Talks with Sen. Susan Collins over the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell are breaking down because Democrats think her demands are counterproductive, The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports. Democrats are increasing the pressure on GOP moderates to vote to end the ban on gays in the military, and President Obama is calling senators of both parties.
And though negotiations with Collins haven't completely failed yet, Collins wants Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow 11 days of debate and 14 or so amendments to the bill. Reid thinks that would give anti-repeal lawmakers like Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn to hijack the proceedings. Reid says he's going to hold the vote Wednesday night, and Joe Lieberman says talks are ongoing.
But time is running out, as Reid says debate will begin Wednesday night. Bloggers are scrambling to figure out of repeal stands a chance.
- Collins Wants Too Much "It's worth emphasizing that Collins just isn't being reasonable, The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen writes. "Looking back over the last couple of decades, a total of 10 amendments is entirely routine for this defense authorization bill, and is actually far more than the number of amendments considered most of the time. ... Why not just give in and tell Collins she can have unlimited debate? Because Republicans really are desperate to kill the legislation, and the most far-right members will keep offering unrelated amendments indefinitely, running out the clock on the lame-duck session, and derailing the bill," Benen writes. An aide told him Collins is "basically asking for a unicorn for Christmas."
- What Is Going On? TPM's David Kurtz wonders. "It's bad form to admit this since our job is to bring clarity but the truth is that the DADT repeal negotiations are pretty opaque--even to many staffers on the Hill. Here's what we think we know: It appears at this point that a focus of repeal proponents is Susan Collins. She's long been known to be a key senator in the debate," and she's critical to stopping a filibuster. "Beyond that what remains especially unclear is whether there are other roadblocks beyond Collins... It looks like a case where everyone understands DADT repeal is not going to happen without Collins--but that's not the same as saying that it will for sure happen with her. Stay tuned."
- Emboldened Conservatives If reports are accurate, "it's a pretty sobering reminder of the power of the Republican right wing," writes Mother Jones' Kevin Drum."Collins is sincerely in favor of repealing DADT, she's not up for reelection until 2014, and she represents a moderate state. But obviously something has scared the hell out of her. She knows unlimited debate isn't practical, and she knows that repealing DADT in the next session of Congress is all but impossible. So she's killing this for years."
- There Are No GOP Moderates, John Cole writes at Balloon Juice. "Susan Collins may fool herself into thinking she is not a bigot because she personally supports ending DADT, but if you ask me, the wife who sews eyeholes into pillow cases and the kisses her husband on the cheek as he heads off to the Klan rally is as culpable and as much a scumbag as he."
- Tough Fight Among Repeal Supporters, Ken Strickland notes at NBC News. The squabbling "is getting a bit nasty between the Senate offices of Majority Leader Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman and Republican Susan Collins, all of whom support ending the ban."
- Congress Should Work Through the Holidays, Barbara Morrill urges at Daily Kos. "Harry Reid may want wrap things up and get home for the holidays, but the fact is this lame-duck session can run right up until the 112th Congress is sworn in on January 5," Morrill writes. "We've heard a lot of whining from Senate Democrats in recent days about wanting to fight--well here's their chance."