Elaine Donnelly: Opposing Logic and Reality since 1993
After Wednesday’s announcement by Rep. Meehan (D-MA) of the re-introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA), It was expected that Elaine Donnelly, of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), would have something to say. In an article titled “Zogby Poll Spins Push For Gays in the Military,” Elaine attacks the Zogby Poll from 2006 that shows the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy doesn’t work.
Using classic P.R. strategy, the Zogby news release highlighted the meaningless ?comfort? question, ?Are you comfortable interacting with gay people?? Of those responding, 73% said they were. But this is an innocuous question, about as relevant to the controversy as an inquiry about daytime talk shows: ?Would you rather watch Ellen DeGeneres? show or Rosie O?Donnell on The View??
The key question asked of survey respondents was, ?Do you agree or disagree with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military??
On that question, 26% of respondents agreed, but 37% disagreed. The poll also found that 32% of respondents were ?Neutral,? and only 5% said they were ?Not sure.?
The 26% of respondents who want the law repealed cannot compete with the combined 69% of people who are opposed or neutral on repeal. This is hardly a mandate for radical change.
Lets start with the first paragraph. Comparing the opinions of individuals of whether or not they feel comfortable interacting with gays and lesbians to if they like a campy, dancing, lesbian who interviews celebrities and kids to a loud, opinionated, lesbian who gossips with three other women for an hour a day, is like comparing the tastes of individuals who can stomach Hawaiian pizza or not to those who choose between Domino’s or Pizza Hut commercials. We can interact with people like we can eat Hawaiian pizza. We can only view Ellen or The View.
The question was not a direct question but it’s no less meaningful. To ask whether or not our armed forces felt comfortable interacting or more aptly put, serving alongside, with gay people, is the premise behind the MREA and the push to repeal this less-than honorable policy. 78 percent is a large portion. Why? Because, people in the military aren’t stupid. They know they already DO serve alongside gay and lesbian service members.
While it’s true that the direct question gave very mixed results but just because you lump 37 percent who agree with the current policy with 32 percent who, frankly, just don’t care either way. Insomuch as I can add the neutral 32 percent to the 26 percent and say that 58 percent of respondents who are in support or are neutral to repeal of the policy soundly defeat the 37 percent who prefer the status quo. This is hardly a mandate for keeping this ridiculous law.
The rest gets better…
Military Knows Best
Polling organizations recognize that respondents who believe a policy is already in place are more likely to favor that policy, while those who know otherwise are less likely.1 Constant but incorrect assertions that ?homosexuals can serve in the military provided that they do not say they are gay? are probably skewing polls of civilians, who mistakenly believe that homosexuals are eligible to serve. People in the military, however, are more likely to understand what the homosexual exclusion law actually says. [See text here]
In the most recent poll announced by the Military Times newspapers, in answer to the question ?Do you think openly homosexual people should be allowed to serve in the military?? 30% of the active duty military subscriber respondents said Yes, but 59% said No, 10% having No Opinion. The same percentage, 59% in opposition, was reported by the Military Times survey in 2006 (Army Times, Jan. 8, 2007).
Yes of course, military knows best! I forgot! The military is in control of itself…wait? What’s that you say? The President, Congress, and the Secretary of Defense are in control of the military? Oh yeah, I forgot about civilian control. The part in The Constitution that says “The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” So while it makes sense to poll the members of the military that would be affected by such a change, the ultimate responsibility falls on the Congress to regulate the armed forces.
The information Elaine cites to source her statement that civilians “mistakenly believe that homosexuals are eligible to serve” as long as they don’t say they’re gay is from a source that is more than 15 years old. The assertion that ?homosexuals can serve in the military provided that they do not say they are gay? is a false statement is in itself a false statement. The text of the bill says, and I’m paraphrasing, that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can serve as long as they make no admission of sexuality and abstain from same gendered sexual encounters and actions that would lead others to believe one intends to commit an act of said relations. The “compromise” that President Bill Clinton brokered was the removal of the “I’m a flamer” check box on the military application form, and that legally no one could ask the member his or her sexuality. Hence the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” nick-name that has been adopted.
Citing the Military Times is like citing the…oh wait a minute, she did…Washington Times, or Illinois Family Institute; all are skewed-to-the-right-wing sources. Polls have also been done that show the overwhelming majority of Military Times readers are conservative Republicans. So to use these sources are about as effective as citing polls done by Air America listeners and PETA studies; they’re gonna be skewed to the left. Using bipartisan pollsters like Zogby are much more credible.
Zogby’s credibility is in question too.
A closer look at the Zogby poll reveals more interesting details that should have been recognized in news reports:
- This is the latest in a string of media events orchestrated in a failed public relations campaign announced by gay activist groups four years ago. The Zogby poll news release clearly states that it was designed ?in conjunction with the Michael D. Palm Center,? formerly the Center for Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (Dec. 18, 2006). This is an activist group that has promoted homosexuals in the military for years?usually by releasing or promoting various faux ?studies? that cannot withstand close scrutiny.
- The poll claims to be of 545 people ?who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan (or in combat support roles directly supporting those operations), from a purchased list of U.S. Military Personnel.? But the U.S. military does not sell or provide access to personnel lists. Due to security rules that were tightened in the aftermath of 9/11, personal details and even general information about the location of individual personnel are highly restricted.
- Apparent absence of random access undermines the credibility of the poll, even though the news release makes the inflated claim, ?The panel used for this survey is composed of over 1 million members and correlates closely with the U.S. population on all key profiles.?
Well the point she is making that the CSSMM is focused on sexual minorities in the military is taken and noted, but logically flawed. They do promote gays in the military but only because they haven’t found a reason to restrict service. The study was designed in a fair way, if people don’t believe it, they can read the questions for themselves.
The US military doesn’t have to sell lists of individuals. The lists can be purchased from military-centric commercial entities such as Military.com, the Military Times, or even Classmates.com. Such companies are not restricted from selling lists of their subscribers to pollsters.
Activists frequently claim that the greater comfort of younger people with homosexuals is evidence enough to justify changing the law. If that were the case, all referenda banning same-sex marriage would have been soundly defeated. On the contrary, the voters of several states have approved 27 of 28 such referenda, often with comfortable majorities. 2
It’s absolutely true, activists frequently claim that the greater comfort of younger people with the LGBT community is evidence enough to justify changing the law. What’s not true is your claim that equal marriage banning amendments were passed by young voters.
The Center for Media Research shows, average voters are not average Americans, and researched the information about who average voters are. Strangely enough, they’re not young Americans.
According to an article in New Strategist Publications, by Cheryl Russell, editorial director, politicians are trying to portray themselves as in touch with the average American. In truth, she says, they are courting the average voter, whom she describes as:
– A woman. Fifty-one percent of the nation’s 294 million people are female. Among voters, the female share is a larger 53 percent. In the 2000 presidential election, women cast nearly 8 million more votes than men.
– 46 years old, while the average American is 37. Voters are older than average because young adults are least likely to vote. In the 2000 presidential election, only 27 percent of 18-year-olds went to the polls (the smallest voter turnout by age). In contrast, fully 73 percent of 67- and 68-year-olds voted (the highest turnout).
– as racially diverse as the states of Michigan and Ohio. While 68 percent of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic whites cast 81 percent of the votes in the presidential election of 2000
– religious. Fully 59 percent of the public say religion is “very important” in their life, according to the Gallup Organization. The figure is higher among voters because the groups dominating the electorate (women and older Americans) are even more likely to embrace religion (65 to 73 percent say it is “very important”).
Wow, the only conclusion one can draw from this is that the general makeup of the voters are white, female, senior citizens, who are religious. This sounds like the demographic makeup of Concerned Women for America. Funny, if the largest portion of the voting population was elderly, white, religious, women, it really isn’t surprising that amendments banning equal marriage parity. But, Elaine digresses.
She finishes her diatribe of supporting the status quo by suggesting ways people can keep discrimination codified into law. I think my readers are smart enough to figure out how to support the MREA.
(Cross-posted at Get-the-skinny)