Controlling the message

Now that I’ve had an opportunity to look at some reaction from around the country from yesterday’s results, I’m noticing a couple themes.

First of all, Matt Bevin’s victory in Kentucky confounded the pollsters and political pundits who thought a TEA Party ticket couldn’t win despite the fact Mitt Romney carried the state two years ago. Even Fox News bought into this narrative, although they based their work on an AP story. Needless to say, the liberals in the media were quick to blame national anger for Bevin’s triumph. Obviously the people who thought they had run the TEA Party into the ground didn’t count on the people thinking for themselves and seeing past the leftist narrative.

Also lost in that win was the fact Bevin’s running mate, Jenean Hampton, is a black female near-political novice, and as such became the first black person to win statewide office in Kentucky. Yes, she ran as part of the ticket and not separately but in a close election as this was expected to be having the wrong running mate can be the difference between celebrating and conceding.

(By the way, as of January there will be just two black LGs in the country – Hampton and Maryland’s own Boyd Rutherford. The story fails to point out the obvious – both are Republicans.)

It’s even more interesting that Bevin’s support of Kim Davis didn’t hurt him, either. So you have a guy who ran against Obamacare and backed the faith-based civil disobedience of the Rowan County clerk, who was elected as a Democrat. If you believed the media and most of the GOP elite, Kentucky would be a lost opportunity for the GOP, but it turned out to be another GOP pickup. Obviously Bevin’s message against Obamacare and for school choice scored with Kentucky voters.

Speaking of surprising victories, it was assumed that Houston’s HERO legislation would be approved by voters. Instead it was crushed by 24 points and supporters were quick to blame its demise on opponents dubbing it the “bathroom bill.” The same was true in Maryland, but there wasn’t much interest in bringing it to the ballot, especially from the state Republican Party.

On the other hand, a few years ago the left successfully shifted the narrative on in-state tuition for illegal aliens from that fact to the image of “Dreamers” who were here through no fault of their own. They had over a year and a half to suck the passion out of the fervent opponents because the original bill passed in 2011 but the vote came in 2012.

As races move up the chain from local to state to national, the messaging becomes more important. This is why the revolt after the CNBC debate is so important. The moderators tried to promote their message but Ted Cruz and the others would have no part. Instead, they would prefer to put their own message out without the filter, in much the way Ronald Reagan succeeded in swaying public opinion his way.

Thanks to a trick of the calendar, we still are over a year away from the 2016 election. It appears the battle will be between a message of class envy and free stuff (that really comes at a cost)  versus a message that we need to roll back the excesses of government, put it in its proper place, and make it more responsive.

Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t stop it

A couple things up front regarding the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT for short) policy which softened the ban on gays in the military:

  1. I’ve never served in the military, being fortunate enough to spend my draft-eligible age during a time where the extent of military action was to kick a tinpot dictator out in Grenada and capture a pineapple-faced one in Panama, in part by bombarding him with hard rock music at all hours. Oh yeah, we bombed Libya too. With my asthma and bad eyes I’d likely be 4-F anyway.
  2. I truly don’t care what consenting adults do in their bedrooms.

Over the weekend I got an e-mail from Barack Obama, excited about the demise of DADT. In part, he wrote:

When that (repeal) bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.


As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

Supposedly, the impetus behind the repeal of DADT was a survey that strengthened the hand of those plotting for repeal. (Oddly enough, when the survey first came out gay and lesbian advocates were unhappy with it, but I suppose it’s served their purposes.)

But perhaps what bothers me most about President Obama and the various advocacy groups calling for DADT repeal is couching the issue as a civil rights one, much like the integration of the military after World War II. In that case, discrimination was based on skin color alone whereas sexual preference seems to be primarily behavior-based. And unike many other behaviors not deemed appropriate for a military environment such as being insubordinate or out of fighting shape, I’m not sure being attracted to the same sex can be addressed during basic training. (For that matter, neither can attraction to the opposite sex.)

And whether it’s desirable in all cases or not, the Millennial Generation seems to be much more tolerant of homosexuality than previous ones. Ask someone under 30 and its highly likely they know someone who is gay or lesbian. It’s almost the ‘in’ thing these days to at least present an image of being ambiguous about sexuality.

Yet the precautionary tale about those who are gay or lesbian (I would think this more likely among gay males since they actually do the preponderence of combat roles) is that, if you thought bullying against gay men was bad in schools, try surviving it in an environment where people carry automatic weapons. Why do I get the feeling that a larger-than-normal share of gay soldiers will be the victim of ‘friendly fire’ incidents? You can’t prove intent in the heat of battle.

It seems to me that the best course of action is the one they are abandoning. Yes, we have professional soldiers and the bad apples who would actually consider wiping out their homosexual brethren in a fragging incident is but a tiny percentage. But why take the chance by allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to serve in the name of ‘civil rights’?

We have only made this a controversy as a society by bringing what should be kept behind closed doors and between consenting adults out in the open, claiming the choice to sleep with someone of the same gender is a ‘right.’

But in order to promote discipline, soldiers in the field need to remain focused on the twin goals of victory and survival. While the repeal of DADT may not be a distraction to that effort, common sense seems to dictate that we shouldn’t mess with success.