Are you pissed at Obama for failing to repeal DADT? Maybe you blame Harry Reid? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you got played.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m not a Harry Reid fan. You also know that I’m not an Obama apologist. After reading some of the reactions to the travesty yesterday, I felt compelled to go through how this happened.
Let me first start by saying that I viscerally wish that President Obama would come out of the closet already, and enthusiastically support gay rights in a demonstrable way. But intellectually, I feel that he would be hurting the gay cause if he did. As it was, this vote happened fairly quietly. Fox news and right wing radio weren’t hammering away at the issue. They were focused in rehabbing the nutbaggery that is Christine O’Donnell. Does anyone think they would have largely ignored DADT if Obama were out there audibly supporting its repeal? Let’s be honest here, anything that Obama comes out for becomes the epicenter of hate and controversy. I’m not saying that Obama shouldn’t take a stand on anything, for fear that he will start a political firestorm. I’m saying that given Obama’s pervasive and persistent weakness over the past twenty-one months, he made the right calculation in laying low on this one. In doing so, he increased Harry Reid’s (admittedly low) odds of making something good happen in the senate.
Here’s what went down yesterday; all forty republicans joined hands and created a filibuster. Two democrats joined them, but they were irrelevant since all forty republicans were united. As an aside, one of those two irrelevant democrats is going to get voted out of office in November. I say fuck you and good riddance, Blanche Lincoln. No one is going to remember you ten minutes after you’re gone. Anyway, back to yesterday’s vote. Republicans, and republicans alone blocked the repeal. Period. Every single one of them united to block the vote from taking place. Harry Reid (uncharacteristically) didn’t do anything wrong.
Actually, politically speaking he did make one mistake. He rolled the DREAM Act into the DADT bill. The DREAM Act creates a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants. Specifically, to illegal immigrants who have served in the US military for two years and minors who have been in the country for five years prior to the bills’ passage, and are obtaining high school and college diplomas. The DREAM Act is a bill written by Dick Durbin a year and a half ago, and it’s good for all of us. It’s good for all of us because it will help military recruitment and it will chip away at the skilled labor shortage in the US. Even in this crap ass economy, we don’t have the labor pool to match the jobs that are available. Our college graduation rate is going down, and we don’t have the skilled computer professionals that we need. As a recruiter, I do my best to hire a US citizen whenever I can. That hasn’t been as possible as one might think (even in the past year). I’m still having to process H1B visas for foreign workers. We need all the college grads we can get if we expect to hold our position in the world.
The DREAM Act is obviously a popular bill within the Latino community. I think that if Reid was good at playing politics, he would have called a vote on DREAM as a stand alone bill. This would force republicans to either filibuster it, thereby guaranteeing that the GOP wouldn’t receive a single Latino vote in the November elections, or passing it thereby undermining their SB 1070 rhetoric.
But he sucks at politics, so he combined them. This left Mitch McConnell with the opening to comically say that he would allow a vote on DADT if DREAM was removed from the bill. Oh, and he was going to buy every US citizen a pony. Make no mistake, Mitch McConnell was never going to allow this vote to take place. Democrats in the senate acquiesced to republicans 170 times on the health reform bill, only to receive zero republican votes. In fact, I can count the number of affirmative republican votes over the past twenty-one months on my hands! Mitch McConnell is Lucy with her football from the Peanuts cartoons. It’s a fucking joke anytime he says he will work with democrats “if”. So he wanted Harry Reid to throw one group under the bus in order to give another group rights they should have had all along? That’s a bullshit choice, and I’m glad that Reid didn’t cave into that crap.
To summarize, Harry Reid didn’t make any mistakes that would have changed the outcome yesterday. Don’t let Mitch McConnell tell you otherwise. This vote (as with every other vote) was, for Mitch McConnell, about making people hate Obama. Did you fall for it, gays?
There will theoretically be another attempt at a vote on this issue after the election, during the lame duck session. I suggest focusing your Obama/Reid ire on a target that deserves it; Scott Brown. Why do I single him out? Because he represents the bluest of states, where gay marriage is legal. He did not represent his constituents yesterday. We need to put a world of hurt and pressure on Scott Brown. And you should start putting pressure on the ladies of Maine, since they’re low hanging fruit.
My guess is that if we can peel off one single republican, Reid will get all of the democrats in line since Obama explicitly stated that he would repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year. Once republicans united, the two democrats that joined them were irrelevant so I’m guessing that Reid didn’t fight as hard for them as he would if he had a republican. We won’t know for sure, until we get a republican.
So you can misplace your anger with Obama, or you can do something constructive with that anger. Call everyone you know in Maine and Massachusetts. Start Facebook pages pledging to vote against Brown, Collins, and Snowe. Organize rallies and money bombs to raise money to run commercials in those states.
Don’t fall for the “hate Obama” ploy. Let’s work together to get er done!