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Webb's Stance on DADT No Surprise

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Wed May 26, 2010 at 15:18:15 PM EDT

I'm not at all surprised by the position that Sen. Jim Webb appears to be taking on the compromise presently being sought in Congress for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays serving.  

Sen. Webb told reporters that he was leaning against voting for the compromise, which would immediately end DADT legally but would allow the military to take the time it deems necessary to implement the new policy.

"If you look at what the White House said and you look at what Secretary Gates said, they both said they would prefer to go through the process that Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates announced in February. I don't see any reason to preempt that process," Webb stated yesterday.

When he was asked if he would vote "no" when the Senate Armed Services Committee takes a vote on the proposed legislation, Webb refused to say. The way things are shaping up, Webb's opposition won't stop the legislation...that is, if Sen. Nelson of Florida joins Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska in voting "aye."

Why am I not surprised about Sen. Webb's position on the matter?  

Elaine in Roanoke :: Webb's Stance on DADT No Surprise
Well, anyone who has talked with Jim Webb for any length of time knows that he is, first and foremost, a man who respects the military chain of command. After all, he served in the Marines, including combat during the Vietnam War, receiving a Silver Star, the Navy Cross, and two Purple Hearts. Plus, he served as secretary of the navy during the Reagan administration. He came from a military family himself and graduated from the Naval Academy. He's military...through and through.

What would have surprised me more would have been if Jim Webb had agreed to the proposed DADT compromise after hearing that the Commander in Chief, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense preferred to follow the original plan of study before any change was made.

For a man raised by a career military father who also made the military an integral part of his own life, the decision Jim Webb reached is no surprise to me.

(I also remember on several occasions meeting Jim Webb's driver during the campaign that resulted in his election to the U.S. Senate, a man who had served in Webb's unit in Vietnam. Mac left his job in Tennessee and came to "enlist" in the Webb campaign for the duration. That sort of comradeship and loyalty is what the military receives back from Sen. Webb, as well. So...I am not at all surprised by his views on the proposed policy change.)

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Right on target! (0.00 / 0)
People may disagree with Webb's position on DADT, but this analysis is right on target for Webb's rationale.

Yes (0.00 / 0)
Yes. Jim Webb cannot be something other than the man he is. Those who expect anything else do not understand his life experience.

[ Parent ]
Well, this is a pathetic line of defense...... (4.00 / 1)
I'm a practical liberal and believe as a rule in just counting the votes and get whatever is the most liberal thing possible on a given legislative issue, so if Webb's vote isn't there, I will just chalk him down as a "no" and hope there are still enough "yes" votes out there.  Every Senator and House member is an individual with his or her own strong opinions and freewill, and I don't buy complaints that Reid or Pelosi or Obama should just "twist arms" or "push harder" for this or that liberal item, as complaints from the left were often leveled on health care reform.  And I accept that Democrats representing conservative states or districts are in a particularly tight spot, and need to be allowed a longer leash on a lot of votes.  And I even accept that patience is a virtue.

But none of this extends to actually DEFENDING WEBB on his position, and the defenses of him here are horseshit.

We're all products of our experience and environment, but an elected official has a responsibility to look not only to that, but beyond that.  It's horseshit to say "this should no surprise no one" and excuse Webb based on his personal biography.

Public opinion has turned 180 degrees since the mid-90s, anywhere from 70% to 80% of Americans, depending on the poll, say gays should be allowed to serve openly.  Opposition has shrunk to a small corner of base conservatives.  There is no electorally significant political opposition left, and especially any Democrat has NO persuadable voters who want the ban left in place.  Obama put this "review" in place to break down opposition within the military, and I accept that, too, as a practical reality.  This isn't gay marriage where we're still years away from breaking down the opposition.

But now we have Gates on board and a compromise available that allows the review to be completed and requires the very conditions the military set to be met before any lifting of the ban can take effect.  All the bill does is give authority to the executive branch to move forward under certain conditions that happen to be exactly the conditions the military wants.

There is no justification for opposing this bill except a homophobic one, and Webb's military background doesn't count as an excuse.

This is the sort of thing that would cause me to refuse to give Webb money or door-knock for him.  I would even think twice about voting for him (the And I'm far from a purist, I argue with the purity trolls on DailyKos all the time.  But this bill is structured in a way that makes objection impossible except from homophobes, period.

And for the record, I'm a heterosexual married father of a 4-year old daughter and 2-year old son, I don't have a personal dog in this hunt.  But I'm a man of color who understands that naked bigotry is not defensible on any level.

[ Parent ]
I just assume (0.00 / 0)
then that, on every issue which might substantively affect the operations, policies, or governance of the military, Senator Webb will refuse to fund or vote for anything that the majority of the Joint Chiefs and/or the rest of the majority of the 'military' (whether that be the officers, the enlisted soldiers, or some combination thereof) doesn't accede to (for instance, expanded GI Bill benefits, Iraqi and/or Afghan withdrawal, etc.). Now THAT would be consistent with this statement.

Since, however, Senator Webb was happy to try and push and promulgate changes in policies and operations of the military in both Iraq, Afghanistan, the greater 'war on terror', and of course on the policies used to retain and reward veterans of these wars, when he actually DISAGREED with those policies, well, then, consider me less than convinced that this is some consistent stance on his part.

To be even more succinct, why is he even in Congress if he feels that the military ought to be able to write its own policies at its sole discretion and/or timelines? It sort of makes Article I, Section 8, Clause 14 "The Congress shall have Power ... To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" superfluous, doesn't it? Amazing that the founding fathers didn't add "when the land and naval Forces agree to be so Governed" to this plenary enumerated power in our Constitution. Not to mention the other ways in which, in fact, the military is required to obey the will of Congress, and not the other way around -- which is of course why we are a democracy and not a dictatorship or junta like so many of the countries we have fought against over the years.  

[ Parent ]
Your analysis may be correct, (0.00 / 0)
but that still is no excuse for supporting what is in essence religious based discrimination in the military.  It makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution that Webb and members of the military are supposed to support.  

As a gay Virginian, this is a make or break issue for me. By their votes Webb, Glenn Nye and others will determine whether I sit out the mid-terms.  I'm way past ever giving money again.

Promises were made to LGBT Americans by Obama, Nye and others and now it is all turning out to have been calculated lies.


Sitting Out and Electing Republicans??? (0.00 / 0)
Let me get this straight. You believe that your political positions will be better served by sitting out an election and perhaps letting far-right GOPers get elected, people sure to vote against your beliefs, i.e., trading someone who might support you most of the time for someone guaranteed to never support you or represent you.

Once in my youth - in fact the first election in which I could vote for president - I did just that in order to "make a statement" against the war in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of Democrats did that very thing in 1968. What did we get as a result? We got Richard Nixon...a paranoid hater of most of the things I revere, and perhaps the only mentally unstable man to occupy the presidency in my lifetime.

That was the last time I did such a thing. Elections have consequences. Not voting simply means that you are willing to allow whatever happens to occur without your input.

Please rethink what you said about sitting out November. There would be absolutely NO discussion of ending DADT if John McCain were sitting in the White House. As it is, repeal of DADT probably will die in the Senate anyway, not because of Jim Webb but because it will be blocked by some right-wing GOPer.

[ Parent ]
Do Your Thing... (0.00 / 0)
Tonight i submitted a resolution to REPEAL DADT to the DPVA Veterans and Military Families Caucus

took Arlington's rez and edited it.

Chris Mathews had a wonderful piece at the end of his show...

Call Webb's office!!!!

bruce roemmelt
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

Yes (0.00 / 0)
I absolutely agree that calls to Jim Webb's office can be very effective. If we don't make our views known, there is no way for Webb and his staff to know how we feel.

By the way, the legislation appears to have been amended in committee to effectively give the military the ability to set a timetable for implementation, so Webb well may vote for it.

To me, the importance of the proposed legislation is that the military will immediately have efforts to enforce DADT called into question if the policy is set for repeal at some point by the military brass.

(I hope your resolution is presented to the June 11-12 meeting of the DPVA state committee. If so, I'll vote "aye.")

[ Parent ]
Elaine, may I piggy-back on your message on an important DPVA vote ? (0.00 / 0)
I think Bruce will be out of town the weekend of the 11-12 June DPVA meetings in Charlottesville, but so far as I know John Harvey, a member of the 10th CD committee will be in attendance so John may be able to present the resolution to the DPVA himself.

The reason for my request to "piggy-back" on your message is to ask you to vote for Susan Mariner for DPVA 1st Vice Chair, and if you agree that she is the best choice for the job please ask all your fellow Central Committee voting members to also vote for Susan. I will attend, but am not a voting member. I believe the 1st Vice Chair vote will be during the Sat. A.M. Central Committee meeting. Thanks in advance for whatever support you can give to Susan.

                    Tom Counts,
         Gainesville District and PWC Committee member.

[ Parent ]
OOPS ! I misread Bruce's message. It's the vets and family caucus, not the 10th CD, res. (0.00 / 0)
Sorry for the misreading. Bruce's resolution went to the Vets. and Military Caucus, which I assume is who would submit the resolution, not a 10th CD member (unless he is a caucus member). I have no doubt that John Harvey, if he is present as I expect, will likewise vote "aye".

I guess I should be more careful about which subject matter comments I try to piggy-back onto for another item/request.


[ Parent ]
About Susan... (0.00 / 0)
Have no fear, I will support Susan Mariner for 1st Vice Chair. I will pass along that message to fellow members who might listen to me...:-)

[ Parent ]
There's been movement (0.00 / 0)
on DADT repeal in both the Senate and the House.

In the Senate, it's cleared the committee (16:12, with Collins voting with the Dems and Webb with the Repubs) and is ready to put the Repubs on the spot when it comes to the floor vote: are you ready to abandon your vaunted troop support and kill the bill, just so you can continue to cling to your hateful prejudices? Are you willing to spit in the face of not just the majority of the population you're supposed to be representing but also in the face of the majority of the military brass whose judgment you supposedly venerate?

And it passed in the House; if not in an avalanche, then, at least, with a decent margin:


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