EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Ben Nelson to vote yes on DADT repeal

by: Adam Bink

Wed May 26, 2010 at 11:00

I just received a phone call from a senior official in Sen. Ben Nelson's office, who told me Sen. Nelson is going to vote in favor of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the Senate Armed Services Committee later this week. Sen. Nelson is going to announce his position at a weekly media call later this morning.

I was told Sen. Nelson's message is going to be that this isn't about the next election... what the [Lieberman-Levin] amendment does is "remove the politics and puts the policy at DOD first." He will emphasize that nothing will happen until after the review is completed and implementation is planned, and that's the way it oughta be handled. He will further emphasize that the current policy is "just not honest" and "just not the way it should be handled".

Big, big, big news. As I reported last night, Sen. Bayh is a "soft yes", and if he fully commits, we will have the votes in hand on the Armed Services Committee.

Update: Here's Sen. Nelson's full statement:


May 26, 2010 - Today, Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson released this statement concerning legislation pending before the Senate Armed Services Committee to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," law Congress approved in 1993.

"I don't believe that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie. The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy does just that. It also encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way. In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit.

"The process being used to repeal this policy is fraught with typical Washington politics, with some suggesting Congress waits until after the November elections and others pushing for a vote before the elections.

"I will support the Lieberman compromise because it removes politics from the process. It bases implementation of the repeal on the Pentagon's review and a determination by our military leaders that repeal is consistent with military readiness and effectiveness, and that the Pentagon has prepared the necessary regulations to make the changes.

"I spoke to Secretary Gates and he advised that while he preferred waiting until the study is completed, he can live with this compromise.

"The Lieberman compromise shows that Congress values the Pentagon's review that will include the advice and viewpoints from our men in women in uniform, from outside experts and from the American people about how to implement the repeal. It rests ultimate authority to make this change with our military leaders. I believe this is the right thing to do."

Adam Bink :: EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Ben Nelson to vote yes on DADT repeal

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Well, I guess it's something... (0.00 / 0)
Now if President Obama can only commit to stopping the discharges as the studies are underway and Congress moves this legislation, I'd feel much better about it.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

re: Obama and commitments (4.00 / 1)
An observation I'm keeping close at hand these days.

[Obama] is, by nature, a man of tendencies rather than commitments. - David Bromwich, London Review of Books; May 2010

[ Parent ]
I'll certainly bet he won't do that (0.00 / 0)
If this deal is necessary to get the final votes why would he publicly say he's going to renege on it right away? How does that secure votes? It only risks them.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
So good soldiers should keep getting fired... (0.00 / 0)
For no good reason indefinitely? If this was part of "the deal", then this deal is starting to look increasingly lousy. Why can't we have a date certain for when the firings will stop?

Btw, this is why so many in the LGBTQ community are ready to give up on Democrats. What am I supposed to tell them? That maybe one day when The Pentagon stops dithering around finishes its studies, maybe DADT will be done with?

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
Good news! (4.00 / 2)
When's the vote in Committee scheduled?

If Ben Nelson can vote the right way .. (4.00 / 1)
there is no reason for Bayh or Jim Webb not to

OK???? (0.00 / 0)
I mean, this is such a political no-brainer for so many reasons that it's far more shocking that Webb would oppose it than Nelson's yes vote.  

One thing this does point out is the continued obeisance of the legislative and executive branches of government to unelected military officials.  This is serious stuff: if military officials were given such wide latitude in Korea and Cuba - just to give two examples from the not so distant past - we wouldn't be here right now.  

[ Parent ]
I am gay and supported Webb to the hilt (4.00 / 1)
in 2006.  He's an asshole and deserves to be defeated if he screws us over.

Proud newer gay boy voter!  LOVE Barbara Boxer!!!

[ Parent ]
This IS big news. I am shocked!!! (4.00 / 2)

Proud newer gay boy voter!  LOVE Barbara Boxer!!!


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