Friday, December 3, 2010

Scott Brown Expresses Support for Repeal of DADT

Today's the 2nd day of hearings on the report on repealing DADT and we got some good news. Republican Senator Scott Brown has announced that he will supports the repeal.
"I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.

"I pledged to keep an open mind about the present policy on Don't Ask Don't Tell. Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary's recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed."
Now this is definitely good news and could potentially give some cover for even more Republican Senators to express their support, but there are some things that need to be remembered. Firstly, it shows that he supports the repeal but he doesn't say how he will vote on the cloture votes. This is noteworthy because the GOP leadership has been good about keeping it's membership voting together on these procedural votes. Brown's announcement is therefore definitely good news, but might not actually mean much unless he's willing to break with his party on the procedural votes.

Another important part of Brown's statement is that he mentioned having private conversations with Secretary Gates on the topic. It's not much of a leap to assume that these conversations have also taken place between Gates and other moderate members of the Senate. Based upon Brown's positive reaction to these conversations, it could be a very good sign that the Secretary is actively reaching out to folks behind the scenes.

All in all, Brown's announcement today should be viewed as illustrating how momentum is growing for repeal of DADT but that more work needs to be done.

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