Back in the spring, when Democrats -- after a decades-long odyssey -- were preparing to pass a comprehensive health insurance bill, Republicans expressed outrage their opponents would do something the public didn't want them to do: the polls, they said, showed a clear majority of Americans opposed the bill. A CNN poll in March showed that 59 percent of respondents didn't like it. Passing the bill in the face of such opposition, the GOP said, was profoundly undemocratic.
Fast-forward to yesterday, when the GOP blocked progress of a bill that would repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the law that lets the armed forces boot gay members. What's funny about this? Well, polls show that around 57-58 percent of Americans favor the DADT repeal -- almost exactly the same percentage that opposed the health care bill. The same Republican Party members who stood for the perogatives of majority-according-to-polling ignored the polling when it conflicted with their stances.
Why? Easy enough to guess. Some Republican senators presumably do believe -- without merit, I think -- that letting gays serve openly will disrupt the armed forces. Others were pandering to their anti-gay base, or just signing on for party unity. Whatever. I'm sure there are some other principled reasons for opposing the bill, but the fact is this: the GOP is staunchly for what the majority of Americans want, unless it isn't.