Jan 25, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Buzzfeed: WASHINGTON — If you want to know just how far the debate over women serving in combat situations has come, look no further than Sen. Marco Rubio, a top contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination and a leading voice in the modern conservative movement.
For Rubio, the question is a no-brainer. “Women already are in combat to begin with. We should be putting our best soldiers forward regardless of their gender,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said Thursday evening.
Likewise, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon also came out in favor of the Defense Department’s announcement that the ban on women in combat would be lifted.
“After a decade of critical military service in hostile environments, women have demonstrated a wide range of capabilities in combat operations and we welcome this review,” McKeon said in a statement.
Statements like those from leading Republicans were unheard of until only very recently. During the last debate over women’s role in combat in the mid-’90s, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich famously said to the New York Times, “Females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don’t have upper body strength.”
That 1995 fight was incredibly bitter and was part of broader, and successful, effort of what was then known as the Christian Right to flex its political muscles and exert a level of control over much of the political landscape for more than a decade to come.
Even last year, former Sen. Rick Santorum made similar arguments, and there are still plenty of conservatives who vehemently oppose what the Family Research Council Thursday called a “social experiment.”