Video: Behind The Scenes Of Signing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal


Will Senator Lindsey Graham Be Outed For Being Gay?

I think Senator Graham is one of the thoughtful and insightful Republicans who serve in the Congress.  I enjoy his attempts to try to sway me to his point of view when he is interviewed.  Having said that I often disagree with the South Carolina Senator.

I most certainly disagreed with Senator Graham when he voted to keep DADT the law of the land this past weekend.  Not only was the policy that barred gays from openly serving wrong, but Graham has long been rumored to be gay.

Living authentically is something I think is important for all people to do, but perhaps even more so for those who are elected to represent all the rest of us.

As such I  am following the news that Lindsey Graham may be about to be outed for being gay.  If that happens then I think it needs to be viewed in the following context.

One can rightfully argue that if our nation had been more humane and progressive when Lindsey Graham was in college, or in his early adult years, that his coming to terms with his sexuality would have been easier, and therefore not a newsworthy item.  That type of just society is one that liberals fight for every day. (Take note all you closeted conservatives….liberals have your best interest at heart.)   Those are the types of rights that are advocated from time to time on this blog.  When people are forced into the closet for whatever reason and denied the right to live honestly, the results are the type of story that very well may play out in the headlines with Senator Graham.

The bottom line is I think Senator Graham had a duty to protect and fight for issues that impacted all of gay society.  Himself, included.

Gay rights activist Mike Rogers, the professional outer of closeted, hypocritical gay politicians, claims to have “pictures of a man who spent the night” with Sen. Lindsey Graham. He’s supposedly meeting with his lawyer today before releasing them.

Rogers’ previous outings of Ex-Rep. Mark Foley, Ex-Sen. Larry Craig and Ex-RNC chair Ken Mehlman, among others, once earned him the completely arbitrary title of “most feared man on the Hill.” He keeps a list, and there are still many names on it.

Lindsey Graham has been hounded by gay rumors since his first runs for Congress in the ’90s. He has never been married, which, to some, proves everything. The rumors still come up regularly, like when another South Carolina politician let it slip in a 2009 interview. And the New York Times Magazine asked him about it in a big profile earlier this year, to which Graham responded, “I ain’t gay.”

But what if he is gay anyway? Mike Rogers tweeted these two items on December 18 — the day Graham voted against repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” — but few noticed until Wonkette picked them up today:

I wonder if Lindsey Graham knows I have pictures of a man who spent the night at his house. pls RT
– 10:57 AM Dec 18th

Just reached lawyer at home. Meeting set for Tues. on releasing pix of man who spent night at Lindsey Graham’s.
– 11:05 AM Dec 18th

The language here could use a little more specificity. What does he mean “pictures of a man who spent the night” at Graham’s house? Pictures of the man leaving the house? Pictures of a goodbye kiss? Is the man his best friend John McCain? Because maybe he just had male friends over to play Connect Four, like all middle-aged bachelors with money. In any event, gay bloggers are stocking up on popcorn.

We’ll see what Mike Rogers comes up with, assuming his lawyer doesn’t nix this plan. But keep in mind that Lindsey Graham is still an active member of the Air Force reserves, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — which Graham voted against just three days ago — will still be kinda-sorta in place for a time until the full repeal takes effect.

Why Senator Reid Matters

Worth a read.

A month ago, with no members of the press present, Harry Reid gave a speech at the private wedding of his openly gay communications director, Jon Summers. According to a source who was present, Reid spoke powerfully in favor of equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

I’m reporting this previously undisclosed episode because I’m not sure folks fully grasp how instrumental Reid was in getting don’t ask don’t tell repealed. Specifically, I don’t think it’s clearly understood what was so effective about his strategy, and why it was central to getting this done against all odds.

It’s worth stepping back and pondering how dramatic the reversal in Reid’s fortunes has been in the past six months. Last summer, his reelection campaign was in so much trouble that people were openly speculating about who would succeed him as Majority Leader. Six months later, he has not only been reelected after presiding over one of the most productive Congresses in decades, but he’s also earned himself a place in the history books for notching an accomplishment that rivals the great civil rights bills of the past.

How did Reid do it? Advocates for gay equality hammered Reid relentlessly throughout this process, erupting in anger each time he refused to state definitively that a DADT vote would happen or refused to clarify precisely when such a vote would happen. Advocates worried that Reid was going to let the session pass without a DADT vote at the behest of the White House, which was prioritizing New START above all else.

But Reid’s approach paid off, and here’s how. Recall what happened before the vote on the defense authorization bill containing DADT repeal was blocked by the GOP. Reid made a whole range of concessions to GOP moderates, bringing them to the brink of casting a Yes vote. When it became clear that Susan Collins’s procedural demands risked throwing the lame-duck session into chaos, Reid’s decision to fast-track the vote — even though vote counters knew it would not pass if he did — was roundly criticized.

In retrospect, it turns out Reid’s gamble worked. Scheduling that first vote allowed moderates the room to register their procedural objections with a No vote. As Reid knew, he could then schedule a second, stand-alone vote, giving the moderates a bit more time and maneuvering room (and another round of meetings with military leaders) to come around to the Yes camp.

What’s more, when Joe Lieberman and others started demanding that Reid hold the DADT vote before resolving New START, Reid saw the logic of this move. According to sources involved with the process, Reid had specifically delegated to Joe Lieberman the task of rounding up the votes, and assured him a vote would happen if he got to 60. Lieberman assured him he had over 60 in hand, and told him the prospects for repeal would be at risk if the vote were delayed. Reid forged ahead despite GOP threats that so doing could scuttle the START treaty. The rest is history.

Needless to say, advocates and bloggers who pushed tirelessly for repeal, as well as Obama and the White House, were every bit as important to the process as was Reid. For all the talk about the White House prioritizing New START, the simple fact is that the White House created the political climate to make repeal possible. The Pentagon report and Robert Gates’ testimony were major game-changers that removed the last pretexts GOP moderates had for opposing repeal. And the relentless pressure applied to the White House and Reid by advocates and bloggers was ultimately instrumental in compelling Democratic leaders to maintain full commitment to getting repeal done.

Reid’s efforts may not be quite on a par with Lyndon Johnson’s masterful orchestration of the Senate during the civil rights debates of the 1950s. But DADT repeal is on a par with the great civil rights milestones, and Reid, one of the primary movers making this legislative achievement a reality, has now secured his own place in history.

The Morning After DADT Was Repealed

Countless column inches in newspapers and blogs have been devoted to the historic vote on Saturday that repealed DADT.  But just a just few paragraphs below sums up the tone I have held all along as this debate in the nation bubbled over the many years.  The policy was wrong, most Americans opposed it, and the younger generations are not wedded to the bigotry of the past.

Huge applause to all those who saw the light and followed it.

In a sign of the cultural shift, even some steadfast conservatives climbed aboard the repeal effort at the last moment. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) cast an unexpected vote in favor, citing a “generational transition that has taken place in our nation.” Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also said he supported ending “don’t ask.”

“It’s like this great wave. It’s molecular change — more and more of the public either understands that discrimination isn’t right, or they don’t get the issue being an issue at all,” said Dudley Clendinen, an author and historian of the gay-rights movement.

“It’s ludicrous that this is even a battle, but that’s just the reality. The Beltway is usually the last place to catch on what’s going on in the country,” Mixner said.

The vote of Burr, 55, is especially illustrative of the shifting culture.

Such a stance would have been unthinkable just a few years ago by a GOP senator from the state that sent Jesse Helms to Washington for 30 years.

But North Carolina, like the rest of the country, isn’t the same place  as it was when the policy was implemented.

Might GOP Work Against Civil Rights….Again?

Regarding DADT, there seems to be the votes for repeal this weekend in the senate.  But given the track record of conservatives opposing civil rights over the decades, nothing can be counted on.  For some in the GOP to play the START treaty against repeal of DADT underscores the intellectual bankruptcy that is the Republican Party.

But hurdles remain for the bill. Although Mr. Reid will try to avoid it, Republicans could call for amendments, which would delay a vote. Further, White House officials and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, have suggested that some Republicans are threatening to block the New Start treaty if the military repeal (DADT) goes forward. Such a maneuver “takes us way back to an earlier day when people used to do things like that to stop civil rights laws from passing,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Here Is How We Get 60 Votes Saturday To Repeal DADT

By all accounts we have the votes!  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is on the way to the rubbish pile of history. 

Backers of repeal see this weekend’s vote as the last, best chance to repeal the policy before a more Republican Congress takes over in January. 

Here’s how the Senate gets to 60 votes: There are 58 senators who caucus with Democrats, and all but West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and potentially North Dakota’s Kent Conrad appear poised to back the bill.

That makes 56 votes. There are at least four Republicans who say they will vote for repeal: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. In addition, Dick Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio are considering voting for repeal. That adds up to 60 to 62 votes, and more Republicans could peel off and back the bill if repeal seems inevitable.

(One side note: Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon will undergo prostate surgery on Monday. But his office says he will be in the Senate for the votes over the weekend.)

In terms of what to expect Saturday: There are two votes scheduled in the Senate, on cloture (to cut off debate) for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the DREAM Act. The votes may begin around 10 am. If “Don’t Ask” gets 60 votes for cloture, a 30-hour debate clock begins before a final vote.

That would set the final vote for Sunday — though lawmakers could agree to give up that time and just get on with the final vote tomorrow afternoon or evening. They could also kick the final vote to Monday to avoid having to work on Sunday.

Vice-President Joe Biden To Senator Kyl: “I Hope I Don’t Get In The Way Of Your Christmas Shopping, But This Is The Nation’s Business”

The START treaty is more important than Senator Kyl getting back home to put lumps of coal in Christmas stockings.  That he and a few other conservative senators seem unable, or unwilling to understand this fact is truly frustrating. 

Of the two issues that I want to see favorable action on in this lame duck session of Congress START is Number One.    While I think the repeal of DADT is also essential for a number of reasons, passage of the  START treaty is extremely important.

An interview with Vice-President Joe Biden had this point-on message regarding START and the antics of those like Kyl.

“Senator Kyl is opposed to the treaty. He is flat opposed to
the treaty. So is Senator DeMint opposed to the treaty. Do not let —
do not stand in the way of the nation’s best interests. Let the Senate
vote. Overwhelming, the American people support the START Treaty.
Overwhelmingly, the United States Senate supports the START Treaty.
It’s clearly in our national interests. Every former national security
adviser, secretary of Defense, the secretary of State on the Republican
Party from George Shultz to Colin Powell thinks it’s essential we pass
this treaty. Get out of the way. There’s too much at stake for
America’s national security. And don’t tell me about Christmas. I
understand Christmas. I have been a senator for a long time. I’ve been
there many years where we go right up to Christmas.

There’s 10 days between now and Christmas. I hope I don’t get in the
way of your Christmas shopping, but this is the nation’s business. This
is the national security that’s at stake. Act. Act.”

Enough Votes in Senate To Repeal DADT

Time is a-ticking.  Vote slated on DADT to be held Saturday.

Sixty-one senators have now expressed support for repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, appearing to clear the way for passage if Democrats can bring the bill to a vote before the holidays.

But the timing of a potential vote on the legislation remains uncertain as lawmakers race to dispose of other major items in the days before Christmas. The House voted on Wednesday to approve the repeal and sent it to the Senate for passage.