Senate DADT Showdown: McCain Vs. the 21st Century
November 18, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)— The senatorial impetus to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” has just been given a new lease on life by the direct intervention of President Obama. The President personally telephoned Senate Armed Services Chairman Rep. Carl Levin (D-MI) to urge him to keep the measure repealing DADT in the defense spending bill. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he would bring the bill to the floor with a package of procedural concessions to overcome another Republican filibuster, previously led by the once-mavericky flip-flopping Sen. John McCain (AZ), whose political expiration date has long since expired. Who will win the battle? The American people along with the LGBT community and the military or out of touch, homophobic lawmakers, like John McCain? The battle is on.
As the prospect of repealing the odious discriminatory policy of DADT that outlaws gay men and women from serving our country openly, dwindled with Rep. Levin’s statement that he was considering stripping the repeal language from the defense spending bill, President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, along with a handful of Democratic senators joined by Joe Lieberman (I-CT), stepped up to make repeal happen in the lame-duck session.
“Reid said language to end the 17-year-old ban on gays in the military will be part of the annual defense authorization bill, which sets Pentagon policy and funding.
“In a key concession to moderate Republicans seeking a fair debate on the measure, Reid is expected to allow senators of both parties to offer amendments to the bill, aides said. The move could lead to the support of at least some senators who have said they would vote to end the ban if Reid permits them to offer amendments.”
“The decision was announced during a Capitol Hill meeting Wednesday that gathered Reid, gay rights leaders and senior White House aides, and it comes as the Obama administration intensifies its efforts to ensure that the ban is ended this year.”‘
After speaking with President Obama, Levin announced he would hold hearings on the Pentagon’s DADT survey after its release on Dec.1, followed by bringing the bill to the senate floor, complete with two-weeks of debate.
“Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, applauded Mr. Reid’s decision and said he would fight for approval of the bill.
“In a statement, Mr. Levin said that he would hold hearings on the Pentagon report as soon as it was released and that he had asked Mr. Reid to wait until they were completed before trying to begin debate.”
Time is short, with a busy senate calendar for the lame-duck session that also includes a vote on the vital START treaty and legislative action on the expiring Bush tax cuts. But repeal of DADT can happen if Harry Reid joined by a number of committed lawmakers make it happen, and just two Republican senators step forward to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote.
Do we want the likes of Sen. John McCain to decide our military and social policies going forward, or do we as a nation and a people decide to walk boldly into the 21st century and reject hate and discrimination?
Photo Source: Wikimedia/dsb nola/Flickr/Republican presidential candidate John McCain at campaign appearance in Kenner, Louisiana/Creative Commons Attribution.