No real surprise here from a man who cashed in his conservative card a long time ago: it seems Indiana's fickle Republican Senator Dick Lugar is waffling on the issue of homosexuality in the military. An initial report from the Washington Blade (a newspaper catering to those practicing homosexuality) stated:
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) told the Blade last week that he isn't concerned about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal language in the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill and wouldn't support an effort to rid the legislation of the provision.
Asked whether he would support a substitute amendment or a motion to strike, Lugar replied, "No. I would just leave it as it is."
Lugar said he would "presume" that he would vote against any filibuster of the defense bill as a whole, but expressed concern about the legislation being used as a vehicle for other costly programs unrelated to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"The defense bill, as it stands, seems to me to be a good piece of legislation, but I think the issue was the additions that were not paid for in various other ways," Lugar said.
Often regarded on Capitol Hill as a centrist Republican, Lugar voted in favor of hate crimes protections legislation after twice backing the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said Lugar's comments on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are "good news."
"That is consistent with what we have been hearing from his staff," Sarvis said. "My view is that Sen. Lugar's response is very encouraging."
Lugar's support for allowing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal language to stay in the defense bill could be a sign the provision would survive the legislative process once it reaches the Senate floor.
The fact that Lugar can be this tone deaf to the views of his constituents is not surprising, given that he lives in Virginia and has made it his habit to buck conservative values consistently in the recent past. But how he can be so clueless about the current mood of the entire country is mind-boggling. In the midst of a powerful conservative resurgence, Senator Lugar is apparently preparing to make a dramatic and evident shift towards progressive humanism.
You can contact Lugar by calling his office: 202-224-4814 or email him here.
It appears Lugar MAY be hedging on his initial statements as the outrage from his constituents begins to pour in. Americans for Truth is reporting that Lugar's office is now telling callers that the Senator has made no specific statements regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. Don't fall for it. He doesn't need to make any statements about it. If he votes for the bill with the repeal in place, he's for the repeal. Period.