In my diary from yesterday, I noted how Claire McCaskill had managed to avoid saying anything at all in public about her position on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (or at least anywhere in public that will come up via a Google search).
Now, apparently in response to that diary as crossposted to Pam's House Blend, Senator McCaskill has decided to make a statement:
UPDATE FROM PAM: Sam Drzymala, who works with the Senator, sent official word that "Senator McCaskill supports repealing the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy."
Why is this so important? As discussed in the cited diary, McCaskill serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which holds the keys to the only plausible mechanism to have repeal enacted any time soon (see here (SASC analysis), here (House analysis), and here (Senate analysis)).
Of course the battle is still far from over, and looks to me like it is still more likely to be lost than won. There are still some 11 Senators whose votes are not known but whose vote could be crucial in any attempt to introduce a repeal amendment from within the SASC:
Key (for more detail on each Senator, see here):
+ : there exists some indication that Senator favors repeal
?? : no known statement or other indication of position on DADT repeal
- : there exists some indication that Senator does not favor repeal,
and/or is strongly in favor of waiting for the military's study
on repeal logistics to be issued.
- Daniel Akaka (+)
- Kay Hagan (+)
- Susan Collins (+)
- Ed Kaufman (??)
- Bill Nelson (??)
- Evan Bayh (??)
- Scott Brown (??)
- Robert Byrd (-)
- Jim Webb (-)
- Ben Nelson (-)
- Lindsay Graham (-)
Of these 11 Senators, seven would be needed (along with Levin, Lieberman, Reed, McCaskill, Udall, Begich, Burris, and Bingaman) to provide the 15 vote majority necessary to move repeal out of the SASC committee.
Still, getting McCaskill clearly on board is a big win, and hopefully will affect other Senators in similarly conservative states such as Hagan and Bayh.
If you have any information about the position of any of these Senators on DADT repeal please comment below. Or if you are a constituent of one of these Senators and would like to call up, express your opinion about DADT repeal, and find out their views, please do so and report in the comments.
If DADT is to be repealed, and other equal rights legislation passed, it's going to take a lot more than just clicking some heels and wishing it so. Let's get started.
"I am not guilty, I am not ashamed and I am not finished." --Lt. Dan Choi, 3/19/10
Update: Contact info for many of the 11 Senators listed can be found here. Or just Google their name to get to their website...
Update: Yeah, reclist! Now let's see if we can generate some action on getting DADT repeal front and center here and in the Senate.