Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown announced today that he would support repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Brown's support for repealing the measure is a significant, but, as Salon blogger Steve Kornacki writes, "it won't by itself change much":
With Mark Kirk's swearing-in last week, Republicans now have 42 seats in the Senate, so Democrats need two GOP votes to break any filibuster (at least for the next few weeks). But if Brown is willing to buck his party, it could be a sign that the chamber's few other moderate Republicans -- essentially, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and maybe Richard Lugar and the retiring George Voinovich -- are willing to cross over, too. ... And even if a few of those Republicans do end up voting to kill a filibuster, there's still the matter of conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson and Joe Manchin (both of whom will face reelection in GOP-friendly states in 2012) and Mark Pryor and and Blanche Lincoln; some or all of them could conceivably side with the GOP.
Brown's statement leaves open the possibility, Kornacki adds, for him to "still join the filibuster on other grounds (We can't tackle this issue until we finalize tax cuts!), while hoping that this statement buys him goodwill in his homestate."
As someone who supports the repeal — which puts me in the majority here in Massachusetts — this is exactly what I'm worried about. As I've said before, when it comes to "don't ask, don't tell," Brown has an uncanny ability to say one thing and do exactly the opposite in an effort to appease voters on both sides of the issue.
The Washington Post's Greg Sarget echos a similar concern:
It's one thing for Senator Brown to say he supports repeal in general. What needs to be established is whether Brown's vote for repealing DADT is contingent on Harry Reid jumping through a whole bunch of procedural hoops that some GOPers have demanded.
Here in the state, the progressive blog Blue Mass Group gives "credit where credit is due." One blogger writes: "Having spent the last several posts trashing Scott Brown's pointless position on unemployment and tax cuts, we will now praise his sensible and courageous stand on repealing the odious Don't Ask Don't Tell policy." Not a ringing endorsement! But a nice nod nonetheless.
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