A challenge for Senator Collins on DADT: Side with equality or cave to GOP leadership (again)

Yesterday, we saw this via HuffPostHill:

COLLINS STILL MAKING ZERO SENSE ON DADT – Susan Collins, who supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, is continuing to concoct reasons to vote against it. The Wall Street Journal, new home of Patrick O’Conner, reported that she would oppose cloture if she didn’t get some debate or amendments or some such. Not so, her office tells Jason Linkins: “Senator Collins has not said she would oppose cloture if time is not allowed for debate. In fact, she has said she supports repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and she intends to support cloture on the Defense Authorization bill if the Majority Leader allows for a full and fair debate.” Um, that’s the same thing.

Here’s the full excerpt from Danny Yadron and Patrick O’Connor at the WSJ:

The House passed a measure to repeal the policy this spring, but Senate Republicans in September blocked a defense spending bill that included a repeal.

It’s unclear if any of that will change after today’s announcement. Sen. Susan Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine who says she wants the ban repealed, still plans to vote against the repeal if there is not more time for debate, her spokesman said Monday.

Yep. Same thing. Makes no sense.

We know why. Collins isn’t making sense because of this:

Senate Republicans intend to block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending in the current postelection session of Congress, officials said Tuesday, adding that the leadership has quietly collected signatures on a letter pledging to carry out the strategy.

If carried out, it would doom Democratic-backed attempts to end the Pentagon’s practice of discharging openly gay members of the military service and give legal status to young illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college.

Orders have come down from Mitch McConnell. Has Susan Collins signed the letter? We need to know. UPDATE @ 10:02 AM: We know. Collins signed the letter. McConnell just announced on the Senate floor that all 42 GOPers are on board with his strategy.

On DADT, Collins is key. She voted for the DADT language in the Senate Armed Services Committe last May. She’s considered something of a pro-LGBT champion, on paper anyway. HRC’s PAC has contributed $20,000 to Collins. Given that record, if Collins won’t vote to end the filibuster, we can’t expect any other GOPers to do it.

In September, Collins chose the bogus argument of process over equality and voted with her GOP colleagues to filibuster the Defense Authorization bill. She basically said that not getting her way on amendments was the same as getting kicked out of the military for being gay. Ridiculous. But, the GOP leader told her how to vote and she did.

Now, we’re faced with the same question of whether Collins votes for equality or caves to Mitch McConnell. He’s the puppet-master. And, let’s face it, Collins rarely stands on principle. She usually does what McConnell wants. She’ll hide behind the bogus excuse that the process isn’t fair. But, notice, she won’t define for anyone what a “fair debate” is.

Collins knows this is the last shot for legislative repeal to move forward. She knows her newly empowered GOP colleagues won’t move repeal in the next Congress. If Collins votes to block movement on the Defense bill, the failure to pass the DADT language rests on her shoulders, too.


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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