Joe Lieberman to Be Lead Sponsor on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

Senator Joe Lieberman tells Jamie Kirchik at the New York Daily News that he'll be the chief sponsor of legislation to repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy:

Lieberman  "My own experience as a member of the Armed Services Committee, visiting our troops on bases here in this country and abroad, particularly in war zones, the most remarkable quality you'll find is unit cohesion," he told me. "What matters is not the gender of the other person in your unit or the color or the religion or in this case the sexual orientation. It's whether that person is a good soldier you can depend on. And that's why I think it's going to work…I see this as an extension, the next step of the civil rights movement."

Kirchick adds: "The reasons why Lieberman, who was asked by the White House and gay rights groups to sponsor the legislation, would choose this battle are not hard to divine. Indeed, they strike at the heart of the political tradition of which he is the lonely standard-bearer: Social progressivism married with foreign policy hawkishness…"

The road to success on DADT is still considered to be as part of a Defense Dept. authorization bill and not as a stand-alone bill.

SLDN lauded the announcement and made a suggestion: "To strengthen the prospects for the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and to reduce political risk, the President can still order the Pentagon to include "Set End-date / Delayed Implementation" repeal language in one of the legislative policy transmittals that will soon be sent to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees by the Department of Defense. These policy proposal packages serve as indications of White House and Pentagon support for policy changes to be included in the next National Defense Authorization Act."


  1. Chris says

    UMMMM Joe,

    Thanks but this is a front to get you re-elected in 2012. We’ll for sure accept your support but you’re done in the Senate!

  2. says

    This just seems like it will only further drive a wedge between the gay community and the “progressive” community who hate Lieberman. What happened to Kirsten Gillibrand? Silenced by her party I suspect because she REALLY was working for our civil rights. Here’s the deal, they don’t ever want us to be liberated because then some of us might stop doing their grunt work for them. It is sad that not one member of the Democratic party will stick their neck out for us. This administration is cowardly and bigoted when it comes to civil rights, period.

  3. Bosie says

    OH great…he is turning something that is important for the community into a joke and a political game. F*ck you Joe Lieberman..>I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR YOU….*I have a bad feeling about this.

  4. JT says

    I think “Gaylib” is right. The administration tapped Senator Lieberman to be the lead because the President and the Democratic Party simply don’t care about equal rights for GLBTs.

  5. Landon Bryce says

    Terrible, awful news.

    This is proof that Congress and the White House want this to fail. Put the face of the most hated member of Congress front and center– that’ll kill it for sure.

    Maybe HRC will do their part to destroy it and can figure out a way to shove Hilary Rosen in our faces again.

  6. says

    Lieberman’s sponsoring it so now we should be AGAINST REPEAL???

    That’s even MORE puerile than the proposition by homophobes in uniform and their allies that the idea of having a GAY soldier save their lives in battle is too repugnant to even permit the possibility. GROW THE FUCK UP!

    The marvelous Gillibrand isn’t out of the game, she just doesn’t have the seniority or the “strong military” credentials to put her up to bat before Lieberman. She’ll become a cosponsor and continue to eloquently speak out for repeal.

    Anyone who’s genuinely been paying attention would remember that the reason there has not been a repeal bill in the Senate before while there has been one in the House for years, even though Ted Kennedy would have sponsored it in a heartbeat, is because strategists like Kennedy and DADT repeal advocacy groups agreed that such a bill stood a greater chance of success in the Senate if it was sponsored by a Republican or at least someone with a “conservative” identity vis-a-vis the military.

    They never got the Repug but Lieberman has the military cred and could have just as easily stuck his nose in the wind, smelled “tea,” and decided to do NOTHING given that wind seems to be blowing in the direction against anything identified with Obama. I don’t give a flying fuck WHY he’s doing it, nor upon whose wings ENDA or a repeal of DOMA might eventually arrive. The goal is to end discharges not test anyone’s urine for sainthood.

    Of course, such common sense has never stood a chance against the legions of armchair geniuses the Internet breeds. More than caring about repeal passing, they’d rather pass gas about who should and should not be allowed to help make that happen.

    Neither do I care by what mechanism repeal happens. But surrending to the military a year plus to implement it JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT IT is neither strategically warranted nor morally defensible when for years everyone has been supporting the House bill which would only give them a more than adequate six months.

  7. BreckRoy says

    Politically, this is absolutley the right thing to do. Joe Lieberman is a big liberal on MOST everything but issues of terrorism, defense, and the Middle East, where he is a darling of ultra-conservatives. This, like Dick Cheney or late-to-the-party Colin Powell may not mean much to us, but everyone of these things, especially Joe Lieberman SPONSORING legislation, undermine conservative arguments and leave them with less cover for their bigotry and their efforts to block us. Maybe I’ve lived in Washington too long, but I do know one thing: everything here is done through vote getting, appealing to the opposition’s interests, and political jujitsu. This is good politics and allows Joe Lieberman to burnish his previously untarnished (but now shredded) liberal bonafides. It’s not a shock or even wrong that an action that washes our backs will also wash someone else’s. That’s life and how you get things done–in business, in Washington, etc. And, frankly, though Lieberman disgusts me, he’s, if I recall, been fairly consistent on his support for a DADT repeal and criticism of it. We have to get some perspective here. If Mullen and Gates aren’t good enough because they support a year long review, the Cheney’s aren’t good enough because they couched their language and were generally evil otherwise, and Powell isn’t good enough because he didn’t support us then and now is “too little, too late,” what conservative/opposition support will be good enough?
    You can bitch all you want about Obama and the dems not ramming it through, but they’d end up just like Bill Clinton, with Repubs taking back the house in the mid-term adn threatenign to write it into law unless the president backs down. Line up your conservative and military allies and then get it done…not as fast as we’d like, but done in such a way it won’t get reversed the way marriage was in CA just a year or so later.

  8. HawaiiBill says

    Thank you Breckroy and Michael for common sense and telling it like it is about politics in Washington. The whiners and absolutists will never be satisfied…nor will they get it done. They seem to forget Lieberman has been a consistent supporter of LGBT folks for years. Just becuase he doesn’t fit their purity test is no reason to not welcome his support. Yup, he’s imperfect…so are all of us.

  9. GrabbinNewscum says

    And the liberal cognitive dissonance once again causes brains to explode on Towleroad.

    How DARE someone have differentiated complex political views that don’t easily pigeonhole them into some easy and pure political ideology??

    As a Jew, Joe Lieberman understands the importance of civil rights, being a minority, and being judged on your performance not personal characteristics.

    Yes, Joe Lieberman is a hawk on national security matters – and good for him, because you know it’s true that gays in the Middle East are some of the most despised and oppressed people except for in Israel.

    I know the truth hurts but if it weren’t for the wacko religious fundamentalists in the Republican Party, more gays and lesbians would be conservatives!

  10. Reggie says

    When a politician helped to kill the Healthcare reform due to his ties to the Insurance industry, gay or not, he is NOT supportive of gays. He is not supportive of me. His dancing around delayed the passage of the bills, and as a result we have had less choice of coverage, and higher rates with no end in sight. I blame mr. lieberman for having a hand in that.

  11. says

    Further, too often overlooked is that simply hitting the kill switch on discharges is only the starting point. Explicit nondiscrimination policies will have to be activated in some way and the bill in the House already spells them out.

    It, just like the hate crimes bill, could be added as a rider to the defense authorization bill thus eliminating the need to create implementation language from scratch.

    And AGAIN, the six months window for implementation it would provide is more than adequate and I’ve seen no justification for simply surrendering to the Pentagon on their absurd “we need at least a year to study this thing” stall that was bogus even before the Palm Center’s new “Speedy Don’t Tell’ Repeal Not Disruptive Study.”

    Another year would see another 500 gays shitcanned. We have the dinosaurs on the ropes. There’s no need to give them a single round.

  12. Ian says

    He is heading this up to give the Wh political cover for either scenario. No one can accuse Lieberman of being a liberal Democrat if DADT is repealed, he has too many conservative bonafides. Or, the goal is to sink the repeal because ultimately Lieberman and the WH (re: Obama) support continued discrimination. I hope for the former, but suspect the latter is the real goal. Get ready to be betrayed.

  13. Landon Bryce says

    Joe Lieberman is both a traitor and enormously unpopular because of it. What makes you think he’ll stand up for DADT repeal when the chips are down more for the Medicare extension he both campaigned in favor of and used as an excuse to try to destroy health care reform?

    He’s a piece of shit, and no one would be letting him lead on this issue if anyone gave a shiot about it.

  14. says

    The problem is that Holy Joe is for it today, and just like lowering the age for Medicare eligibility, who knows where he’ll be in 6 months. I’m sure he’ll listen to Grampa McCranky Pants before any of his constituents on the issue. No cognitive dissonance here; just a firm grasp on Joe’s rather “swayable” conscience.

  15. Landon Bryce says

    And, Michael, if you are too ignorant of Lieberman’s behavior (he claimed to oppose the Medicare extension he previous campaigned for BECAUSE Anthony Weiner supported it) to understand Travis’s obvious satire of your hero, maybe that won’t get you to shut up but it should sure keeo anyone else from paying attention.

  16. says

    You should know better, Landon, to either suggest that I am ignorant or should shut up.

    With apologies to Shakespeare, are you saying, “It’s not that I loved DADT repeal less, but that I hated Lieberman more”?

    Could this be an elaborate charade that will result in no repeal at all? Sure. But until you PROVIDE another SOLUTION, please spare the circular bitching and moaning for your next group therapy session.

  17. TampaZeke says

    Well isn’t that precious, now we can add a scumbag political opportunist to the two war criminals (Cheney and Powell) who support the repeal of DADT.

    It’s scary to me that our cast of allies is starting to look like the Legion of Doom.

  18. says

    No, Michael. I’m saying that you don’t know Lieberman’s record well enough to get obvious satire of his behavior– you thought Travis was being serious when he was making fun of Lieberman’s scuttling of Medicare for spite. That suggests that you really don’t have any clue what you’re talking about here and that everyone should ignore you.

    Lieberman is, again, a worthless piece of shit. He is very consistent about stabbing progressives in the back when the chips are down. You don’t know enough about him to know that. So, yeah, in this case you are embarrassingly ignorant.

  19. Landon Bryce says

    And given that equity for the partners of gay people serving in the military is one of the key goals of DADY repeal, is it really good news that Obama’s choice to carry the ball on this issue is still in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act? Lieberman is no fan of equality for LGBT people, and please stop pretending otherwise.

  20. TANK says

    If there’s one politician who can handle this, it’s Joe Lieberman. By handle it, I mean slow DADT repeal to a grinding halt. This guy’s trying to derail it for his good friend, the manchurian candidate.

  21. Robert In WeHo says

    You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head Tank. Giving this responsibility to Bagdad Joe Lieberman will guarantee that it fails. He has no political clout with either the Dems or the Repukes.

  22. says

    “As a Jew, Joe Lieberman understands the importance of civil rights, being a minority, and being judged on your performance not personal characteristics.”

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Feb 22, 2010 12:59:50 PM

    That’s a lot of positive stereotyping there. Be careful, because there are two sides to the stereotyping coin. Lieberman ALSO represents the worst of Jewish stereotypes. Those ‘worsts’ outweigh the happy puppy sunshine rainbow projections.

    LIEberman is bad news…. because he is without conviction except ‘what’s in it for Israel’. If he’s lead sponsor, be wary. Ask questions. Follow the bribes.

  23. Rodney says

    Dear Joe,

    I still detest your very being.

    Dear White House,

    Get that joke from Connecticut off my rights. Your backing of him is an insult.

  24. Bryan says

    Although Joe’s sellout behavior has been repugnant (friends tried unsuccessfully to strip him of his Democratic enrollment in 2008), and his coziness with fundamental Christians make me crazy, his knowledge of our overseas operations and respect within military ranks may be the key ingredients to permit him to speak on the issue with gravitas, and obtain support within Congress. As for 2012, I’ll still be looking to defeat him for even more reasons than in 2006.

  25. says

    Sorry, Landon, your Mail Order Ph.D. In Mind Reading has let you down again. You’re only guessing what I know or don’t know.

    But hold out your hand, Helen, and I’ll spell this out for you:

    W-A-T-E-R er REPEAT: I don’t give a flying fuck on whose wings DADT repeal arrives. All YOU have to offer is waving a stick you pulled out of your ass about how much you hate Lieberman. Ya want a gold star or a piece of candy for that? Get in line. Or are you on your way to set fire to yourself in front of his office? Why not? You’ve already incinerated logic.

    Meanwhile, the adults in the room will support the effort to stop discharges from whichever direction it comes.