Senate Votes Scarce as Gates’ Shadow Hangs over DADT Repeal

Defense Secretary Robert Gates' lukewarm reception of the compromise deal on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and Obama's lack of leadership on the issue may be killing the measure's chances this week.

The AP:

Levin said he wasn't sure he had enough votes to pass the measure, as speculation surfaced that supporters were still at least one vote short.

While Webb said he would oppose the measure, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, announced on Tuesday that she would support it. Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Nebraska Democrat who also sits on the panel, declined to say how he would vote.

Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican seen by many Democrats as a potential swing vote because he represents the heavily Democratic state of Massachusetts, said he was unlikely to agree to a repeal this week.
"I am keeping an open mind, but I do not support moving ahead until I am able to finish my review, the Pentagon completes its study, and we can be assured that a new policy can be implemented without jeopardizing the mission of our military," Brown said.

Obama met privately with Republicans on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to press for bipartisan cooperation in general. According to attendees, he did not raise the issue of "don't ask, don't tell."

Said Servicemember's Legal Defense Fund executive director Aubrey Sarvis: "The door isn't closed, but it's barely cracked."

According to Politico, "The two main holdouts are Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska."

The WSJ adds, of Gates' grudging endorsement:

"Some activists worry that this endorsement will not be enough to persuade members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to agree to attach the repeal to a defense authorization bill now moving through Congress. The change must also pass the House.

'The Gates statement was spineless and maybe not even enough to get the bill through. The administration is not showing any leadership here,' said Richard Socarides, a prominent gay rights activist and former Clinton administration official."


  1. Gridlock says

    The White House isn’t interested in actually DOING anything. I wish people would clue into that and get over it.

    President Absent strikes again.

  2. TampaZeke says

    Now what say ye who said that this was such a great deal and those of us who questioned Gates’ and Obama’s and commitment were hysterical howler monkeys?

  3. Steve says

    Useless politicians – just out for getting reelected, not about doing the RIGHT thing.

  4. Bart says

    I say we take our 5 to 10% of the votes and become the martini party (the anti-tea party) and get rid of Obama who seems only interested in our green. If this doesn’t pass, withhold every dollar. Without the millions upon millions we have funneled to him and the rest of the crew (Democrats) who seem either too disinterested or too stupid to do the right thing, watch them sweat.

    And for those who say to do that will only put Republicans in office, you know what, I’d rather be stabbed in the front than stabbed in the back.

  5. Brian in Texas says

    Just saw the Service Members Defense Network director on Hardball. He says they are probably one vote short in the Senate.

    Senators who haven’t committed:

    Robert Byrd, WV
    Ben Nelson, NE
    Scott Brown, MA

    They will get this done. The people above who are saying “Obama’s gay rights record is disgraceful” “Obama doesn’t want anything to happen”..blah, blah, blah; are just flat out silly. It’s like the left’s version of the Tea Party; just a bunch of petulent noise and completely ignorant of the political process.

  6. Sam says

    I totally agree with you, Brian In Texas. Maybe if all those whining and bitching wrote or called those Senators and the White House instead of complaining on the internet we would get more done for gay rights.

  7. Josh says

    I remember when Scott Brown won, several gays here from MA posted that they voted for him!! And now he is voting against repealing DADT.

    He will probably vote against ENDA too.

    Gays who vote republican are idiots who vote against their own interests.

  8. walter says

    so voting for dems does any more good. they control congress and the white house and still are short votes. what does that tell you they really don’t care until election time.gates should run for office. he thinks he is charge.the dems can’t even deliver the compromise.time is running very short 5 months until the elections and the repuks are already licking their chops.

  9. Michael @ says

    Strange isn’t it how when you give a little homophobic bully like Gates EVERYTHING he SAID he wanted, he STILL doesn’t want a vote. Could it be he was hoping the study would say, “Do NOT do ANYTHING!”?

    And I see the Obama Borg troops have been activated.

    For those who DON’T yet have brain cancer caused by drinking too much Kool Aid, here are the facts:

    This bill would NOT “repeal” DADT. That would only happen when Gates and Obama are ready for it to, sometime after December.

    BUT much more important: EVEN THEN discharges would NOT end unless Gates says they should…ever! Repeat EVER! He’s free to keep discharging gays now, and even IF DADT is repealed, NOTHING in this bill prevents them from going back to the Pentagon “policy” ban that shitcanned over 100,000 gays BEFORE anyone had ever heard of DADT.

    There are some very good but misled folks behind this and some political parasites.

    But I’ve not see ONE active duty gay soldier, not ONE person who has gone to jail twice to end not “DADT” but DISCHARGES, who’s risked going to FEDERAL prison to stop DISCHARGES comment other than LT. Dan Choi.

    See a video of what his response is at:

  10. Mike C. says

    @Walter, that is a ridiculous statement. You know this issue would not be on the table if Republicans were in charge. The issue is not that democrats are in charge, but that three conservative democrats are holding out. You have 56 senators in the United States Congress saying they support this and want openly gay people included in the military. How the hell can you say democrats are the same as republicans?

  11. TANK says

    We can’t call “discussion” progress anymore. Who cares if, at the least, they’re “talking about it” and wouldn’t be if republicans were in office…it accomplishes nothing.

  12. Ken says

    If the Democrats can’t pass this 59 seats in the Senate, how will they do next year with 51 or 52? It’s going to be at least another decade before we see the end of DADT! I say put the Republicans back in charge, who cares, there’s clearly no difference! I’m done with the Democrats, I’ll vote third party.

  13. Andy says

    Richard Socarides worked for the Clinton White House that GAVE us DADT and he is criticizing Obama? That’s shameful.

  14. Victor says

    President Obama is going to stay silent on this, the Dems will fail to get the votes in committee and it will never be added to the authorization bill. And then of course, the Dems will lose several senate seats in November and lose the biggest majority in decades! After the loss, the Democrats will continue to ask us for money. My wallet will stay closed.

  15. Brian in Texas says

    A bunch of negative nelly’s; what shall you bitch about when DADT is abolished?? Obama’s tie choice?

    This issue would not even be on the table if Obama were not in office. Geez, if some gays were as critical and militant during the Bush years as they are now maybe we’d be further along?

    Maybe you would have fared better with John “complete the dang fence” “I never called myself a maverick” Mccain as President??

    Obama could have and would have won office with or without the gays, they don’t need our “gay dollars” that you immaturely threaten to withhold; Obama and most of the dems are going through with repeal because its the RIGHT THING TO DO. Not because of campaign contributions.

  16. Hotguywxw says

    This thing is getting repealed before the end of next week. It’s going to sail through the house and skim by in the senate and then we will all complain that it took too long blah blah blah

  17. walter says

    @mike c. but we know that the repuks are the enemy but the dems haven’t proven to be friends either. all they want is money and votes.they have had over 16 months to get this done. and have you seen any real fight for this from the white house. they have constantly defered to the pentagon and secretary of defense. and remember DADT is there because of a dem president and a bunch of dem senators

  18. JuJuBeeBee says

    @Brian In texas….very true and I myself am not so happy with how this is playing out and then I always look at the anger from the folks in our community for the most part is legitimate and then I think back to the primaries and elections

    Obama’s relationship with our community has been rocky since his election.

    In fact, it’s been rocky since the kids voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in the primaries. 60% of LGBT’s voted for Clinton during the primary. Not only did they vote for Clinton, they supported her long after it was clear she had lost. So when she finally gave in, and the two campaigns were supposed to merge. It was too late. The entire structure of the campaign was locked in stone. Further, 30% of LGBT voted for McCain. So it hasn’t been a love affair.

    And you know he knows that.

    Obama was never the gay community’s first choice. He would NOT be in office had it been up to gays to decide. Clinton would be. Who also doesn’t feel we should be married,or call it marriage and her wonderful husband whom most of you still LOVE till this day including Ms Bedwell it was he that signed the 2 death certificates to ever face this community D.A.D.T and D.O.M.A

    In the end, he was simply less frightening than McCain/Palin… and he probably still is.
    Remember, Palin tried but failed to ban gay-related books from the Wasilla public library and fired the librarian who opposed her.

    A book-burning, Rapture-ready birth certificate conspiracy nut, one stoking the white surpremist and religious extremist violence we see today, drove the gays in droves to vote for Obama…

    …not his stand on same-sex marriage and D.A.D.T. you felt you had no choice so you did the dreadful.

    Because Michael Bedwell loves to call anyone who supports Obama a Obot and all these crazy names. But I find it strange that the fag will not criticize his beloved Bill for signing this shit. Maybe if the kids would have been acting the way they are now then. Maybe he would have not signed it.

    But I guess since the guy whom alot of our community didn’t want. You now DEMAND he does it now. Why you didn’t demand Bill not to sign it?

  19. Josh says

    Obama and Hillary had virtually the same views on everything so I don’t understand the types that loved Hillary but hated Obama enough to vote for McCain.

    Sorry, but it has to be racism.

  20. MickW says

    I love the fact that Scott Brown is voting against the repeal…..remember the pages and pages of positive comments about the man….you reap what you sow.

  21. nic says

    obama has to ‘man up’ for something. anything! what a disappointment he has been. his presidency will go out with a whimper.

  22. says

    Possibly, the “love” for Hillary was because, unlike Obama,she didn’t consistently align herself with the likes of Donnie McKlurkin and other religious homophobes while, at the same time, telling us all the sweet nothings we so longed to hear.

    And for those so quick to accuse others on here of just sitting at the computer bitching; What proof do you have that that is all we/they have been doing? And, What proof do you have that proves you’ve done anymore than that?

  23. says

    Obama and Hillary had virtually the same views on everything so I don’t understand the types that loved Hillary but hated Obama enough to vote for McCain.

    Sorry, but it has to be racism.

    Posted by: Josh | May 26, 2010 12:35:06 AM
    No Josh, this is reality! In the primaries, I wanted Hillary. After she lost, I voted for Obama, and knew what I was getting. Another indecisive President. All anyone had to do was to check his record in the Illinois Senate to know what he was going to be like. The ONLY reason I voted for Obama was I didn’t want McCain/Palin (since I was sure that under a McCain/Palin administration, gays would be persecuted). Obama has always been all talk and less action. Sure, many bought the goods, thinking maybe, just maybe he was not as bad as he was in the Illinois Senate, but he is. It has nothing to do with race, all to do with leadership, which, so far, he lacks. Obama is in over his head.

    This is just another ‘compromise’ for gays to bend over and take it. Repeal would not go into effect until all guidelines are met (which could take years). Gates is a Bush hold over right winger, and his colors won’t change. I truly believe he doesn’t want to repeal DADT, and he is just waiting for the Republican’s to gain more control in Congress. Once the Republican’s build a stronger hold in Congress, you can kiss any gay rights out the window. Theocracy will abound.