12/21/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Politico is reporting that the decision to bring forward the National Defense Authorization Act by Senator John McCain appears to have been a last ditch attempt to scuttle the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by including an amendment into the process that would have added the hurdle of having the military service chiefs also certify that it was safe to repeal DADT. Given that General James F. Amos has shown himself to be virulently homophobic, and the other military chiefs have shown a propensity for unease about repeal.
Many Republicans want the service chiefs to sign off on repeal specifically because they are hostile to it. The current legislation to be signed by Obama tomorrow calls only for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the President to sign off on repeal for it to become final.
According to one GOP aide: “It was a McConnell proposal. There was an attempted to get unanimous consent for it to be included in the defense bill and someone objected”
The amendment was blocked by the objection of Senator Joe Lieberman, who was one of the spearheads on the DADT repeal. It is unlikely that it would be brought up for a vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi either.
Do not be surprised if the Republicans try more poison pill tactics in the future after the Republicans take control of the House in January. The Senate is likely to block any attempt to complicate the repeal of DADT. While repealing DADT is popular with the vast majority of Americans, it is not popular with the GOP’s lords and masters in the Social Conservative movement. Tony Perkins, head of the hate group Family Research Council, has gone to great lengths to try and push a belief that repealing DADT would hurt the military badly.