Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2010

SHOWDOWN ON DADT SET FOR TUESDAY AFTERNOON.... The fate of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will hinge on the events of Tuesday afternoon. Those who want to see the end of this indefensible policy -- especially those in Maine and Massachusetts who want to see the law changed -- are going to have to pick the phone over the next 72 hours.

Up until fairly recently, repeal looked to be on track. A huge majority of Americans support scrapping the existing policy, as do President Obama, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and two former Joint Chiefs leaders, including Colin Powell.

The repeal provision is already included in the 2011 defense authorization bill, which, among other things, funds the U.S. military in the midst of two wars. The Senate Democratic leadership announced yesterday that it would bring the spending bill to the floor at 2:15pm (ET) on Tuesday -- where Senate Republicans, led by a tantrum-throwing John McCain (R-Ariz.), may unanimously prevent lawmakers from voting.

Gay rights advocates went on high alert Thursday afternoon after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), a key proponent of repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, said that he believes Senate Republicans can kill the defense authorization bill containing the repeal -- a step Sen. John McCain has already threatened to take.

"The question is whether the Senate leadership can negotiate an agreement with the Republicans that will allow the bill to come up and get them to feel that they can introduce amendments that they want to introduce as well," Lieberman said in an interview with Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate, a web site and magazine for the gay community. "But until that happens, I don't think the votes are there to break the filibuster, which would be a shame."

McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, declared he will block the defense bill if the "don't ask, don't tell" language isn't stripped.

Just to be clear, Lieberman is actually really good on this issue, and will fight in support of passage. McCain, meanwhile, has already won his primary, and his re-election appears assured -- but he really hates gay people, even those who volunteer to put their lives on the line for America.

Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine voted with Democrats at the committee level, and it looked like she would help overcome a Republican filibuster on DADT. Now, however, Collins has slipped backwards, and is no longer committed to doing the right thing. What's more, because Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) had said he would not support a filibuster on this, but he's prepared to go back on his commitment, too.

If Republicans stick together, they can prevent a vote and kill DADT repeal. That means the existing law -- the one opposed by the public, the president, a majority of Congress, and the Pentagon -- would remain in place for at least another two years, after expected Republican gains in the midterms.

Tuesday afternoon, in other words, is a do-or-die showdown. Those who care -- about basic fairness, about ending discrimination, about military readiness, about national security, about saving taxpayer money, about the careers of dedicated servicemen and women who are needlessly being thrown out of the military during two wars -- are going to have to pick up the phone and call the Senate.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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"If Republicans stick together, they can prevent a vote and kill DADT repeal. "

But if this bill is killed, or they prevent a vote, doesn't it also kill the entire military appropriation?

Posted by: catclub on September 17, 2010 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Once again the Repugs stick together and will probably win their way on DADT even though the majority of the country wants it gone. This Dem "leadership" is as worthless as a sack of SHIT.

Posted by: Chris on September 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

You can serve your country, just don't be gay about it! Joe Lieberman near anything isn't a good sign, John McCain was one of the original dinosaurs on Noah's Ark (Cindy was the other) and the military is already so full of queers that it isn't funny. More items for the ridiculum..

Posted by: Trollop on September 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

As a Mass resident, I have to apologize for the empty suit that is Scott Brown.

Posted by: JJ on September 17, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't a gay rights issue. This is a fiscal responsibility issue.

The cost of putting private shower stalls in all US military bases will be astronomical.

Posted by: Al on September 17, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's like negotiating with the Borg.

Posted by: beep52 on September 17, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

What a bunch of perverts!
And I don't mean the homosexual community.
I refer to elected reps who toy and negotiate over others civil rights. I really think that there needs to be changes in how the house and senate work, wasting our time and money on this "no brainer" issue is really, really sick. Repeal it, get it done already, you sickos.

Posted by: jonthebru on September 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I just can't stand fairies. I hate them almost as much as I hate women.

Posted by: John McCain (R-AZ) on September 17, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have the same question as catclub -- can somebody address it?

"But if this bill is killed, or they prevent a vote, doesn't it also kill the entire military appropriation?"

Posted by: A DC Wonk on September 17, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

A DC Wonk, Republicans are depending on the Democrats to bring back a "clean" defense authoriation bill if the current one is blocked from coming to a vote.

Personally, I think the Democratic National Committee should already be filming an ad, ready to go w/in no later than 4 PM EST Tuesday if the bill doesn't come up for a vote. It should start by saying that in a time of war, Republicans just blocked passage of the Defense Authorization bill. provide the same list Steve had in the 2nd paragraph of who supports repeal of DADT and briefly describe the remaining steps that would be left before the repeal was finalized. Then ask why Republicans consider anti-gay bigotry that is hurting our military preparedness in itself is important enough to block a critical military funding bill.

Posted by: tanstaafl on September 17, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile this put "gay" front and center in the campaign, and there's nothing the Republicans like better. Expect to hear a lot...A LOT...about queers showering with our men in (or out of) uniform. Of course the media will pick up on it and the whole issue will revolve around showers.

If the Republican kill this then it's executive order time. That's not the desirable way to go, but Obama would have no choice. He's got to stand up to them and this would be a good place to start.

Posted by: SaintZak on September 17, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain dislikes reason, common sense, hates women and really really hates the military with the most hatred directed towards the vets.

Posted by: Schtick on September 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I think you meant to say, "Dems set to throw gays under the bus again Tuesday afternoon."

Posted by: walt on September 17, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK


If you live in Virginia, call Jim Webb (202/224-4024).

He voted against this in committee, remember. Also bear in mind that he's already moving rightwards in anticipation of serious Republican opposition in 2012 (he can't count on another macaca moment next time). Call him today. And Monday. And Tuesday morning.

And if he votes against equality on Tuesday? Call him again on Wednesday and let him know that, if he thinks gay Americans aren't good enough for America's military, you think he's not good enough for the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: K in VA on September 17, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it's time to get out the cots and keep the senate in session. Create a circus "REPUBLICANS HATE THE TROOPS!!"

Posted by: fourlegsgood on September 17, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Al is afraid of genitalia!

Posted by: Trollop McCain on September 17, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, did or did not a federal court declare DADT unconstitutional within the past two weeks?

I don't think I dreamed it. But if I did, I hope someone will tell me so.

Posted by: rrk1 on September 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Collins is backtracking. Oh yeah, Republicans are actually capable of enforcing party loyalty.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 17, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

There's a few firebaggers on this blog that need to take remedial reading comprehension courses again.

It's the REPUBLICANS WHO ARE BLOCKING THE VOTE, the Democrats have scheduled it and pledge to vote in favor of it. And Obama has pledged to sign it into law.

Once again, because I know the stupid is strong with the firebagging crowd.


Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on September 17, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

No shit, Dr. Morpheus. It's like they didn't even read the post. Talk about 'bots....

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on September 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Since both Cindy and Meghan McCain have come out in support of gay marriage, these must be interesting times in the McCain household. Or maybe they're living in different houses these days. They certainly have enough of them.

Posted by: josef on September 17, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I bet Mikey would think different if it were a human embryo looking to purchase health insurance.

God damn hypocrite.

Posted by: Rochester on September 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. Wrong thread. :-)

Posted by: Rochester on September 17, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK



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