From the unbelievable world of Democrats Inc. comes word that after a failed — and lackluster — campaign to kill Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by attaching a compromised repeal to the Defense Department’s budget reauthorization bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to strip DADT from the Pentagon bill altogether.
Working with none other than DADT lover Sen. John McCain, Reid is moving forward with a bipartisan attempt to more swiftly pass a military budget bill — at the expense of openly gay troops. The two top Senate Armed Services Committee members, the WSJ reports, are working in cahoots to keep DADT repeal out of the bill. Oh what a difference two months and a mid-term election make.
A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, who opposes the repeal, confirmed he is in talks with Mr. Levin on how to proceed on the defense bill but didn’t provide details.
Moving the defense bill is also complex, especially if it includes controversial measures, because it could take two weeks or longer on the Senate floor, and the coming session is expected to last only three or four weeks.
Tommy Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposes a repeal, rated the chance of action “extremely low.” Richard Socarides, an activist and former adviser on gay rights to President Bill Clinton, said it was “extremely unrealistic” that Congress would take it up this year.
The move comes on the heels of Defense Sec. Robert Gates offering a meaningless wish that DADT would be repealed during the lame duck session. Also worth noting: Gates’ replacement could be none other than ousted Rep. Ike Skelton, the pro-DADT former House Armed Services Committee chairman who’s rumored to be in consideration for the defense secretary gig. (Also under consideration:John J. Hamre, a deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration who’s now a Gates advisor).
All of which means Reid, fresh from a career-saving election victory, is celebrating by throwing gay troops under the bus. And working with one of the Senate’s most homophobic officials — and a guy who Reid himself said of, in 2008, “I can’t stand John McCain.” And just two months ago, in debating immigration attachments to the defense bill, Reid addressed McCain publicly: “Any American so courageous and patriotic that he or she wants to serve our country in the military should be able to do so. Senator McCain and anyone else who thinks the DREAM Act is not directly related to our national security should talk to the brave young men and women who want to defend our country but are turned away. Senator McCain should know better than anyone that patriots who step up to serve our grateful nation should be offered a path to citizenship, and that anyone who volunteers to serve should be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation.”
And just when Obama called on groups like the Log Cabin Republicans to get him a handful of Senate votes to support repeal, the president’s top Senate Democrat is already giving up hope. Change you can believe in?