Here's how Politico begins an article about the ban on gays serving openly in the military:
It is precisely the sort of knife fight no president wants to get into, especially in his first 100 days. But it seems that President Barack Obama is about to get dragged down the same dark alley as Bill Clinton when he was forced to confront the highly charged issue of gays in the military early in his term.
Politico didn't bother including any polling data on public attitudes towards gays serving openly in the military. Maybe that's because the polling undermines the entire premise of the Politico article.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted last July found that 75 percent of Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military - up from just 44 percent in 1993. The poll even found 64 percent of Republicans in favor. 64 percent of conservatives, too - and 59 percent of conservative Republicans.
And yet, here's Politico insisting - without data - that the issue is dangerous for Obama:
The issue is risky for Obama, too, political analysts said, threatening to galvanize social conservatives and other political opponents, strain the new president's relations with the military, and force him to squander valuable political capital that is needed on more pressing matters, particularly his economic agenda.
Another problem: Politico says the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulation "allows gays to serve in the military, as long as they don't flout their homosexuality." First, I'm pretty sure they meant "flaunt," not "flout." Second, members of the military need not "flaunt" their homosexuality in order to be discharged under DADT. They need only acknowledge it.
Politico is developing something of a habit of portraying wildly popular policy positions as out of the mainstream. A few weeks ago, Politico's Glenn Thrush portrayed public funding for contraceptives as part of a "far left agenda," despite the fact that polls show around 80 percent support for such funding.
If they're going to call themselves Politico and focus on politics rather than policy, is it really asking too much for them to have at least a general sense of where public opinion is on issues before publishing this nonsense?
UPDATE: Some have questioned whether Thrush personally suggested that funding for contraceptives is a "far left" position, or whether he merely indicated that conservatives would portray it as such. Here's his exact wording; decide for yourself: "Third -- and most dangerous to Pelosi personally -- it undercuts her carefully crafted image as a measured centrist, playing into the right wing caricature of Pelosi as a Bay Area liberal who will abuse her power to push her far left agenda."