We lost in the Senate, ‘The whole thing is a political train wreck’

The vote to end the filibuster of the Defense Authorization bill just failed by a vote of 43 – 56. Arkansas Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln voted no, joining every GOPer. (Reid switched his vote to “NO” for procedural reasons.)

I’ll be updating this post.

Here’s what Richard Socarides said earlier today, which sums up the vote:

“The whole thing is a political train wreck,” said Richard Socarides, a former White House adviser on gay rights during the Clinton administration.

Socarides said President Barack Obama “badly miscalculated” the Pentagon’s support for repeal, while Democrats made only a “token effort” to advance the bill.

“If it was a priority for the Democratic leadership, they would get a clean vote on this,” he said.

He’s right. We just watched a political train wreck that smashed into equality.

Here’s the statement from SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis:

Today’s Senate vote was a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law. We lost because of the political maneuvering dictated by the mid-term elections. Let’s be clear: Opponents to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” did not have the votes to strike those provisions from the bill. Instead, they had the votes for delay. Time is the enemy here. We now have no choice but to look to the lame duck session where we’ll have a slim shot. The Senate absolutely must schedule a vote in December when cooler heads and common sense are more likely to prevail once midterm elections are behind us. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will continue to take this fight to the American people, the vast majority of whom support repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Aubrey and his team did everything that was asked of them — and more.

There’s plenty of blame to go around — and I have every intention of playing the blame game.

UPDATE @ 3:12 PM, via email from GetEQUAL:

There will undoubtedly be an avalanche of folks out there trying to sell all different kinds of stories to us, yet again, about what went wrong. Democrats will blame Republicans. Republicans will blame Democrats. President Obama will blame Congress. Some of our national organizations and elected representatives will blame the community for “not working hard enough.”

But that’s not true. Today is a disappointing day for everyone who has engaged in this fight over the years — for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United, Outserve, Knights OUT, countless servicemembers who have taken action with us, and the active-duty servicemembers across the globe who are being forced to remain closeted while serving our country. We thank them for their service and we stand steadfast in our commitment to serve them as they have served us.

We are calling on President Obama to show the courage and leadership required of the Commander in Chief to unequivocally state that military discharges must end immediately.

Our elected leaders have demonstrated that they are either unwilling or unable to do the right thing. Now it’s time for our “fierce advocate” to step up to the plate for us.

UPDATE @3:30 PM from Servicemembers United:

“Today’s vote is a failure of leadership on the part of those who have been duly elected to serve this nation and to put the best interests of the country ahead of partisan politics,” said Alexander Nicholson, founder and Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “The Senate could learn a good lesson from those who serve in uniform and who stand to benefit from proceeding to debate on this bill – serving this country means putting politics aside and getting the job done. It is simply inexcusable that this vote failed today.”


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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