America’s newest community organizer, Lady Gaga, will hold a rally in Portland, Maine today, specifically targeting two Senators who may be the difference between breaking a filibuster on the defense authorization bill and letting it slip away, along with the legislative repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Organizers say Lady Gaga is visiting Maine’s largest city to join a rally against the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.
The singer is expected to join a Servicemembers Legal Defense Network event near the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus Monday. Network spokesman Trevor Thomas says she’ll stand alongside veterans discharged because of the policy, which forbids military recruiters from asking about people’s sexual orientations and prohibits service members from revealing if they’re gay.
Without Snowe and Collins, it is unlikely the Senate has the votes to get onto the defense authorization bill. We know there will be a motion to proceed at 12:15pm Tuesday, and all indications show that 60 votes have not been locked up. John McCain is leading the filibuster because he didn’t get what he wanted in committee. Even though Republicans will have an opportunity to strip out the DADT repeal, they want assurances on a bevy of other amendments, and will block debate on the bill without them. Collins voted for the DADT repeal and voted the bill out of committee, but now is speaking as if she’ll block consideration because of the lack of an “open process” for amendments. Scott Brown vowed not to filibuster the defense bill but is making the same noises. Snowe hasn’t said much.
Joe Sudbay writes:
They’re taking the fight right to Collins and Snowe — in a way that no other issue or group has. This event will be noticed in Maine. It’s so much smarter than bringing another celebrity to DC, where political media is so cynical. Again, Gaga has over 6,390,000 followers on twitter. And, she’s got over 18,255,000 fans on Facebook. No political organization in DC has anything that compares to that kind of outreach.
Lady Gaga has been using her extensive bully pulpit to elevate the DADT repeal issue for the past several weeks. It’s been very, very impressive. (Meanwhile, despite the impending vote and the GOP filibuster, President Obama has been largely silent on this issue, which, sadly, is not a surprise.)
This week, the action is in the Senate. Collins and Snowe are the targets. Now, they can’t hide. They’re going to have a very powerful spotlight on them, thanks to Lady Gaga and SLDN.
Maine is the best chance we have. If Collins and Snowe abandon the gay and lesbian servicemembers, it could be a long time before we get another vote.
The other part of this is that Republicans likely want to avoid a vote on the DREAM Act before the elections, and if the Senate can’t get on the defense authorization bill, where Harry Reid promised an amendment to that effect, they’ll have succeeded in avoiding it.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has identified these eight Senators as holding the key to passage of the motion to proceed:
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Jim Webb (D-VA)
George Voinovich (R-OH)
Kit Bond (R-MO)
The margin will likely be razor-thin.