Yesterday in the senate we saw more of the political playground in action as Senators play king of the hill over power, using the lives of gay American servicemen and women as pawns. The vote on the cloture for the Defense appropriations bill, which included language for the repeal of of the horrendous military policy of Don?t Ask Don?t Tell which forces gay solders to lie to their fellows and their officers, failed on a vote of 56-43.
No Republicans voted for the bill while 3 Democrats, including Harry Reid voted against it. Reid?s, vote of course was a procedural one so that the bill could be brought up again later. And while many in the LGBT community are trying to lay the blame entirely at the feet of Republicans, they seem to have ignored the events leading up to the vote.
Jim Barroway of Box Turtle Bulletin explains?
In the days leading up to today?s vote, Reid announced that he would allow a vote on only three amendments to the appropriations bill.
Those were the only amendments that Reid would allow to come up for a vote, all of which were chosen by Reid for the political advantage they would give the Democrats in tough mid-term election campaigns. His gamble wasn?t really a gamble at all. In fact, his gambit was a win-win for Democrats, at least in how they see their strategy unfolding. If Republicans upheld the filibuster, then Reid could go home and say that it was the Republicans who blocked DADT?s repeal and immigration reform. If the Dems had prevailed on the filibuster, then Reid would have been able to get the Republican caucus on record on these two issues ahead of the November elections. Either way, what Reid actually sought to accomplish was political gamesmanship, not Senatorial statesmanship.
The Republican caucus insisted that they be allowed to bring proposed amendments up for a vote as well, a reasonable demand that in ordinary times would not have raised an eyebrow. But these are not ordinary times. Votes in the Senate aren?t about actually doing anything but positioning for the elections. I don?t know what amendments Republicans wanted votes on, but they were undoubtedly just as politically divisive as Reid?s chosen amendments. But by not even allowing debate on a very limited number of those other amendments, Reid doomed DADT?s repeal until after the election.
The LGBT community needs to take off the blinders and realize that neither party is looking out for us and that our equality will never come by way of a vote. The Republicans continue to let their party be highjacked by social conservatives who seem intent on eliminating anyone that doesn?t follow their religious doctrine, while Democrats are just using us for cash and votes.
Many congressional Republicans as well as GOP talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Fox ?News? pundits Sean Hanity and Glenn Beck, have often made the claim that President Obama has spent more money than any President in history.
When President Clinton left office the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), had estimated a surplus in 2001 of about $800 Billion dollars. So where did it all go?
New York Times writer David Leonhardt took on this topic Tuesday and the results might actually surprise you.
You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush?s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.
The first category ? the business cycle ? accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It?s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists? assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.