Balkinization  

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Gay Marriage and the Republican Consolation Prize

Jason Mazzone

Recently, a district court in California held that state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. A district court in Boston also held unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

I share Jack’s skepticism about the likelihood of these decisions being upheld on appeal. My own guess is that both decisions will be reversed by the respective circuit courts.

I want to focus here on some broader implications.

President Obama vowed to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the Clinton-era compromise on gay and lesbian soldiers serving in the military. But Obama’s window of opportunity for ending DADT is quickly closing. At the end of May, the House voted 234-194 to repeal DADT as part of a military spending bill. Just five Republicans supported the repeal and twenty-six Democrats voted in opposition. The Senate Armed Services Committee has also approved the proposed repeal. But the full Senate, which was expected to consider the repeal measure over the summer, has not yet taken it up and Republicans have threatened a filibuster when and if the Senate does.

With the 2010 congressional election two months away, the chances of repealing DADT before the election occurs are fast diminishing.

If, as expected, Republicans in November gain control of the House and gain seats also in the Senate, repeal of DADT in the next two years is extremely unlikely. Although Americans by a clear majority think gay and lesbian soldiers should be permitted to serve openly, Republicans have no interest in allowing Obama to fulfill his DADT pledge. And even if Republicans were otherwise inclined to vote for repeal at this time, the marriage cases now cast a chill. No Republican member of Congress wants to seem pro-gay when marriage is in the air.

(Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, and other prominent Republicans now publicly support same-sex marriage—easy to do when you no longer answer to the electorate.)

We have, then, a remarkable possibility. Within the next two years, federal appellate courts hold that a ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the Constitution and uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama (who has said he opposes same-sex marriage) loses reelection in 2012. As a consolation prize, Congress repeals DADT and a Republican president signs the repeal into law.

Comments:

"If, as expected, Republicans in November gain control of the House and gain seats also in the Senate"

I personally don't see this happening. Maybe, it will. But, where do you get that it is so clearly understood to be happening that it is "as expected"?

And, why is loss of 36 seats "expected" while loss of ten apparently not? Actually, I heard more people thinking they might lose the Senate.

"threatened a filibuster"

It is my understanding that it will be tied to military funding. Will the Senate Republicans actually filibuster military funding? For how long? All of them? Only need a few dissidents.

[I doubt not a single Republican wants to be seen as "pro-gay" at all, particularly some senator not even up for re-election for two to four years.]

"uphold the Defense of Marriage Act"

I don't think it anywhere conclusive that the one section at issue will be upheld by the First Circuit. Evenhanded federal benefits when a state has same sex marriage is different from requiring SSM, even if doctrinally the line is not so cleanly done.

Meanwhile, the 9th Cir. (not some lone district judge; see the Witt case) put DADT to the test, the military needing to show divisiveness while gay and lesbian solider after gay and lesbian solider show themselves to be just the opposite.

"loses reelection in 2012"

Will the Mets win the World Series too? Why not go all the way?

I think this post is one of those assumptions laid on assumptions ones that seem a bit much.
 

As you can see from here, why we have to stop gay marriage? They also have rights in the society, we have to see the positive ways they can contribute in our society. However, we must also bring limitations for these persons. I am a wedding planner and always looking for best marriage events for couples. See here: http://www.weddingspeechesforall.com/
 

I think your closing suggestion is less far-fetched than may seem. There is a growing, internal Republican debate on gay issues, with the libertarian side of the party increasingly tolerant and the social activist side much less so. The latter is now a majority, but will not necessarily be forever.
 

What about the possibility that DADT itself will be struck down in the Riverside court? (See http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-05-29/news/21649718_1_log-cabin-republicans-gays-discharge).

It's odd to me that all these articles on Balkinization discuss the DOMA case and the Prop 8 case and the potential repeal of DADT without discussing the Log Cabin case.
 

Jason:

If, as expected, Republicans in November gain control of the House and gain seats also in the Senate, repeal of DADT in the next two years is extremely unlikely. Although Americans by a clear majority think gay and lesbian soldiers should be permitted to serve openly, Republicans have no interest in allowing Obama to fulfill his DADT pledge. And even if Republicans were otherwise inclined to vote for repeal at this time, the marriage cases now cast a chill. No Republican member of Congress wants to seem pro-gay when marriage is in the air...

We have, then, a remarkable possibility. Within the next two years, federal appellate courts hold that a ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the Constitution and uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama (who has said he opposes same-sex marriage) loses reelection in 2012. As a consolation prize, Congress repeals DADT and a Republican president signs the repeal into law.


The concurrent debate over SSM has little to do with how the future GOP Congress will view DADT. Currently, a majority of GOP voters do not support allowing homosexuals to serve in the military and the GOP Congress critters have no reason to cross their constituents. This will especially be the case after this fall, when voters - who the Dems disregarded in ramming through the stimulus spending spree and Obamacare - sweep out the ruling party in once in a century numbers.

If the proponents want to convince a GOP congress to repeal DADT, they would be wise to aim a PR campaign at GOP voters promoting the wartime service and heroism of homosexual service members and the tragedy of losing their service. This would sell with conservatives. Whining about equal rights will simply alienate conservative voters.
 

Currently, a majority of GOP voters do not support allowing homosexuals to serve in the military and the GOP Congress critters have no reason to cross their constituents. This will especially be the case after this fall, when voters - who the Dems disregarded in ramming through the stimulus spending spree and Obamacare - sweep out the ruling party in once in a century numbers.


It is interesting how GOP representatives, in Bart's model of governance, only need to worry about the views of GOP voters, but Democrats need to please everyone. Seriously, that's what he said in the quote above: Democrats are in trouble because they disregarded the views of the electorate at large, but Republicans are elected to do whatever a majority of Republicans wants them to do.

In the real world, a party tends to face a backlash for enacting policies that are disfavored by a majority of voters, even if that party's voters tend to approve. If this is true for Obamacare, then it is surely true for DADT as well.
 

Steve M, if Blankshot Bart were to make a consistent argument in here, it would be his first.
 

Steve M:

Perhaps I need to clarify what I meant by GOP voters. GOP voters are the voters who will elect GOP representatives, not just voters who are registered GOP. GOP voters this fall are going to include about 2/3 of the Indis and 8% of Dems.

If the upcoming GOP Congress wants to stay in power longer than the four years the Dems have been in the saddle, the Republicans had better listen to their constituents and enact the policies they desire.

As to your comment asking why the Dems have to listen to the majority position of the country while the GOP only has to listen to their voters, I would suggest that the Dems are in a different position than the GOP.

America has been a center right country since the 80s. The Dem left base is maybe 25% of the electorate on a good day. The GOP conservative base is a bit over 40% of the electorate.

The GOP can run and govern as conservatives and maintain a governing majority by simply cherry picking a minority of the conservative leaners in the center. Thus, Republicans only need listen to their center-right voters and get in trouble when they govern from the left as Dem lite.

In contrast, the Dems have to run and govern as centrists to gain the majority of the center they need to maintain a governing majority. When they run as centrists and then govern from the left as their base wishes, the Dems alienate a large part of the center and are sent packing. The only way the Dems can maintain power longer than it takes the center to wake up is to govern where the majority of the electorate stands.
 

Your statement was: "a majority of GOP voters do not support allowing homosexuals to serve in the military." Please back up that statement using the new definition of "GOP voters" that you just invented.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Steve M:

Last February, Quinnipiac University ran the most recent poll of registered voters (as opposed to adults) I could find and asked:

"Federal law currently prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you think this law should be repealed or not?"

Republican RVs went 53% to 40% against. I suspect that the numbers for the Indis and conservative Dems who vote GOP are somewhere between these and break even.

Also, my definition of GOP voters as voters who actually cast ballots for GOP candidates would be likely voters, who tend to be more conservative than registered voters.

Polling Report notes the various polls here.
 

Bart,

So does your definition regard only those who voted in the last election for the GOP as "GOP voters"? Or are you considering those who will vote in the next election? Or is it any election, past, present, or future? And is a voter who votes for one GOP candidate a GOP voter?

Without these clarifications, your definition is too prone to flexibility -- it gives a reader the impression it was concocted solely to support a conclusion, rather than an honest attempt to define a term.
 

Bart's math is too disastrous to even warrant a response.
 

SteveM,

I didn't think Bart would be able to formulate a reply, but I'm curious.

I suspect, from context, that he's counting the "GOP voters" this November, which raises the issue of counting chickens before they hatch -- a habit of his. And, of course, the demographics of the question don't really support anything much beyond this next election cycle, which is why the GOP is so desperate to get these things on the ballot as constitutional amendments wherever they can, to lock their bigotry into forms which will allow their minority to continue to practice them.
 

I'm somewhat interested in this:

"Whining about equal rights will simply alienate conservative voters."

Now, Rachel Maddow has had various courageous, hardworking gays and lesbians on her show discussing their service and the support of their colleagues (relevant under the Witt case in the 9th Cir.) on her show. So, maybe she is listening to BP here.

But, I'm somewhat confused. It seems on some matters "whining" about equal rights is something conservatives support. Or, maybe if we just "talk" about something once deemed "self-evident," that would work?

As Ted Olson says, including on FOX News, seems like the "conservative" thing to do.
 

C2H50H:

There are actually very few consistent vote splitters. The Indis primarily consist of GOP and Dem leaners.

You raise an interesting dilemma for the GOP after this election. The Dem hard left governance has pushed away centrists who are normally Dem leaners and who may very well cast ballots for the GOP in protest this fall. There will be those RINOs more interested in power than principle that will counsel that the GOP govern as Dem light rather than as conservatives to keep their new heavy majority. If they want to stay in power, the GOP better mind their base of conservative GOP and GOP leaners. If the Dem leaners stay GOP, that is great. If not, it will only trim the majority.
 

Thanks, Bart,

Nothing like word salad for breakfast.

But you didn't answer my questions.

I'm guessing it's because you don't want to admit that you came up with your definition of "GOP voter" without even thinking about it, and, now that you have thought about it, you realize that it's logically indefensible.

I'd like to see some evidence that there aren't many actual vote splitters -- because it would seem to be contradicted by voting patterns in, say, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nevada, and any other state where there are representatives of different parties, for example.

You appear to want to call someone who "leans" GOP a "GOP voter" -- which is, plain and simple, a rather obvious attempt to redefine the term for the sake of your conclusion.
 

Joe:

Conservatives believe that you ought to treat similarly situated folks the same.

Progressives abuse the EPC to extend benefits to their constituencies who are not similarly situated (See SSM and women in military positions which they cannot physically perform) and ignore the EPC when it inconveniently prevents them from extending added benefits to their constituencies (see racial preferences).

Given rank progressive hypocrisy on the subject, having progressives whine about equality is rankling to conservatives.
 

C2H50H said...

You appear to want to call someone who "leans" GOP a "GOP voter" -- which is, plain and simple, a rather obvious attempt to redefine the term for the sake of your conclusion.

Hardly. Gallup and other pollsters lump Indi leaners in with registered party voters on a regular basis. In the end, it does not matter what label you choose for yourself, but rather for whom you cast your ballot.
 

"Conservatives believe that you ought to treat similarly situated folks the same."

Right, Ted Olson does believe that. He's also for marriage equality. Is he a progressive now? Is he a whiner?

I'm unsure what military positions a woman is not inherently unable to do because of XX chromosomes. Perhaps, women in the military can provide their .02. After all, apparently focusing on service and what is loss without it is persuasive to conservatives.

Many women in Red States serve in the military. Perhaps, we can tell their family and communities that their service is only needed up to a point. They are not "fit" for more. Some might disagree.

I realize your military service and all, but Ted Olson (see also remarks on Islamic Center) suggests the diverse views even among those directly affected by such things.
 

Bart,

That's BS. Else why would they refer to anybody as "leans"?

Sometimes it makes sense to talk about voters at this level, when one is speaking of a single election or issue.

When one is speaking of complex, and rapidly-changing, voter behavior on social issues, where the positions of the parties are also not cast in concrete, it is the height of dishonesty to pretend that it can be reduced to a binary decision process.

Speaking of hypocrisy, aren't you the same guy who insisted that the "Tea Party" is functionally distinct from the GOP -- and yet, here you are, only days later, trying to put everybody in one of two categories.

Apparently, according to your own statements, the Tea Party must be "GOP voters" -- when it's convenient for you. Otherwise, not so much.
 

Joe said...

BD: "Conservatives believe that you ought to treat similarly situated folks the same."

Right, Ted Olson does believe that. He's also for marriage equality. Is he a progressive now? Is he a whiner?


Olsen is an attorney advocating for his client and his brief is a brilliant example of how lawyers use rhetorical devices to pound square pegs into round holes. Coincidentally, I was attending a CLE class in advanced legal writing yesterday using the Olsen brief as an example.

I'm unsure what military positions a woman is not inherently unable to do because of XX chromosomes.

All positions requiring physical strength and, in most cases, areas which require aggressive behavior.

Interestingly, given the topic of this thread, it is my personal experience that lesbians make better soldiers than straight females because the ones who join the military tend to be more aggressive and masculine. I am unsure how proponents of repealing DADT could use such anecdotes to sell their position.
 

C2H50H said...

BD: Hardly. Gallup and other pollsters lump Indi leaners in with registered party voters on a regular basis.

That's BS. Else why would they refer to anybody as "leans"?


Leans is Gallup's term, not mine. Given that a percentage of registered GOP and Dems also defect to the other party, you could apply the term "leans" to them as well.

Speaking of hypocrisy, aren't you the same guy who insisted that the "Tea Party" is functionally distinct from the GOP -- and yet, here you are, only days later, trying to put everybody in one of two categories.

Apples and kumquats. One does not have to be a part of a political party to cast a ballot for them. The Tea Party is functionally distinct from the GOP, but they will usually vote GOP when presented with an alternative between the GOP and the Dems.
 

I'm sorry for getting into the quagmire. Ted Olson doesn't really believe in marriage equality, you see. It's just a gig for him. Cite some other conservative, of many, who supports him then. Give me a break.

"All positions requiring physical strength and, in most cases, areas which require aggressive behavior."

Women, after all, don't do lots of things now involving physical strength and aggressive behavior.

Interesting timing given the plot of Doonesbury this week.
 

Bart,

Nobody claimed that the "Tea Party" shares organization with the GOP. We were speaking of voters.

And as for how these deeply confused folks vote, since the organization didn't exist until after the last significant election, nobody knows.

No, what I was pointing out was the internal self-contradiction in your own statements. Clearly, by your own admission and your own definition, the teabaggers are "GOP voters", and yet, when it suits you, they're somehow separate.

And you still haven't answered whether these "GOP voters" were in the last election, will be in the next election, or only exist in your wishful thinking, in an election that, like Schrodinger's cat, has only a potential existence.

Like Joe I have other things to entertain me. Enjoy your dreams.
 

Joe said...

BD: "All positions requiring physical strength and, in most cases, areas which require aggressive behavior."

Women, after all, don't do lots of things now involving physical strength and aggressive behavior.


Not to the degree required to perform many tasks in the military. The men pick up the slack in many mixed gender military units. GI Jane is a hollywood myth.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

C2H50H said...
Bart,

And as for how these deeply confused folks vote, since the organization didn't exist until after the last significant election, nobody knows.

Actually, they have started to poll the previous political preferences of those who self identify as Tea Party supporters. About a sixth of them cast ballots for Obama and large numbers stayed home in 2008.

Obama actually gained the largest percentage of white voters by a Dem candidate in a generation. These were working class Reagan Dems who George Bush turned off. However, Obama hard left governance drove them into the Tea Party and most likely to cast ballots for the GOP this fall.

Given this is an off year election, I would be interested to see polling on who TP folks voted to Congress in 2006 and 2008. I suspect you will see a fair number of votes for Blue Dog Dems campaigning from the center right.

Obviously, I cannot know who will cast votes for the GOP this November until it happens. There is a great deal of movement in the electorate right now. I suspect that the demographics and partisan breakdown will look a lot like the earlier VA, NJ and MA elections.

No, what I was pointing out was the internal self-contradiction in your own statements. Clearly, by your own admission and your own definition, the teabaggers are "GOP voters", and yet, when it suits you, they're somehow separate.

I have never claimed the Tea Party did not cast votes for GOP candidates in the past. I simply noted why the self serving Dem spins that the Tea Party is run buy the GOP and the Tea Party are reliable GOP voters who add nothing to the electoral equation are both wrong.
 

My experience in the military was that women were assumed a priori to be incapable of doing their work and were diverted as quickly as possible into collateral duties that had nothing to do with their MOS. When they cycled back into their regular shops, they had six months less experience than everyone else, so when the next collateral duty came up, they were the first on the list.

The only other thing I would note is that "hard left governance" has not occurred in the last year, and any talk of such a thing is ridiculous. Pushing for health care reform that a majority of the people wanted--and still want if you discuss what it does rather than whose proposal it was--is hardly evidence of the hard left, especially given the compromises that removed the public option.

I'm tired of the hard left /"socialist" hit-job. Godwin needs to make a new law.
 

PMS:

Not hard left?

Nationalization of GM and Chrysler right out of the playbook of the Brit Labour government nationalization of British Leyland in the 70s.

Spending over $100 billion trying to create a government dependent battery car industry making products almost no one wants at a price only the rich can pay.

Spending about half that trying to create a government dependent wind energy industry which the Spanish socialist government is abandoning as an unaffordable job killing boondoggle.

Borrowing and spending $3 trillion in two years in the name of stimulus, making the Euro socialists look like paragons of frugality. Who ever thought America would be lectured by the EU for its insane fiscal profligacy.

Enacting legislation which will take over the health insurance industry and determine what insurance benefits you will be permitted to buy, no matter what it costs you.

Enacting legislation requiring you to buy government approved health insurance, the first time in the history of the United States the government has attempted to order you to buy a good or service.

Preparing a massive new carbon regulation regime at EPA on the basis of a 5-4 Supreme Court decision without congressional authority which can reach every corner of our economy.

Not hard left? As compared to what?
 

This yodelism:

"Not hard left? As compared to what?"

ignores the hard right of the Bush/Cheney 1/20/01-1/20/09 Administration, with its concluding Great Recession. Need we repeatedly recount the ways Bush/Cheney f**ked-up? The Great Depression (1929) started early in Rep. President Hoover's term (following several Rep. presidents) and he had three years to take corrective measures and failed. The Great Recession happened on Bush/Cheney's watch. But Republicans from the get-go after 1/20/09 demanded that the Bush/Cheney problems be fixed immediately. (Consider our yodeler's book announcement only several months into Obama's term.) Perhaps the Republican theme should be that had McCain won in 2008 with a Republican Congress, all would be well now. Perhaps that's a Republican wet dream. Will voters forget the 8 Bush/Cheney years? Do they expect the Republicans to do better this time? What ideas have the Republicans come up with since Bush/Cheney that may work to clean up the mess Bush/Cheney left behind?
 

PMS_CC,

As I'm sure you realize, the characterization of what the current Democratic administration is doing as "hard left" is nothing more than feigned ignorance. That's something the right is known for, and it's fairly effective. "Hump? What hump?" is a conversation-stopper, all right.

The pretense that the health-care mandate didn't originate with the GOP is another case of feigned ignorance.

And then there's the suggestion that, if we want to repeal DADT, all that is necessary is to show the heroic gay soldiers to the conservatives, and the conservatives will withdraw their opposition.

That could be mistaken for ignorance of the fact that GOP politicians running for re-election love to create wedge issues which, by exploiting the fear of Fox News viewers, can make them "GOP voters".

One would also have to be ignorant of the case-hardened views of the upper echelons of the military, who are about as likely to change their views as to admit it when they're wrong.

But this ignorance is all donned for the sake of framing the discussion (it can't be called a "debate" when one side is so dishonest) the way they'd like.

One would have to be egregiously ill-educated in order not to know what "hard left" really means. Or "socialism", for that matter. And, although there are certainly gaping holes in their knowledge and ability for analysis, the holes are not that big.

After all, if Bart really wanted to know what "hard left" looks like, he could use wikipedia. He doesn't have to drag it into an unrelated discussion here.
 

Shag:

OK, lets play the blame Bush excuse game for a moment....

"Hard right" (sic) compared to what?

Bush increased domestic spending by a third.

Bush created NCLB, the most extensive federal intervention in state and local education in history.

Bush created the first new entitlement since the 70s - Medicare Part D.

Contrary to Dem rhetoric, regulations expanded under Bush.

Bush continued and expanded the Clinton CRA junk mortgage regime which caused the current recession.

Bush enacted the same useless targeted government welfare payments posing as tax cuts that Obama enacted last year.

Bush enacted precisely three conservative policies - the War Against Terror, the 2003 marginal tax rate reductions and the ban of partial birth abortion.

For the most part, Bush governed center-left compared to Obama's hard left. The post-94 Clinton governed substantially to the right of Bush.
 

Bush governed center-left

Wow. You are impressive.

Also, the war on terror wasn't a conservative policy. That was an American policy supported by people on both sides of the aisle.

So maybe that moves Bush to hard-left?
 

PMS_CC said...

Also, the war on terror wasn't a conservative policy. That was an American policy supported by people on both sides of the aisle.

Only after 9/11. Within two years, the left started to bail. By 2004, Kerry was campaigning on surrender in Iraq.

The prosecution of the Afghanistan War is the only conservative element in the Obama portfolio. The GOP supports him there more than the Dems.
 

Our yodeler has demonstrated that he doesn't know his left from his right or his a** from his elbow. Of course during those 8 Bush/Cheney years, there was our yodeler in harmony and lock-step with their administration all the way. Our yodeler doesn't mention the reasons given by Bush/Cheney for invading Iraq that turned out to be lies. Yes, the record of our yodeler's support for all things Bush/Cheney during those 8 years is within this Blog. So our yodeler must also have been center left during those years by his own definition of Bush. Maybe a tea enema has purged our yodeler of his leftward drift during those 8 years he probably wants to forget. ('I'm assuming the enema was not applied to his elbow, which suggests he had help with its location.)
 

Within two years, the left started to bail.

Nonsense. The left began to bail on the idea that Iraq was a valid substitute for al-Qaeda. Hence the continued operations in Afghanistan to finish the work that Bush never started.

By your metric, of course, failing to forward the war in Afghanistan makes Bush (no doubt out of some leftist tendency towards limp wrists and isolationism) extreme left. He makes Mao look like Reagan. I can't wait for the Tea Party to return us to the days of more temperate centrists like Trotsky or Lenin.
 

Bart,

*guffaw*! (That bit of blatant revisionism is way beyond *chuckle*.)
 

PMS:

After Vietnam, the left has bailed on every war when the casualties started.

When the casualties rose to maybe 1/10 of those in Vietnam, the Dems called the Iraq War lost and called for surrender. This blawg was among the first.

When the casualties rose to maybe 1/20th of those in Vietnam, the Dems called Afghanistan lost and called for surrender. This blawg was among the first.

These facts are not honesty deniable.
 

Blankshot, casualties had nothing to do with it. The Iraq Disaster was clearly a waste of lives and money before the first casualty. And only a complete imbecile would still think that invading Iraq was a good idea.
 

Speaking of facts that are not honestly deniable, how is that search for Iraq's WMD coming along, you ignorant piece of shit?
 

I just noted, but haven't read as yet, Colin Powell's recent comment that Iraq could have been avoided.

With regard to Obama's Afghan policy, many of us disagree with it. We don't walk in lock-step with everything Obama all the time, which was the case for the 8 years of Bush/Cheney for our yodeler in his adulation. (As earlier noted, our yodeler's refrains on this Blog demonstrate such adulation that he now seems to duck as he sips tea.)
 

Bart,

Actually, many on the "left" bailed when the American Iraq war casualties hadn't reached 1/1000 of the American Vietnam war casualties (58,151, we still haven't gotten to 1/10).

Those who weren't opposed to the Iraq war in the first place as based on false pretenses and liable to lead to either an extremely long and painful occupation or just replacing one tyranny with another -- and in the meantime result in mass Iraqi casualties, ethnic cleansing, and massive refugee problems -- bailed when it became obvious that the Cheney/Bush administration had lied and was mismanaging the aftermath.

See, "the left" is opposed to war in general, but, after Vietnam, especially to wars created for bogus reasons.

This is all ancient history. Aren't you having much luck convincing yourself with your new material?
 

In respect to the original post, a word in support of Cheney. Stopped clocks and all.

He is not just a johnny-come-lately on this issue. He opposed one of the most distasteful aspects of the Bush Presidency -- the Federal Marriage Amendment -- though noting Bush was the head of the party, so he made the final call on policy announcements.

Cheney as far back as 2000 at least supported giving states the discretion to allow same sex marriage and overall supported the rights of gays and lesbians to formulate their own relationships.

He obviously is self-interested on the subject, but also doesn't appear to be a "social conservative" on such subjects either. He is not alone here even if willing -- like K-K-Ken* Melhman -- to go along with the party leadership to some extent.

Of course, the conservative defense of marriage has been cited by Andrew Sullivan, Jonathan Rausch, David Brooks and others for some time now.
 

* See, "A Fish Called Wanda," which has another character that also comes to mind here too.
 

C2H50H:

Given your principles concerning war in general and the Afghanistan War in particular, can you any longer support Barack Obama as President after you read the following post from my blog:

President Obama's decision last year to approve the military's request for a surge to win the Afghanistan War was always a bit curious given his vocal opposition to the Iraq surge and his later claims against all evidence that the surge did not succeed. Last week, the New York Times inadvertently stumbled across the President's callous political calculation in a lengthy examination of Obama as Commander-in-Chief.

The NYT reports that Obama considered the wars he inherited a distraction from his efforts to enact Obamacare. President Bush had already won the Iraq War and established the timeline for withdrawing, so Obama did not have to make any decisions there. However, the Taliban was waging a counter offensive in Afghanistan and our military was asking for reinforcements opposed by Obama's left base.

Obama avoided making a decision for months until then Afghanistan commander, General McChrystal, boxed-in the President by making public his opinion that the war was essentially lost unless the Administration provided 40,000 reinforcements.

The White House was furious, but eventually conceded to a half baked compromise - send less than the requested 40,000 troops and start to bring them home just weeks after that last of the reinforcements were scheduled to arrive. Until this NYT expose, though, the President's reasoning underlying his plan was murky. An announced withdrawal did not make much military sense as it informed the Taliban how long they needed to hold out before we would withdraw again. In fact, the Commander-in-Chief was not making a military decision at all. Rather, an Obama advisor admitted to the NYT:

“Our Afghan policy was focused as much as anything on domestic politics,” the adviser said. “He would not risk losing the moderate to centrist Democrats in the middle of health insurance reform and he viewed that legislation as the make-or-break legislation for his administration.”

 

In sum, President Obama provided a temporary loan of troops to Afghanistan simply to take the issue off the table until he could ram through Obamacare, then he would proceed to withdraw from Afghanistan whether the war was won or not. Said in a more brutally honest way, Obama was willing to get more troops killed and injured in a war to buy himself political space to enact a government takeover of health insurance.

I have lost all respect for this man. Barack Obama's socialist policies were bad enough, but he has also proven himself unfit for duty as CiC. I cannot see where even his anti-war base can still support a President callous enough to betray them by escalating a war simply to enact legislation.

Mr. Obama, it is time for you to resign.
 

Bart,

I prefer your short comments. The long ones are simply painful to read, basically a toxic mix of delusion, wishful thinking, and willful ignorance.

I know how to find your blog, should I feel masochistic.
 

C2H50H:

I was being completely serious. I would genuinely like your honest response to the NYT article and its revelations. I cannot imagine how the anti-war left can read that article without becoming furious.
 

This yodelism:

"I was being completely serious."

reminds me of comedian Steven Wright's stand-up routine. Or the response of a tennis umpire to John McEnroe's questioning of an unfavorable call.
 

Bart,

Furious? You bet.

The most important skill someone without military experience needs to develop is a BS filter. The military brass has a highly-developed ability to spin BS into silk. Has Obama developed the skill to detect this? It seems he's showing signs of it, but of course, politics always comes into play.

The BS-filter skill is apparently not one that Peter Baker possesses, BTW. He just fellates the military in that article and then uses anonymous sources for the rest. That's infuriating, all right.

If you are asking if I regret voting for Obama/Biden rather than McCain/Palin, the answer is a resounding "hell, no!" -- After McCain's and Palin's recent performance, my opinion of them -- and anyone who would vote for such transparently unqualified people -- has not improved.

If you are asking if I'm happy with Obama's performance to date, the answer is no, but I'm not fooled by the GOP's scorched-earth strategy. It's a lot easier to tear down than to build up.

The GOP appears poised to -- perhaps -- take control of the House and spend the next two years proving that they cannot participate in a meaningful way in governing the USA.

If we are to assign blame for getting into a pointless war, neglecting to manage Afghanistan so that more troops would not be necessary just to avoid a collapse, and in general killing people needlessly, the GOP -- and this includes the teabaggers -- are those responsible. Furious? You bet I'm furious -- I'm furious at the mindless exaltation of the military and all things military coupled with the mindless antipathy to government. I'm furious at the anti-science and anti-intellectual base of the GOP.

I'm beyond furious that the GOP has placed this country in a situation where even the least of the evil choices we have available suck big time, and the GOP continues working diligently to make things even worse!
 

"mindless exaltation of the military and all things military"

selectively speaking ... if the military doesn't say the 'right' things (e.g., we will need a lot of troops if we fought in Iraq or torture is wrong), they too are looked upon dubiously by various people.
 

I was being completely serious.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 4:11 PM


Blankshot, no one doubts how seriously you take your role as a rightwingnut propaganda spewing scumbag.

Apologies to scumbags.
 

C2H50H:

In sum, you hate the GOP - which is upfront about what it intends to do - and will undoubtably vote again for the man betrays you because he is on your political team.

Please never again lecture me about principles.

We in the Tea Party are busy with a hostile takeover of the GOP, voting out the RINO establishment in favor of libertarian conservatives regardless of whether they have the best chance to win in November. You may not like our principles, but we have them and act on them regardless of political expediency.

On the other hand, you on the progressive left are principle-less lemmings who will vote for any candidate with a (D) by their name on the ballot no matter how many times they betray you.

You progressives fill blawgs like this with your heartfelt whining about Obama's policies on gays, Gitmo, terrorist trials, the Afghanistan War, etc., but ALL of you without exception will vote to renominate and to reelect Obama no matter how many times he pisses all over you.

Why then should anyone - epsecially the folks you vote for - give a fig about your "principles?"
 

but we have them and act on them regardless of political expediency.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 7:40 PM


So, after 8 years of fellating RINO George W Bush you have finally decided that you have principles?
 

Bart,

The GOP doesn't even come close to being honest about what it intends to do. It hasn't since it discovered, via the last honest Republican (Goldwater) that it couldn't be honest and win.

As for my principles -- what the hell part of "lesser of two evils" did you fail to understand?

The "Tea Party" has already proven to be a total stooge of the GOP. Perhaps not the "official" GOP, but then, the "official" GOP, the GOP of Michael Steele, is no longer where the brains and money (that part which substitutes for heart or soul) of the GOP reside. They reside with the sub-rosa GOP of Turdblossom, Dick Armey, and the Koch brothers. Thanks to Citizens United, they no longer need a front organization.

As for the teabaggers, they're the same "GOP voters" you spoke of earlier in this thread. Wedge-issue voters, easily manipulated because they lack any sense of perspective.
 

I cannot imagine how the anti-war left can read that article without becoming furious.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 4:11 PM


I'm much more furious that scum like you used 9/11 to facilitate the Iraq Disaster.
 

You may not like our principles, but we have them and act on them regardless of political expediency.

Pardon my shock, sir, but your principles are and always have been specifically oriented towards political expediency!

Have you never compared the things you said in 2007 with those that you say today? You've gone 180 on a number of issues because the persons involved were of a certain political bent.

Meanwhile, your "lemming" friends are rightfully upset at the lack of change in certain policies, and that anger demonstrates a consistency in principle that you simply have not shown yourself.

Or perhaps you mean to add yourself to the collective so that you can take advantage of the consistency of your burgeoning party. If so, then you're still in for a tough sell, sir, as your newfound bed-partners have a great deal of dialectical opposition in their politics.

For example, they claim they want smaller government with fewer services, yet they overwhelmingly want to maintain Social Security and Medicare. They also want to create whole new portions of government that will be tasked with auditing the rest of the government, assessing the constitutionality of their actions, and then deciding whether to pass such functions to the state/local level.

In short, they want to make government small except where they hope to make it big.

They want a balanced budget, but want to reduce the income as much as possible, while preserving high cost programs they like and of course keeping the military fully funded. Any programs they don't like, of course, should fall by the wayside, regardless of whether those programs were desired by a majority of the population or not (see the repeal of the Affordable Care Act).

None of this sounds like consistent principles. It sounds like the same political nonsense that Washington has been filled with for a generation, only with a shiny "New and Revolutionary!" sticker on it.

It's no surprise, of course; the great pessimist Pareto told us so almost a century ago that such revolutions are doomed from the beginning.
 

Yesterday was quite interesting. The NYTimes OpEds by Frank Rich, Nick Kristof, Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd took us back to the Bush/Cheney days and brought them forward to today's Obama/Biden. The lesser of two evils always confronts us. (I recently finished Andrew Bacevich's "Washington Rules." Rich's column discusses Bacevich's views.)

I saw Christiane Amanpour's interview of Tony Blair on This Week before reading Dowd's column. As I watched the interview, Blair came through quite silly in the manner of George W. Bush with a British accent. I'm tempted to read Blair's new book but I'll wait until the pundits and comedians take a crack at it. (I'd be interested in Mourad's take on the book in the Motherland.)

Friedman made some good points for a change. His column reminded me of George W's National Security Strategy (2002) that I have on earlier occasions summarized as follows: "We're [America] No. 1 economically, militarily and politically, and we'll do whatever it takes to maintain these positions." This was before Iraq 2003 and George W's "Mission Accomplished." Empires can be like George Gershwin's refrain "The Rockies may crumble, Gibraltor may tumble, They're only made of clay ..." but, alas, love may not save the day. Like the kids' game of "King of the Hill," eventually there is a new King.

Doesn't it always seem like the choice is the lesser of two evils?
 

Maybe you can try Cherie Blair's book first. She does the loyal wife bit with Tony on Iraq, but has fought the good fight on some other matters.
 

Joe,

Yes, there are the chickenhawks, like Kagan or Kristol, but they'd be voices crying in the wilderness if it weren't for the GOP politicians always eager to seize on the issue and craven corporate journalists who have a "military is always right" position.

Shag,

I've voted for several apparently transformational candidates, always to be disappointed, after the fact, when the big bipartisan political machine, or a hidden character flaw, results in them being crushed beneath the juggernaut of modern corporate feudalism.

And I'll vote for another one if one appears. I've voted for Republicans, Independents and Greens with rare ex post facto regrets. Even if they're not effective, they can provide -- and often have provided -- entertainment. That's got to be why a lot of people in Minnesota vote for Michele Bachmann, and why supposedly rational conservatives love Palin.
 

I'm guessing next year. I created a public prediction at http://whenwill.org/congress_repeal_dont_ask_dont_tell - everyone's welcome to add their predictions.
 

As a follow up to my comment on Tom Friedman's column in last Sunday's NYTimes, take a look at Ivan Eland's take on the column with his "No Tears Needed Over the Demise of U.S. Empire" at:

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2858
 

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