The 0.25 yard line

December 17, 2010 at 11:31 am 53 comments

By Adam Bink

What Joe Lieberman said, volume 2, seems to be in order today, which is his comment to reporters today: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

This morning, spokespeople for Sens. Murkowski and Brown confirmed they will vote for a stand-alone bill (in the Brown case, if it’s a “clean bill”, but given that the amendments Reid has filed on the tree are pro-forma, it should be) despite the lack of a continuing resolution on government funding. We know Collins is fine. Snowe hasn’t yet announced a position on cloture itself, but as Ed posted in the last thread, Tony Perkins is threatening to take her out, and Lieberman only named Murkowski and Collins as yes Republicans this morning. And generally, with Snowe, you never know (rimshot again!).

It does appear the three obstacles to repeal I presented last week- Senate calendar, vote count, and tax legislation- have been removed. But you never know, particularly with wily John McCain and his merry band. I saw with the New York State marriage vote in December 2009 how people straight-up lied to the lead sponsor, State Sen. Tom Duane, as well as to others about pledges to vote yea. Plus, apparently SLDN and a Lieberman aide don’t know if Sen. Conrad (D-ND) is onboard.

Which means it’s time for one last round of calls for the good of the order.

Likely yea votes:

Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344  (supports repeal, but has not made a position clear yet on the stand-alone bill)

Kent Conrad (D-ND) 202-224-2043  (voted for cloture on DOD authorization, but hasn’t made a position on repeal clear one way or the other, possibly not for repeal)

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665 (supports repeal, but mixed signals on the stand-alone bill)

Murkowski’s office released a firm statement of support yesterday, reiterated today by her spokesperson this morning, so I’m removing her from the target list.

Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543 (supports repeal, spokesperson announced he will vote for cloture on a “clean bill”)

Brown’s spokesperson announced he will support the cloture vote tomorrow and it appears to be on a clean bill.

Good shot:

Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954 (no position, but mixed signals on repeal)

Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814 (no position, but gave hints he may support repeal)

George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353 (no position)

Somewhat likely:

Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324 (no position)

Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721 (no position)

Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854 (voted against repeal in the House, no position currently)

We’re on the 0.25 yard line, and Sen. Lieberman says he’s “confident” there are more than 60, but again, like he said, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Better to be safe than sorry. Run down the list one last time and leave notes in the comments.

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

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” cloture vote and the story on amendments Maybe Brian thinks if he spins hard enough, the thumbs down will reverse?

53 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:35 am


    • 2. Ed  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:40 am

      Ann, thanks for the friend accept on fb :)

      • 3. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

        Thanks for asking!

    • 4. Kathleen  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      OT/ Oral arguments were heard this am in Golinski v. OPM. This is a potentially important case. As Lambda Legal points out, this started as a simple internal personnel matter, but the feds’ decision to use DOMA as a defense has turned it into another challenge against DOMA.

      • 5. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm


        Really OT, but in about 2 hours (1:30 Alaska Time), oral arguments in Joe Miller’s challenge to the counting of the ballots in the AK senatorial race will be streamed live on I’m going to try to watch, since one of my classmates is on the bench and I’ve never seen him “in action” as a judge.

        • 6. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

          I can now report that Joe Miller’s attorney has a very loud and annoying voice, and he is trying so hard to spin a really losing argument that it reminds me of some folks we’ve been talking about here. Luckily, they didn’t give him a whole lot of time to present his argument. It is also fortunate that I have a mute button right here on the keyboard.

          • 7. Kathleen  |  December 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm

            Will there be an audio file available? I’m curious what questions the judges had.

          • 8. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

            I wish there were, but I haven’t found one. KTUU is obviously lower budget than some stations — there was only one camera, which was mostly on the arguing attorney, but when a judge asked a question the camera would pan over to the bench and show the judge, then back to the attorney, then back to the judge . . .

            I didn’t hear the whole thing, between chauffeuring duties, client duties, and muting Miller’s attorney’s annoying and loud voice. You probably know this, but Miller’s hanging his hat on the literal wording of the statute, despite much case history saying that they should rely on voter intent. They’re trying to argue that people who wrote in Lisa Murkowski but forgot to fill in the bubble probably changed their minds about voting for her, and the elections commission has no discretion to decide that they indicated an intent to vote for Murkowski. Those are the “no oval” ballots. There are also the “Lisa M” ballots, and apparently someone filed on the very last day named Lisa M. Laney or something like that, and they’re also trying to use that to muddy the waters.

            The judges seemed to have read the briefs in great detail and asked a lot of questions about the process, the statute, the cases, how many votes would be needed to be changed from one category to another to change the result, and so on.

            If I find a transcript or audio or video link, I’ll let you know.

          • 9. Kathleen  |  December 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm

            Thanks Ann. I appreciate the recap.

          • 10. Ann S.  |  December 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm

            Oh, I forgot — further muddying the waters is the fact that at one point the elections commissioner announced that votes for “Lisa M.” or mis-spellings of Murkowski would “probably be counted”, and this may partly account for the number of write-ins that just say “Lisa M” — although that statement was later retracted.

            There were also questions about whether this was an “election contest” or a “recount appeal”, since apparently different procedural (and possibly substantive) rules apply. None of the attorneys seemed to have a very good answer on this one (that I heard, anyway).

            The only write-up I’ve found so far is this tiny blurb:


            And even the website still announces that they are “going to” live stream the oral arguments. Perhaps there’ll be more coverage tomorrow.

      • 11. Leo  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

        I didn’t know this until reading the Golinski briefs: a very similar EDR case where none other than Judge Reinhardt ruled DOMA unconstitutional.

  • 12. BK  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Can’t wait for the vote. *crossing fingers*

    • 13. StraightForEquality  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Me too! I wonder if I can hold my breath that long. I guess I’ll go with crossed fingers, too, instead. Still, I’ll believe it when it’s a done deal.

  • 14. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Didn’t we just get Snowe? Adam, what say you?

    • 15. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Thrilled about Brown, btw. Going to call him again to thank him.

    • 16. adambink  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      Having seen what happens if you don’t, I wait for on-the-record office statements when it comes to cloture votes. Not unnamed aides, leadership sources, or a source close to the lobbying process.

      • 17. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        Very wise. Assume nothing. Thanks!

  • 18. BK  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Whatever happens, I wonder what type of a media storm there will be following the vote. Of course Fox will run pro-DADT propaganda, but the rest of the media? We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • 19. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Printing out updated contact list in preparation for a new round of calls. Thanks, Adam! Now, everybody–LET’S DO THIS!!!!

  • 20. Bob  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    hey guys, one last round of calls, call your senators, keep the phones hot, keep the issue forefront, work it like we never did before, they gotta know we’re behind this one, CALL CALL CALL CALL,

    don’t give up on the relentless pursuit of votes,,,,,,,

    today is our last chance , actually know this afternoon , is our last chance to take action by phoning, four hours to go……

    when the bill hits the senate we will know we put all we could into it,,,, there must be no regrets, no possibility of saying “maybe I could have tried one more time to talk to my senator, do it NOW” make the phones ring for DADT repeal……

  • 21. Ronnie  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I <3 my Senators…both of them are sponsoring the Bill….

    : ) …Ronnie

    • 22. Kathleen  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      As are mine. :) I see we’re up to 49 official cosponsors.

      • 23. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm

        Kathleen, is there a handy link to the sponsor list?

    • 27. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      Both my Senators (Colorado) are cosponsors as well.

      • 28. nightshayde  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

        As are mine (California).

  • 29. Sagesse  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Subscribing from work.

  • 30. Clift  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    “Four key GOP senators who have announced their support of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal are prepared to join Democrats in voting to let the bill proceed, as long as Congress first deals with a measure to fund the government, aides to the four said Friday.”

    ht Joe Sudbay @ gay.americablog

    • 31. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      Thats… worrisome.

    • 32. adambink  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      I am hearing that, miracle of miracles, that may come to the floor tonight. We’ll see.

      • 33. Bob  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

        miracle’s indeed, hail Mary full of grace, clear the floor win this race,,,,,,,, there’s lots happening behind the scenes, thanks for the encourging words Adam

  • 34. StraightForEquality  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I finally got through to Sen. Gregg’s office and gave the aide my message. (The line had been busy the other times I tried today.) He repeated the line that Sen. Gregg is not making his position public. I said, “I guess we’ll see tomorrow!”

  • 35. Rhie  |  December 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm


  • 36. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Latest desperate email from Eugene Delgaudio:

    If you didn’t see my email yesterday, I explained how in horror movies when the heroes kill the villain they almost always come back from the dead.

    That’s exactly whats happening in the Senate with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!

    Last week, thousands of pro-family Americans stood up, made their voices heard and defeated this disastrous piece of legislation on the Senate floor!

    But now, when we all thought we were safe, Harry Reid is bringing the repeal up for a critical vote tomorrow Saturday, December 18th.

    And it’s already passed the House!

    That means if the bill passes the Senate it will go directly to Barack Obama for his signature.

    And THAT means this battle in the Senate is our LAST STAND against this radical plank of the Homosexual Agenda.

    For the sake of our troops, please call:

    Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

    Tell them to PROTECT our armed forces and vote AGAINST the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    Remind them Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said “assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption … will divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus of preparing units for combat.”

    Remind them Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey stressed the “risk to our military effectiveness and the long-term health of the force.”

    You and I DO have the numbers to influence this vote. We forced Harry Reid to delay the vote last week and the killed it on the floor.

    But if you and I don’t keep up the pressure the Homosexual Lobby will have a better chance of passing this disastrous legislation than ever before.

    So, please, call right now.

    Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

    Tell them to PROTECT our armed forces and vote AGAINST the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    Thanks again for taking action.

    For our Troops,

    • 37. Ronnie  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      What an ingrate he is…so sad…. : / ….Ronnie

    • 38. nightshayde  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      Will calling that number do any good? Isn’t the switchboard in charge of transferring calls to the appropriate people?

      • 39. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm

        Sure… They will call and say something like:

        “Hi! I hate gay people and I live in . Can you forward me to the senator I can share my hatred with? kthxbye.”

        • 40. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

          ‘Hi! I hate gay people and I live in .’
          should be

          ‘Hi! I hate gay people and I live in (insert state here).’

          • 41. BK  |  December 18, 2010 at 2:14 am

            That’s all right. I think we understood your original comment. :) But typos always happen.

  • 42. Bob  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    glad to see their spin on it,,, they’re feaked………

    guess they’ll be adding to the task of keeping the phones ringing and hot,,,,,,

  • 43. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    OT: Wendy Walsh, the mother of Seth Walsh, a 13 year old boy who committed suicide in October, made a video with the ACLU in honor of her son. In it, she reads his suicide note.

    It’s painful to watch, you have been warned. (h/t Americablog Gay):

    • 44. Ronnie  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      That was hard to watch….but thank you for the link, JonT…..<3….Ronnie

  • 45. Evelyn J. Brooks  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks this is going to turn out exactly how it did the last time. “We have the votes! No wait, actually we really don’t.” I’m not holding my breath on this anymore.

    • 46. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      Nope. I can’t help but feel that A) the votes will not be there when it counts, or B) there will be some new goal post the republicans manage to create that has to be met first.

      I’m hopeful, but admittedly, not optimistic. I guess we’ll see.

  • 47. Ronnie  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm
    A Gay Soldier’s Letter Before Leaving For Afghanistan
    Posted: 12-17-10 03:47 PM
    Ed. note: this letter was first posted on and is reprinted with their permission.

    “I’m writing letters to my loved ones in case I don’t return from Afghanistan. I hope my partner never has to open his. If he does, it will ask him to tell who I was, because I couldn’t”

    “And I’m reminded of the moral courage of my partner, who encourages me everyday to continue to put on that uniform; who believes that some things are worthy of our energies; who quietly plods along and prepares for my deployment as I do the same. I know as a soldier, it is the people we leave behind who bear the real brunt of deployment, who hold it all together, who send the care packages and pray for our returns. He’ll have to do it on his own though. There are no support groups for the gay partners left back home.”

    “In the meantime, gay soldiers who are still serving in silence will continue to put on our rucksacks and do what our country asks of us — and wait.”

    (me) …oh wow..there are not enough words….these are just 3 passages from the letter…..There you go McCain…these are the Soldiers you would rather disrespect then honor….McCain, you should be ashamed of yourself…everyone who votes “No” should be ashamed….. : I ….Ronnie

    • 48. JonT  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      Well worth the read. WRT McCain (bolding mine):

      I am angry at certain senators — John McCain comes to mind — who have obviously lost touch with any understanding of the current generation of service men and women, who, as we all know, support repeal at overwhelming numbers. They hide behind a vitriolic rhetoric fraught with illogical arguments and innuendo, smothered by their obvious fear.

      Ain’t it the truth.

  • 49. Ronnie  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) & Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) discussed vote of repeal of DADT on MSNBC’s “Hardball” tonight…..<3…Ronnie:

  • 50. Bryan  |  December 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    So wait, I’m confused… is it coming to a vote tonight?

    If so, which channel? I want to see it, I’m finally out for the winter break and I wanna watch this giant of injustice fall

    • 51. Kathleen  |  December 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      I think adam’s comment above saying it “may come to the floor tonight” was referring to “a measure to fund the government” that Clift commented on. I don’t think we expect a DADT vote until tomorrow at the earliest. If someone know otherwise, perhaps they can clarify.

      • 52. Bryan  |  December 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

        Ohhhhh, dang, I was hoping to see it jump to a vote… I know Obama just sold out to the Rethuglicans and I’m kind of sad about that..

  • 53. Jenny  |  December 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I’m so upset I have to work tomorrow. I’ll be anxious all day wondering what happened. :( But I signed up to get updates sent to my phone and I’ll have it handy all day, so hopefully I’ll be able to sneak a look at it. Crossing fingers all day too.

    By the way, I’ve contacted my Senator Voinovich several times and haven’t gotten any kind of hint as to how he’ll vote. The realist in me doesn’t expect him to vote for repeal; but he’s surprised me before, so anything could happen. Here’s hoping!


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