Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 22, 2010

REPUBLICANS TAKE ONE LAST SHOT AT PROTECTING DADT.... In about an hour, the White House will host a signing ceremony at which President Obama will repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. But last night, Senate Republicans made one more, last-ditch effort.

Republicans in the Senate filed an amendment to a sweeping defense authorization bill that would have required the four military service chiefs to be part of the certification process called for in the bill that repeals the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

That would have put Marine Corps chief General James Amos, a vocal opponent of the repeal, in line to delay or potentially prevent its implementation. The amendment was filed late Tuesday to the defense measure, which could be voted on in the Senate on Wednesday.

But Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky, said late Tuesday night that an objection from a senator had been registered to the last-minute amendment and that it would not be included as part of the defense authorization bill.

The push was blocked, thankfully, by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Nevertheless, the fact that Republicans are still, even now, trying to undermine DADT repeal is kind of sad.

The Senate will likely take up the larger defense authorization bill, without the poison pill, this morning. The majority hopes to get unanimous consent, though one never really knows what Republicans might object to.

On a related note, in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a stirring event yesterday to sign the discharge petition that formally sent the DADT repeal bill to the White House. She was joined by hundreds of lawmakers and U.S. soldiers who'd been punished by the policy.

"Isn't this a joyful day?" she said, adding that the repeal measure will "change the law, improve the policy, make life better for many Americans, and make our country stronger."

Pelosi then asked all in attendance to sing "God Bless America." At the end, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, one of the first openly gay House members, could be seen wiping his eyes.

Earlier, Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania told the gathering of an e-mail he received from a company commander in Afghanistan, who mentioned how he often had to counsel soldiers who received divorce papers or "Dear John" letters from spouses or opposite-sex partners.

Murphy continued: "This young company commander, this captain, on his fourth deployment, wrote in that e-mail saying, 'I never thought I'd see the day when I got one of those letters myself. And I'm sitting here at three o'clock in the morning in Kabul, Afghanistan, and I have nowhere to go because I happen to be gay, and I can't walk to the chaplain, and I can't go to a battle buddy, and I can't walk to my commander's office, so I'm sitting here cradling my 9 mm pistol thinking about blowing my brains out. But I read this article about this Iraq war veteran named Patrick Murphy from Pennsylvania that's fighting for me, and it gives me hope.'"

The fact that this bill will be signed into law gives a lot of people hope.

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Comments

Hope.
There's a word that every Republican hates, unless it's for white heterosexual males.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 22, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are dreaming of a white, heterosexual male Xmas.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 22, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

How ironic that an "anonymous hold" (which we all hate when a Republican uses it) was used to block this.

Posted by: Eeyore on December 22, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

It's got to be hard to let something that flies in the face of constitutionality and has a keen culture war edge to it just suddenly go. Poor Republicans, even though their bible cna "change" when it's convenient for them, laws it appears do not retain the same sedentary comfort over time..

Posted by: Trollop on December 22, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

It wasn't an "anonymous hold." It was an objection from Sen. Joe Lieberman. (Who, I might say, has gone a long way towards redemption in my eyes for his championing of this legislation.)

Posted by: June on December 22, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

the fact that Republicans are still, even now, trying to undermine DADT repeal is kind of sad.

No, it's a sign of the tenacity that their side shows, and which helps explain how far they've managed to get in destroying the country.

Posted by: jimBOB on December 22, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

If this passes, isn't it just the GOP making sure the Marine Corps Chief will be replaced? The Commander-in-Chief is still the boss, like it or don't. Or am I missing something?

Posted by: jon on December 22, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

How ironic that an "anonymous hold" (which we all hate when a Republican uses it) was used to block this.

As others have pointed out, this was not quite anonymous but, I think more to the point, I would be happy to make the trade. That is, I would happily eliminate these sorts of arcane and obfuscatory rules if the result was a Senate that was more representative of a democratic system. The result here, absent the hold, is that Senators would have to go on record with their votes on the amendments. Not really such a bad thing.

Getting rid of holds and eliminating or, at least, severely curtailing the filibuster would surely result in some unsavory legislation. But, in the long term, I think progressivism wins the debate over public policy.

Posted by: brent on December 22, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry we're losing Patrick Murphy. He made good use of his two years in office, and I hope he runs again.

Posted by: Gretchen on December 22, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

@ jon - 09:50

I really doubt whether President Obama is going to want to rock the Pentagon's boat so badly as to make opposition to DADT-Repeal (or even anti-gay attitudes in general) a firing offense. There will probably be a few religious nuts, maybe even among top brass, who will make "martyrs" of themselves, and resign rather than sully their service by acknowledging any rights for Teh Eeeevul Gheyz (I'm guessing they'll hie off to the Wingnut Welfare lecture circuit ASAP);
but it will probably be their own decision, not a purge from above.

Posted by: Jay C on December 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate will likely take up the larger defense authorization bill, without the poison pill, this morning.

WTF?!

Look, it's really simple: there should be no defense bill without the rest of the budget being passed as well. If the GOP tries to shut down the government early next year, they should be forced to include the Pentagon in that shutdown.

Passing a separate defense authorization bill just gives them a freer hand to take a hatchet to the rest of the government when March rolls around.

This is insane.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 22, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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