Jarrod Chlapowski

The Impact of the Midterms on Repeal in the Lame-Duck

Filed By Jarrod Chlapowski | November 03, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Congressional race, Don't Ask Don't Tell, lame-duck, Servicemembers United

I know, it's 4pm and everyone's exhausted discussing the results of last night. I won't make this long. Without going into too much detail, last night's election mattered in regard to DADT repeal in the lame-duck for four reasons.

lame duck.gif

  1. The special elections. These seats will be filled ASAP - each replacing yes votes from September - bringing in potentially different votes into the lame duck. Let's look at these guys closely.
    • Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted against DADT repeal in the House in May, which was somewhat unexpected given he was among the Republicans who was considered among the more likely to vote in faovr. If we get Kirk in the lame-duck, it will likely be with the Pentagon study as cover.
    • Joe Manchin (D-WV) is on record calling for additional certification on the study. The study itself may provide cover, but it may not. It may come down to party-line vote for Manchin.
    • Chris Koons (D-DE) is definitely not a witch and is adamently in favor of repeal.
  2. The interesting dilemma of Lisa Murkowski (I-AK). Murkowski missed the DADT vote in September, only stating she would have voted against cloture. Presuming she wins her race in Alaska, Murkowski may come out on our side.
  3. The loss of Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Lincoln broke with her party only when it was clear Reid was not going to achieve cloture. With no reelection concerns, Lincoln will likely come out in our favor.
  4. The post-election Obama press conference. This was an opportunity to discuss jobs and the economy, and the first signal of intentions for the lame-duck. Through this conference we have the President committing to pushing for repeal in the lame duck pending study results. This is still somewhat tepid given we'll need a push before then given Congressional scheduling considerations, but this conversation so soon after the midterms is a very good sign.

Bottom line: we have good reason to be somewhat optimistic for a lame-duck vote this year after last night's results. It's fun to start predicting what 2012 will look like, but we're not there yet. Let's get what we can before the changeover happens.

More soon.


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I admit to being cynical on passage. I think the only way is for Democrats to detach it from the defense authorization and then threaten filibuster on defense authorization until a stand alone repeal of DADT is passed.

1. Both Manchin and Kirk are confirmed anti-LGBT. (-2)

2. Murkowski has consistently been anti-LGBT. (-3)

3. Blanch Lincoln will change her mind because she lost. She is from Arkansas for crying out loud. (-4)

4. Obama cannot do anything without 60 votes and he has absolutely no influence over that (no magic presidential wand). He can't use his influence on any "moral issue," just like other presidents.

At best, when the lame duck session begins we will have 54 votes that support DADT repeal. That's not 60 votes and all the hoping, emailing, calling and protesting won't change that reality. It will simply waste time and lead to more frustration.

Focusing on 2012 would be a lot smarter. We need 60 votes and pretending we have them won't make them magically appear.

steve talbert | November 3, 2010 5:38 PM

Everyone talking about how Obama 'needs' 60 senate votes to do anything forget that Bush had 50, 55, and similiar during his adminstration, and got alot of stuff done. Not good stuff, but he was definitely more effective at it.

really? What did push pass that was a "moral issue?" Did he outlaw abortion?

Remember, LGBT issues are still considered "moral" issues. That hasn't changed.

Nothing significant has happened in the last 30 years without 60 votes in the US Senate. Look it up.

Bush was not more effective. The democrats in Congress were looking out for what was best for the country, unlike the republicans of the last 2 years who only represented the Party of No.

A vote yes a victory no I dont see that happening any time soon even with most of the military folks I know and have talked to could care less if they work with folks who are gay. Obama is going to have issue an Excutive Order as Commander in Chief and end DADT.

DADT will not be repealed under Obama, except maybe by the courts and that would be despite Obama's homophobic Justice Department. There is no reason for Republicans to help Obama on this, and they won't.

Time to wake up: Obama has been a total failure on gay equality and DADT is here to stay until the Supreme Court decides either way.

For months Gays have been total to be patient and wait; things will improve. Gays have been very patient and waited.

Now the "window of opportunity" may have passed us.

janiice J carney | November 4, 2010 10:47 AM

the reality is "moral issues" do not exist.In a lame duck session those that are not re-elected often vote with a new found sense of reality. even Ike skelton's last session vote may be a surprise. The house is full of members that will be voting in a lame duck session not full of fear from the far right.

Please tell the "Christians" there are no "moral issues." Enjoy that conversation.

As far as people being struck by lightning during the mid-terms, that would be fun but it's never happened for a moral issue.