Only three years ago, Senator John McCain supported repealing don't ask, don't tell. "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says,
'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to
consider seriously changing it," he said in 2006. Military leadership has done exactly that. But as DADT appears near repeal, his sudden swing to staunch opposition has many pundits puzzled. Adding to the confusion is his wife and daughter's public support for expanding gay rights. What happened to John McCain?
Post-2008 McCain Shifts Right The Washington Post's Michael Shear suggests
that, after losing the 2008 presidential election and facing a
rightward-shifting GOP, McCain is giving up his past bipartisan tenor.
"Since losing to Obama in the 2008 election, McCain has become a
consistent critic of the president. He also has, for the first time in
years, a serious primary fight on his hands."
Primary Fears, Personal Split, Changed His Mind The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder lays out three theories. "Theory one is that he's worried that [Arizona Republican] J.D. Hayworth will use it against
him in the primaries. Theory two is that McCain has come to believe
that Gates and Mullen undercut Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus at
key moments during the Afghanistan debate. (Buchanan said this theory
is absurd.) Theory three is that McCain, who, has, in private,
expressed disdain at his party's anti-gay stances, has changed his mind
and now has a different view of homosexuality."
Distrusts Current Military Leadership, Culture The Washington Post's Ezra Klein has less sympathetic theories. "The first is that McCain does not count Gates and Mullen as 'the
leadership of the military,' which would mean he doesn't believe in
civilian control of the military, which would be scary indeed." He adds, "1. McCain has changed his position
without telling anybody; or 2. McCain thinks the military is too
delicate to handle an infusion of patriotic Americans interested in
serving their country during wartime.
I'm not sure which makes McCain look worse."
He is so mad that the military is enforcing the policy less strictly
without first asking John McCain's permission! He also keeps arguing
that everyone in the military loves the policy and wants to keep it and
so he is somehow telling the people who are literally in charge of the
military that they do not represent the will of the military, unlike
John McCain, who has a list of veterans who hate gay people! We must
always do whatever veterans want. (Unless the veterans are gay and want to not get kicked out of the military?)
He's Just a Hypocrite
Rachel Maddow calls the flip a "collapse of credibility and
embarrassing loss of temper." She says, "So, for John McCain, as long
as the military leadership is against gay people serving in the
military, he wants to defer to their judgment. But if the military
leadership is for gay people serving in the military, he thinks the
military leadership should defer to him." Video:
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