If this is our Hail Mary, let’s focus on moving the ball down the field first

December 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm 27 comments

By Adam Bink

Ed O’Keefe, who has been doing good coverage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal efforts, and Craig Whitlock at The Washington Post outline the landscape:

Friday’s bill is a Hail Mary. Several Democratic senators are cosponsoring the new measure, and while Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) – key potential GOP votes – remain supportive of ending the ban, they are not expected to cosponsor it, according to Senate aides. The aides asked their names be withheld because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Lieberman and Collins hatched their plans during Thursday’s defense bill vote, concluding that a standalone measure would succeed if introduced after senators vote on tax cut legislation.

Reid has promised Lieberman that he will use his power as majority leader – which allows him to bypass the committee process – and introduce the bill for a vote, aides said.

President Obama wants to explore all legislative options to overturn the ban during the lame-duck session, White House aides said Friday. His campaign operation e-mailed supporters asking them to lobby Republicans to vote for the new bill.

Despite Obama and Reid’s support – and assurances from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the House will vote on the bill – it remains unclear when or how it will be considered.

Democratic Senate aides suggested a Senate vote could come late Tuesday or Wednesday, after senators vote to proceed with tax- cut legislation on Monday. But senators also have to vote on a trillion-dollar government spending bill and may also consider the new START Treaty – a bill White House aides privately concede holds more priority.

Gay rights activists are scrambling. About 150 people rallied Friday on Capitol Hill in support of ending the ban. “There’s no doubt that this process is complex, but this can get done,” said Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Of course, as my friend Joe Sudbay rightly notes, a Hail Mary can succeed (witness the little quarterback that could my hometown Buffalo Bills QB, Doug Flutie, when at Boston College in a game against the University of Miami).

I’m at an “unconference” here in DC called “Rootscamp”, where organizers get together and talked about what didn’t work/did work in the past election cycle. It’s extremely useful, although there’s a lot of discussions on blame and who’s doing what wrong, both here and in other online spaces- who should resign and who should be primaried. For me, that’s important to discuss on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”… later. There is a clear path to repeal via a stand-alone bill, and time spent figuring blame is time that can’t be spent on organizing to ensure those 60 pro-repeal Senators vote aye on the Lieberman/Collins stand-alone bill, and that the Democratic leadership appropriately extend the calendar if necessary.

If this is our Hail Mary, let’s do all we can to move the ball down the field before looking backwards. This ain’t over yet.

Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

NOM has questions? We have answers. Electoral silver linings for equality

27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sagesse  |  December 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I fervently hope it’s passed. One has to question a process that lets repeal pass, but not the defense bill that hasn’t passed…. because it has DADT in it… huh?

    Similarly, I suppose the Dream Act can be included in comprehensive immigration reform, which will be dealt with in the new ‘more Republican’ congress. But that doesn’t mean the young people who would benefit from the Dream Act are ‘less important’ than LGBT servicemembers.

    Politics is choosing what is compromised and what is not. It’s a lousy way to set priorities.

    • 2. Bob  |  December 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Sagesse, I couldn’t agree more, it’s definetly a screwy process, and the funding is important, but when things get screwed like this, we got to keep our eye on our ball DADT.. and follow it all the way we can,,,,,

      the goal posts move, and the rules change, but if all we’re left with is a hail mary pass, by god we gotta run with that, we can only stop this attempt once the bill is a)passed b)dead,

      singular focus on a) what choice do we have….

  • 3. Kathleen  |  December 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    • 4. Ronnie  |  December 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      Checking after Kathleen checked…..<3…Ronnie

      • 5. JonT  |  December 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        Confirming Check.

  • 6. Rhie  |  December 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm


  • 7. Bob  |  December 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    has the stand alone bill been published yet????

    • 8. adambink  |  December 12, 2010 at 9:01 am

      A bill number, but not yet with text.

      • 9. Bob  |  December 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

        waiting, we have two different numbers, wondering what the real one is, but won’t be necessary if you post the link for us to read…….

      • 10. Kathleen  |  December 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

        What’s the second number, Bob? I only know about S.4022.

        Here’s a link to the info at THOMAS.

        I haven’t figured out how to link directly to the info – this may only be a link to a search result. If so, it will expire. You can locate it by doing a search here:
        Select, “Bill Number” and enter “S.4022”

        QUESTION: Its status is listed as “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.” I thought this process (Rule 14?) was designed to keep this out of committee?

        I know so little about congressional process.

        • 11. Bob  |  December 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

          I still have not been able to find the actual bill,,,,, the reason I said two numbers was cause bJason said he heard it being read out on senate floor as different, post 6 on the freezing thread..

          I’m hoping Adam will actually post the bill when he or someone finds it, the links above have timed out…..

          wow confusion or what, maybe the status was referring to the actual vote on defense authorization prior to vote,,,,

          I don;t think the wording of the stand alone is out yet, I’m waiting,,,,

          Maddow, specifically asked about rule 14 on her show the other day, her guest confirmed there is such a thing, and it has been used in past to expediate an up or down vote…

          I will have new questions for those aides on Monday??

          • 12. Kathleen  |  December 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm

            Thanks for that, Bob. I suspect the number bJason referenced is the correct one: S.4023

            That bill was introduced by Lieberman on 12/10/2010, is not in committee and currently has the following 27 co-sponsors (listed alphabetically).
            Sen Akaka, Daniel K. [HI]
            Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO]
            Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM]
            Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA]
            Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH]
            Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD]
            Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME]
            Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE]
            Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT]
            Sen Durbin, Richard [IL]
            Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA]
            Sen Franken, Al [MN]
            Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY]
            Sen Harkin, Tom [IA]
            Sen Kerry, John F. [MA]
            Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ]
            Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT]
            Sen Levin, Carl [MI]
            Sen Lincoln, Blanche L. [AR]
            Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ]
            Sen Merkley, Jeff [OR]
            Sen Murray, Patty [WA]
            Sen Reid, Harry [NV]
            Sen Udall, Mark [CO]
            Sen Udall, Tom [NM]
            Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI]
            Sen Wyden, Ron [OR]

          • 13. Bob  |  December 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

            holy crap,, love all those co-sponsors, gotta run, I’m in shit, in the last few days our fridge died, and my husband has everything out on the deck, in coolers, have to head off island and track down a fridge,,,,,,

            or move to America instead of just blogging about it all the f— time,

            wow love those co-sponsors, that is a good thing I hope…

          • 14. Ann S.  |  December 12, 2010 at 12:58 pm

            Go Boxer and Feinstein! I am so glad Fiorina lost so badly.

            Bob, good luck getting a new fridge!

          • 15. Kathleen  |  December 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm

            Good luck with your appliance emergency, Bob! And thanks for all you’ve done on this issue.

          • 16. Menergy  |  December 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

            I’m really grateful for Senators J Bingaman andT Udall here in New Mexico! They have also responded back to me on several other issues pending concerning financial reform and federal civil service retiree things.

  • 17. Bob  |  December 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Adam, thanks for touching in, glad you’re still working at it…

    I agree, we need a singular focus, finding the 60, there’s so much happening,,,,,in so many places,,,

    I was amazed during the prop8 live cast, how many people were on board watching and sharing,,,,,prop8 gets way more attention,,,,and that’s good..

    agree now is not the time for pointing fingers or finding blame, DADT needs a military approach, singular focus, not what went wrong, but how we can get the ball moved through those ever narrowing goal postsss

    anxious to hear of any new stratagies, and further marching orders…….let’s land this bomber in favour of HUMAN RIGHTS

  • 18. Ann S.  |  December 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    A sports analogy that even I understand!

    Thank you, Adam, for all you do.

  • 19. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Will Catch Up Later.

  • 20. BK  |  December 12, 2010 at 2:01 am

    OT: Does anyone have a good idea on when the 9th Circuit will release the date on which a decision will be reached (or released) on the proposition 8 case? Sorry about being off topic, but I can’t seem to find any information. Thanks!

    • 21. Tasty Salamanders  |  December 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

      That’s because there isn’t a date, yet at least.

      They could release it next month or next December. Though most believe that it will be sooner rather than later.

      • 22. BK  |  December 12, 2010 at 11:56 am

        Haha thanks. Such a vague timeframe makes me wish that I could forget about all this for now. Why worry over something that isn’t bound to happen for, well, who knows how long? As you said, the Court hasn’t picked a date yet. :\ Oh well–time to move onto other places, I guess!

  • 23. elliom  |  December 12, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Now they’re after our history….

    Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian


    • 24. Kathleen  |  December 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

      I love Frank Rich.. his description of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents: “a gilded assembly of bipartisan cowardice”

      I liked this response: “At the Portrait Gallery, the protesters lined up across the entrance and projected the video onto the side of the building.” Take that, Catholic League.

      • 25. Menergy  |  December 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

        they(museum security and then DC police) also arrested and banned two individuals (one permanently from the premises, I understand) who wore iPads around their necks with the “disrespectful” video part of the exhibit playing….!!!

        Talk about probably improper infringement of 1st Amendment Rights by two citizens!


  • 26. celdd  |  December 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Off-topic, but this is a nice story about Greg Louganis- the olympic gold medal diver that was ostracized by the US diving community after it was revealed he was gay.

    After 20 years, he now has a coaching job.
    Greg’s New Job

    I hope he has success at this endeavor.


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