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CMR Sitrep
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Barney Frank's Sidestep Strategy

An article published in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call last Thursday indicated that the combined voices of more than 1,000 retired Flag & General Officers for the Military are being heard.

The article, titled "Frank: Democrats Punting on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Until 2010" (available by subscription only) quotes Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Co-Chairs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equality Caucus. Both openly gay, Frank and Baldwin expressed doubts that Congress will repeal the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military this year. Said Frank, "We haven't done the preliminary work, the preparatory work. It would be a mistake to bring it up without a lot of lobbying and a lot of conversation."

This is interesting, since the activist Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and other groups have had numerous lobbying days on this issue, going back several years.

To the extent that the votes are not there for repeal right now, credit must go to the sheer weight of the Open Letter signed and delivered by the Flag & General Officers for the Military. Their strong statement in support of the law has clearly given pause to the congressional Democrat caucus, and "changed the game" by blunting Obama's attempt to create a false appearance of "consensus" among military leaders that it is OK to repeal the law.

It is important to consider the source of the Roll Call article. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin are determined advocates of repeal. In his comments to Roll Call Barney Frank is merely offering advice to the SLDN on how, not if, Congress might repeal the law with a free-standing bill next year. Frank played a similar intermediary role in 1993, when he infuriated gay activists by telling them that Bill Clinton's administrative policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," (DADT), the only option left to them, would be a step in the right direction that would ultimately lead to repeal of the 1993 law.

Where does the issue stand today? It is very possible that one of the Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee will raise the issue during Defense Department (DoD) budget authorization hearings. Short of repealing the law, the next recourse for Democrats would be to enlist a supposedly non-threatening sounding, bi-partisan "commission" or "panel" to study the issue. A tax-funded "Gays in the Military Commission" would subsidize and empower homosexualist groups sure to come up with a report on how, not if, the DoD should implement repeal of the 1993 law.

Members of Congress should oppose any such effort on no uncertain terms. Given current leadership in the White House and Congress, the composition of such a commission would amount to a foreordained result in favor of repeal. Single-minded activists would control the agenda and outcome, wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars along the way.

The stalwart efforts of the Flag and General Officers for the Military and congressional supporters have gotten the attention of congressmen and women who may have told Barney Frank to back off-at least for now. This is encouraging news, but far from victory. Efforts to establish and subsidize a "Gays in the Military Commission" persist as a threat as Congress considers the Defense Department budget for this year. CMR will continue to monitor ongoing developments, and take the lead in defending the 1993 law.
posted by CMR Editor @ 4/28/2009 05:32:00 PM

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