Small-minded base, not the military, behind GOP’s DADT opposition

The public favors allowing gays to serve openly in the military, and so do our soldiers.

The civilian and military leaders of the nation’s armed forces urged Congress Tuesday to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy based on a survey showing that most troops are okay with gays serving openly.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it was a simple matter of right and wrong: “A policy that requires people to lie about themselves to me seems fundamentally flawed,” Gates said.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said getting rid of DADT would not have a major impact on morale or readiness as many feared: “This is a policy that we can do and we can do it in a relatively low-risk fashion.”

Mullen and Gates spoke at a Pentagon briefing on a massive survey of active duty troops that showed 70% believe a repeal of DADT would have either a positive effect or no effect on their ability to complete missions.

That 70 percent is in line with the public’s opinion on DADT. Republicans have exploited small-minded moralists for years, and they’re not about to turn against them now. Rest assured that will cost the party in years to come.

DADT stays until the president steps in with an executive order — the smart move morally AND politically.

Your turn, GOP officeholders

Former First Lady Barbara Bush has done it. So has former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. Today, former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough joined the small group of Republicans willing to acknowledge the obvious about Sarah Palin. Notice the adjective that binds them together.

Don’t count on current Republicans joining them anytime soon.