I never thought it would happen, but I believe that Senator Reid is playing politics with gay rights. Today’s vote on the defense authorization bill will most likely be successfully filibustered now that Maine moderate republican Senator Collins (who voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) has basically said she will not vote for cloture unless Reid opens up the floor to debate and amendments, and I believe that is exactly what he wants.
Now it would be easy to compare this situation to the healthcare bill, where Dems stopped debate because the no member of the GOP ever had any intention ever voting for it. However I believe this is different. Collins has made it clear that she wants to to repeal DADT. However, she has said she wants some open debate on the senate floor of the defense authorization bill before she is willing to cast a vote for cloture. I am sure she would have agreed to compromise and limit GOP amendments and debate after a certain pre determined time, but Reid seemed to be adamant about ending debate today.
I beleive that Reid wants the bill to be filibustered because unlike the healthcare vote, most of the country is in favor of repealing DADT. As recently as February, multiple polls (here and here) gave the repeal a 20 point edge in public support. Repealing DADT is both the right thing to do and the popular thing to do. What better way of making it an election issue to use against the GOP than having the republicans filibuster a bill (the defense authorization bill no less) that has a DADT repeal included in it 6 weeks before the election.
I understand his desire to do this, as it may help give the Dems some traction just before the mid terms, but it is a risk that is too great. If it does not pass before the new congress moves in, it may take six years before the democrats have a chance at rebuilding a large enough majority to have a chance of getting it passed, especially with the wave of right wing extremists that may be moving into the Senate. DADT is both immoral and costly to our national defense, and risking its repeal for politics is a bad idea