Yay, Pentagon! Lots of weekend activity to report.
Admiral Mullen participated in a couple Sunday roundtables, stating on This Week that Marine Commandant General Amos's sinister whispers of risks of repeal contradicted both the study which all the Joint Chiefs had in hand and the agreement among the Chiefs that dissent would be discussed privately and not publicly. He then further elaborated to Candy Crowley on State of the Union that Amos has stated publicly that if the law changes, the Marines will do it dutifully and "better than anybody else."
Chief of Naval Operations (another one of the Joint Chiefs) Admiral Roughead has all but recanted his previous position on repealing DADT legislatively anytime soon, praising the comprehensiveness of the Pentagon study in an echo of Jim Webb's comments late last week.
And, now, Gates has announced the study will be released one day early, on November 30. To Congress. This means hearings on the study can be bumped up sooner, and a vote on a motion to proceed could happen...on schedule.
This is about as good as we could hope for at this point in the lame-duck. Why? Find out, after the jump.
First: Smackdowns. Mullen and Roughead have effectively put both Amos and McCain in their respective places. The study has been lauded as the most comprehensive study to come out of the Pentagon, making McCain's whining about another, better study look like he's just whining about another, better study.
Roughead has broken ranks with McCain when he had previously stood with him in May, leaving him with just Amos among the joint chiefs acting as reference points with McCain. And Amos's rantings have also been discredited by Mullen, effectively reducing McCain's ammunition going into the lame-duck.
As McCain goes forward on a filibuster on the NDAA vote, he is doing so without the Pentagon's support. More importantly, when Levin holds hearings on the study in the SASC, he will do it with the Pentagon's support. This is the opposite situation of 1993.
Second: Timing. November 30 is the earliest we can hope for a release of the study to Congress, meaning hearings can happen sooner, a vote on a motion to proceed can happen sooner, passing the bill up to conference can happen sooner...you get the idea. Given that the study is ready, there is a slight chance that some offices will have the opportunity to look over the study during the Thanksgiving holiday, which will further rally support for repeal.
Every day counts in the push for repeal in the lame-duck. This helps. A lot.
So, where are we now? Well, we have the Pentagon backing repeal in the lame-duck. We have over ten percent of the Senate committing publicly to staying late in the lame-duck to see repeal through, repeatedly espousing the need for an Open and Fair Amendment Process. Lieberman himself has announced having the 60 votes should the Senate proceed with an open and fair amendment process, announcing the support of both Lugar and Collins, with Ensign and Murkowski jumping on board later in the day. Reid has yet to commit to a particular process on introducing NDAA.
What to do next? Same as before, except with some tweaks. Now that we have Ensign and Murkowski, we can reasonably expect other third tier potential Republicans to be ripe to signing on. We also can start using carrots on top of sticks.
Here's the plan:
- Contact Reids office, reminding the staff that the overwhelming consensus that the amendment process needs to be open and fair in order to achieve DADT repeal in the lame duck, and that the public is well aware that the power to go forward in such a way on NDAA is all in his hands.
- Call Collins, Lugar, Murkowski, and Ensign's office, thanking them for supporting going forward on NDAA and letting them know you're calling Reid's office to push for an open and fair amendment process.
- Call other swing senators - Voinovich, Gregg, Pryor, Lincoln, Brown, Manchin, and Kirk - and remind them that this will be their last chance to support repeal legislatively before votes are captured in history.
I don't think this is the last we'll hear about DADT this week. Keep your eyes peeled. We're in a good place.