At Values Voters Summit, Inhofe Rallies Conservatives To Oppose Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal

This morning, speaking at FRC’s Voters Values Summit, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) tried to counteract Lady Gaga’s efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, encouraging conservative voters to tell their representatives to “vote no” on Tuesday’s motion to proceed to the defense authorization bill. “Your message is this,” Inhofe said. “If you vote yes, are voting for open gay activity in the military and you’re voting for abortions in our hospitals,” he said referring to a separate amendment that repeals the prohibition in the use of private funds to pay for abortion care in military hospitals. “Make sure they understand that you are watching. Because if they don’t think you’re watching, it’s going to sail through,” Inhofe warned.

During the speech, Inhofe again relied on his personal experiences in the service in the late 1950s to suggest that gay activity is incompatible with the military and suggested that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Secretary fo Defense Robert Gates cannot be trusted to objectively evaluate the results of the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell review:

INHOFE: They mentioned in my my introduction that I was an Army veteran. And I think any of the vetrans in this room. I don’t have have to tell you if you have an open gay situation there — allows people to use the military as a forum for their liberal agenda… They’ll say this doesn’t become effective until the report comes out in December and it will have to be certified by Admiral Mullen, Secretary Gates, and President Obama. But wait a minute! They’ve already made up their minds….

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Of course, Inhofe’s infusion of his own military service into the DADT debate is incredibly reactionary. America’s military and society has become significantly more tolerant towards minorities in the intervening years — as prominent military leaders who have “made up their minds” realize.” “In the almost seventeen years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Gen. Collin Powell said in a statement in February, throwing his weight behind the repeal process.

Later in the conference, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) also rallied behind the policy saying, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must remain the policy of the United States armed forces.”