So reports The Hill, quoting Barney Frank as saying legislation will move “early next year.”
The Hill wraps this good news in what seems to me like bassackwards political analysis:
The move would play to the liberal base of President Barack Obama’s administration, but could pose risks by introducing a controversial issue into an election year in which Democrats are wary of losing seats, particularly in the House.
That would have been true about any “stroke of the pen” option pitting the President against the Pentagon. But if by early next year the ducks are all in a row, with the proposal coming from the Secretary of Defense with the backing of the Service secretaries and the Joint Chiefs, the major risks would be on the Republican side.
The GOP base will be all in an uproar about this, but somewhere between two-thirds and three-quaters of the voters are willing to have themselves defended by people of any sexual orientation. That number will likely go up after the brass weighs in about the military costs of losing people in key MOS’s, and after Lt. Choi has a chance to testify.
That will give Republicans on the Hill a choice between enraging and demobilizing the base – or even stimulating a primary challenge – and voting against the brass on an issue where the voters and the brass agree, which would be sure to annoy centrists and independents. (Joe Lieberman is going to carry the bill in the Senate.)
Can you say “wedge issue”?