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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good legal move, great politics

Barack Obama's decision to abandon the Executive Branch's legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act places the burden for supporting this unconstitutional law in the hands of those who pushed it through Congress.

If it comes at an inopportune time for Republicans embarked on a crusade to strangle the recovery by busting unions, abandoning the environment, forcing women to abandon control of their bodies and starving program they oppose well, all the better.

You know it's gotten under conservatives skins when Scott Brown takes time out from his busy book tour to issue a statement:
“We can’t have presidents deciding what laws are constitutional and what laws are not,’’ Brown said in a statement. “That is a function of the judicial branch, not the executive.’’
Well actually this president, a constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago Law School, is in a pretty good place to make that judgment. Particularly when his own personal beliefs still don't mesh with what he is now proposing.

But Brown misses the point that it will still be the judiciary's decision -- if the legislature that pushed through the 1996 law still believes in it and wants to mount a defense.

GOP leaders, who play politics with every decision they make, are really fuming that Obama has played "gotcha." The timing for the Republican congressional leadership to announce their defense of the indefensible just happens to be the exact same time they are threatening to shut down government over what they describe as runaway spending.

Of course they never mention the reckless tax policy they espouse that turned the Clinton surplus into the Bush deficit. Or the two credit car wars they launched. No politics in those decisions.

There's a whiff in the air that presages more than the impending arrival of a desperately needed spring. The GOP's overreach in Wisconsin -- where Gov. Scott Walker's refusal to accept the union's agreement to pay more for health care and pensions is a major political power play -- is peeling the edges off an agenda that is far more activist than anything Democrats have ever offered.

And the public is none to happy with Walker, particularly as his lobbyist-fueled campaign account is reviewed.

The tide is also clearly turning on gay rights issues, as the acceptance of the recent repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy clearly shows.

Conservatives who have made major gains on divisive culture wars issues are now finding themselves on the defensive over one of them and are reacting like classic bullies who get a little taste of their own medicine.

They whine.

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Blogger DEN said...

I think Lamar Smith had it right:
“This is the real politicization of the Justice Department — when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

I don't agree with many laws, but strongly held beliefs do not relieve me - or anyone else - from my legal obligations. Does the oath of office mean anything?

February 24, 2011 4:17 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I think Lamar Smith seems to have forgotten John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez. And if you recall, this president personally opposes same-sex marriage.

A president swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. If something doesn't pass the smell test, his duty is to oppose it.

February 25, 2011 5:48 AM  
Blogger DEN said...

So it is OK for the President to interpret which laws he thinks are constitutional. Silly me, I thought that was what the judicial branch was supposed to do.

February 25, 2011 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how the liberals always throw in the 2 wars statement. Did you not support the invasion of Afganistan and the expulsion of the Taliban? That's ok if you're a total pacifist, and you have that right in this free country, just wondering?

February 25, 2011 12:03 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Den, the judicial branch still has the ability to rule on the law. They just need the Republican House members who don't believe it is constitutional to carry the ball.

Anon, Afghanistan was initially the right war. Bush's failure to focus on that and send us into Iraq on false pretenses is a problem.

But you glide right over my point: "credit card" wars. No one in the Bush White House or the GOP congress gave a hoot about paying for these wars. No thought of sacrifice, like in World War II.

Tax cuts and unfunded wars created the vast bulk of the deficit that the GOP House is now shocked, just shocked about.

If your party philosophy preaches responsibility, it would be helpful to practice it.

February 26, 2011 5:21 AM  

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