No Hate Crime Lesson Learned?

Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin’s nothing if not tenacious. Or is it quixotic?

The Senator yesterday revealed that he will attach hate crime legislation to the 2009 Defense Authorization Act. And, yes, this tactic should sound familiar.

A federal hate crimes law found itself castrated last year after Senatorial Democrats attached the queer inclusive bill to a Defense Authorization Bill. Leaders were certain that such a pairing would bring in the Republican vote, which typically eschews gay expansion.

Unfortunately, the defense plan blew up in Democratic Senators’ faces when House party members refused to back the hate crime legislation if attached to the defense act, which they opposed. Meanwhile, Republicans voted against the Defense bill because of the hate crimes attachment. Basically, it was a big mess. But Levin will not be discouraged:

Levin and other Senate supporters of the bill said attaching it to the defense measure would be the best way of discouraging President Bush from vetoing the bill.

Levin said on Tuesday that adding language protecting against hate crimes to the annual defense bill is “very appropriate” because it represents “one of the values of this country” that the military is charged with protecting, according to Congress Daily, which broke the story about Levin’s plans for the bill.

House Democrats aren’t likely to support Levin’s plan. They passed a stand alone bill last year and see no reason why the Senate shouldn’t make a similar attempt. And, as you could guess, they’re already balking at the hawkish context for an anti-violence bill. One unnamed House source told the homo-journo Lou Chibbaro: “The Senate strategy is flawed, and the same thing could happen again this year. The Senate should pass hate crimes as a free-standing bill.”

Defense strategy aside, we all know Bush is going to veto the hate crimes bill. He’s said it time and time again. This administration’s on its way out. It may be more productive to wait for the next President.

Well, as long as it’s a Democrat.