directors of Exodus International.

While meeting with Burress and others, McCain promised to be more outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage. Afterwards, McCain released a statement endorsing California’s proposed ban on same-sex marriages. This was just a few days after McCain reportedly met with members of the Log Cabin Republicans.

It looks like wedge politics may be roaring back. Surprised?

McCain Supports CA Anti-Marriage Amendment

Jim Burroway

June 27th, 2008

We’re still not sure what McCain might have told the Log Cabin Republicans during his still-unacknowledged meeting with them, the LCRs are sure to be disappointed by this news. “Protect Marriage,” the California group that is sponsoring the Californian anti-marriage amendment, has announced that John McCain is supporting their efforts to abolish more than 2,000 legal marriages in California. According to McCain’s statement:

“I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions.”

Actually, Arizona defeated an attempt to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the constitution in 2006. Nevertheless, same-sex marriage is explicitly banned in Arizona by state law, and that law has been consistently upheld by the courts.

A vote to put another proposed amendment on the ballot may come up for a vote in the Arizona Senate as early as today. It’s still not too late to contact your Senator. And thanks to Equality Arizona, it only takes about three minutes of your time.

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