Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Count Out...Scott Brown?

Looks like Greg Sargent called Robert Gates's move this week as GOP Sen. Scott Brown is coming out for a DADT repeal.

A few quick points on this. First, it shows beyond doubt -- as I thought would happen -- that Robert Gates's handling of this whole affair was calibrated precisely to give GOP moderates the cover they needed to support repeal. Specifically, Gates' repeated assurances that he would have control over the pace of implementation shrewdly removed one of the last pretexts GOP moderates had to oppose lifting the policy.

Second, it shows that Gates has been actively working these moderates behind the scenes, offering them personal reassurances. This seems to reflect well on the White House's commitment to making repeal happen. Third, this could open the door for other GOP moderates to step forward and do the same.

One important question: How does this square with Mitch McConnell's letter vowing that the entire GOP caucus would stand in unison against DADT repeal and everything else Dems want until the standoff over the Bush tax cuts and funding the government are resolved? If Brown confirms he will vote for cloture on the Defense Authorization Bill containing DADT repeal, irrespective of whether a deal is reached on the tax cuts, it makes McConnell's threat look pretty empty.

Another important question is why John McCain continues to hold on to defeating this repeal legislation with an iron grip.  He's about to end up permanently on the wrong side of history here on a bipartisan effort to get rid of an overwhelmingly unpopular and morally wrong policy.  Younger, shrewder McCain would be in Scott Brown's shoes right now, at least being a useful political creature.  Now?  He's just a bitter, sad old man.

But the more important point is that DADT looks increasingly done for.

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