December 10, 2010
By Adam Bink
Update: the videos from the rally are below
I just got back from the big rally on Capitol Hill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. An estimated 75-100 were in attendance on short notice urge the Senate to stay in session and repeal this unjust policy. And while it was literally freezing temperatures outside (32 degrees before the rally started), the anger and energy was palpable.
I took Flipcam footage of Zoe Dunning, a 26-year vet of the Navy; discharged Air Force Major Mike Almy; Aubrey Sarvis, a veteran who heads up SLDN; and Major general Dennis Lache, a straight ally and veteran. Flipcam is taking a very, very, very long time to upload to YouTube with one error already, so I will be updating this post shortly with video when it finally finishes. The videos are below:
The message was that the Senate shouldn’t go home until this policy is repealed. Congress stayed through Christmas to work on health care last year; it should do the same, or further if necessary, to finish repeal.
Two speakers I didn’t catch video of at the end (a colleague should have it later, and I’ll update) were both from West Virginia, one of them a political activist who worked to elect Sen. Joe Manchin as well as veteran and West Virginia Reserve member. Both spoke with how angry they were at Manchin, but how his final vote isn’t the final word. According to the latter speaker, Manchin said he still hasn’t heard from West Virginians on this issue (a falsehood, given the level of support in the state, among veterans, and how Sens. Byrd, Rockefeller and Goodwin all voted for repeal at various points, but there it is). The overriding point was that despite yesterday’s vote, Manchin, as I noted in this morning’s post, is still a swing vote on the issue. And that means we still have some work to do.
I just read the comment thread on this morning’s post and saw how many of you are hitting the phones. THANK YOU. The information you’re reporting is extremely helpful and I am following up on folks like Sen. Murkowski. The folks who came to the rally told Congress this isn’t finished and let’s let that be our message too. There is a clear path to repeal.
According to the responses you’ve reported on our DADT report page and in the comments, every one of the Senators you called are still undecided and/or haven’t heard of/haven’t had a chance to look at the Lieberman/Collins bill (for folks like Sens. Murkowski and Brown). So, these are making a big difference. If I hear of a Senator going one way or another, I will update the target list. Remember, this is both an opportunity to push a Senator to be in support of repeal, and to “whip” the list of key swing votes to make sure they are supportive of the Lieberman/Collins bill.
And if you could leave a comment on this post, that would also be helpful so we can quickly and continually update who’s with us. A lot of folks left very specific comments and that is extremely helpful so I can follow up when there is movement.
Here are the targets, which I will continually update as things move on this bill and you submit comments:
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665 (supports repeal, but mixed signals on the stand-alone bill)
George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353 (no position)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344 (no position)
Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814 (no position)
Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324 (no position)
Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543 (supports repeal, but has not made a position clear yet on the stand-alone bill)
Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721 (no position)
Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854 (no position)
Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954 (no position, but mixed signals on repeal)
As Sen. Lieberman said last night, it ain’t over ’till it’s over. Let’s hit those phones.