For the second time this week, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, has surprised us with a move that seems downright, well, centrist.
On Wednesday, Graves, one of Georgia’s most conservative members of Congress, voted with House Republican leadership to put off another confrontation with the White House over the federal debt ceiling. It was something that many of his colleagues – Democrats John Barrow and Hank Johnson, Republicans Paul Broun, Doug Collins and Phil Gingrey – couldn’t bring themselves to do.
Then we have the lifting of the Pentagon ban on women in combat, signed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this morning.
Some Republican reaction has been predictable. “Putting women in combat situations is the latest in a series of moves where political correctness and liberal social policy have trumped sound military practice,” GOP strategist Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in a Newsmax interview.
Former Florida congressman Allen West, a retired Army colonel, also has condemned the move.
But Graves this afternoon became the first Georgia congressman to issue an opinion on the Pentagon move. And he endorsed it:
“The Defense Department’s decision, at the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rightly honors the courageous service of our women in uniform. The new policy is on par with reality, as women already serve on dangerous missions all over the world and hundreds of servicewomen have been wounded or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Servicewomen will now have thousands of additional positions to compete for, yielding more opportunities for promotions and leadership roles. I am confident that our military leaders will implement the policy in a way that strengthens our military and guarantees that it will continue to be the greatest in the world.
We’ll add more reaction as it merits, and comes in.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider