The Don't Ask Don't Tell debate is over, but Tim Pawlenty seems to think that if he can revive it he might also be able to revive his so-far lifeless campaign to get Americans to remember his name.
The policy against gays in the military was repealed last year, after both houses of Congress voted to repeal it, with the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. The military is working now to put the new policy in place.[jump]
But Pawlenty still sees some political points to be scored here, so he wants to refight the whole battle. First he told an interviewer last month that he would support reinstating the discriminatory policy.
Then, yesterday, he went a step further, telling a conservative Christian audience in Iowa that Congress should jam up the switch away from Don't Ask Don't Tell by defunding the Pentagon group that's supposed to oversee the implementation of the new law.
That move earned a stinging smack-down from the chairman of the gay Republican group GOProud, who released a statement today calling T-Paw's stance the posturing of a political nobody:
"I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about."
"Someone with such little stature?" Damn, son, that must sting. Apparently these guys haven't seen Pawlenty's wide-screen action-hero movie epic. If they had, they would know that Pawlenty's stature is historically enormous.
This intra-conservative feud could get extra-interesting later this week, when both Pawlenty and GOProud will be attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.