As you may know by now, the government has been grappling with the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy for some time now, with one particular politician receiving more press for his comments then others - John McCain.
McCain has made numerous public statements about the policy over the years, with each statement differing from the last, but his most recent comment is one that I thought to be very interesting, not because of the complete reversal from his comments a few months ago, but because his comments can relate to another contentious topic - the general election.
McCain had argued that he would change his opinions if the military leadership spoke up about the policy. When the military leadership did that, McCain then asked for a study. When the Pentagon conducted a study, McCain found something wrong with that as well.
Here is an excerpt from John McCain's opening statement at the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the DADT policy:
“What I can say now, however, is that in addition to my concerns about what questions were not asked by this survey and considered in this report, I am troubled by the fact that this report only represents the input of 28 percent of the force who received the questionnaire. That is only six percent of the force at large. I find it hard to view that as a fully-representative sample set, but I am nonetheless weighing the contents of this report on their merits. What appears clear at this time is that the survey and anecdotal data underlying this report do not lead to one unequivocal conclusion, which is no surprise considering the complex and difficult nature of this issue."
Now consider the election that we recently experienced that saw John McCain reelected - McCain won the GOP primary with around 57 percent of the vote, with turnout at 28.2 percent. That means McCain won the primary with 16 percent of the Republican vote. In the general election, McCain won with 59.3 percent of the vote. With 68.9 percent voter registration and voter turnout at 59.8 percent, McCain won the general election with less then 25 percent of the vote of the entire electorate.
By McCain's own logic, we should not listen to him because the results of the election are not conclusive enough because every voter did not head to the polls. I find it hard to view McCain's views as a fully representative sample set.