Leading the Republican pack against DADT repeal is Sen. John McCain, the angry grinch of the Armed Services Committee who trusts homosexuals as far as he can throw ’em. In order to get those conservative base voters, he believes, he needs to show Arizona that he’s the bigot they elected him to be. So how might he keep America’s gays from serving openly in the military?
He could try to force language into the Pentagon’s spending bill, to which DADT’s compromise repeal is attached, that adds an additional step to ending the policy: requiring all four military branch chiefs sign off on the bill. Right now only Defense Sec. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen have to do so; McCain & Co. could try to get everyone including Marine chief James Conway to okay DADT’s end, which he’s not so keen on. Getting the four military heads to agree would inevitably delay things.
Or McCain could bolster his pro-military stance by insisting on providing funding in the bill for a second F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — even though the Pentagon says it doesn’t want it. But forcing it in there would also force Obama’s hand; the president says he’ll veto any bill that includes the unnecessary expenditure.
And then there’s McCain’s crazy idea to force 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to play Keep Out. It was proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, and McCain loves the idea. (Nevermind that, according to Sen. Car Levin, forcing the president — the commander in chief — to deploy troops to a certain location would be a first for Congress.)
Each of these ideas, even if they made it through the Senate, could get yanked when the joint House-Senate committee meets to split their differences. But don’t be surprised to see McCain try to pull at least one.