Lady Gaga to the Rescue?


Whatever you may think of Lady Gaga, her “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” activism has been fairly successful of late. Last week, Majority Leader Harry Reid reassured her via Twitter that there would be a vote to end the controversial ban this week. The pop superstar has been using the 140-character medium to rally her 6.4 million followers (the most of anyone on Twitter) to call their senators. And today she’s in Portland, Maine hosting a rally targeting Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who may be critical to determining whether the 17-year-old policy is struck down.

Gaga joined the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) for the rally near the University of Southern Maine campus, which they are calling “a major Senate push to break the expected filibuster by Sen. John McCain.” A vote on the National Defense Authorization Act that includes the repeal is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Even with the vote looming, it remains unclear whether the 60 votes are there to move forward. As Mark Thompson of Time reported yesterday, “Both backers and opponents of the change say the outcome remains too close to call, although late Sunday backers of repeal said they believe they don’t yet have the 60 votes they need to halt an expected filibuster and push ahead with the repeal effort.” Collins and Snowe are probably the best bets for getting Republicans to cross the aisle on the issue.

Collins joined Democrats in the Armed Services Committee to approve the measure in the defense bill last May. But Democrats will likely need both Collins and Snowe, since Jim Webb (D-Va.) is expected to vote against the measure as he did in committee.

Can Gaga help bring home the votes? Shortly before the rally began this evening, she Tweeted that she had been working on her rally address for 48 hours, and it would be titled, “THE PRIME RIB OF AMERICA.” Is that a meat dress reference? I have no idea. But if there’s one thing Gaga’s good at, it’s certainly drawing attention to herself.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.