"WHY DON'T THEY MAKE THEM FILIBUSTER," was the text message I just received from a good friend. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured the front page of the Times would tell me. Sure enough, there it was: "Move to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell stalls in Senate."
As much as the Democrats can use this to mobilize support for a policy with overwhelming support, the Republicans can respond with the fact that the majority party tacked immigration policy to the bill, as well as a number of other unrelated policies. So an honest criticism of the GOP, as well as the Democratic senators who joined them in opposing cloture, will focus on those issues, as well as the stalling of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
If the Dems don't have the votes for the current legislation, they should quickly rewrite the bill and get rid of the unrelated provisions, as hard as that may be in Senate politics. It will get rid of an unfair policy, and it will be good politics it will be a concrete delivery to the American gay community, many of whose members will be discouraged from voting if their supposed advocates punt yet again in the fight for civil rights.
It is also a hot issue for young voters, especially on college campuses. Just as the successful prohibition of gay marriage in Wisconsin drove young voters out to the polls to elect Democrats in 2006, a delivery for gay rights will mobilize the base in the face of a likely enthusiasm gap that benefits the GOP this cycle.
As for making the Republicans filibuster...it's hard to judge how voters will assess obstructionism. Any ideas?