Liberals are mad as hell about the tax deal that President Obama cut with Republicans, and they are demanding that Congressional Democrats wage war on the issue. At the same time, this lame duck Congress will be the last opportunity in the forseeable future to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” There are moderate Republicans who support the repeal, but they don’t want to vote on it until the tax issue gets resolved, and time is running out fast. In theory, the Senate is scheduled to adjorn next Friday. This presents a dilemma for liberals: should they give up the tax fight to help repeal “DADT”?
Skeptical liberals may argue that even if Democratic opponents of the tax deal abandoned their objections and allowed it to pass immediately, that moderate Republicans would still come up with other procedural objections to repealing “DADT.” Perhaps that’s right. But the question they should ask themselves is whether dragging out the fight on taxes is likely to produce meaningful concessions from Republicans. My guess is that it would not, and that they’d find it easier to convince Sens. Brown and Murkowski to vote for repeal (which they’ve said they support on substance).
Put another way, by clamoring for a largely symbolic fight on taxes, liberals are making it much less likely that gays will be allowed to openly serve in the military.