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Posted on Jan 29, 2008 Print this Article

Political Consequences of 1992 Push for Gays in the Military

         How did voters react when former President Bill Clinton tried to keep his campaign promise to lift the ban on gays in the military?  A 1994 survey done for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) by Stanley Greenberg indicated the second most important factor that shifted control of Congress to the Republicans in the 1994 mid-term election was President Bill Clinton’s 1993 push for gays in the military.  

         That finding was reported by Dan Balz in a November 14, 1994, Washington Post article titled “Health Plan Was Albatross for Democrats: Big Government Label Hurt Party, Poll Finds.” Democratic pollster Greenburg found that 54% of 1,250 voters surveyed named the Health Care Task Force issue as the number one reason they cast a “vote of dissatisfaction” in the leadership of Clinton and the Democrats controlling Congress in 1993.  (The DLC survey may have been the source of the January 16 Investors’ Business Daily editorial titled “Empty Pantsuit” ). 

The Democratic pollster found that 54% of 1,250 voters surveyed named the Health Care Task Force issue as the number one reason they cast a “vote of dissatisfaction” in the leadership of Clinton and the Democrats controlling Congress in 1993.  Greenberg also identified a second issue, called “cultural liberalism,” which was symbolized by Bill Clinton’s failed 1993 campaign for homosexuals in the military.  That issue was named by 51% of respondents expressing disappointment with Clinton and his colleagues in Washington, D.C.  No Republican incumbents were defeated in 1994, even though the issue of gays in the military was not on the agenda of Congress in that year.  

The issue had been legislatively settled in 1993, following twelve legislative hearings and field trips.  Bi-partisan veto-proof majorities in both houses passed a law codifying pre-Clinton regulations stating that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service.”  That law, which should have been named the “Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993,” is frequently mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  

The catch-phrase refers to a set of expendable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” enforcement regulations that Clinton imposed on the military administratively, which are not consistent with the law.  Congress had considered Bill Clinton’s convoluted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” concept, but rejected it as unworkable.  (See Gays in the Military: Give the Law a Name)

Some advocates of repealing the law claim that opinions on the issue among military people have changed so much that the law should be repealed.  (See “Zogby Poll Spins Push for Gays in the Military.”)  But three surveys reported by the Military Times newspapers since 2006 indicate that 57 to 59 percent of military respondents said “No” when asked, “Do you think openly homosexual people should be allowed to serve in the military?” (Jan. 2006-2008)

The Center for Military Readiness has conducted a non-partisan 2008 Presidential Candidate Survey to determine where the potential nominees in both political parties stand on this issue, which could be reopened by Congress if members yield to gay activist demands.  Preliminary results, posted in this section of www.cmrlink.org, deserve the attention of all voters who support the military.

Posted on Jan 29, 2008 Print this Article