This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for a cloture vote on the National Defense Authorization Act. This is the piece of legislation that includes an amendment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The vote was 57 to 40 in favor of cloture, falling three votes short of beginning debate.
There is a lot of blame to go around. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deserves some animus for mishandling a vote on DADT for second time in the last few months.
Some blame should go the way of Senators Lisa Murkowski, Scott Brown, and Joe Manchin – a Democrat! – all of whom indicated they could vote for the bill after the legislation extending the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits passed.
Unmitigated blame should be directed at Senator John McCain for his maddening
and pathetic flip-flop on this issue, which was chronicled here and here. Remember when he said he wanted more discussion of the repeal and then used DADT hearing time to suggest focusing on Wikileaks instead?
And let’s not forget the other 36 Senators who voted against opening up the floor to more debate after the Republican Party called for more time to debate the amendment on repealing DADT.
What I can’t get over is, in the wake of the Pentagon’s DADT report, polling indicating public support for repeal, and the stated positions of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Navy Admiral Michael Mullin, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General David Petraeus, 40 senators would continue to dismiss the courageous service of gay and lesbian soldiers. For what? Why? The arguments made for keeping DADT, at best don’t hold water, and at worst, are homophobic.
Those senators and the Republican Party are on the wrong of side of history. DADT will be repealed. It should have been repealed so much earlier. It could have happened today – that one is on you, Reid.
The bottom line is this: The Republican Party has no good reason to not allow gay and lesbians to serve openly.