Life is weird and unexpected. As I write this, the Red Sox are beating the Rays 6-1. It would be more emotionally satisfying for me to lament the triumphs of the team I find most repellent of all sports franchises. But this is a situation in which my weaker enemy has the upper hand over my stronger enemy. So in the interests of strategy in the American League East, I’m cool with this.
Oh, right, and that other thing. Today the world is beginning to look more just, and Joe Lieberman earned himself a great deal of the responsibility for that. Lieberman and Rep. Patrick Murphy kept holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire on repealing DADT. You should read Teddy’s diary for the play-by-play. But suffice it to say that the Pentagon leadership first endorsed finally abolishing the 17-year old injustice in the military and then feared potential wartime divisiveness over implementing the repeal, so Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen asked Congress not to pass a law scrapping DADT until a working group led by Gen. Carter Ham and top lawyer Jeh Johnson returned their survey of military attitudes on how the repeal should work in practice finished its work in December. Lieberman and Murphy, with the aid of Sen. Carl Levin, said that would needlessly slow-walk repeal. So they worked out a legislative compromise, to be put to the vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House floor this week: legislatively scrap DADT but delay its implementation for the two or three months that it’ll take Ham and Johnson to finish up. Around 7 p.m., Peter Orzsag wrote a letter to the congressman and the senators saying the White House is on board.
Yes: this means that we have lived to see the day when Joe Lieberman has pushed the White House to the left. Uncork that. Let it breathe. Then guzzle stiffly.
Obviously we still have to play the full 27 outs. DADT opponents still have to get the votes through the Senate committee and then the full Senate. They have to add Murphy’s amendment to the bill in the House and then vote it through. (It’s the Defense Authorization, of course, so the prospects are pretty bright.) Then Obama has to sign it and the Pentagon will have to implement it. But this is the end of the beginning of the end for DADT, and it’s a Big Fucking Deal. And credit where it’s due: Lieberman was crucial to making it happen.
Total Defense-Wonk Ironic Postscript: If you’re Bob Gates, how do you get Obama to issue a veto threat on this bill over the second JSF engine and the C-17? The president can’t veto it without betraying the LGBT community. I guess you have to hope the engine and the plane doesn’t survive the Senate committee markup; doesn’t get added in to the bill during the floor vote; and then conferees strip it out. But that’s a hell of a billiard shot. (Or am I missing something?)