Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 9, 2010

SENATE REPUBLICANS KILL DADT REPEAL (AGAIN).... It's going to take some time to piece together exactly what went wrong here.

All signs suggested we were getting very close to securing the votes needed to advance the defense authorization bill and repeal the indefensible "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who claims to support repeal, had presented a series of demands to Democratic leaders: she wanted a total of 15 amendments to be considered over the course of four days of debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had already agreed to the 15 amendments, but not the four days.

Talks between the two appeared to break down today, for reasons that are still unclear. It led to a floor discussion this afternoon in which Collins, seemingly sincere about her willingness to help break the filibuster, pressed Reid to accept her terms. Reid did not.

The result was a replay of the last time Republicans killed DADT repeal, in September -- GOP senators who claimed to want to do the right thing blocked a vote because they disapproved of the majority's procedural measures.

The final vote was 57 to 40, with 57 senators in support and 40 in opposition. Because the Senate is ridiculous, a 57-member tripartisan majority loses, and a 40-member minority wins.

More very soon.

Update: Collins, who waited until just about every other senator had already voted, ended up supporting the measure, voting with Democrats. She was the only Republican to break ranks.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said he supports repeal, but he voted for the filibuster.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she supports repeal, but she voted for the filibuster.

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) said they were prepared to consider repeal, but they both voted for the filibuster.

I should note that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), to his credit, was aggressively working the floor, trying to convince some of these Republicans to switch their votes. In particular, he spent quite a while pressing Murkowski, pleading with her to do the right thing. She did not, but I give Lieberman credit for trying as hard as he did.

One Democrat -- West Virginia's Joe Manchin -- voted with Republicans. It meant the majority needed to pick up at least three GOP votes, which obviously didn't happen.

Steve Benen 4:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Well, watching on CSPAN online, it looked like Collins did vote yes, but Brown and Murkowski pulled the rug and voted no.

Posted by: Chris on December 9, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Still think you can cut "deals" with the GOP? Dream Act--Dead. DADT-Dead. YOU DO NOT DEAL WITH TERRORISTS! Support those Dems who say "no" to Obama's capitulation.

Posted by: Terry on December 9, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I really HATE these people. They have no principals. None. NADA.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on December 9, 2010 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Holmes on December 9, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point anymore. Disband the Democratic party and be done with it. I suppose Obama could simply order an end to DADT discharges. But he won't.
We are a one-party country. The Republican party rules whether or not it wins elections.

Posted by: JMG on December 9, 2010 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republicans hate America so much?


Posted by: Zorro on December 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I think all the bitching about Obama and DADT has been dumb up to now. While everyone else just wanted him to act, he wanted to fix the issue in the way it should be fixed. Now that doing it the right way is no longer possible, THIS is the time to start bitching at him to do anything he can. There's no way DADT repeal will pass with Republicans in charge, but leaving DADT in place for 2 years or more is intolerable.


Posted by: MBunge on December 9, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Each and every gay servicemember needs to come out today.

Force the decision or leave the force!

Posted by: Howey on December 9, 2010 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

"What's the point anymore. Disband the Democratic party and be done with it. I suppose Obama could simply order an end to DADT discharges."

Yes. It's the Democrat's fault. (rolls eyes, thows hands up in air)


Posted by: MBunge on December 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

There is one plan that'd work. Filibuster the tax cut compromise until the filibuster on the defense bill ends.

Posted by: JMG on December 9, 2010 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

All kabuki, all the time. Don't expect the GOP to help pass ANYTHING until the tax "cut" deal is signed. I'll repeat, they are DESPERATE to retain the upper income tax rates. Everything the GOP pretends to believe in is secondary to serving the hyper-rich.

DADT may come up again this session and pass, but only after the puppet-masters are satisfied.

Posted by: danimal on December 9, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm getting used to your lead-ins:

"Senate Republicans Block...", "Senate Republicans Kill..."

Surely, much more to come - bleh....

Posted by: whichwitch on December 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

OK, it’s time to out ALL Republicans, Federal legislature members, their staff and the pundits who appear on the cable new shows.

Posted by: Crazy Eddie on December 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Still think you can cut "deals" with the GOP? Dream Act--Dead. DADT-Dead. YOU DO NOT DEAL WITH TERRORISTS! Support those Dems who say "no" to Obama's capitulation.
Posted by: Terry

yes terry and still end up with no dream act, no dadt repeal, no extension of unemployment, no tax cuts for the middle class ... not just this year but for at least the next two years. those terrorists have real political power. yeah, maybe obama could hold out for a better deal but figure this into the equation: what are the consequences if the rich don't get to keep their tax break? what are the consequences on those that have been out of work for a year or two if unemployment is not extended? now balance the two. as shade tall said the other day, this is not an academic exercise. people's lives are at stake.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

OK, here is a suggestion to the administration. If the GOP will not let a vote happen, two Federal judges have already ruled the policy unconstitutional -- how about the Justice Dept. enters an agreement with the judges that it drops its appeal of those decisions with an agreement that the Pentagon is given a year to implement the change (which is what it said it wanted)?

Posted by: MW on December 9, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

There is talk of Lieberman/Collins bringing a free-standing DADT repeal bill to the floor, although I'm not sure what that will change.

Posted by: Holmes on December 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, I'm with JMG on filibustering the tax cut deal. But JMG is wrong to think that it would work, because the GOP has no shame and don't care about losing. They're not out to win, they're out to force the Democrats to lose, regardless of the consequences. So filibustering their tax cut deal won't change their minds on anything.

It should still be done. Since they're determined to be anti-America, then paralyze the few things they do nominally care about and hang the blame on them like an albatross around their necks. That would at least turn a large percentage of America against them. It would be a pyrrhic victory at best, considering the cost to America, but it would also probably be the best we could expect to get.

Which is why Congressional dems will never ever do it.

Posted by: Shade Tail on December 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think the drop the appeal idea is a good one, too, although the Republican House would probably file suit. Does it have standing? An executive order would make that suit moot, so do both.

Posted by: JMG on December 9, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Dag nabbit! Don't these obstructionist Republicans know when a genie has left its bottle, it is impossible to get it back inside!

Bunch of bottle stuffers those pesky Republicans are!

I guess they value more dishonesty, bigotry and invisableness when it comes to accepting all people who wish to wear a uniform and protect our way of life.

In their actions, these Republicans are showing they do not value the American ideal of inalienable rights, they value bigotry over a free and open society, and they are postering themselves as saviors of the myopic way of life (one so near-sighted it offers only blindness to those who choose it)!

Oh, how tough it is to get some adults the social development they are in need of! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 9, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

"At this point, I'm with JMG on filibustering the tax cut deal..."

Here's a thought - filibuster the tax deal, then let the Republicans use the "nuclear option" (which they might do, given their lust for money and power) after which:

wikipedia: "The effect of the nuclear option is not limited to the single question under consideration, as it would be in a cloture vote. Rather, the nuclear option effects a change in the operational rules of the Senate, so that the filibuster or dilatory tactic would thereafter be barred by the new precedent."

In other words, the filibuster would be dead, and DADT and DREAM could be brought back for an up or down vote. (And this truly would be 12 dimensional chess - using the Republican overreach to shoot themselves in the foot.)

Posted by: delNorte on December 9, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

President Collins ... what an asshole, and I rarely say that about a woman (although there are plenty out there these days ...)

Posted by: neil b. on December 9, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

republicans don't care, they only(and rarely) do the right thing when it is politically to their advantage; as long as there is no downside at the ballot boxes, they have no reason to do anything... much less end DaDt. I am not happy with P Obama on a few issues, but the real blame for these and other supermajority shenanigans is: 1)Older; 2) Mostly Southern; 3) Mostly Male; 4) mostly bigoted white etc...

Posted by: andyvillager on December 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

SO The DADT repeal failed. The best revenge? Boys, seduce a male soldier. Girls, seduce a female soldier. Can't find a soldier? Go to your local used clothing store buy a military style jacket and go to a gay bar. Sex is the best weapon here, drives Republicans crazy.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 9, 2010 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

@ mudwall jackson
Please understand those of us pissed at BHO and the Dems ARE concerned about the unemployed, etc. But this continued capitulation -- in case you haven't been paying attention -- continues TO MAKE THINGS WORSE. We are in this terrible situation because Dem's have been spineless over the last eight years.

We may need some short term pain (yes, perhaps some deaths by starvation, lack of medical care... I'm very, very sorry to say). But unless and until we fight back against these GOP bastards, there will be FAR MORE pain (yes, deaths, destruction...) down the road.

Posted by: nemisten on December 9, 2010 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Mudwall Jackson: I do feel for those families who have had one or more breadwinners out of work for more than 13 (26?) weeks and less than 99, but I also know that there are millions of elderly people who depend on social security to survive and that if any of the information about the savings of average Americans is to be believed thre are something like a 100 million Americans who are going to need it in the next 25 years and Obama's capitulation is simply one more step in the GOP's plan to kill social security. I also know that extednding Dumbya's tax cuts adds something approaching 100 billion dollars to the deficit every year they are extended. Not huge amounts, but you know that there is going to be a constant series of bills designed to rein in the deficit beginning in January--here is a hint--none will involve cuts to business or defense and none will involve new taxes although they may try and take away deductions which the middle class use like child credits and home mortgage interest. You do know that Obam's plan calls for the poorest taxpayers in this country to pay more in taxes don't you? Sorry, a shi**y "deal" is a shi**y deal and throwing a few crumbs to the unemployed in hopes that people who are not sociopaths will sign away the future of 98% of Americans out of sympathy for the 2 million now and 7 million by the end of 2011 who would benefit from the extension of unemployment insurance is the way the right has manuevered us into this position in the first place. Most important, the GOP will get away with paying no electoral price for obstructing everything that the Democrats have tried to do to help the economy and the unemployed. Not to mention having effectively taken ownership of Obama for however long he remains in office. I will give more to my local Hunger Task Force and will happily see my own taxes go up to avoid the dystopia which will be ushered in if the "deal" goes forward. And it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the tax cuts will not stimulate the economy during the next 2 years anymore than they have over the last 10 years.

Posted by: Terry on December 9, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Re Snow waiting till the last minute to vote:
I've seen Feinstein and others pull this little trick...if their vote would have put it over the bar they would have voted no or abstained. This way it "looks" like they were for it....This sickens me.

Posted by: Evergreen2U on December 9, 2010 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

The framing on this is all wrong... Republicans did not 'kill DADT repeal'.

What they did was refuse to pass the military appropriations bill that includes pay raises for the troops, funding for new equipment and other essential items while the United States is at war.

That they did so in support of their bigotry -- because they refuse to end a policy that has become a very ugly joke even though ending that policy is now supported by virtually all of our military leaders and majorities of both the American public and the troops is important. However, the focus should be on their willingness to refuse to properly fund the military.

Posted by: tanstaafl on December 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

I rarely give advice to people I don't know, but I'm going to give some to Sen. Reid now: DON'T remove DADT repeal from the Defense Authorization Bill and DON'T pass any tax legislation until AFTER the Defense bill has been voted on. It may cut into your Christmas break, but at least Senators are getting a Christmas break. Unlike thousands of military members in Afghanistan.
The Democrats only have a few cards left, having the Republicans repeatedly vote against the Defense legislation is one. By not introducing the tax legislation, whatever it may turn out to be, until AFTER the Defense bill has passed is the other card. Imagine, Democrats holding the Republicans hostage! Now THAT'S change even I can believe in!
Repeal of DADT has been on the books in the House legislation since early summer. The contents of the Pentagon review have been known for nearly two weeks. There's been plenty of time for any Senator to decide how they will vote on repeal.
The present quibbles are simply an attempt to spook the Democrats and run the clock out on the remaining time left in this session, thus precluding ANY action on a host of legislation. Collin's request for four days of debate only enforces that conclusion.
Let the Republicans try and justify voting against funding for the troops because they feel all the procedural "i's" may not have been crossed to their liking. Let them try; see how many break ranks after the third or fourth or fifth time the bill is brought to the floor of the Senate.
Remove DADT repeal now and it won't see the light of day for two more years. The Republicans know that the most they can do is delay repeal; they can't stop it. Why help them delay that arrival?

caveat: this advice is based on the presumption that there are 50 Democratic Senators willing to sacrifice some or all of their Christmas break for the good of their country. Call me an optimist...

Posted by: Doug on December 9, 2010 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's obvious. Underlying all this, Republicans still think that heterosexuals only make the best war tragedies, amputees, widows, and dead warriors. Perhaps there was a reason that John McCain was tortured. It's a pity they didn't torture him to death.

Heteros: keep on plugging along there and vote for those Repubs. You are such wonderful Christians, and like McCain, it's no wonder the Romans threw them all to the lions. What a bunch of hate mongers.

Posted by: Ray W. Clarke on December 9, 2010 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't support the troops. They just voted, en bloc, against funding the troops. In a war that a bunch of theirs started.

Republicans don't support the troops.

Republicans don't support the troops.


Posted by: OwnedByTwoCats on December 9, 2010 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

If you look over your shoulder, you can see a time two years ago when Obama had a chance to get something done. At this point, why bother? They've been out maneuvered by the Republicans on every front at every step of the way. Every step forward is really two steps back.

The Democrats have lost the support of their base and turned off an entire generation of voters, and all that's left is a bunch of vicious cheerleaders who are too cowardly to admit their pissed at what an abject and miserable failure this President has been, so they join him in repeatedly bashing the people got him elected.

I have never seen Barack Obama fight for anything as hard as he the tax cut he promised he wouldn't support. He has completely, and repeatedly bought into the core Republican belief that tax cuts are stimulative. What a disappointment.

Posted by: doubtful on December 9, 2010 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Can we puh-leeze stop calling Joe Manchin a Democrat? The guy is a REPUBLICAN! Remember his campaign ad where he actually fired a few rounds at the climate change bill???

Posted by: TCinLA on December 9, 2010 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

The surprises keep coming. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks story . . . oh who gives a fuck.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on December 10, 2010 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK
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