how things work

An Actual Road Map To Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (Not Provided By The Human Rights Campaign Slackers)


In August 2009, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said he and the White House had a “road map” to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Solmonese noted “the LGBT community is feeling frustration […] that the road map and timetable have not been made as clear to them.” Solmonese then proceeded to not make that road map clear to anyone. Then, in February, a glimmer of hope: HRC shared with us “The Road to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal.” Except — joke’s on you! — it also said nothing concrete. And then came word Tuesday the president called to the White House some of the leading advocates of repeal, including Solmonese (and HRC’s legislative director Allison Herwitt), as well as Servicemembers United’s Alex Nicholson. There, he outlined what it would take to enact a legislative repeal of DADT. He shared some of that strategy at a meeting with gay bloggers, saying groups like the Log Cabin Republicans needed to secure two to five Senate Republicans to back repeal in order to push it through. Except the Human Rights Campaign, which supposedly has exclusive levels of access and knowledge about White House plans, has said absolutely nothing about what’s transpired this week. Who has? Mr. Nicholson, who just uploaded a video laying out, in detail, what this road map looks like today. Bravo. Seriously: Bravo. The gays in Kansas and Florida and Hawaii and even NYC need to know what’s going on behind closed doors.

With extreme clarity, Nicholson lays out the November timeline for repeal, the major players involved, the other variables (like requiring the president to make calls and push his staff to actually round up votes, not just issue lip service), and what to do about senators like John McCain (read: forget it!, and don’t trust anyone who tells you to waste energy lobbying him). “The road map is right here,” says Nicholson, who is working toward an end goal of dismantling his organization.

Incredibly simple and transparent, and thus, incredible. The Gays thank you.

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  • george

    Very informative.

    I really wonder now why Reid made that bizarre move last time this was voted on. Was he trying to sabotage it?

    I think Snowe and Collins will vote our way on this if Reid doesn’t pull any weird shenanigans.

  • reason

    Reid made the move becuase negotiations don’t start at the finish line, no Republican is going to vote yes with out some real coercion. The bizarre pathway was also to keep McCain and co from poisoning the bill with crazy amendments to boost their reelection hopes. Laying out plans is the dumbest thing that can be done, sure this guy gets his seconds of fame, but now the GOP has the road map that they can spend time figuring out how to destroy. If you think that the GOP will not be keeping the log cabin under tight watch and putting immense pressure on those that might vote yes, your crazy. Also with some of the GBLT staying at home the GOP can use the threat of committee leadership against any that may support ending DADT. Its like sending war plans to Osama before we invaded Afghanistan. So what, you makes some gays happy at their own detriment. Ordinarily with other groups the good would out-way the bad with informing them of what is going on, not this community. Certain gays are still going to be crying, whining, condemning, and attacking the democrats through the whole process. Harry Reid already voted no on the previous bill so he could bring it back up now. The GOP still has significant tools to try to gum up the levers, Mitch has already said that the GOP’s goal is to destroy everything least they make the mistake of letting Obama get reelected like Clinton did in 96′. I am sure that certain people will put all of that blame on the democrats, playing right into the manipulators hands.

  • Cam

    @george: Reids “Shennanigans” were only the exact same thing that pretty much happens on every single defense authorization bill. Don’t buy into the phony hype.

  • papparon

    @reason Do you have any alternative plan? (rhetorical question) Why then are you spouting such divisive opinions? (also rhetorical) Are you aware that the Republicans WANT us to bicker and fight amongst ourselves because that weakens our overall effectiveness?

    I think it is time we all got together and supported someone like Alex Nicholson – his ideas are sound and accurate. With less than one week to go, we don’t have much time to debate the issue. And, as they say, “follow, lead or get out of the way” so we should be following the qualified leaders such as Alex or get out of the way!. There is neither a need for nor the time to bother with any more wanna-be leaders to distract us.

    Get out the vote and make sure every friend you have votes too!
    At lease show them at the polls that we are not going to make it easy for Republicans to walk over us.

  • AndrewW

    There is nothing profound about Nicholson’s explanation – he justs promoting politics.

    Suggesting the President can change any votes is juvenile – he cannot. Then, suggesting that LCR can change some Republican votes, more juvenile.

    Alex Nicholson works for SU. His job is so make you believe they have a solution. They don’t. Today we have 56 LGBT-friendly votes in the US Senate. On November 3rd (because of special elections) we will have 53 or 54 votes. That ISN’T 60 votes. After new Senators are sworn in we will have 50-52 LGTB-friendly votes.

    Nicholson can blabber all he wants and Queerty can suggest this is somehow valuable, but it’s the same bull-shit. Today I received another request for donations from SU. I’m supposed to believe they have a chance to actually repeal DADT – they don’t.

    It isn’t about money – it’s about those 60 votes in the Senate. Gay Inc. has ignored that reality for another year. They didn’t invest anything in replacing US Senators that continue to block any political progress for the LGBT Community. WHY do we pay them?

    Political corruption includes Gay Inc. and it isn’t limited to HRC – they’re all weasels. Nicholson is worried about his salary – that’s why he wants you to believe they have a magical strategy – they do not.

    Don’t give money to any Gay Inc. organization UNTIL they can provide a real Plan to achieve our equality.

  • Kev C

    Yeah, this is just politics. In less than 3 months, DADT will be history regardless of what sort of politics gets played.

  • the crustybastard

    Crusty’s roadmap to eliminating the gay ban: DROP THE APPEAL OF LCR v GATES.

    The legislative repeal is designed to screw gay soldiers and their families. Read the damn bill, folks.

  • Bill G

    @reason: This “roadmap” isn’t a state secret. The opposition knows it very well. He’s not spoiling anything and giving them anything by putting this out there. Anyone who thinks the opposition doesn’t know this very same calendar is simply out of their mind and naive. He’s sharing it with the gay community b/c they’ve been asking for it. This isn’t a state secret. It’s reality.

  • Alex Nicholson

    @AndrewW: AndrewW, let’s get a few things corrected here. First, you did NOT receive a fundraising email from SU. SU did not send out a fundraising email and has not for quite some time. If you received a fundraising email for SU, it’s because you created it yourself. If that’s the case, thanks, but it wasn’t from us. Second, I do not draw a salary from SU. I refuse to accept one. I get paid a grand total of $0.00/year for more-than-full-time work at SU. So please do criticize all you want and offer up alternatives if you think you have a better way forward. But before you do, do your homework and get the facts right. I will fight with opposition all day long, but I won’t tolerate alleged allies who LIE for one second.

  • DR

    @the crustybastard:

    Agreed. This could have been done and over with, but nooooo, the DOJ just *has* to appeal this.

    I’ll believe Obama believes in repeal when he withdraws the appeal, and the behind the scenes shenanigans stop. End of discussion.

  • Bill G

    @Cam: Reid’s shenanigans are absoultely not played with the defense bill every year. Didn’t you hear what he said in the video? And he’s right. Those shenanigans are rare. I’ll say again – RARE. Talk out ya ass, get called out.

  • AndrewW

    @Alex Nicholson: I asked you to use MATH and show us HOW we get 60 votes. If you’re working for free that is admirable, but bad advice is still bad advice.

    Count the votes before you ask people to waste their time and energy. “Fighting for us” is useless if it is stupid.

  • Cam

    @Bill G:

    They have done the exact same thing at least 2 separate years since 2000. Blame anything you want, but the fact of the matter is, Reid could have reconciled the bill.

    However, the bill is bad law, Obama stripped out anti-discrimination language, he took out the timetable and inserted a clause that could keep the policy in effect indiefinitly even if Congress does vote it down.

  • Alex Nicholson

    @AndrewW: It’s pretty simple. The math is in the video, and it’s out there for anyone to calculate even without that video. We only needed two Repub votes (Collins and Lugar), which we had under open amendment process or a UC agreement. Lincoln was going to vote for the winning side, so her vote would come along with a win anyway. Reid’s vote was procedural, so that makes 60. Please utilize the intel already out there in front of you and do your homework. This isn’t rocket science.

  • AndrewW

    @Alex Nicholson: If we agree Reid’s vote should be counted as support for DADT Repeal, then that makes 57 votes. You do not have Democrats Pryor or Webb. If you’re suggesting Collins and Lugar would replace them you still have 59 votes.

    But, here’s the bad news: On November 3rd, FOUR new Senators will be sworn in. These seats are currently all LGBT-friendly Democratic seats. The current likelihood is that two may go to Republicans (Illinois and Delaware) and one may go to either conservative Democrat or a conservative Republican (West Virginia). We will lose 2-3 LGBT-friendly Democrats the day after the mid-term elections.

    That brings your 59 votes down to 56 or 57. NOT 60.

    Please utilize the intel (and math) and do your homework. This isn’t rocket science.

    The last few years we have had a lot of “false hope.” In fact, I think we’ve had plenty enough. Calls to US Senators don’t make any difference. It seems counterproductive to ask people to do something that is simply a waste of time and energy.

    If you want to reply, please use math.

  • Todd Army

    @Alex Nicholson: Is the math that AndrewW used correct? It seems like it is futile to make calls and send emails if there is no chance we have 60 votes.

    I didn’t know about those new Senators on November 3rd. Plus, I think Harry Reid is going to lose. The last thing he would do for us after Choi and GetEquality is any kind of favor.

    SU has been working hard, but I think we have to pick battles we have a chance of winning.

  • Alex Nicholson

    @AndrewW: AndrewW’s math, intel, and logic are all still flat wrong. See the leg. layout I set forth earlier. Webb IS a yes vote for cloture. He ALREADY voted with us for cloture in Sept. Reid will vote with us if we are going to win (his vote against was only procedural so it could be reconsidered later). Lincoln will be with us b/c she votes for the winning side. And Collins and Lugar vote with us under open amdt process or with a UC agreement. I’ll say it again… THAT MAKES 60! AndrewW’s was wrong (or lying) when he said Webb wouldn’t vote with us on cloture. He already did in Sept. And the dems who will win the special elections are also expected to vote with us. AndrewW’s started this thread by outright lying (by falsely claiming SU sent him a fundraising email after putting out that video and by claiming that I am just trying to preserve my salary [of $0/yr]) and he is continuing to do it. I’ve recently learned that he has also been banned from the comment sections of several other blogs. So believe who you want. Our pressure sure succeeded in swaying the votes of 3 senators in May. But like I said, believe who you want. Help with the fight or don’t help. We’re not giving up because of liars and detractors. Others are welcome to if they choose.

  • AndrewW

    Where’s the math? Your 60 votes includes four Senators that will be replaced the day after the election. At best you may have one of those four. Look it up.

    1. Senator Webb is against repeal, his vote for “cloture” was safe for him. He has publicly stated “wait until the study is done.”

    2. In your total of 60 votes you are counting 3 Democrat Senators that get replaced on NOVEMBER 3RD – the day after the election. Two of those three will be against DADT Repeal. That makes 57 votes.

    3. Reid is likely to lose on Tuesday and you believe he will be anxious to do the LGBT Community a “favor?” After GetEQUAL and Dan Choi? That’s silly.

    4. You don’t have Democratic Senators Lincoln (who will lose on Tuesday) and Pryor supporting repeal – ever.

    5. Collins and Snow would support repeal AFTER the Military study, which is likely to be next year.

    Finally, you didn’t sway any Senators in May. If you really think so, name them.

    I am only prevented from commenting on Pam’s House Blend, but I have no interest. Her website is like a small congregation of angry activists that refuse to hear opposing opinions. They hate math, too.

    So, instead of using fuzzy math, tell us how you get to 60 votes. The best you can do is 57. Period. Phone calls, emails, faxes and protests won’t change that. HRC hasn’t changed a single US Senator’s vote in 30 years and $550 million. What do you have at SU a “magic wand” or some “pixie dust.”

    Unless you can show us how to get 60 votes, stop giving false hope and instead come up with a plan to get 60 votes.

  • DADT's Crazy

    @Alex Nicholson: Alex, your math is weak. The Special elections change everything. You don’t know about them? AndrewW is correct.

    Are you really in charge of an organization? Instead of insulting people, maybe you could put forward something real, not imaginary.

Comments are closed.