This DADT vote today was historic.
If new US Senator Joe Manchin had shown up to vote and done the right thing, cloture would have been achieved with 64 rather than 63 votes.
But he didn’t even vote. Does Manchin have something against the gay community we didn’t know about? What’s up? An explanation is due.
Manchin has now crossed into that territory of possibly starting his Senate career with the punctuation point of bigotry at a key civil rights moment in American history. Well, Strom Thurmond did the same thing — and Thurmond, who I knew and liked, became incredibly open and accepting of African-Americans against whom he worked so hard in his early days.
So, maybe there is still hope for Joe Manchin.
This now opens the door to the last phase. Senate debate and a real Senate vote on the underlying legislation. Very quick conference between the House and Senate bills — easy passage. Revote in both chambers — largely a technicality — on the combined bill, and then it goes to President Obama to sign.
We are almost there.
— Steve Clemons