When I've covered this topic here, I've tried to focus on two things: Senators Roland Burris and Scott Brown. Brown is Trina's senator so I include him -- also because he's new and people do wonder what he's like. That may change when all the new members of Congress are sworn in in January. Senator Burris? I just don't feel that he ever got a fair shake. Like C.I., I supported Burris being seated.
Do people remember that? Roland Burris was appointed to Barack's Senate seat and Harry Reid refused to allow Senator Burris to be seated. That was so disgraceful. I am so glad to have been a part of the push back on that. C.I. and Betty, my opinion, were the real leaders on seating Burris and, in DC, we did work senators face to face on this issue. Oh, and Elaine as well -- in terms of being a leader on the issue. (Elaine and C.I. know US House Rep Bobby Rush and have known Bobby Rush for years. That's how they got involved in the Burris issue.)
Roland Burris was a champion on this issue. He made it very clear that America cannot tolerate discrimination and that equality was a core value. He often made that point with a joke and his light touch was sorely missed today.
Senator Burris, as C.I. notes in today's snapshot, was not present. He could have been, he would have been if it was up to him. But the Barack Political Machine was determined to stamp him out. It wasn't enough that they made it clear he shouldn't run for the seat, they also got together to 'decide' that Burris should step down as soon as the mid-term elections took place. Which is how you ended up with a Republican already sworn in who was just elected in November. They needed Senator Roland Burris today. His absence was noteable. And Chair Carl Levin, in the first round of questioning, was attempting to figure out who went next after Senator Ben Nelson. He said it was Senator Burris' turn and then Senator Susan Collins. And then it seemed to hit him that Senator Burris was no longer in the Senate.
Senator Scott Brown. I don't know where he stands. I can't figure it out. If I was pressed, I would say that if the repeal isn't filibustered and a vote is taken before the lame duck session ends, my best guess is that Brown will vote in favor of repeal.
But I am not sure that he's firm. Meaning, if the vote were today, I do think he would vote to repeal it.
Here's one section of Brown's remarks, "I can tell you from firsthand conversations when I visited Afghanistan, speak to the members of the Guard and Reserve that half-way through the process when the Committee took certain actions, they felt it was a done deal and as a result they didn't participate in the survey. and 28% does not seem like a high number of participation regardless of the total number [. . .] Is there anything additionally you can shed in terms of your understanding [. . .] as to why the participation was only at 28% and not higher?"
That confused me. Maybe he's confused? As I understand it, Scott Brown was in Afghanistan in April of this year. Was there another time he visited that I'm unaware of? Could be. But if not, what he's talking about. The survey wasn't even ready or sent out in February. It was just being proposed to Congress in February. And the surveys didn't have to be returned until August 15th.
So I'm confused as to when Brown was in Afghanistan and how, if it was April and only April, his story made any sense.
He has had conversations with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about the issue and his big point appeared to be wanting a reassurance that this would be introduced slowly if it was passed and not be a sudden change. That it could be tested and re-tested and stopped anywhere along the pipeline.
He was reassured that was the case (which I do not find reassuring). And that, more than anything else, appeared to be his big issue.
So I would guess that his vote would be for repealing. But, again, it's a guess. And I don't think he's firm on that vote.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday: