By Bryan Fischer
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty was a guest on my “Focal Point” program yesterday.
During our conversation, he raised the stakes in the 2012 presidential campaign by becoming the first potential candidate for the Republican nomination to declare publicly that he supports reinstating the ban on homosexuals in the military.
Toward the end of our conversation, I asked him directly about his position on this issue. Here is a transcript of our exchange (the full interview can be viewed here, with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” portion beginning at the 10:48 mark):
Bryan Fischer: “One last question, we have about 45 seconds left, put you on the hot seat one more time. We just saw the ban on homosexual service in the military repealed, overturned. Conservatives will be working over the next couple of years to see that that ban is reinstated. If you become president in 2012, will you work to reinstate the prohibition on open homosexual service in the military, would you sign such a prohibition if it got to your desk?”
Gov. Tim Pawlenty: “Bryan, I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper, and that is something we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and I would support reinstating it as well.”
To my knowledge, he is the first potential presidential candidate for 2012 to go on public record that as the next commander-in-chief he would reinstate the prohibition on homosexual service in the military.
This is now the new benchmark for GOP candidates, and we should expect everyone else in the field to be asked this question and asked to answer it on the record. The fact that most of the candidates will be at CPAC makes it the perfect place for them to be directly confronted with this issue.
Pawlenty’s straightforward declaration may elevate his visibility, as the out-of-the-mainstream media is certain to target him for this, perhaps on his current book tour (note unrepentant use of martial metaphor), and the homosexual lobby in particular is likely to go ballistic, training its guns on Pawlenty, especially during his appearance at CPAC. (Note continued and unapologetic use of military metaphors.)
Expect GOProuders, for whom removing the ban was a specific goal, to make noise at CPAC about Pawlenty’s stance. After all, CPAC has empowered them and emboldened them by giving them a prominent place at what is labeled a conservative conference. We might even see visible protests of his speech by gay activist groups,and some booing from the GOProud crowd, just as they booed Ryan Sorba off the stage last year for having the temerity to suggest that there is something unnatural about homosexual behavior.
The attention Pawlenty may draw may be the best thing that happens to his campaign. His unapologetic position on this will boost his status with social conservatives and will verify that the title of his autobiography, “Courage to Stand,” is not just PR gas.
It also may help blunt some of the suspicion that he’s just too nice to win the nomination, since he has demonstrated courage on an issue other candidates have avoided or on which they have meekly capitulated.
Sarah Palin, for instance, has sent a signal that she actually approves of normalizing deviant sex in the military. (Note: “deviant: departing from usual or accepted standards, esp. in social or sexual behavior.” Using the term is not name-calling, it is truth-telling.) And we have yet to hear, to my knowledge, from anyone else in the presidential field as to whether or not they will support the combat commanders and combat troops who vigorously oppose this disastrous change in military policy.
Here’s the question for the rest of the GOP field: Tim Pawlenty has stepped up on the gaying of the military. Will you?
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)