Can Tim Pawlenty Actually Restore Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 8 2011 12:34 PM

Can Tim Pawlenty Actually Restore Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Progressives have clearly identified a weakness in Tim Pawlenty's sales pitch: His status as the one 2012 candidate who wants to reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell. The issue was raised by the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, Pawlenty expanded on it in Washington, and he expanded on it again in Iowa, asked by a ThinkProgress blogger if he'd even cut off funding for implementation of DADT repeal. That's at 12:29 here.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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What's actually being discussed here? Fischer explained it in a column last week, pointing to the memo Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote about implementation.

Simply defund the Repeal Implementation Team (RIT).

The RIT will require significant funding, since it is responsible for the entire process. The RIT is chartered with leading the process of implementation, and in so doing will be directed to develop plans, update policies, train and prepare experts, train and prepare leaders, train and prepare the force, issue progress reports, and assess implementation (pp. 2-3).

The materials they are to prepare, by the way, include a "standard content tool kit" with "training and education materials" (i.e, the brainwashing, indoctrination and re-education curricula). Every post will now become a re-education camp for the politically disfavored yahoos who still think homosexual conduct is immoral, unnatural, and unhealthy...

According to page 5 of Gates' memo, "The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer will provide adequate funding for the RIT."

Well, what if the House doesn't give 'em any money? According my copy of the Constitution, "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House" (Article I, Section 7). The GOP now controls the House, and neither the president nor the Pentagon can spend a dime the House does not first appropriate.

Compare this to what Pawlenty's spokesman Alex Conant has said .

In this case, both generals and combat troops have voiced opposition to repealing DADT, and the governor values their perspective. He does not support using resources to implement a policy they oppose.

Let's slow this down. Who actually needs to sign off on DADT repeal? Obama, Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. And they've all signed off. The only option by which the "generals" who oppose repeal could be brought into the process would be passage of a bill like the one Rep. Duncan Hunter's introduced, to require that the chiefs of the armed services also weigh in.

So what Pawlenty's proposing is disconnected to the process. I won't doubt that this is his real position; I'm skeptical that he's thought it all the way through. Smart of GOProud to get a piece of this , because somebody needs to stop the candidate before he panders again.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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