During a CNN/YouTube debate last year, Barack Obama took a typically evasive position on women in combat: on the one hand, he wanted to let feminists know that he agrees with them that men and women should face military conscription equally (were a draft to happen); on the other hand, he didn't want to scare the American people unduly, so he hedged a bit, "I think that if women are registered for service -- not necessarily in combat roles, and I don't agree with the draft -- I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do."
Not necessarily in combat roles. This translates as: definitely in combat roles. Having accepted the feminist logic that a draft should expose men and women to military service equally, Obama would have no principle left to differentiate roles for the conscripted. What begins as "equal opportunity" ends as equal obligation, as already evident in the military's Rumpelstilskin-style policy of dispatching recently-pregnant soldiers to war.
In a roundabout way, Obama's campaign staff has acknowledged that Obama favors full-blown women in combat. "Women are already serving in combat [in Iraq and Afghanistan] and the current policy should be updated to reflect realities on the ground," Wendy Morigi, Obama's national security spokeswoman, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Barack Obama would consult with military commanders to review the constraints that remain."
"Reviewing the constraints that remain" means kicking the door wide open to Eleanor Smeal and company. One would think that John McCain, despite his astonishingly wan interest in cultural issues, might alert Americans to the revolution ahead, if only for rudimentary political reasons.
Moreover, here's an issue that overlaps with his cherished area of expertise, the military. Where's the "straight talk" about the foolishness of sacrificing military effectiveness for the sake of more experiments in demented definitions of equality? Where's the straight talk about how the military can't afford to lose battles for the sake of appeasing Gloria Steinem?
Obama represents the last stages of a social revolution that has been unfolding for some time, using (as the quote from his staffer above indicates) concessions granted under Republicans as a point of leverage. But he still has to be somewhat coy about these last stages of revolution, lest he frighten off ambivalent voters. His task has been made much easier by McCain's refusal to engage cultural issues seriously. McCain made a promising start with his ad exposing Obama's support for Planned Parenthood-style sex-ed propaganda in elementary schools. But there's been almost no follow-up.
The Republican presidential nominee can't even rouse himself to condemn loudly the Connecticut State Supreme Court for imposing gay marriage on voters there -- a story now so routine in the minds of reporters and pols that the Washington Post placed it on A2.
Under Obama, recognition of gay marriage will probably expand from three states to thirty. Like John Kerry, he goes through the throat-clearing rigamarole of saying that he's opposed to gay marriage, but he isn't. Were he opposed to gay marriage, he wouldn't be sending out letters to gay-rights activists congratulating them on their new marriage licenses; he wouldn't consider Bill Clinton's Defense of Marriage act reactionary; he wouldn't send his wife out to applaud gay-rights activists for torpeoding gay-marriage bans; he wouldn't have included in his memoirs passages in which he roots for history to prove him excessively slow in accepting the concept.
He's "not necessarily" for women drafted into combat and not necessarily against it. Likewise, he's not necessarily for gay marriage and not necessarily against it. Shouldn't McCain ask the American people during Wednesday's debate if they want the last stages of social revolution?
That's what they will get. The triumvirate of Obama, Pelosi and Reid means national gay marriage, an expanded culture of women in combat, and much more. The first hundred days under Bill Clinton were pretty ridiculous, full of outlandish comments and false starts toward radicalism. But they will look tame in comparison to Obama's.