As I write this Congressman Martin Meehan (D-MA) is presenting a bill to repeal the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation. Those of us around at the time may remember that as an object lesson to a newly ascendant Democratic President that even when you control all the levers of power you can’t always get your way. What Clinton did with his efforts to repeal the military’s ban on gays, however, was to show us that it is possible for a new president, with only a plurality of the vote, to try to pass controversial legislation. He failed, but in doing so made believers out of many of us who hadn’t trusted him previously.
A rude surprise came eight years later when W took Clinton’s lesson to heart and shoved his far-right wing tax-cut-and-spend budget through a compliant congress even though he, too, had only a plurality of the vote.
Jake Tapper over at ABC News blogs about the appearance today of Staff Sgt. Eric Alva along side Meehan and a bipartisan group of legislators pushing for repeal of the ban. Alva was the first US Marine seriously wounded in our current adventure in Iraq, and is now openly gay.
For a refresher on this issue, check out Wikiality.