Favorite

Lincoln's grace note 

The runoff between Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter for the Democratic Senate nomination has become a tiresome and bitter spectacle of competing caricatures.

Lincoln has fared worse, polls indicate. I've thought this has partly been a result of a fractured campaign strategy that overlooked the senator's greatest strength — essential decency.

Happily, that trait was on display last week as Congress took up legislation to repeal the don't ask, don't tell policy that bans military service by openly gay people. Implementation of open service in the military would be left to the Pentagon, no sooner than February 2011. The military would first complete by Dec. 1 a study of the impact.

Public opinion polls say 75 percent of U.S. people favor military service by acknowledged homosexuals. As repeal co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder has noted, thousands are serving now, though they are forced to mask their identities — and pretend they don't have loved ones of the same sex at home — for fear of losing their jobs.

Republicans don't believe the polls, they believe their prejudices. They've united to make this a campaign issue, led by the erratic Sen. John McCain. Only five Republicans joined the repeal vote in the House last week. Sadly, only one Arkansan of any party was in that number, Snyder.

Republican Rep. John Boozman, naturally, continued to support discrimination against gay men and women in arms. It's hardly surprising because he also supports the legality of workplace discrimination against gay people in all jobs, from doctor to dishwasher.

More disappointing, though not surprising, were the "no" votes of U.S. Reps. Marion Berry and Mike Ross. Berry, who owes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a repeal backer, said he just didn't know how he felt about the service of gays in the military. But he doesn't want to harm former aide Chad Causey's chances of winning election to his seat. Causey is facing a committed homophobe, Tim Wooldridge, in the runoff. Berry didn't want to give Wooldridge a wedge.

Ross said he thinks the ban on open gay service is "working." Working? Some 14,000 capable troops have been forced out of the military, sometimes only because someone snitched on their private sex life. Ross also says he prefers to defer to the military — just not to military people like Rep. Patrick Murphy, repeal sponsor and an Iraq vet, or the heroic Joint Chiefs chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, who also favors repeal.

Which brings us to Blanche Lincoln. Sen. Mark Pryor took a powder similar to Mike Ross. He won't vote for repeal until a military study is done (presumably the hope is for a study that upholds continuing discrimination). Senator Lincoln, however, said she'll vote to repeal the law, even knowing that a runoff victory will put her up against homophobe Boozman in the fall. Said Lincoln:

"Military readiness remains my top priority. I trust our military leaders to make the right decision on this issue.  I am satisfied that a workable compromise has been reached between the Pentagon and Congress that will ensure a smooth transition based on certification by military leaders that military readiness will not be affected if the policy is repealed.  I am prepared to vote for this compromise, which enables our military leadership to determine the policy on this issue moving forward."

It's decent. It's fair. It's right. Mark Pryor, Marion Berry and Mike Ross should read the words of the honorable lady from Arkansas and hang their heads in shame.

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • What? That was all made up? Oh my. Well, let's hope he gets busy on…

    • on January 22, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Pssst - Lyons plans to pen a column on why the donors stopped giving to…

    • on January 22, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • The funniest thing about all this is that Lyons never said that Russia invaded anyone…

    • on January 22, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation