Word is via Wall Street Journal that Senator Carl Levin is in talks with McCain to discuss stripping the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) down to its barebones without any controversial issues attached, which presumably means anything mentioning abortions, the DREAM act, and, yes, DADT repeal.
This is not a story, folks.
The Senate Armed Services Committee is responsible for figuring out how to push NDAA forward this year, if it can. Levin is chair of that committee, McCain the ranking Republican. Levin is an ally, McCain is not. During the negotiations process, options not favorable to us will be floated. This is just one option. Other options such as going forward with a continuing resolution without voting on NDAA, going forward with limiting amendments, etc. will also be discussed. These discussions are not absolutely necessary, but a means to prevent filibuster on a motion to proceed on the bill. With no filibuster, NDAA could be done in a week. And the less time spent on the bill, the more likely it will go forward.
Should you still lose your shit? Absolutely. More, after the jump.
Though the option being leaked, while not quite 'background noise,' is not surprising, the fact that this particular option leaked outside of context is concerning. This may indicate that this option is holding more weight than the others - ie, being taken seriously - or that it's being selectively leaked by offices opposed to repeal to shift perception on the issue - meaning McCain has no intention on not filibustering DADT repeal. Coupled with a Marine commandant once again bucking his bosses - and with likely "negative" study leaks as the same commandant and other joint chiefs look over the study over the next few weeks - this creates a ton of negative press around the issue, and a sense of hopelessness right at the moment when urgency is so essential.
We need good press to counterbalance that.
Don't get me wrong, Mullen and Gates are making some effort to counteract this energy. But without a definitive gesture from Harry Reid on voting on NDAA with DADT repeal attached in the lame-duck, the base will not be confident in repeal this year, risking DADT becoming drowned out by the economy and jobs in the lame-duck. Without the administration going beyond 'potentially' pushing for a vote in the lame-duck , the base will not be supportive, and Reid won't feel White House pressure to go forward.
Here's your narrative, for your Letters to the Editor, for your Op-Eds, for your communications with White House peeps and folks in Reids office: If we fail this year, it's because Reid and the White House did not try nearly hard enough. We have the votes. We have a path forward.
We just need to vote on the damn thing in a way that does not alienate either side of the aisle.