Filibustering Gaga

People are (sort of) lining up behind pop-singer-cum-gay-rights-activist Lady Gaga to push for a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” (DADT) scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon, pending a GOP filibuster. Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens doesn’t necessarily agree with Gaga’s reading of the Constitution, but writes that the policy should be changed for the good of “the interests of the military itself, starting with its values.” And it costs U.S. taxpayer money to discharge gay soldiers and hurts recruitment. In fact, Stephens thinks rather than filibuster, Republicans should be “silently thanking” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for logrolling the repeal into a larger defense bill “they have no real choice but to vote for.”

But the Huffington Post is reporting that Sen. Reid’s move has even moved some Republicans, like Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), that support DADT’s repeal to help out with the filibuster, on the grounds that attaching it to a larger defense bill is “not fair.” Steve Benen points out that Snowe and Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) would be, in effect, opposing a bill they already voted for. And the DailyKos says Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a Democrat, is also “inclined to support the Republican filibuster.”

Andrew Sullivan thinks Stephens “makes a powerful case.” Max Boot agrees and writes that “admitting women was probably more of a cultural shift,” and that turned out just fine. But, like women, Boot says, “it may well make sense” to keep gays out of certain combat units “in deference to concerns about unit cohesion.” Or maybe not. Spencer Ackerman passes along a note from a gay friend in the Navy who says his shipmates don’t care—they even invite him along to “Japanese strip clubs” and join him at the gay bars in Singapore.

Matt Yglesias is “intrigued by the psychology of members of congress who’re positioning themselves on the wrong side of history here.” And Blogger Scott Lemieux has a snarkier take, mocking Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to the vote as “multi-leveled hackery.”

Others are putting the onus on President Obama. Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice predicts the filibuster will still kill the repeal, but also says if it is passed, “expect some big political fallout.” Prairie Weather agrees that the bill will probably fail, but thinks Obama needs a political victory on that issue “very badly.” AMERICAblogger Joe Sudbay notes that even if the vote happens and the bill is passed, DADT won’t officially be repealed, but sets up conditions to make it eventually happen. In addition, Sudbay takes the Obama administration to task for not actively lobbying for the bill, and John Cole lays blame at Obama’s feet “for failing to use the bully pulpit.”