This was supposed to be the year that the law banning gays from serving openly in the military would be repealed. President Obama and the top Pentagon brass made clear their distaste for “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Polling suggests the nation has moved past it. The Democrats who control Congress, as well as some Republicans, are ready to overturn it. And last week a final potential obstacle was removed when an exhaustive Pentagon study found little risk in undoing the law.
Yet with the lame-duck session of Congress hurtling toward a chaotic close, the effort to repeal the policy is in peril. A divided Senate panel heard stern testimony Friday from the Marine Corps commandant and the Army chief of staff, who warned against incorporating openly gay troops into combat units now serving in Afghanistan.
But the biggest barrier is the calendar. Although a repeal bill passed the House in May, and there appear to be enough votes for it in the Senate, there are only two weeks left in the lame-duck session. Other priorities, such as negotiating a compromise on extending Bush-era tax cuts, have consumed congressional leaders.
This is why Scott Brown and the Susan Collins feel comfortable pretending they would support the repeal of DADT once “taxes are addressed.” Demand amendments be allowed during the debate, run out the clock, get credit for supporting repeal without ever having to make the vote and risk getting teabagged in the next primary, fool the beltway boys and the idiot independents about how moderate you are, and then sit back and watch the left and gay rights groups blame the Obama administration.
It took Richard Cohen and Dana Milbank a decade to realize John McCain is an asshole. You think the bobbleheads will put two and two together regarding Collins and Brown?
Of course not.
But we’ll still be required to pretend that people who vote every single time with extremists are somehow “moderates.”