Don’t ask me what I think of the U.S. Senate today, and I won’t tell you.
By filibustering the Defense Authorization bill, the Senate not only killed any chance of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it also killed the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who graduate from college or join the military.
Mark Kirk’s vote against repealing DADT inspired the most uncomfortable episode of what’s been an uncomfortable campaign season: a D.C. blogger retaliated by claiming Kirk is gay.
With their filibuster, Kirk’s fellow Republicans spared him another tough vote. When the Daily Herald asked Kirk how he would vote on the bill, he refused to answer.
The Associated Press got a little more out of Kirk, enough to write that he believes “that the first step in the immigration debate must be restoring trust in the federal government by gaining more control of the borders.
“He says that has to happen before a broader discussion on immigration reform can go forward.” (Alexi Giannoulias supports the DREAM Act.)
You can understand the bind Kirk was in. He wants to appeal to Latino voters, so much so that he used his fluent Spanish in an ad in which he promised to protect the elderly and help Latino families to start businesses and fight gangs.
But Kirk also needs the votes of conservatives, who have nightmares about a Brown Invasion from across the Rio Grande, and think the congressman is soft on Mexicans because he opposes Arizona’s immigrant-profiling bill.
So, Tuesday was a good day for Mark Kirk, because now he won’t have to make a tough decision on a controversial bill.
But isn’t that what we expect from a United States senator?