Sometimes politicians have trouble making up their minds. During election years — with the looming prospect of voters having a say — their decision-making process becomes even more perilous.
Take the idea of forcing young women to register for the draft. Young men must, under threat of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and the loss of government benefits — all the way down to denying a driver’s license to non-registrants in many states. So why not force women to sign up for forced military service?
Just days ago, it seemed nearly everyone was for conscripting our daughters — or, at least, registering them for future conscription. Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and military leaders enthusiastically endorsed the idea. So did Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In recent weeks, legislation beginning mandatory draft registration of women, ages 18-26, passed both the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Then, all the sudden — poof! — that provision was ripped out of the House bill.
“This is a dead-of-night attempt to take an important issue off the table,” complained the ranking Democrat on House Armed Services, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington.
Timing is everything, in comedy and politics. Congressional leaders don’t want to take any pro-draft action now, not with an election just six short months away.
“We have a choice to make,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) argues, “either we continue with Selective Service and have women be a part of it, or we abolish it altogether.” Coffman advocates the latter, having introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), H.R. 4523, to end draft registration and close the superfluous agency.
That’s Common Sense, especially in an election year. I’m Paul Jacob.