Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) is suddenly in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
In a statement from his campaign, Crist said he’d “be inclined” to support a Senate compromise. That deal lifts the ban, but only after the Pentagon completes a study and the president and Pentagon brass certify that the change won’t hurt the military.
“Ultimately, as in all military matters I defer to the Pentagon and to the generals and what the Senate is doing today is giving them the ultimate authority to do what is best for our military,” Crist said.
That sound you heard was not the splash of a flip-flop; those take time. This was more like a snap as everyone’s head whipped around because as recently as Monday of this week, Mr. Crist was fine with keeping the policy just as it is.
Crist told reporters in Tallahassee on Monday that “I think the current policy has worked pretty well for America. I really do. So I don’t know why there’s any need for change at this time.”
So why the sudden switch? A couple of reasons come to mind. First, he’s going after the moderate to progressive voters that are not completely sold on Kendrick Meek, the Democrat in the race; second, he sees that DADT repeal is moving through Congress and it polls very well (some give it a 75% approval rating), thereby making it a safe place to be since he’s not worried about pissing off the right-wing base any more. And if Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is in favor of it, that makes it okay to go there.
That it might actually be the right thing to do for gay and lesbian soldiers who want to serve their country without living a lie probably never crossed his mind.