It was looking more and more headed for the chopping block by the day. A federal judge had ruled it unconstitutional. Lady Gaga had taken a day off from hat shopping to agitate for its repeal. A floor vote was finally taking place. That floor vote caused the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to be blocked by four votes, three of which came from Democrats. (The fourth came from moderate Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME].) Here are their justifications:
- Collins believed Republicans “weren’t given sufficient chance” to add amendments to the defense bill to which the repeal was attached.
- Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) wanted further debate and the chance to offer her own amendments that would benefit Arkansas. Homegirl!
- Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) also wanted more debate.
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) – yes, even him – used his no vote as a procedural tactic that would prevent the bill from being thrown out.
I’ve supported healthy debate countless times in my column, even if it slows things down in Congress, and I will continue to do so. But if DADT has been ruled unconstitutional, shouldn’t that be enough for the entire Senate to accept that it’s doomed to die anyway? I sometimes get the feeling that somebody’s gay cousin will need to be discharged for being gay before they finally wake up and smell the dung heap.
The repeal was attached to a $726 billion defense bill, the most notable element of which is a pay raise for the troops. My guess is that it was done in this way, as opposed to a single DADT repeal bill, so the rest of the bill could be used as a kind of padding. Even paying the troops more isn’t good enough for the 43 senators who voted against it. According to several of them, it will take a full report on the effect of the repeal for them to reconsider.
Let me repeat: They want a full report on what will result from soldiers being allowed to be open about something they can’t change about themselves, and not get kicked out of the military for it. Pardon my language, ma’am, but what unmitigated, unjustifiable asininity. The argument that DADT promotes military cohesion withers and dies in the face of it. How truly cohesive can you be when the threat of discharge hangs over your head if you wish to be fully open with your brothers and sisters in arms, and 13,000 troops are lost to it?
There are many occasions in which The West Wing sums politics up better than anyone else. Watch the clip. Consider the clip. Then get back to me and tell me it’s still a good idea to keep this piece of crap in place.