'Don't Ask Don't Tell' So Very, Very Close to Repeal

Now that the House has passed a stand-alone version of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, the only question remaining is how the Senate will screw this up. The votes are there! Right there! Don't go murmuring about "time" restraints!

Until this repeal passes, Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski, and Scott Brown should be greeted with much skepticism. They're tricky, and never lack for excuses. And yet! All four have pledged to vote for cloture on the stand-alone version, which Collins is co-sponsoring. That gives repeal 61 or 62 solid votes, just enough to break a filibuster. And since it's no longer tied to the defense authorization bill, these Republican senators can't kill days at a time negotiating for certain goodies or procedural preconditions for the larger act, before switching their votes to no whenever they get tired of moving goalposts. Their statements have been clear: We'll vote for it if it's brought up.

Now it's just a matter of getting the other Republican senators — who despise this repeal that 77% of Americans support — to not run out the clock on the lame-duck session by reading whole budget bills on the Senate floor. And there's always the possibility that grumpy old John McCain will steal all existing copies of the bill and burn them in his bathroom trash can. Is anyone keeping tabs on his whereabouts? Because someone should.

Supporters of repeal should never get too excited, since Congress is completely broken as an institution. But repeal really does look like it's going to happen this time! Openly gay people may soon have the glorious opportunity to fight endless wars in Afghanistan! The only crappy part, though, is that you'd have to thank Joe Lieberman.

[Image via AP]