Saturday, December 18, 2010

At Last, The Senate Manages

After almost two years with an almost unprecedentedly large majority, the Senate's Democratic leadership finally managed to pass a bill without screwing it up:
By a vote of 65 to 31 this afternoon, the Senate voted to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Republican Senators Scott Brown, Richard Burr, Susan Collins, John Ensign, Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe and George Voinovich joined Democrats in the final vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Burr and Ensign did not vote with the Democrats earlier in the day when the GOP filibuster was broken, but signed on for the final vote.

Senate Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell
All it took was the Defense Department practically begging them to pass it, the House spoon-feeding them a bill that would work and giving them no time to screw it up, and they found enough Republican Senators courageous enough to vote for cloture.

Of course, now we'll have to listen to all the clueless Obama supporters telling us how his eleventy-dimensional chess brought this about. Needless to say, that's utter nonsense. This happened, because the military realizes that it can't afford to keep losing good people like Dan Choi and Victor Fehrenbach. The fact is, there was plenty Obama could have done to speed this bill up, and he didn't. There was plenty he could have done to set the tone for it, like stopping gay service members from being expelled, particularly, as in Fehrenbach's case, when the admission that they were gay was not made voluntarily. Like everything else of interest to liberals, Obama talked a good game, but always failed to live up to the talk.

Let's see if he can bring himself to sign this bill. Count me as one progressive who won't be shocked if he refuses.

Why is this bill a good thing, other than that it gives the DoD back some of its cannon fodder? It's a good thing for the same reason I don't have a special "gay rights" keyword, even though I've written about DADT and other gay rights issues rather often - it's not just a gay right, it's a human right. This is about being able to join the military, or serve your country, without regard to your genetic inheritance. That's as important here as it is for women, black people, or any others who have been denied that opportunity because they weren't quite "right" somehow.

In any event, it's a good day for human rights, and those are rare these days.

Afterword: Ian Welsh points out another possible explanation for the passage of this bill besides the DoD's desperation about holding onto good people:
Gays dropped their votes to Dems significantly from 2008 levels. Hispanics voted for Democrats at about 2008 levels despite horrible policies against them. You only have leverage if you are willing to defect in a high profile fashion.

Why DADT Repeal Will Pass and Dream Won’t
[links from original]

I can't discount this. I've certainly pointed out often and annoyingly, that people who aren't willing to take their votes elsewhere don't count. In this case, though, the DoD's pleading, together with polls that indicate service members overwhelmingly accept gays as comrades, probably had more to do with it. Congress seldom denies the Pentagon what it wants. That's probably what brought those Republican Senators on board. The Democrats, on the other hand, may have had extra motivation.


lawguy said...

Just so. A blind pig, etc.

As far as gays not voting and in that way getting the attention of the democrats. I would expect that it has something to do with the vote. I suspect that argument will be debated in several Masters Thesis in poly sci.

Cujo359 said...

No doubt it will debated, and like most things of this nature, I can't see how anyone would reach a certain conclusion. Gays took their votes elsewhere, though, and that was bound to have been on the minds of at least a few Democratic Senators. If latinos didn't do that this time, then they aren't votes Democrats are going to feel the need to chase.