Steve Ralls

Cloaked in Bigotry and All Wrapped Up in Pearls

Filed By Steve Ralls | July 24, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: Congress, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Elaine Donnelly, military

This morning's Washington Post includes a must-read by columnist Dana Milbank, who dissects and deciphers yesterday's testimony by Elaine Donnelly at the Congressional "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" hearings. Elaine2.jpgMilbank reports:

Donnelly treated the panel to an extraordinary exhibition of rage. She warned of 'transgenders in the military.' She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading 'HIV positivity' through the ranks.

Her written statement added warnings about 'inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,' the prospects of 'forcible sodomy' and 'exotic forms of sexual expression,' and the case of 'a group of black lesbians who decided to gang-assault' a fellow soldier.

And she did it all with her own, very special, sense of "style."

Cloaked in bigotry and all wrapped up in pearls, Ms. Donnelly gave what was, even for her, an outlandish, offensive and patently absurd performance before the committee. Because Elaine, you see, really is a little like Madonna. No matter what you think of her talent (or her acting skills), whenever she shows up, you know it will be entertaining and that she'll put on a show.

Milbank recalls:

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) labeled her statement 'just bonkers' and 'dumb' and he called her claims about an HIV menace 'inappropriate.'

'By this analysis . . . we ought to recruit only lesbians for the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV in the country,' Snyder said.

Donnelly, severe in a black jacket with a flag pin on her lapel . . . attacked the 'San Francisco left who want to impose their agenda on the military. She spoke of the 'devastating' effect gay soldiers would have on the military and said 'people who do have religious convictions' would be driven out of the military by the 'sexualized atmosphere.'

"We are not talking about a Hollywood role here," Donnelly lectured the lawmakers. But if they had been, she would have surely won a Golden Globe for best actress in her one-woman production of Mourning Becomes Elaine. For surely she knew her crusade died that day.

Yes, even Donnelly - she of the always unflappable hair - seemed flapped (and slapped around) by the experience she was made to endure. And by what must have been a very bitter end to Elaine's long day, she seemed to have silently recognized the reality she fought so hard to deter. Donnelly's long, dark skirt seemed appropriate for a funeral; the law she had fought to defend was one giant leap closer to withering away.

And by the time she left the room, her hair still hadn't moved. But her cloak - and her reputation - were both far more tarnished than when she went in.

(You can also read my account, from inside the hearing room, of yesterday's debate, online here.)

Photo by Melina Mara -- The Washington Post.


Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Wow! Let's give Elaine Donnelly a medal for showing just how ridiculous and bigoted DADT is... What a bucket of crazy she is!

My favorite part of the article was the idiot who cited esprit de corps as a reason to keep gays out of the military... but couldn't spell it. Talk about blowing your own credibility!

Steve, you always manage to crack me up!

She always struck me as a cross between June Cleaver and Baroness Thatcher on a bad day...

It's pretty easy to get excited over someone so blatantly bigoted and groomed to be in that position. Where do you start?

However, I'd like to point out that I always took for granted I was gay/trans when it came to the military as I figured that was my ticket out. If there was ever a draft, I would tell them in a second that you don't want me and this is why. Anything to get me out of the possibility of killing another human being. I know there are several LGBT people that want to serve their country in the military, and I don't think their rights should be stepped on, especially instigated by people like Donnelly. But, I just wanted to say there is an advantage to being in an excluded group sometimes.

I couldn't believe the bigoted things this idiot was saying. How did she get her "job", and why hasn't she been fired yet?

I couldn't believe the bigoted things this idiot was saying. How did she get her "job", and why hasn't she been fired yet?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 25, 2008 3:14 AM

Steve, this is just wonderful. In so many ways the military has been treated as though they were on a special plantation that only allows certain types admittance. In the sixty years, this year, since military racial integration began the buffoons of bigotry have lost a lot of ground, but still, no one who is on the plantation wants anyone else there.

I wonder if Phyllis Schlafly's head exploded?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 25, 2008 4:34 AM

The idiocies of rightwing DADT supporters like Bill Clinton, Elaine Donnelly, Sam Nunn and the majprity of Congressional Democrats is not the central question.

That question is the linkage between opposition to DADT and opposition to the Bush/Clinton genocide in Iraq. In the case of DADT they're linled by the policies of Democrats, not the Republicans, who are solely responsible for DADT and for refusing to repeal it during the last two years. Similarly the Democrats promised to end the war but it turns out they were lying. No surprise there - it's what they do for a living. After they got elected they voted FOR war funding and refused to impeach Bush. They also refused to set a date in 2007 or 2008 for total withdrawal.

Now we know why. Obama, who's politics are at least as rightwing as McCain's (union busting with NAFTA, socialized medicine, FISA, bribing 'faith' based cults) now promises to continue the war, with it's awful mauling of GIs and mass murder of Iraqis for at least two more years. He opposes DADT because he'll need cannon fodder. The wanton murder of our GLBT brothers and sisters by US armed Iraqi jihadists will continue.

The antiwar movements recent Cleveland convention decided to demonstrate against both war parties - we'll be in Denver and Minneapolis. In January we'll immediately take to the streets in national actions to demand the immediate and total withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and cutting the US purse strings that pay for the apartheid practiced against Palestinians.

When we're picketing the White House we'll also be chanting "Hey, Hey, Obama (or McCain) how many kids did you kill today." I hope everyone at Bilerico joins in. We'll need a series of massive demonstrations to end the killing. Join us.

McCain is a rancid right-winger with the Rev. Pat Robertson attached at the hip.

Obama is Bill Clinton (DOMA, DADT, NAFTA) in drag with the Rev. Donnie McClurkin attached at the hip.

I liked the comment from her about looking at women's breasts, as if that doesn't affect women in the military....

Oh, wait, Donnelly's against women in the military too. What about Black people? Is that not chic anymore to be in favor of racial segregation?

After having what I think is a pretty bad experience at the VA yesterday I'm not sure that lifting dadt alone will be enough to ensure lgbt soldiers are treated well during and after military service.Amy

Steve Ralls Steve Ralls | July 25, 2008 9:24 AM

Elaine has found one bastion of support amidst the the firing squad of critics who spoke out after the hearing.

From the Family Research Council's email blast to their supporters on Thursday evening:

For the first time since Congress beat back Bill Clinton's effort to bring homosexuals into the military in 1993, there was a hearing on the topic yesterday on Capitol Hill, which FRC's Vice President for Policy Peter Sprigg and several Witherspoon Fellows attended. The Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork for action next year, when they hope Barack Obama will be president, to overturn the law which codified the military's longstanding policy excluding homosexuals. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, and Sgt. Major Brian Jones, a veteran of the Army's elite Delta Force, ably defended the law in the face of shockingly disrespectful and even abusive questioning by members of the House Military Personnel subcommittee. Particularly egregious was the behavior of Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), who said that Donnelly's concern about the impact of HIV-positive soldiers was "dumb" and that her testimony about behaviors common among homosexuals was "bonkers." Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) used the silly line, "When did you decide to be heterosexual?" The false assumptions that people are "born gay" and can never change, and that homosexuality is equivalent to race, permeated the questioning. Yet no one explained how it would benefit the military to recruit service members who plan to commit acts which are criminal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

It's so easy to make fun of Elaine though. From the first time she wrote me about one of Steve's posts claiming it was "defamatory" and she'd take legal action to her performance at the hearings - she's acted like an idiotic pig. Talk about throwing pearls before swine.

I finally saw the entire hearing on the House Armed Services Committee Website: http://armedservices.house.gov/hearing_information.shtml
Scroll down to Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Right now, it's at the top.

I noticed that submarines have been mentioned a few times. I had to laugh because I served on submarines. Only Rep Shea-Porter knew better because she has a son on submarines. (I think it was her son.)

Donnelly must never read Dale Carnagie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Her actions can be used for an example of how NOT to act at a Congressional hearing. I think I heard the "High Nut-Job" alarm go off several times during the hearing. We should be sending her thank-you letters for how much she helped us.

Gregory Burley Brown | July 25, 2008 11:46 AM

I've wondered for a long time about the consistency of appearance among rightist zealots. Note the pursy-lipped faces and polyester-looking hair of Falwell, Helms, Hatch, Dobson, Robertson and the rest. And the women tend toward a circle-pin lesbian type. Is there a grooming and body language manual floating around available to anybody who wants to become part of the gang?

At least the leftist nutjobs show some greater variety.

I would say that Elaine Donnelly sounds and looks like a transgender woman, but that's insulting to transgender women. Suffice that nobody should go to Capitol Hill looking as rough as she did.

Of course, people who are several fries short of their Happy Meal, as Donnelly is, should also not be testifying on Capitol Hill.