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Too Close to Call

By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 21 September 2010

From CNN.

The vote today on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Dream Act (attached to the military spending bill) is too close to call. The cynic in me feels that the GOP will unify once again in obstruction with their favorite tactic: the fillibuster. Collins and Snowe are already complaining about "process" even though they support the repeal. Haven't we heard this before? And Democrat Jim Webb isn't helping, indicating he'd support a Republican fillibuster. But we can't give up hope yet! The following Senators are either on the fence or could be convinced to change their "no" leanings. Please call these Senators to encourage them to vote "yes" this afternoon. When I called, many phone boxes were full (a good sign?) but please do what you can if you believe in this.

Lugar 202-224-4814

Collins 202-224-2523

Snowe 800-432-1599 or 202-224-5344

Voinovich 202-224-3353

Webb 202-224-4024

Washington (CNN) -- The outcome of a key Senate vote Tuesday on whether to begin debate on legislation that includes a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy remains too close to call.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, needs 60 votes to bring the bill to the floor, and Republicans are threatening a filibuster that would prevent the 59-member Democratic caucus from doing so.

The Republicans appear united against the measure, including some GOP senators who favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret.

At least there is one outspoken leader on this. Lady Gaga rallies in Maine for the repeal of DADT.

The 24-year-old singer also drew cheers by proposing a new law, titled, "If you don't like it, go home," which would remove homophobic straight soldiers from the military instead of gay soldiers.

"If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home," she shouted.

Opponents of the 1993 ban have urged Snowe and Collins, both of whom oppose the policy, to join Democrats and help shut down a Republican-led filibuster of a defense authorization bill that would repeal the restriction. Democrats are unlikely to muster the 60-vote supermajority needed to get the bill to the Senate floor without their support. But in statements issued Monday, both senators indicated they would vote with GOP leaders and block the measure.

A key procedural vote is set for Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to speaking at Monday's rally, Gaga has used her online presence to rally her fans -- nicknamed "Little Monsters" -- in support of repeal.

"All hands on deck Lil Monsters: Key Senate vote this Tues. on #DADT repeal. We need 60 senators. Call your senator now," she tweeted on Thursday. She goes into more detail on her website, offering talking points for fans who make the call and urging them to voice their opposition to a filibuster or any amendments that would keep the ban in effect.




Update: Looks like it is dead. The minority wins again and the evil, overused fillibuster once again reigns and rules the day. How pathetic that even someone like Collins, who knows that DADT is wrong and is hurting our military would choose her party over doing the right thing and over what Maine voters want. Over 60% of Americans support the repeal of DADT. I hope those 60% show up at the ballot box and punish the obstructionists for standing in the way of progress and for being so out of touch. This is a sad day.

Collins made an eloquent case that the DADT policy is unfair and morally indefensible, that it is a waste of taxpayer resources and that other nation's that don't similarly discriminate have seen no adverse consequences. But equally as troubling to Collins as the policy, she said, is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) failure to allow unlimited amendments to the defense bill.

"I find myself on the horns of a dilemma," said Collins. "I was the sole Republican in the committee that voted [to repeal DADT]. I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's only fair."

But, she said, refusing to allow unlimited amendments is an equal affront to decency. "That too is not fair," said Collins of Reid's decision. "I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down debate.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, took the Senate floor after Collins to say that he agreed that members should have the opportunity to amend it, but Republicans were filibuster the motion to proceed to the debate - and without proceeding to the debate, there could be no amendments.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said that he was "not sure how many more assurances that we can provide both privately and publicly to [Collins], but we need to get to the bill first of all."

Collins retreat into an objection to procedure obscures the underlying politics of the unified Republican opposition to repealing DADT. Collins has been under tremendous pressure from her colleagues not to break ranks, while facing pressure from home to vote her conscience. Collins was the lone Republican to support repealing the policy in the Armed Services Committee. Collins, who is choosing her party over her principled opposition to DADT, criticized Democrats for putting politics ahead of policy. "Now is not the time to play politics simply because an election is looming in a few weeks," she said.


I give the conservatives credit for conviction and courage.  When dems were in the minority, the Republicans would dare them to vote against an a military expendiure  bill.  The dems folded evert time.  Now the dems are giving them the same dare... no sweat, says the GOP minority.  The Republican minority in congress is more powerful than the Democratic majority because they won't be cowed or scared off their political strategy. Props to 'em.

 Tom, really?  You know this isn't about courage of convictions, this is politics pure and simple.  Our military is handicapped by not allowing these fine and honorable Americans be allowed to serve their country.  I don't see any honor in that? 

Susan Collins wasn't "cowed or scared off" her political conviction today? 

Really political "strategy" trumps what is best for the country? 


"Peace Cannot be kept by force.  It can only be achieved by understanding."

Albert Einstein

The problem is the fillibuster-it gives the GOP way too much power. if Reid had allowed 100 GOP amendments on this, they would have still voted no, citing that they wanted 101. These are the games they play and I truly think Reid's hands are tied unless there is some way to do this through reconciliation. What cowards! Here we have Collins who says she is against DADT not even allowing the bill to move forward for debate. Something is really wrong with our system. I know Maine voters support the repeal so I hope she gets an earful and heckled wherever she goes. She should be ashamed, along with McCain for starting the fillibuster on this. What is the next step? The bill contains funding for the military and raises for our troops-hope you are proud of yourselves, Republicans and those 2 spineless Democrats. BTW-looking like Blanche Lincoln will lose big to her GOP opponent. I almost think we'll have a better chance of him voting with the Dem's. What is her problem? A very sad day. I truly admire Franken for his convictions and passion. Glad a few of the Senators have that.

Well, their conviction is to make the Democratic President, Senate majority, and Congressional majority look weak, feckless, and foolish.  Democrats plan to do all the things that Republicans did to them when Republicans held the majority -- paint them as weak on defense, don't support our troops, obstructionist.

Democrats now try the same strategy and the Republicans stare them down and laugh them off like the fools they are.  Yes, this is courage and toughness.  And I admire it enormously, as despairing as it can be. Democrats dinked around with bipartisanship for months. They sit around and lose "sure thing" elections (and they are going to lose to O'Donnell if they don't stop blowing her off and start making a serious  plan to get their vote out.  


The senator that I'm proud to have voted for, Al Franken, gave another great speech today after the vote was blocked

Franken (D-MN) told a story about one of his trips to entertain the troops when he was a comedian, and started to choke up over the people who told him they were gay. You can watch him get emotional as he tells the story below.

Franken said the year was 2006 and it came at a time when the military had a tough time recruiting. He said they gave waivers for just about everything at the time.

"If you ask every man and woman on that base, who would you rather have standing to your right, standing to your left, that gay man or that gay woman who has been serving with you the last year, or somebody comes in here with a moral waiver and those troops who had moral waivers, many of them served very honorably and bravely, or some with a cognitive waiver, many of those flourished in the military and are doing great things," Franken said.

He added: "All gay and lesbian service members want to be able to serve. Instead, people are getting kicked out of the military. People who don't need any moral waiver, people who don't need standards lowered for them in order to serve. People who are patriotic and courageous and who have vital, irreplaceable skills."

Franken said the ban "makes no sense."

"It is foolish, it is unjust and we must end it," he said.


Franken was wonderful.  A breathtaking, moving, statesmanlike and passionate speech.



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