Alex Blaze

Compromise means everyone loses

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 27, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Defense Authorization Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military, John McCain, Senate

The DADT Deal isn't through Congress yet, and while there are enough votes to get it attached to the Defense Authorization Act, there may not be enough to get around a Republican filibuster. And they're planning one:

Armed Services ranking member John McCain said Thursday that he would "without a doubt" support a filibuster if the bill goes to the floor with repeal language.

"I'll do everything in my power," the Arizona Republican said, citing letters from the four service chiefs urging Congress not to act before a Pentagon review of the policy is complete. "I'm going to do everything I can to support the men and women of the military and to fight what is clearly a political agenda."

Every time that man talks I'm glad he lost in 2008. A political agenda in the US Senate? How could they! Everyone knows the Senate isn't a political body and has no politicians in it.

Anyway, his reasoning makes no sense, no, but he's up for reelection this year and he thinks he can stake a position out on this issue. There are some in the House (which is 100% up for reelection) threatening to vote no on Defense Authorization altogether:

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, told members that he would vote against the whole defense bill if it includes the repeal measure.

House Democrats are taking seriously the Republican threat to vote against the underlying bill and may have to reach out to some of the most liberal House members to secure their votes on final passage. Some liberals who traditionally vote against every defense bill are firm supporters of repealing "Don't ask, don't tell."

"Reach out" is unlikely to include "making any changes to the bill to get their vote."

And Republicans did make good on their threat in the Senate last year:

It's not easy to get 35 Republican senators to vote against defense spending -- unless hate crimes legislation is involved.

The Senate narrowly invoked cloture on Thursday, 64 to 35, on the defense authorization package with the bill named for Matthew Shepard attached. The bill, named for a gay Wyoming teenager who was kidnapped and beaten to death in 1998, makes it a federal crime to assault someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Senate Republicans conceded that the Shepard bill swung their votes against the defense package. "The bill includes hate crimes legislation, which I firmly believe is unnecessary, irresponsible, and certainly not germane to this bill," Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said. "There is little evidence that indicates that violent crimes motivated by hate go unpunished in the United States. Every single state has criminal laws that prohibit the antisocial behavior addressed by hate crimes legislation, including laws against rape, assault and battery."

And that was with hate crimes legislation, that didn't have military leaders opposing it. Maybe they'll find another five votes against it, maybe the House has more Republicans willing to vote no. I don't know.

But this isn't a done deal yet.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

What is amusing is that people go harping about Democratic weakness on LGBT issues, when every single time the threat is Republican.

We have Democratic holdouts, which should be punished, but they comprise a much smaller percentage. Republican sabotage is going to ruin this country for many people.

John McCain's vehement opposition to something 75% of the voters support finally forces me to ask the question I have always avoided out of respect for a soldier. Tell me John, did you ever have any sexual experiences (voluntary or otherwise) while you were a P.O.W. for 6 years? I know I shouldn't ask and I doubt you will answer but your adamant and vehement opposition to the repeal of DADT is also neither polite nor is it a service to the armed forces of this country in my opinion. You took the gloves off first.

Forrest Gump | May 27, 2010 2:13 PM

Don't worry, Dan Choi has gone on a Hunger Strike.

"Lieutenant Dan, here's some ice cream."

The bigger issue is that John McCain re-hired a gay man, Mark Buse as his campaign manager ( One would assume that the campaign manager is working closely with his candidate on issues that he feels help the candidate in his election prospects. How any self respecting gay man could advise McCain or support his candidacy as he attacks gays on an issue of equal employment is beyond me. Mr. Buse has to tell McCain that the "gay attack" just doesn't work anymore when you have 78% of Americans supporting the elimination of DADT, along with the Sec Def and Adm Mullen.

Johnny Boy is up against a real asswhipe in the primaries, so McCain has to try to out hatemonger him. That'll be tough, because JD Hayworthless has been an idiot every since I met him when he was a sportscaster. He was crappy at that, too.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 27, 2010 4:09 PM

The sick, slick trick of attaching a provisional repeal of DADT to a bill authorizing the ongoing mass murder of Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis by Obama to keep the world safe for BP and Haliburton seems not bother Democrat partisans overly much.

Why is that?

At any rate repeal of Clintons DADT will not criminalize military discrimination, harassment or violence at the hands of the christer officer corps. All repeal will do is remove the legal protections of their bigotry provided by Clintons DADT.

Don't Enlist. Don't Fight. Don't translate.

The Democrats can dance around this one all they wish but they did have the votes at one point to pass ENDA and remove DADT. They played the delay game. Some may say they were busy with other things thanks to the economic crash brought on mostly by the Republican desire to remove all controls from any market and give tax breaks for shipping jobs out of the country so the Wall Street banker types could get even richer over it, but I am sure they could have found a few days to pass those bills if they wished to take the lead to do so. I have made my feelings clear to the Democrats. NO ENDA = NO Donations for Campaigning this fall from my pockets. After all thanks in part to no ENDA I am one of the many looking for employment.

Rob Randhava | May 27, 2010 8:12 PM

Joanna . . . whose vote counts on ENDA & DADT were you looking at?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 27, 2010 11:38 PM

"All politics is local" Democrat Tip O'Neill 1982

"Logrolling" Davey Crockett (1835 Early Democratic Party)

One of the weaknesses of our congress remains the "folks back home" and the constant compromises because of them. Now, if we could just get the 50% of Americans who do not vote to take an interest.

"Remember the Alamo!"

I've said this several times, but the message still hasn't been communicated.

This "repeal" does not include all of DADT, just parts. And the key, crucial part is still there. The one that mandates that the military fire all gays, that they don't have a choice about it.

It's section (a). And it reads, in part:

(13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.

(14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

(15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

Yes, the "compromise" removed the words that would have repealed this too. It's not that the military will still be allowed to discriminate; it's that they will be forced by law to do so.

Please read the bill. Read what has been passed. This may not have been Congressional intent, but it's what the law actually says.

Rob Randhava | May 28, 2010 3:42 PM

The language you're quoting is from 10 USC 654. Subsection (f)(1)(A) of the Murphy amendment strikes section 654, not parts of it.

You may be troubled by Subsection (f)(2), but don't be. That language works in addition to (f)(1)(A), by deleting a few provisions from the 1993 law that weren't added directly to the U.S. Code (they were referred to in the "Note" section, which doesn't appear in every version of the code).