Joe Liberman (I-CT) is definately not on my list of “favorite politicians”, but in this instance, when it comes to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell negotiations in the Senate, I think Lieberman will have more “bi-partisan” clout. Therefore, I welcome his leadership on this issue. DADT needs to be passed before the end of the “lame duck” session of Congress is over.
Senate Democrats are on the precipice of getting a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal past a key procedural hurdle tonight. But key negotiators have grown frustrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his staff for upping the pressure at a fragile moment, potentially scuttling the deal.
“I’ve been pleading with Senator Reid, don’t hold a vote on the defense authorization bill, the repeal of DADT, until we have a good opportunity to work out a fair process for the consideration bill with Senator Collins and some of the other Republican,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) this afternoon after a Dem caucus meeting. “Senator Collins really wants to vote for the bill with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Senator Scott Brown is the same and I think there may be at least one other Republican Senator to make that clear today.”
That third Republican has since been revealed as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Lieberman has been the lead Dem negotiator for repeal, and has been in regular contact with all three Republican supporters. But earlier today his efforts were undermined, in his view, by Reid’s announcement of a test vote tonight, and by leaks from the leadership, accusing Collins of demanding too many procedural concessions, putting the success or failure of the vote tonight at her feet.
From Reid’s point of view the math is two-dimensional. By calling the vote, and leaking to the press, he ups the pressure on Collins to make a decision — and quickly. At the same time, he creates a focal point for liberal animus if the Senate fails to pass repeal before this Congress comes to an end and with it hope for a legislative solution to DADT. That’s not helpful to Lieberman, who wants to keep negotiations fluid, egos unbruised and the bill alive.
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