That wacky Elaine Donnelly is running out of credibility as quickly as she's running out of friends.
Following a blistering rebuke earlier this year on Capitol Hill - where she was called "just plain dumb" by one lawmaker - and a Pulitzer-worthy pounding in The Washington Post, one would think that Elaine would be holding all of her opinions for secret tribunals. But instead, she has elevated her attacks on military personnel one decibel higher.
This time, Elaine has her hairnet in a bundle over one of her former heroes: Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell.
Elaine, you see, is a fair-weather friend. What the Donnelly giveth, the Donnelly taketh away . . . if you turn on the gospel of our lady of the pearls.
Writing earlier this week at The Tank, the blog site for the National Review, Ms. Donnelly seems practically perplexed by General Powell's recent endorsement of Barack Obama for the presidency. And in the midst of real national concerns - a stock market in free-fall; two wars abroad; and more and more Americans struggling to make ends meet - she chooses instead to focus her attention on that one issue that haunts her right-wing dreams at night . . . the possibility that patriotic LGBT Americans may soon be able to serve our country without prejudice or discrimination.
"Now that retired Army general [the lack of capitalization is hers, not mine] Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President, it is hard to tell where he stands on social issues that will affect the military of the future," she writes. "Among other things, we need to know whether Colin Powell endorses the extreme consequences of repealing the 1993 law . . . 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
It's no wonder why Elaine is worrying her well-coiffed head. Among lawmakers who have said they support continuing to exclude LGBT personnel from the armed forces, most have cited Powell's continued support for the same position as their justification. And earlier this year, following Powell's statement that the day would soon come when the ban would be lifted, Senator John McCain (who has also cited Powell as a reason for supporting the ban) modified his own position somewhat, saying that he would now consider reviewing the law.
As I wrote on the HuffingtonPost on Sunday, following Powell's endorsement, a statement from the General would almost certainly be a next-to-final, if not final, nail in the coffin of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Finally! Something Elaine and I might just agree on.
She went one step further than I did, however, by concluding that, indeed, Powell's endorsement almost certainly means he now believes the time has come for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to go.
"Colin Powell . . . may have changed," she writes. And that's not change Elaine can believe in.
In fact, she viciously attacks what she sees as Powell's presumed support for repeal, stopping only one breath short of calling one of America's most decorated military leaders unpatriotic.
"If General Powell is not concerned about the consequences of repealing the law, he cannot be described as a conservative or even the credible leader of the military that he used to be," she says. And she goes on to conclude that, "Our men and women in uniform deserve better than public figures calling for radical and unnecessary personnel policy changes that will make their lives more difficult and possibly break the volunteer force--all for the sake of what appears to be self-interested expediency."
Of course, Elaine (conveniently) forgets that, in fact, support for repeal may be the exact antithesis of self interest. For Americans who believe in the military's ability to keep us safe, and for those who want the best and brightest serving with their sons and daughters abroad, welcoming talented recruits into the armed forces is about our shared national interest . . . and our national security.
It's not General Powell who is losing credibility; it's Elaine Donnelly. For as much as she may be in 'The Tank' for the wrong side of history, she's also quickly making herself the least credible advocate possible: A fair-weather friend who has always preferred spouting rhetoric, rather than listening to reason.