Mitz-Vote

Lady Gaga Calls Her Senators

By Joy Resmovits

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Call all you want but there’s no one home
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone
Cause I’m out in the club and I’m sippin that bubb’
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone
“Telephone,” performed by Lady Gaga and Beyonce Knowles

When she tried to call her senators Thursday, Lady Gaga seemed to be getting the treatment she dished out on her notorious “Telephone” video with Beyonce Knowles. But in the end, what seemed like a bad romance with Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand ended happily.

Clad in a decidedly un-Gaga like uniform – replete with suit jacket, button-down shirt, and tie – Lady Gaga sat in front of an America flag to make an impassioned on-camera plea for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy instituted during the Clinton administration that purports to offer gays in the military a patina of protection while continuing to outlaw their presence in the armed forces.

President Obama vowed to reform this tortured policy, which is widely seen as having failed. But he kicked it down the road with a study commission, and Congress has, until recently stalled. But a recent court ruling found the policy unconstitutional and the Senate is now expected to vote on a repeal next week as part of a Defense reauthorization bill. That was enough for Gaga, a longtime gay rights advocate, to send a message to the Senate.

This was serious Gaga, sans bubble dress/meat dress/hair bow. She detailed some statistics citing, for example, the 400 soldiers who were discharged because of DADT during the Obama administration alone. Enforcement, she said, is “inconsistent and unconstitutional.”

“Soldiers are being searched, superiors are going through their emails and private belongings, calling family members, and operating based on assumptions,” she said. “Ultimately, the law is being enforced using gay profiling, and gay soldiers have become targets. In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government.”

Calling herself a representative of the youth generation, she said, she’s not asking senators to adjust their moral views – rather, “to do your job: protect the constitution.” She beseeched viewers to call their senators. With that, Gaga flipped out her Blackberry and dialed the senate constituency line. After asking for Charles Schumer, the phone rang until it went dead. Then she tried her other senator, Kristen Gillibrand, only to find her mailbox full. “I am calling to ask the senators to … repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster,” she told the camera, before telling fans to call the same line after 9 a.m.

What gives? Is it that hard for constituents to get a hold of their representatives?

A Gillibrand aide tells MitzVote that Gaga’s call did in fact come before 9 a.m. During work hours, representatives pick up the phone. The U.S. Senate voicemail system can only hold 100 messages, so it very quickly becomes full. The messages are checked each morning and throughout the day. Too bad Gaga couldn’t leave a message.

We haven’t yet heard back from Schumer’s press person, but a call through the same line Gaga dialed on brought a helpful senatorial receptionist to the phone within a minute.

A few hours later, though, Gaga seemed to have patched things up with New York’s caucus. Gillibrand tweeted to thank Gaga for calling, saying, “I couldn’t agree more and am helping to lead the fight to repeal DADT. Do you have a moment to talk later today?”

Apparently, she does. Gaga replied in a tweet directed at both Gillibrand and Schumer: “Thank you for responding, it means so much that you support us on this issue. Let’s get this passed. Talk monday?”


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