Something that not many people have commented on in regard to yesterday’s court decision by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips that it’s unconstitutional to force people out of the military merely because they are active homosexuals: The plaintiff arguing in favor of equality for gays, lesbians and bisexuals was a GOP group, the Log Cabin Republicans. The defendant, arguing against equality, was Barack Obama’s Democrat-controlled Department of Justice.
Barack Obama talks a lot about how he’s going to undo the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy of discrimination – eventually. Talk is cheap. Obama has the opportunity now to end the military’s discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and to do so almost instantly. All Obama has to do is to announce that he will direct the Department of Justice not to file an appeal in this case.
Of course, Obama could also have simply, as Commander-in-Chief, ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell long ago. No legislation would be required. Obama could give the order to end the discrimination at any time. He doesn’t want to.
The United States of America is ready to accept gays, lesbians and bisexuals as equals. The Democratic Party is not.
It’s one manifestation of the larger disease that’s causing the Democratic Party to fall apart less than two years after the tremendous victories of 2008. The Republicans are likely to regain control of Congress this year – but not because Americans love the Republicans any more than they did two years ago. Rather, the Democrats have failed to deliver on the promise of change that won them such broad support in 2008.
The Democratic rank and file didn’t work hard in order to elect politicians who would act like Republicans, but that’s what they got, as thanks for their dedication. So, it took a Republican splinter group, the Log Cabin Republicans, to do the right thing while the Democrats in Congress and the White House have been too timid to distance themselves from the policies of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.
For the Democrats, the gutlessness of Obama and his allies in Congress is more damaging than Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. During the Lewinsky scandal, Democrats could console themselves that it was just one of their leaders who was being a jerk, and only in his personal life. Democratic politicians’ thorough, ongoing betrayal of their political base cannot be shrugged off so easily.
In the 2010 congressional elections, and in the 2012 presidential election, the Democrats’ toughest opponent won’t be the Republicans. It will be the nagging, depressing question in the minds of Democratic voters: Why bother?
Will I bother to vote for any Democratic candidate this year? Don’t ask, and I won’t tell.