Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why Now?

ake a look at Obama and a bunch of Democrat legislators celebrating the repeal of DADT:



When was the last time you saw Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party looking this good? It’s a spectacle that Democratic partisans and a lot of independent voters would have enjoyed seeing before the mid-term election when it might have done Democrats some political good. So why did they have to wait for a lame duck session of congress for this photo-op?

If you ask the Harry Reids of this world, you’ll get a long story about Republican obstructionism. Yet Democrats didn’t need any of the five Republican votes they got to pass DADT repeal in the House. And they only needed three of the eight Republican votes they got in the Senate. Which of those votes would have been unavailable to Democrats before the mid-terms? Certainly Mark Kirk’s because he wasn’t yet seated, but he replaced a reliable Democratic vote in Roland Burris. Maybe Richard Burr’s or Lisa Murkowski’s vote because they we facing reelection.  And maybe John Ensign’s because his receding ethical troubles made him more beholden to the Republican leadership than he is now.  But Scott Brown, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe had already cast big votes against the leadership in this Congress, and DADT-repeal would have been a popular vote in their states.  And George Voinovich has been telling the Republican Senate leadership to buzz off for years (remember John Bolton's nomination to the U.N.?) even before he had one foot out the Senate door.

Yes, there were Democrats facing reelection in red states who didn’t want to be weighed down by a DADT vote who would have needed either to have been bought off or have their arms twisted a little. As far as I can tell, however, neither Harry Reid nor Obama tried very hard to secure their votes.  Evidently they had other priorities. Can anyone remind me of what they were?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good question. The word "lame" seems to fit here as a possible answer.

Lone Wolf said...

For two years, Democrats preferred exploiting the optics of DADT (to energize their base without weakening their pitch to culturally conservative voters) to curing the injustice of it. Obama and Harry Reid were perfectly willing to risk losing their chance to do anything about it to secure optical advantages. We liberals shouldn't forget that just because things worked out in the end thanks to people we usually disdain like Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins.