Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who won the Iowa Straw Poll, offered a telling example of how she would lead the country backwards. She would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy that discriminated against gays in the military and ruined the careers of dedicated members of the armed services. Watch as the presidential hopeful tells Candy Crowley that the policy “worked very well”:
Crowley: If you became president, would you reinstitute the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military, which said that gays could not serve openly in the military?
Bachmann: The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has worked very well. And I think…
Crowley: Would you reinstitute it then? Because it’s been set aside.
Bachmann: It worked very well. And I would be in consultation with our commanders. But I think yes, I probably would.
Bachmann would "be consultation with our commanders"? She is evidently unaware that the Pentagon issued a report stating that repealing DADT will not harm the military–and that former defense secretary Robert M. Gates urged the policy's repeal. Think Progress details the harm done by DADT:
Exactly how Bachmann defines “worked” remains unclear. Since its establishment in 1993, the DADT policy has resulted in the direct ouster of nearly 14,000 military service members. According to a 2007 study by the Williams Institute, the military’s retainment rates have also been harmed by the policy, with approximately 4,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual personnel leaving the military per year, who “would have been retained if they could have been more open about their sexual orientation.” Finally, at least 58 Arabic linguists have been expunged from the military due to DADT policy — a serious loss in an era in which Middle Eastern terrorism is a significant international threat.
And that is just the practical damage DADT has done to America’s military. All this doesn’t even begin to tally up the moral cost of relegating our fellow citizens to second-class status by forbidding them — based on nothing more than their sexual orientation — from serving their country.