130 thoughts on “Just in Case You’re Of the Opinion Everyone on the Left Loves Everything Obama Does

  1. Wow. I’d say “Oh, so Obama thinks gays are good enough to serve their country overseas but not get married at home,” but the line of reasoning in that brief seriously makes one question whether we can realistically expect any movement on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” or for that matter ANYTHING pertaining to equal rights for our LGBT citizens.

  2. How sad. It was only a matter of time, till he had to disappoint you on a important issue. But still I had hoped that the gay-bashing rhetoric had vanished with the Bush administration.

  3. Well, he said when he was running that he was opposed to gay marriage. No one really believed him at the time, but it looks like he meant it!

  4. The author of that article sure likes to make it sound like Obama personally said everything in the brief. Everything is personal and directly tied to he/him, etc. (“Obama said…”)

    I don’t like the DOMA (which I had to look up, since I didn’t know the acronym and the author assumes that I know what he was talking about…and that I was part of his ‘we’, for that matter), but isn’t it mostly a symbolic piece of legislation. While I think the logic behind it is reactionary and divisive, at its core it appears to be more about state’s rights, isn’t it? I thought the general intent was to not force a state that doesn’t recognize gay marriage to do so.

    Of course, I also really don’t know much about the general idea of marriage in the constitution or elsewhere. Is marriage a protected right? I would like to see the DOMA struck down, but I don’t really know anything about the law surrounding marriage in general. Marriages are made in individual states…but what federal laws force other states to recognize them? I honestly don’t know.

    The statement that 20 states have their own little DOMAs makes me sad.

  5. WizarDru:

    “isn’t it mostly a symbolic piece of legislation.”

    It’s not symbolic when the federal government refuses to recognize legal marriages, thus depriving those married several rights and benefits, no.

  6. I’m surprised the folks at Big Hollywood are not all over this in their anti-gay marriage crusade.

  7. It’s not symbolic when the federal government refuses to recognize legal marriages, thus depriving those married several rights and benefits, no.

    How does it do that? I’m not arguing the point, I’m just not sure I know what benefits are being denied. Tax status as married, I can certainly see. What other benefits and rights do you get at the Federal level that this legislation blocks? For some reason, I assumed marriage privilege was primarily a right at the state level.

  8. Generally, I understand, even when I don’t like, Obama’s desire to find common ground and seek consensus. On this issue, though, I really don’t get it. The US’s view on gay marriage is slowly shifting in its favor, and I’d think he would not want to be on the wrong side of history with stuff like this.

    At least he could overturn DADT, which is supported even by a majority of conservatives.

    Sigh.

  9. Andrew: “Well, he said when he was running that he was opposed to gay marriage. No one really believed him at the time, but it looks like he meant it!”

    Actually, rather lots of people believed him, including myself. Very disappointing, but given that he and McCain agreed on the issue, it was a wash.

    Oh, and anyone “… Of the Opinion Everyone on the Left Loves Everything Obama Does …” either hasn’t been paying attention or has swallowed the “OMG!!!1! Obama is a socialisT!!!!” crap that wingers have been spouting since before the election.

    I certainly appreciate the vast improvement over the last guy in the office (not to mention his unindicted co-conspirator), and so far he seems to be an improvement over President Clinton as well, in many ways. Nevertheless, that leaves a whole lot of room for disagreement.

  10. WizardDru:

    Rights and Protections Denied Same-Sex Partners

    Because same-sex couples are denied the right to marry, same-sex couples and their families are denied access to the more than 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities automatically granted to married heterosexual couples. Among those are:

    * The right to make decisions on a partner’s behalf in a medical emergency. Specifically, the states generally provide that spouses automatically assume this right in an emergency. If an individual is unmarried, the legal “next of kin” automatically assumes this right. This means, for example, that a gay man with a life partner of many years may be forced to accept the financial and medical decisions of a sibling or parent with whom he may have a distant or even hostile relationship.

    * The right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits individuals to take such leave to care for ill spouses, children and parents but not a partner or a partner’s parents.

    * The right to petition for same-sex partners to immigrate.

    * The right to assume parenting rights and responsibilities when children are brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means. For example, in most states, there is no law providing a noncustodial, nonbiological or nonadoptive parent’s right to visit a child – or responsibility to provide financial support for that child – in the event of a breakup.

    * The right to share equitably all jointly held property and debt in the event of a breakup, since there are no laws that cover the dissolution of domestic partnerships.

    * Family-related Social security benefits, income and estate tax benefits, disability benefits, family-related military and veterans benefits and other important benefits.

    * The right to inherit property from a partner in the absence of a will.

    * The right to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.

    There’s more at the link.

  11. I knew the moment you said “White Hot Fury” that it had to be Americablog. Not that I blame them for being pissed. But while I get the anger, I don’t get the disappointment and the sense of betrayal that some people there have expressed. As others have pointed out, Obama is not and never has been a champion of gay marriage. He’s as half-assed on this as most of the Democratic establishment. The folks at Americablog seem to think he broke a promise he didn’t make. I used to read it faithfully, but after the fifth comment along the lines of “he’s no different from Bush, maybe worse” I threw up my hands.

  12. Although the Government’s argument about the plaintiffs’ lack of standing is strong, the substantive argument infuriates me. It’s all about the scarce resources. I get the feeling that it’s just a happy convenience for the feds that there are a lot of bigots who simply hate gays. Essentially, they’re saying “We’ve never defined marriage as other than between a man and a woman [because of our restrictive social and political morays] so we won’t now, despite a couple of upstart, forward-thinking States and their stupid opinions.”

    “Also, no full faith and credit, you queers.”

    Though the Obama Administration is far superior to its predecessor’s in a myriad of ways, this defense of bigoted ingnorance and basic human rights is inexcusable. Especially given the rediculous justifications.

  13. WizarDru @7

    There are many things in the US code that change depending on your marital status (around 1600, IIRC) affecting not only taxes but legal standing(spousal privilege), and inheritance issues as well.

  14. oops. I forgot to update before I posted, and of course,
    John said what I wanted to faster and much better than I

  15. isn’t it mostly a symbolic piece of legislation. While I think the logic behind it is reactionary and divisive, at its core it appears to be more about state’s rights, isn’t it?

    No. In fact (as the legislation’s author Bob Barr has belatedly realized) it’s the opposite.

    The two main provisions are:
    1) Barring any federal recognition of same-sex marriages, even if the state recognizes them.
    2) Declaring that no state has to recognize same-sex marriages from another state.

    (1) is explicitly anti-federalist.
    (2) is sort of federalist, although possibly legally meaningless. if the “Full Faith and Credit” clause doesn’t apply here (plausible), it’s probably unnecessary, and if it does, it’s unconstitutional.

    In any case, the problem with the brief goes beyond making an argument that DOMA is constitutional (plausible). It goes well into “gay marriage isn’t real marriage and gay people aren’t losing any rights and should just marry people of the opposite sex like everyone else” territory.

    Obama has said he thinks DOMA is unjust and strips rights. And his administration has taken the first chance to declare the opposite and ran with it.

  16. Wow.

    Just wow. I voted for that guy.

    Well, he was better than the other guy, but still, I honestly feel like throwing up. What a fucking scumbag.

    Yeah, I mean it. After protecting torturers and hiding our country’s crimes, now this. He’s officially crossed into scumbag territory.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised—after all, Clinton gave us DADT, a “compromise” versus a total ban, and signed the fucking DOMA in the first place—but he didn’t betray us as quickly or as completely as Obama.

    Fuck you, Obama. I sure hope someone runs against you in the primary, because I still think you’re better than any Republican, but really, you make me sick.

    Literally.

  17. Obama hasn’t “betrayed” you, Xopher. He had never promised anything on this count in the first place.

    On balance, I’m very glad he won, but he’s simply not the great progressive hope so many of his rabid fans argued back in the primaries.

    No one should be surprised by this. I’m not.

  18. This is not a legal brief I expected to see from a constitutional law graduate. I must say I’m disappointed.

    However, “he’s no better than Bush” commentary is pretty Bushist on its own, because it boils down to, “you’re either for us, or you’re for the terrists”. This stupid, infantile, bichromate world-view must DIE before it kills all other forms of political discourse in the US.

    Grow up, seriously. Your electorate deserves better that.

    — Steve

  19. I voted for Obama in full awareness that he was basically a conservative from the Goldwater era, rather than the post-9/11 era.

    And he’s been that. This doesn’t surprise me. Nothing he’s done has really surprised me, both the good and the bad.

    I love him, but sometimes those we love are fucking idiots.

  20. WizarDru: “Of course, I also really don’t know much about the general idea of marriage in the constitution or elsewhere. Is marriage a protected right?”

    Equal treatment under the law is — theoretically — a basic premise of the US system of government.

  21. Obama hasn’t “betrayed” you, Xopher. He had never promised anything on this count in the first place.

    Actually, he repeatedly promised repeal of DOMA. And has proceeded to do nothing about it, and his administration has now defended it not on narrow legal grounds, but on grounds diametrically opposite to his proclaimed position on the matter.

  22. WizarDru @4: Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution requires the states to respect the “public acts, records and judicial proceedings” of the other states. This is referred to as the Full Faith and Credit Clause and (among other things) requires one state to recognize marriages performed in other states.

    Except DOMA strips that away on the issue of same-sex marriage. (Which to me seems unconstitutional — how can an act of Congress nullify an explicitly stated mandate in the Constitution? Isn’t that what Constitutional Amendments are for?)

  23. Unlike Americablog, I found the arguments in the brief to be pretty unexceptional: if you’ve decided you’re going to right a brief supporting DOMA, these are the arguments you have to make: (a) full faith and credit allows states to have public policy exemptions and not recognize public acts of other states which are in violation of their public policy [and pretty much the *only* examples of that in the case law with respect to marriage are interracial marriages and incest]; (b) DOMA doesn’t discriminate against gay people; (c) even if it did, the correct level of scrutiny is rational basis review; (d) even if it isn’t, the government has a compelling state interest (and saving money is the only way to easily get there). A lawyer who doesn’t make those arguments just isn’t doing his job.

    I’m angry that the administration decided to defend DOMA in court; and I’d like to see the Democrats in Congress change it, at least so far as to require the federal governement to recognize marriages which are legal in the state where they are conducted. But once you’ve decided that you’re going to argue for DOMA, the precise arguments put forth in the brief are inevitable.

  24. John Hon: “Except DOMA strips [Full Faith and Credit] away on the issue of same-sex marriage. (Which to me seems unconstitutional — how can an act of Congress nullify an explicitly stated mandate in the Constitution? Isn’t that what Constitutional Amendments are for?)”

    As strech pointed out, that bit is arguably either meaningless or unconstitutional. But the unconstitutionality of a law is something that can only be decided by the Supreme Court, and only in the context of a case that reaches them. That can take a while.

  25. There’s a long standing exception to the Full Faith and Credit Clause for judgments and legal actions that are “against the public policy” of the state where enforcement is sought. Using it to refuse to recognize marriages, though, is carrying it a bit too far.

  26. JD: I don’t think that this is an appropriate use of that exception, no, and I’m not convinced that this is the kind of situation contemplated by the authors of the clause.

    But if someone paid me to defend DOMA in court, I’d hang my hat on it.

  27. “No one really believed him at the time, but it looks like he meant it!”

    Keep that phrase handy, it’ll be in use a few more times before 2012.

  28. Obama has been disappointing many leftys for a while now, especially on the issues of transparency in government and, you know, upholding the laws (with regard to torture and spying on US citizens, to name two). This is yet another area where his policy is disappointing, along with failure to complete his promise to repeal DADT.

    The only consolation is that the alternative would have been far, far worse.

  29. And I thought Hillary was the one I couldn’t trust. Well, whoever runs in 2012, Obama will not get a vote from me again.

  30. It’s not just that the administration’s defending DOMA – it’s that they’re doing it in such an insulting way. Here’s more from Law Dork (who, unlike me, has actually finished law school and passed the bar).

  31. In an odd way, this actually makes me happier.

    One of my complaints about the Bush administration was that DOJ seems to have been filled in part with partisans who contorted the law to agree with the administration’s policy preferences.

    This appears to be a DOJ lawyer making the best, most forthright and full-throated defense of DOMA possible.

    I hate it, because I’d like to see DOMA dead and it’s now clear that that’s unlikely to happen for 16 years, unless the Supreme Court steps in.

    And at the same time, the part of me that thought DOJ was being abused is somewhat relieved; we now have a DOJ in which some lawyers clearly do their job as best they can, rather than letting political policy preferences intervene.

  32. WizarDru: “For some reason, I assumed marriage privilege was primarily a right at the state level.”

    In some states, it’s legal to marry your first cousin, but some states don’t allow that. If you marry your cousin in NC, then move to a state that doesn’t allow cousin-marriage, you’re still considered married in that state.

    That’s true for all marriages except for ones between gay couples. DOMA says that if you get married to someone of the same sex in Iowa, that marriage is not valid in other states.

  33. Erin, the best analogy from existent case law is to interracial marriages; interracial marriages recognized in one state were not recognized in other states if they violated the public policy of that state.

    It is completely unclear whether or not the precedents which said that such lack of recognition were OK are, in fact, still valid law.

  34. The bitter (or delicious, depending on your POV) irony of this brief is that now that he’s mostly retired and not beholden to the religious right, Dick Cheney has come out saying he doesn’t have “any problems” with gay and lesbian marriage.

    “Won’t get fooled again…”
    Well actually we probably will, but I don’t think it’ll be by the same guy. If this keeps up, someone might be motivated to mount a primary challenge against him in 2012.

  35. Yeah, aprael. It’s SO NICE that Democrats are fair and impartial and evenhanded, while the GOP goes out of their way to bend everything to the right.

    No wonder we’ve been sliding to the right since I was a kid.

    But the POTUS sets the policy for the DOJ to argue, nicht wahr? If the POTUS didn’t believe that, he’d have DOJ argue the opposite. And if he does, you have no evidence that DOJ is free of ideology.

  36. Xopher: no apology needed! :) You can’t possibly have a username like mine and not have it be misspelled from time to time. :)

    The point you raise is a good one: what is someone who believes that DOJ should be impartial and evenhanded to do when one side behaves that way and the other one doesn’t? I mean, aside from voting for the guys who behave that way?

  37. Bozo – now that he’s mostly retired and not beholden to the religious right, Dick Cheney has come out saying he doesn’t have “any problems” with gay and lesbian marriage.

    You edited the part out where Cheney said “on a state level”. Same as Obama.

  38. Just in Case You’re of the Opinion Everyone on the Right loved everything Bush did…
    I’ll allow that all you “lefties” don’t love everything about Obama, if you’ll stop lumping every Repub in with the religious right. Deal?
    Besides, I know some people on the Left that are very “spiritual” and every bit as whacked as any Christian.

    BTW, I agree with Ron @1. You can die in Iraq but you can’t get married at home?

  39. That AmericaBlog article strikes me as a bit sensationalistic. For one, it’s not Obama making a political statement à la Santorum, as one might extrapolate from the summary, but rather the DoJ writing a legal document that makes statements about laws and precedents. Thus it’s not unreasonable to refer to court cases where a marriage was permitted in one state but not another. Further, the “marrying children” and “child rape” (really?) refers to a 16-year-old, who would have attained the age of consent in a good many US states. (Interestingly, I’ve heard of that same rhetorical tactic being used to paint gay people who’d had entirely legal sex as pedophiles; could we perhaps not descend to that level?) Then, that the DoJ chooses to claim similarity between those cases and same-sex marriage really shouldn’t be surprising in light of Obama’s own campaign statements.

    However. The argument that same-sex marriage should not be given federal status in order to save money on tax breaks and benefits appears to be exactly as ridiculous as it sounds; and for the most part it’d be just as applicable to abolishing federal recognition of opposite-sex marriage — that’d save them quite a lot of money, I bet.

    …oh, okay, there is some actively slimy-looking stuff from the brief buried further down.

  40. Jed -

    Thus it’s not unreasonable to refer to court cases where a marriage was permitted in one state but not another.

    All legal marriages in one state in the US between opposite sex partners are recognized, even by states that don’t allow them internally. Thus, a marriage between a 16 year old and an 18 year old, if legal in state A has to be recognized by state B, even if state B won’t grant that marriage internally.

    details here.

  41. Oh boy, I’ve got to go tell my crazy religious-right mother that Obama thinks marriage is between a man and a woman… she’ll positively love him. I don’t understand why she hates him so much, given that he successfully didn’t raise her taxes and she actually got back a bigger rebate this year than last.

    And I’ll just *sigh* and frown… aren’t there bigger things than gay marriage for these religious/conservative people to get all up in arms about? It’s not hurting anyone…

  42. I say tear the guy a new one on that DOMA argument the DOJ put forward. People should be allowed to marry who they want.

    But, the comments on that blog were ridiculous. All this “i’ll never vote for that guy again” is ridiculous. Or, at least wait until you know who’s going to be in the election in 2012 to lend that statement a little credibility.

    You want to argue that gays should have the right to marry and serve in the military openly, I say hell yes and right on.

    But having a temper tantrum and cursing uncreatively just smacks of ‘I want I want I want no fair no fair no fair’ [stomps foot hurls self to ground begins wailing and gnashing of teeth].

  43. What aphrael said, exactly: I wish the Obama DOJ wasn’t defending DOMA, but if you’re going to defend it, these are the unexceptional and legitimate arguments.

    On that note: Erin, it’s been a long, long time since I took a Conflict Of Laws class, but my recollection is that, for better or worse, you’re dead wrong, and that’s why the right-wing/religious arguments against individual states legalizing same-sex marriage are spurious and ignorant. A state doesn’t have to recognize a marriage that’s against public interest, and it’s a settled exception to the Full Faith and Credit clause. So, f’r’instance, a state doesn’t have to recognize a marriage between first cousins that was valid in another state. And if a state refuses to recognize a legal-elsewhere marriage between same-sex partners all they have to do is convince a court that the public policy exception applies and voids the marriage locally (hence the religious-nutter argument that recognizing a same-sex marriage in one state opens the floodgates in 49 other states is actually a crap argument, legally speaking, and always has been).

    I don’t want this to be construed as my defense of DOMA; my own views are that states should recognize all marriages or none, and discriminating on basis of gender (not sexuality–I see no reason straight same-sex marriages shouldn’t be recognized, either) is offensive, primitive and indefensible. But, as has been said, if you’re going to defend DOMA–and I wish Obama’s administration wasn’t doing so–his DOJ hasn’t really said anything awful from a legal POV as far as I can tell.

    Personally, I’m far more furious about Obama’s defense of the Bush state secrets doctrine and foot-dragging on Gitmo. Defending DOMA is offensive and perpetuates bigotry, but it’s not actually inimical to democracy and our Constitutional ideals in the same way. And while Obama really was tepid on same-sex marriage and actually agreed with McCain, he is actually breaking promises he made about transparency and accountability when it comes to state secrets doctrine, f’r’instance.

    On the balance, I still support the man. I’m still happy to have a competent leader in the White House. But every time the right-wing idjits accuse President Obama of being a liberal or even a socialist, I have to bring myself down from a starry-eyed “REALLY?!?” Don’t I wish he was as left-wing as I am, and don’t I know better. Like someone (possibly Tom Tomorrow) said: Obama ran as a moderate technocrat, and nobody should really be surprised that he’s running the country as… a moderate technocrat.

    I wish he was a liberal. But I’m (mostly) okay that he isn’t.

  44. Josh @ 45: it’s not my area of practice and it’s been a VERY long time, but I believe that’s wrong. The illustrative case in my old textbook is In re May’s estate, 305 NY 486, and the relevant section of the First Restatement of Conflicts is sec. 133. That said, let me repeat: NOT MY PRACTICE AREA. There may be newer, better, shinier law.

    Though I doubt it. The basic principle is sound. Personally, I don’t agree that same-sex marriages are against any rational public policy, and that’s where I think the rub is. But it’s certainly possible to imagine other scenarios where the principle is quite appropriate.

  45. (Preliminary apologies for back-to-back posts)

    That said, yeah, comparing gay marriage to incest is low.

  46. The argument that same-sex marriage should not be given federal status in order to save money on tax breaks and benefits appears to be exactly as ridiculous as it sounds

    That’s not really what the brief is doing, however.

    If DOMA discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation (which I think it clearly does), then in order for it to be constitutional, it must either (a) be rationally related to a legitimate state objective or (b) narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest, depending on what standard of review is applied to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. [NOTE: nobody actually really knows what standard of review is applied, because Lawrence and Romer claimed to be using (a) but were in fact not using either (a) or (b).]

    The argument about saving the government money is the lawyer’s attempt to demonstrate a rational relation to a legitimate state objective. It’s not making a normative policy claim that the federal government should ignore gay marriages in order to save money; it’s making the argument that saving money is a legitimate state objective and that Congress could rationally conclude that this policy would further that objective.

  47. Other Bill, at #48: I’m torn on this. When I wear my “legal analysis” hat, I don’t see anything exceptional. When I wear my “political activist” hat I’m more than a little angry: once again, I have a President who does not support my exercise of basic civil rights and is willing to fight in court to deny them to me.

    I expect better; and the fact that few politicians of any political party will refrain from fighting to deny me rights causes me, to a certain degree, to feel like an outcast in my own land.

  48. Aphrael, @55

    Agreed. I used to self-identify as a Republican until my party simultaneously became the party for torture and one that would blantantly call me a not real American not worthy of my opinion because I got a master’s degree from an East Coast college in an area dominated by a bunch of Communists. It got to where my wife wouldn’t even let me watch any election coverage at all. Full disclosure, I happily supported Obama. I like what he has to say, I really like what he does most of the time, and I still largely feel that way.

    But that’s just political rhetoric which doesn’t mean jack when it comes down to it. I can’t even begin to understand how it would feel for that alienation to result in not being allowed to make a medical decision for my partner. So, I appreciate it’s status as a hot button issue.

    That said, running around screaming and crying about the temerity of the lying liar who cheated and lied and screw that guy forever doesn’t accomplish one damn thing. Who are they going to vote for in 2012 that will do something about it? Mitt Romney? I mean come on.

    Obama crushed the election because most Americans were pretty downtrodden in their expectations for public officials. And the fact that the guy was an expert campaigner left alot of people who didn’t pay close attention feeling as though he would deliver their hopes and dreams, specific to each and every voter.

    They vote for him, and then six months later he hasn’t fixed their issue, so he’s the same as W Bush. Even if he could do it all by executive order, any of it, and really change something I’m not sure he couldn’t have written all the requisite orders in that amount of time.

    I’m shaking my head at the DOMA stance. It surprised me. I was surprised, though not too surprised, at his non-reaction to DODT. And I get it. But, I expect better as well.

    That said, unless you’re the president you aren’t going to get a leader who is one hundred percent for your personal issues all the time. It was like when all of the Hillary voters said they were going to vote for John McCain just to spite Obama. That is not self-advocacy. They aren’t four and just need a cookie. They’re grown men and women. Have a dream. Work your ass off to make your case. Fight the battles. Accept your losses. Regroup and push forward. And make the public change their minds. Or cry in the corner.

  49. Now that I’m reading, rather than skimming, the brief, I’m puzzled by something unexpected:

    the brief seems to imply that there is no constitutionally protected right to travel. But that’s been settled law for decades. It’s one thing to argue that the right to travel doesn’t override the public policy exception, but to put it in scare quotes and describe it as “purported”? That’s bizarre.

    the brief also claims that the ninth amendment is not an independent source of rights, which is absurd – if it’s not an independent source of rights, it’s meaningless. the argument I would expect is that courts must shy away from finding rights under the 9th amendment unless there is a clear indication that the right is fundamental and was perceived as such in 1791.

  50. How long until the conservative punditsphere comes out complaining that Obama’s DoJ picked an attorney who they knew would submit an inflammatory brief that would jeopardize the defense of the law?

  51. Americablog links to a San Francisco Chronicle news article that has this to say on the administration’s position on the brief:

    [Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Friday that the department, as it generally does, is defending existing law in court.

    "The president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) couples from being granted equal rights and benefits," she said. "However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system."]

  52. Whoops, my bad. Accidentally hit post before I added:

    Note the part where the administration argues the legislative branch should be responsible for making law and the executive branch should be responsible for enforcing the law.

  53. I’ve seen this kind of reaction on other blogs that cover nitche topics, they all seemed to be under the impression that within the first 100 days that their specific topic was going to be addressed and omg obama is the devil for not passing new drug laws, shutting down gitmo, getting a national health plan, adjusting marriage rights, and just all around saving our country from the hole that we’ve been dug into over the last 8 years.

    My opinion? Three major things at once is more then enough, with the withdrawal from Iraq, shutting down gitmo and trying to get a consensus on a national health plan. These are things that needed to be handled immediately after his move into the white house. Gay marriage, while yes, is very important is not as important as some of the other issues, and is ultimately going to be much much more difficult for the American public to swallow. Remember, Obama won by a landslide in the Electoral (365: 173) but only won by 7.2% of the popular vote. Recent polls our fellow countrymen indicate that only 42% of americans support gay marriage.

    So please remember, those that want America to stop torturing, we’re in the majority. Those of use that support gay marriage? We’re in the minority. It’s not the president’s job to convince our fellow countrymen that this would be a good thing for us, that’s our job. His job is to represent would his people tell him they want in their country. Want equal rights for the gays in our country? Get out there and educate people that gay people are perfectly fine and will not eat their babies. That’s the atheist’s job anway.

    TL;DR stop complaining, it’s not the president’s fault he’s doing what he’s supposed to do. go do your job. Also: is that blogger right off his meds?

  54. aphrael — are you saying that whoever wrote the brief did a crap job of it, and whoever reviewed the brief before filing just let it be? Because that could get some of those lawyers sanctioned.

    I can understand the Obama administration wanting to delay the issue from going to the Supreme Court until Stevens retires – yes, I said Stevens, because even though he’s liberal, he’s also eighty-eight years old, and gay marriage is a generational issue. Kennedy wrote Romer and Lawrence, and despite his conservative rulings on abortion I don’t think he’ll vote against gay marriage (one benefit of gay relationships being that they have a very low risk of unintended pregnancy). Ginsburg made her name on gender discrimination cases, and marriage equality is, at heart, about gender being irrelevant to the formation of a legal contract. Breyer is from San Francisco and Sotomayor is pretty young. So I can understand why the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss – it’s a stall tactic designed to delay the case (hopefully until after Stevens retires).

    But this motion seems like it’s trying to get sanctioned.

  55. Tiki – TL;DR stop complaining,

    When they’re *your* rights, you can talk. And if you’re one of those faux-alies who’s support is contingent on being polite, you’re fortunate that Scalzi has a policy on manners here.

  56. Glad to see that most people are not surprised by this. obama clearly stated his opinion on gay marriage well before the election.
    This is just one more example where obama is going to step on those who supported him. At least in this case it is not one where he is breaking a promise or backtracking on his position. Those have already happened (lobbyists) and will continue to happen (gitmo, iraq, etc).

  57. Say it with me: hopechange doubleplus good. :)

    On the plus side, the way he’s buring through our tax dollars, it won’t be long until the government can’t afford the attorneys that write these unpopular briefs.

  58. “Get out there and educate people that gay people are perfectly fine and will not eat their babies. That’s the atheist’s job anway.” – tiki god

    My opinion is that if you are against gay marriage it is a result of some religious thought, period. However, there are those that would support or be open to the idea of gay marriage but yet be repulsed by the act. I say that because feeling that it is not normale but being open to letting people be who they are since no is hurt does not make one religiously motivated.

  59. There’s an article over on the Advocate called The Other Side of Justice explaining why the DOJ should fight this, even though Obama has expressed a desire to see DOMA repealed. It seems to boil down to a matter of choosing ones battles, i.e. picking the right style of legal challenge that’s most likely to succeed.

  60. For what it’s worth, it should be acknowledged that the Attorney General of the United States has an ethical obligation to uphold and defend the nation’s laws, regardless of how he or she may feel about them from a policy perspective. So saying that “Obama” is “arguing” anything with respect to DOMA, and pointing at the motion to dismiss in the linked article, really misunderstands the role of the Attorney General and the President of the United States.

    It is also the case that lawsuits in favor of gay rights are trying to get a lot more traction out of Romer and Lawrence than those cases actually offer. To slam the administration for pointing this out is fairly disingenuous. Frankly, the Attorney General wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t make the arguments he made. Attacking him for it stems from a combination of ignorance and dishonesty.

    That said, I would love to see Obama be more progressive on gay rights issues, but he just isn’t. He did say he was going to repeal DOMA, and we’re still waiting for that to happen, which is unfortunate. But it’s important to keep in mind that left-wing progressives are not Obama’s only constituents. Obama also banks heavily on the black vote…the same black vote that was among the most reliable of Prop 8 voters in California. While it is certainly unfortunate that these critical civil rights issues are being put on the back burner and/or disregarded for purposes of political expedience, the fact remains that national politicians need to be careful about where they make their stands…and gay rights simply is not going to be Obama’s stand. Overreaction to this is not constructive.

  61. Wow.

    a) I fervently hope this is some sick, twisted hoax (which I highly doubt)

    b) given that “a” above is not the case, I’m hoping he’s taking a page out of Lincoln’s playbook. Start out saying waht you really DON’T want, in order to drive the argument, and make others say what you, politically, cannot. Then, as the case is made in public for you, you can finally come around and do what you want all along.

    c) it turns out he really isn’t ready to be President, afterall. If this is meant to stand on it’s own, if it’s not part of a long range plan that leads us to federally recognized and protected equal rights…. Then he’s a coward, a homophobe, a racist, and a fool.

    d) he has most likely lost my vote in any future primaries for anything from President to meter maid in Bradford.

  62. Guys, there’s something you need to understand. Legal argument is a specialized skill. The legal industry and the practice of government law is extraordinary complex. The only person in this entire thread who has written anything that actually makes sense is aphrael, and Jason @ 52. The rest of you guys are really taking shots in the dark here.

    I realize how condescending this sounds, and I apologize for that, but this thread really reads like a bunch of high school dropouts discussing astrophysics, if astrophysics were something that lent itself to causing temper tantrums and chronic overreaction.

    Having read the brief, and then re-reading the link Scalzi posted, I’m here to tell you the “analysis” in that article is flat out stupid. I’m talking Rush Limbaugh stupid. Whoever put that article together either is clearly out of his/her league, and doesn’t read briefs on constitutional law very often.

    Please, if you must jump to a conclusion on this, at least read the brief itself and jump to a conclusion based on that. The inferences drawn by the author of the linked article are just plain wrong.

  63. LB @ 71

    God I hope so. Unfortunately, while the Iowa bit allowing same sex marraige made sense when I read it in full, this does not. Somebody has done an excellent job of making their brief obtuse to the untrained. In short, the brief is not brief.

  64. LB @ 69

    Exactly. The executive branch does not write new laws and it shouldn’t use executive orders to put new laws in place. It’s the job of the executive branch to enforce the laws as they’re written. The legislative branch needs to work on this. And they’ve got a backlog already built up.

    That was the problem with the last presidency. They accrued huge amounts of power to the executive branch. Let’s not ‘fix’ things we don’t like by using, and therefore leaving in place, exactly the same mechanisms that were used by the last administration to do whatever they wanted.

    Joel @ 70

    So he’s either Abraham Lincoln or a cowardly racist homophobe. Sure. Those are the only two options there. And that conversation goes: ‘I’m don’t think gays should be allowed to be married.’ ‘Yeah, well you’re a racist AND a homophobe. Coward.’ What’s the line from the American President? “I hope that wasn’t a maybe, because if it was we need to work on your people skills.”

  65. I haven’t read all the comments.

    A couple of points on both sides of this. Not recognizing gay marriage doesn’t save the Feds money. Married couples, both working, pay higher income taxes than a non-married couple. It is called the marriage penalty or tax.

    Scalzi gives an exact number and somebody else says ~1600 rights marriage rights covered under Federal law, both include inheritance. Last time I looked inheritance was a state issue. I’m no lawyer, but when my wife and I did wills a couple of months ago, the lawyer talked about NY state requirements not Federal ones.

  66. Gay marriage… Two adults, no matter what sexual orientation, should be able to get married, AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT CLOSE RELATIVES! In Finland this is already possible. Two gay person can registrate their relationship so that it resembles marriage by the law. At the moment though, they are not allowed to adobt kids and the Lutheran church refuses to give them christian wedding. I think the situation here is all good and well as it is now. Christianity sees being gay as a sin and so they will not encourage people to do it, or bless doing it.

  67. Ntsc, married couples, both working, sometimes pay higher taxes than a non-married couple, if their incomes are roughly equal. If they’re in different tax brackets, then generally they’ll pay less taxes than a similar non-married couple. Congress has tweaked the tax code repeatedly over the last couple of decades to reduce the so-called “marriage tax” and to increase the more common “marriage bonus”, with the result that most married couples currently pay significantly less than they would if they were single. Giving gays the same tax status as straights would indeed cost the federal government money, as basic fairness demands. I have never heard anyone even attempt to explain why making gays pay higher taxes than straight couples is anything but outrageous discrimination.

  68. My personal experience is we paid higher taxes married than we would have if not.

    Two gays or lesbians are more likely to be closer in income than a male/female couple.

    Personally I don’t think any government has any business in the marriage business. I can go along with rules that ensure that off spring aren’t harmed and spice (plural of spouse) with lower income don’t get screwed if there is a break-up.

    Concerning the brief and the Obama administration, I’m relieved we seem to be back to ‘faithfuly execute’. The right seems to have a lot of problem with the non specified rights in the Constitution, but none at all with the absolutely excluded Executive powers recently adopted.

  69. Unfortunately, the Administration’s hands are tied by the requirement that they appoint lawyers to defend acts of congress in court. It’s the Administration’s obligation to defend the laws set out by Congress. In much the same way a government appointed lawyer’s job is to try and defend a mass murderer.

    A President only has leeway in diminishing or altering a law passed by congress, when there’s sufficient ‘wriggle room’ that allows an alternative interpretation or access to loopholes. The language in DOMA is a blanket ban, so there are no alternative interpretations or loop holes open to the administration, and they are obliged to follow and defend the law as set out by Congress.

    Personally, I think it’d work much better if Congress had to provide the legal defence for it’s laws, rather than the Administration. But that’s the way the US System works right now.

  70. LB@69:

    OK, so Obama “depends” on the black vote and they’re all homophobic motherfuckers, so he gets a pass. Bush “depended” on the white evangelical vote, and he got crucified (and rightly so) for pandering to a pack of homophobic motherfuckers like a demented pimp.

    With all due disrespect, I’m assuming you’re straight and perhaps these issues are, shall we say, a little abstract and not particularly relevant to your life. And fair enough, too. But what I find less than “constructive”, is being expect to be thankful for being told (again) to sit at the back of the bus until its expedient to get thrown under the wheels one more time.

    I’d just like to know whether Obama’s campaign promises are worth the breath it took to voice them.

  71. Craig – OK, so Obama “depends” on the black vote and they’re all homophobic motherfuckers, so he gets a pass. Bush “depended” on the white evangelical vote, and he got crucified (and rightly so) for pandering to a pack of homophobic motherfuckers like a demented pimp.

    With all due disrespect, I’m assuming you’re straight and perhaps these issues are, shall we say, a little abstract and not particularly relevant to your life.

    I’m queer. I’ve been an activist all of my adult life. Don’t ever think you can play “I have a bigger queerer dick than you” games with me.

    You need to not use those words. You need to not think “they’re all homophobic motherfuckers” because “they” are no such thing. You are dead wrong, you are slandering black people to make a point. Stop saying racist things.

  72. I’m queer. I’ve been an activist all of my adult life. Don’t ever think you can play “I have a bigger queerer dick than you” games with me.

    Josh: Unless you also post under the handle ‘LB’, I wasn’t talking to you. And your cock is extremely high on the long list of things I’m profoundly uninterested in, and I hope the feeling is mututal.

    Hope that clarifies a few things.

    Now perhaps I need to start using sarcasm tags, but I thought it was pretty clear that I thought it was utterly absurd to type all people of colour as homophobes. But if LB really thinks so (and s/he believes Obama is pandering so as not to offend a vital constituency), then does Obama get a pass that Bush doesn’t when it came to his pandering to homophobic white evangelicals?

    Personally, I’m zero tolerance and thoroughly bipartisan when it comes to people who should know better pandering to bigots. And sometimes you’ve just got to call bullshit a big steaming pile of crap, even if Mrs Emily Post would not approve.

    BTW, please don’t presume to get holier than thou with me about racism. With a black father and white mother, I’ve got it from all sides and you’ve nothing to teach me, dear. I’ve no interest in “slandering black people”; I’m very interested in getting to the bottom of a thoroughly screwed up apology for bigotry.

  73. Now perhaps I need to start using sarcasm tags, but I thought it was pretty clear that I thought it was utterly absurd to type all people of colour as homophobes.

    It certainly wasn’t.

  74. Those saying that the DOJ is bound to enforce the laws as they are, and Obama’s hands are tied?

    I’ll believe it when Obama starts enforcing the laws against torture and brings the entire Bush administration up on charges of war crimes.

    Until then, your talk of the DOJ’s legal “requirements” to enforce the laws as they are is interesting and somewhat laughable law school naivete.

    There is an interesting little graphic here that shows five key members of Bush’s DOJ who had a hand in trying to bend the law to declare torture “legal”.

    Right now, it looks like Obama is using the “our hands our tied” to oppose gay marriage, and at the same time using executive privilege to choose to not enforce laws against torture.

  75. Weird, seems that some people are trying to pull a rabbit out of the had and say that Obama is for gay marriage and trying to get around it through the back door (no puns!)? I was going to post a link or two where obama clearly states he is against gay marriage, but the results return on youtube are extensive so I figure you can find them yourselves.
    Bottom line, obama is really not that much different they any that has come before. Other than he is black, which should not matter, he might not be all that you thought.

  76. Craig @ 79 –

    “OK, so Obama “depends” on the black vote and they’re all homophobic motherfuckers, so he gets a pass. Bush “depended” on the white evangelical vote, and he got crucified (and rightly so) for pandering to a pack of homophobic motherfuckers like a demented pimp.

    With all due disrespect, I’m assuming you’re straight and perhaps these issues are, shall we say, a little abstract and not particularly relevant to your life. And fair enough, too. But what I find less than “constructive”, is being expect to be thankful for being told (again) to sit at the back of the bus until its expedient to get thrown under the wheels one more time.

    I’d just like to know whether Obama’s campaign promises are worth the breath it took to voice them.”

    I think you’re misunderstanding me. Gays and supporters of gay rights have every right to be frustrated with the Obama administration over DOMA. I, too, was under the impression that Obama intended to wipe that abomination from the books, and I, too, am disappointed in his delay in doing so.

    That said, I have a great deal of faith in Obama’s judgment, and have to believe that his continuing restraint on this issue is for tactical reasons and in pursuit of the greater good. Popular as he is, Obama has only so much political capital to spend, and right now he’s stretching it as far as it goes in trying to close Guantanamo and initiate meaningful health care reform. Those, too, are important issues, and perhaps it is the judgment of the administration that taking on DOMA now might compromise those efforts.

    Obama should not “get a pass.” A significant portion of his constituency consists of progressives, and to the extent that he is not pursuing a progressive agenda, there is nothing wrong with progressives exerting some political pressure to remind Obama that our votes should not be taken for granted. That is perfectly constructive. What is not constructive is (1) articles like the one Scalzi linked in the OP, which are sensationalist and not even an attempt at an honest depiction of what the Obama administration has done in this context; and (2) overreaction along the lines of “well, he lost my vote” or “HE LIED TO US!” Progressives need to understand that Barack Obama is not your enemy. Pressuring him is one thing, but flipping out and declaring him to be “like Bush” is shooting yourself in the foot.

    Frankly, Obama never postured himself as a staunch supporter of gay rights. We may still be many years away from the point where a serious contender for national office can openly support gay marriage. That is frustrating, disappointing, and infuriating, but that’s not a situation Obama created. It’s a situation he’s dealing with. As the kids say, “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.”

    However, Obama did make some promises, and I expect those promises to be kept. As far as I’m concerned, Obama has about three years left to push for and sign legislation repealing DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” If 2012 comes along and he still hasn’t made good on that promise, then I’m pissed. Pissed enough to not vote for him? Probably not. But pissed enough not to defend him against criticism of the type I’m seeing in this thread. But until then, I think progressives need to relax a bit and wait until all the information is in before jumping to conclusions. Back off and let the guy do his job. Given all that has been accomplished thus far, I think he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt at this point, don’t you?

    As far as the personal stuff goes — you’re right, I’m not gay. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take gay marriage personally. First, I have many friends and relatives who are gay, some of whom are married, and some who wish to be married, and others who could care less about getting married but are sick of being discriminated against under the law. I care about those people, and thus I care about gay marriage on a personal level. On top of that, I am a Californian, and I am personally offended by the inclusion of a “separate but equal” institution in my state’s constitution. Does it impact me directly? Not in the sense that it prevents me from marrying the person of my choice, I suppose. But it does impact me in the sense that I don’t want to live in an unjust world in which people who I love and care about are deprived of basic human freedoms and rights.

    Attacking your allies — particularly ones you know very little about — is not a good way to win hearts and minds, Craig. Frankly, this is a battle that, for the foreseeable future, will need to be won at the ballot box, because the present Supreme Court is definitely not going to help. Failure to treat those with a different opinion from you with respect is a big mistake. Just ask Gavin Newsom, who, I assure you, will not be making any more “whether you like it or not” speeches…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms0hugRkgv8

  77. By the way, when looking up that Newsom speech on youtube I found something very interesting…

    This is the Yes on 8 ad featuring Newsom’s speech…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2QV0uHOe5g&feature=related

    In my outrage over that ad, I had previously overlooked something of some significance. The ad features a law professor named Richard Peterson, who suggests that people will be “sued over personal beliefs,” “churches could lose their tax exemption,” and “gay marriage [will be] taught in public schools.” These claims are outrageously dishonest. It’s one thing when they are made from ignorance. It is quite another when they are made by a law professor who, I strongly suspect, knows better. And his status as a law professor lends credibility to those watching the ad who do not know better. And that, frankly, is offensive.

    Here is a link to Mr. Peterson’s bio at Pepperdine Law…

    http://law.pepperdine.edu/academics/faculty/peterson.html

    Mr. Peterson’s email address is included. He might be interested to hear some of your thoughts and feelings on this topic. (Keep it thoughtful and respectful, please).

    For an outstanding legal analysis debunking the claims Mr. Peterson makes in the ad, please see:

    http://www.mormonsformarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/mat-responses-to-six-consequences-if-prop-8-fails-rev-1-1.pdf

    While the points Mr. Thurston makes are common sense to any competent lawyer, he does a great job of articulating them here, and also has apparently done a fair amount of research regarding the cases the Prop 8 liars refer to in the context of these arguments, showing that those cases in fact have nothing to do with gay marriage, and certainly don’t support the claims being made.

  78. “..it won’t be long until the government can’t afford the attorneys that write these unpopular briefs.”

    As long as we taxpayers allow our elected reps to increase taxes, the government will always have enough money, but we probably won’t.

    The government powerful enough to give you everything you want will be powerful enough to take away everything you have.

    Marriage should be decided at the state level.

  79. I don’t think that word, ‘right’, means what you think it means. I’ve read the constitution several times and never seen an enumerated right to marry someone of the same sex. To say it is an understood right does violence to the context and spirit of the document.

    I’m willing to consider a grand bargain however. Let’s allow the states to marry whoever they want to, and allow the states to make their own rules on abortion. Let Kali be Kali and Texas be Texas. Federalism please. Not that I’m holding my breath.

  80. To all who say I voted for Obama, but the OTHER guy was worse, or just the same, or equally indifferent, is to say THERE WERE ONLY TWO CANDIDATES. So if you hate McCain, or hate Obama, find someone else to vote for. Its that simple.

    Yes, the chance that a 3rd party candidate will be elected is vanishingly small, but if you do not try, it is guaranteed to fail. After all the Whigs were a part of the prevailing two party system, before the Republicans, yes?

    So the choice is not between the Left Boot on Your Neck Party vs the Right Boot on Your Neck party, it is whether you will vote for the boot on your neck in the first place. It seems you will.

  81. ” it is whether you will vote for the boot on your neck in the first place.”

    Well said, Tinker.

  82. Doc @ 89 — “I don’t think that word, ‘right’, means what you think it means. I’ve read the constitution several times and never seen an enumerated right to marry someone of the same sex. To say it is an understood right does violence to the context and spirit of the document.”

    It is not the least bit controversial that the right to marry the person of your choice is guaranteed by the Constitution. This was affirmed in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws. To the extent you contend that Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided, yours is a very extreme view.

    However, in all litigation concerning same-sex marriage rights under any constitution (state or fed), there has been debate over the appropriate characterization of the right at issue. Those arguing in favor of same-sex marriage have characterized the right at issue as “the right to marry,” whereas those arguing against have characterized the right at issue as “the right to same-sex marriage.” By taking a more broad view, those in favor of same-sex marriage put themselves under the purview of Loving v. Virginia — all Americans are guaranteed the right to marry the person of their choice under the constitution. By taking a more narrow view, those opposed to same-sex marriage are able to distinguish Loving — right to “same-sex” marriage has never been recognized by Loving or otherwise, and there’s no reason to change course now. Both arguments have been accepted (and, as a necessary corollary, both have been rejected) by various courts. Most recently, the California Supreme Court adopted the view that the “right to marry” is at issue, not the “right to same-sex marriage.” I tend to find that view more persuasive, but frankly it is hard to say that there is a correct or incorrect answer. What this amounts too, ultimately, is a very high stakes argument over semantics.

  83. I have a great deal of faith in Obama’s judgment, and have to believe that his continuing restraint on this issue is for tactical reasons and in pursuit of the greater good.

    Man, that excuse is getting old, and Obama has only been in office 6 months. Every time Obama does something shitty, you keep rolling out this “I have unwavering faith that Obama has a secret plan, that he is doing somethign that looks shitty but is really going to overthrow the other shitty politicians”. Yeah. Whatever. You keep complimenting the emporer on his new clothes.

  84. Tinker@90: To all who say I voted for Obama, but the OTHER guy was worse, or just the same, or equally indifferent, is to say THERE WERE ONLY TWO CANDIDATES.

    Oh lord. No. It is to say THE US HAS A SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE WINS ELECTORAL SYSTEM AND THIRD PARTIES ARE INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM NOT VOTING AT ALL.

    Say you have an election where teh top two contenders are Republican and Democrat. Even under the best circumstances, i.e. you have condercet voting, then it doesn’t matter if your first choice is Independent, what matters is who you put for your second choice, republican or democrat, because they’re the ones who the third-party votes trickle down to.

    In the US presidential elections, third party votes have done nothing but, worst case, cause the candidate who would have been the number two candidates for those third party voters to end up losing because they split the vote.

    Gore lost Florida by a couple thousand votes. Nader got half a million floridan votes. If you voted for Nader in florida, and if Gore was your second choice and Bush was your third choice, congratulations, you helped Bush get elected by throwing away your vote.

    The fallback third-party voter position once these mathematical facts are presented: “We may lose the election, but we’ll cause the two party systems to incorporate our wishes four years from now”

    Uh, first of all, no. You won’t. Second of all, your saying that in 2000 that four years of Bush (instead of four years of Gore) is somehow worth getting the Democratic party to choose a slightly different candidate for the 2004 or 2008 election? Throw the 2000 election to Bush just so you can push the Democrats to pick someone in 2004 that is more to your liking?

    Cost/benefit analysis fails to come to this conclusion. If you want a third party President in 2000, the numbers say you can’t have it. So then you have to pick the next most likely to win candidate, Bush or Gore. If you want Gore, then voting third party is throwing your vote away and helping Bush get elected. The four years of direct and immediate damage caused by Bush far outweighs whether the Democrats ended up picking Obama versus Hillary or some other candidate in 2008. Bush’s damage is already done and is massive in scale.

    What you’re doing instead is comparing teh damage by Obama to the damage by your slightly better Democrat candidate who is slightly better because they’re more leaning towards your third party views. Let’s just say you wanted Dennis Kucinich instead of Obama, for example.

    You’d vote for Kucinich in 2008, but you wouldn’t vote for Obama and would instead vote for some third party candidate.

    So, in 2000, say you vote for Nader, because you think that will get the democrats to move towards a better candidate in 2008. But if you had condercet voting, say you’d pick Gore as your number 2 choice.

    In 2000:
    The cost of four years of Bush is -10.
    The benefit of four years of Gore is +10.

    In 2008:
    The benefit of four years of Obama is +9
    The benefit of four years of Kucinich is +10

    So, you let Bush win in 2000, which pushes the democrats to go with Kucinich instead of Obama. you cause 10 points of damage with Bush, instead of creating a 10 piont benefit with Gore. And you do this because you want a 10 point benefit with Kucinich instead of only a 9 point benefit from Obama.

    What you did:
    -10 (bush) +10 (Kucinich) = 0 points total

    what you should have done:
    +10 (gore) +9 (obama) = +19 points

    You sacrificed 10 points of damage from Bush for four years just to nudge the democratic party from Obama to Kucinich and make a 1 point improvement. Your overall score is zero.

    If you had instead voted for one of the two most likely to win candidates, you would have voted for Gore and then Obama, and gotten a 19 point benefit overall.

    The illusion is that you’ll sacrifice damage in 2000 (bush) in exchange for the “perfect” candidate in the next election (2004 or 2008), but you’re comparing a +9 candidate to a +10 candidate but not even counting the -10 points of damage your vote did to help Bush get in office.

    Mathematically, if you want the best benefit overall, you don’t vote for a third party when its clear that the two main parties are most likely to win.

    Arguing as if your vote doesn’t harm your second-choice candidate and help the worst candidate is not acknowledging the full effects of voting for a third party when one of the main party candidates is going to win.

  85. LB@86:
    That said, I have a great deal of faith in Obama’s judgment, and have to believe that his continuing restraint on this issue is for tactical reasons and in pursuit of the greater good.

    I have an enormous respect for Obama too — he’s a very smart man and I sure wouldn’t be dumb enough to underestimate his ‘tactical’ smarts.

    If you want to argue that Boston isn’t the only place where politics ain’t beanbag, and we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good then you’re getting no argument from me.

    But there also comes a point where if you stand for public office, you’ve got to be held to account for the promises you make on the campaign trail. Where I work (in an extremely competitive industry during a recession), when you make commitments and take clients money you better deliver or there are consequences. Potentially written on the back of a pink slip.

    Attacking your allies — particularly ones you know very little about — is not a good way to win hearts and minds

    Well, LB, my friends have the respect (and real affection) to write out a reality check when I’ve been a prick. I even cash them now and then.

    Finally, here’s another pair of related notions: My respect is earned, not given as of right. I also don’t confuse politics and a religious cult where the people on “your side” are beyond critique.

  86. GregLondon: your analysis is correct, as far as I can see, EXCEPT that you have a major quantitative error: Nader got about 97,500 votes in FL in 2000, NOT a *half million*.
    It’s not all that often that being off by a factor of 5 doesn’t change one’s conclusions, but this is one of those times.
    To all the Obama haters out there: just vote for Kucinich (or some other idiot, but Kucinich is sure to run if he’s alive bc that’s what idiots do) in the primaries in 2012 and see how that advances your cause.
    No, I don’t agree with Obama all the time, but I do agree that in every case so far he’s proven to be both smarter than me and FAR better at doing HIS job than any electorable alternative that I can think of. He ain’t perfect: surprise, surprise, surprise and I’m sure he’s gonna piss me off too…….

  87. Greg: on the other hand, I live in a state which has not had a seriously contested Presidential election since 1992. In Presidential races, I’m perfectly content to vote for third party candidates, because (a) the likelihood of my preferred major party candidate losing is extremely small, and (b) the value to me of having a third party candidate be more successful is higher than the likelihood-adjusted value of voting for my preferred major party candidate.

  88. GL @ 94 –

    Your post @ 95 tells me that you understand that sometimes, choosing political expedience over stubborn adherence to ideals is a rational decision in pursuit of the greater good. Apply your reasoning with respect to third part voting to Barack Obama, and I think you might be more sympathetic to the points I have been making.

    Beyond that, however, I’m not going to get into this with you, because you have demonstrated an inability to be constructive and respectful in discussing…well, really, anything. So I would appreciate it if you would refrain from any further direct response to anything I post.

    Craig @ 96 –

    I really think we’re more or less on the same page here. I guess what I’m saying is that (1) the “Obama administration’s” “defense” of DOMA in the context of a lawsuit in which the United States of America is a named defendant should not be misunderstood as the Obama administration supporting DOMA; and (2) people should give Obama more time before condemning him as being hostile to gay rights. Obama’s soft approach to gay rights issues has been disappointing, but I think the approach he has taken is understandable when analyzed in context. If taking an immediate stand on DOMA and/or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell compromises the administration’s efforts on health care and/or national security, then it’s worth waiting. However, I also expect Obama to live up to his promises in this regard. He has until the end of his first term to do so. Until then, let’s not bite the hand that feeds us.

  89. Rob, 88: “Marriage should be decided at the state level.”

    Maybe it should be, I have no opinion on that. But it isn’t decided at the state level now. States can not, for example, forbid interracial marriages, since the Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia in 1967. States are required to recognize marriages that other states recognize, as numerous commenters here have pointed out.

    In general, folks, this issue is not, or had better not be, about “sexual orientation.” I realize that it’s almost hopeless to say that, but I think it’s both dangerous and wrong to hang the case on such a chimera. Loving v. Virginia was not based on the principle that these people had an immutable ‘orientation’ toward the opposite race, which the law must recognize. It is not necessary to find one’s own race totally unattractive since birth to partner with someone of another race; it is only necessary to be want to marry one person. If this issue were about sexual orientation, wouldn’t we have to demand that only constitutionally homosexual persons can marry partners of their own sex? The gay rights movement has put all its money for the past couple of decades on the idea that gay people have a biologically determined nature that renders us incapable of sexual response to the other sex, which has been compared to (when not equated to) the equally dubious notion of race. Aside from the dubious science involved, what if I want to marry a bisexual man? The issue isn’t “same-sexual-orientation” marriage, it’s same-sex marriage.

    As for Obama, his opposition to same-sex marriage never bothered me that much except as it showed that he wasn’t all that bright after all. I was bemused by xopher’s declaration that this brief is the last straw, coming after Obama’s other offenses. For me it’s the other way around. I’m much more concerned by his cover-up of torture, his efforts to delay withdrawal from Iraq, his attacks on Afghanistan and Pakistan, his threats against Iran (which probably extend to the sponsoring of terrorism there), his continued support for the bank bailouts, and his support for Israel’s terror in Gaza. Same-sex marriage just doesn’t have the same priority to me, partly because I’m skeptical about marriage in the first place. It’s not about equality, since marriage is very much about privileging some relationships and couples over others.

  90. coolstar, thanks, it’s fixed in the warhw page. Can’t fix it in this thread cause cant edit posts.

    aphrael, yeah, that may be a valid option if your state is pretty much guaranteed to go for your second-choice candidate anyway. I am concerned that folks in borderline states dont get that distinction though, re the 100k voters in florida in 2000.

    LB: a rational decision in pursuit of the greater good. Apply your reasoning with respect to third part voting to Barack Obama

    asserting blind faith that Obama is publicly doing something shitty and privately has secret plans so as to convert his publicly shitty action into some brilliant secret plan to do something good is not rational or reasoned. It fails logic and rationality on several levels, occam’s razor being the first one, but several others as well.

  91. LB@94:
    He has until the end of his first term to do so. Until then, let’s not bite the hand that feeds us.

    I reply:
    We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this, but I respectfully decline to cross the line between being supportive and being an enabler of an Administration that nudges me towards the kerb as that fraking bus comes around the corner one more time. In context, of course.

    Perhaps Andrew Sullivan has a point when he says the Obama Administration isn’t hostile to teh gayz, it just doesn’t really give a damn. I just fail to see how that’s much of an advance — sounds a lot like business as usual to me.

  92. I don’t get it.

    If Obama is revealing that he lied to everyone on the social issues, and he’s causing unparalleled disaster on economics and national security . . .

    Why did any of you vote for him? Was it just the hype? Was it a pure teenage crush? Herd instinct?

    I’m not being snarky here, I honestly want to know. The man lied to you, is destroying our country, but you all still voted for him. Explain yourselves.

  93. Explain yourselves.

    About forty eight hours after McCain announced his veep pick, I decided that if he wasn’t going to take the election seriously I’d repay the discourtesy. And there’s also the small technicality that he was the standard bearer of a party that has systematically dismantled any pretensions towards competence, fiscal restraint or pretty much any interest in serious public policy.

  94. I assume there are other articles out there on this topic? I would love to read one that provides some intelligent commentary and insight on the issue. The blog in the link above was just painful to read.

  95. GL @ 102 –

    “asserting blind faith that Obama is publicly doing something shitty and privately has secret plans so as to convert his publicly shitty action into some brilliant secret plan to do something good is not rational or reasoned. It fails logic and rationality on several levels, occam’s razor being the first one, but several others as well.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Good thing that’s not what I’m doing. You have a bad habit of attributing views to me that I don’t hold and combining that with a lack of civility. Which is why I asked you to stop addressing me in your posts. And I’ll repeat that request now. Thanks.

  96. Duncan – THANK YOU. Seriously, I’m pissed that a lot of the arguments for gay marriage ignore the existence of bisexuals. We’re able to be attracted to people of the opposite sex! But what if we fall in love with someone of the same sex?

    You can choose who you date. You can’t choose who you fall in love with.

  97. John@104: Explain yourselves.

    A slightly more honest post would have been “I voted for (other candidate). Why didn’t you?”

    The implicit fallacy in your post is that there is a candidate that perfectly matches our political positions (and it is your candidate) but we didn’t vote for them for one reason or another.

    Lemme ‘splain something to you: Of all the candidates out there, the most likely to win boiled down to McCain and Obama. Of those two Obama was a far better match to my political position than McCain.

    Any third party candidates had no serious chance of winning, and I’m not wasting my vote on that.

    So, Obama won and is so far doing a number of things I agree with and a few things I disagree with. I fully expect that McCain would have done a large number of things I disagreed with and a few things I agreed with. So I voted Obama.

    The fact that I voted Obama doesn’t mean I can’t disagree with him when he does things I don’t like. But the fact that I don’t find Obama to be perfect in no way proves that your candidate would be perfect.

    LB: Good thing that’s not what I’m doing.

    Sure it is:

    LB@86: That said, I have a great deal of faith in Obama’s judgment, and have to believe that his continuing restraint on this issue is for tactical reasons and in pursuit of the greater good.

    Tell me, what objective evidence do you have for this “faith”? What objective evidence do you have that Obama is publicly stating one thing while executing secret plans to something else? Show me one shred of objective evidence that says Obama has secret plans to reverse his public position on gay marriage. A secret memo? A policy statement? anything that actually came out of Obama’s mouth or was written by his hand?

    When Obama’s administration argues in court that gay marriage should not be allowed, the simple explanation is that Obama does not believe gay marriage should be allowed. Any other explanation is an invention without any actual physical evidence. If you wanna do that, go for it. Just don’t tell me it’s anything other than an invention.

  98. GL @ 109 — “When Obama’s administration argues in court that gay marriage should not be allowed, the simple explanation is that Obama does not believe gay marriage should be allowed.”

    …and the more sophisticated (and correct) explanation is that Obama’s administration has an ethical duty to uphold the nation’s laws, regardless of his position on the matter.

    Also, be careful about your phrasing here. Obama does not support gay marriage and has never suggested otherwise. (At least, not publicly…which, as far as I’m concerned, means not at all. Regardless of what he personally thinks, if he isn’t willing to enact policy pursuant to those thoughts then it doesn’t make any difference — Obama could be a big Justin Timberlake fan, and I wouldn’t give a crap because it has nothing to do with policy; likewise, if he’s a “closet” gay marriage supporter, I really don’t care, because that too would have nothing to do with policy).

    Obama HAS stated that he intends to repeal DOMA and fix “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and I still expect that to happen at the appropriate time. Which, I believe, is now and/or a few months ago, but I can respectfully disagree with the administration on this point without throwing pipe bombs at the White House and declaring Obama “no better than Bush” — and I can understand that there may be bigger picture reasons why Obama has done nothing about DOMA thus far.

    I do not take the fact that the administration defended DOMA before the Supreme Court as a sign that he won’t make good on his promise — I take it as a sign that the Obama adminstration (unlike its predecessors) understands and respects their obligations and duties as the executive branch of the United States government.

    To go along with this Occam’s Razor theme you are developing here — which of these is the simpler explanation: (a) Obama publicly pledged to repeal DOMA, but secretly has no intention of doing so as evidenced by the filing of a brief requesting that the Supreme Court dismiss a DOMA challenge, and simply won’t admit that he really has no intention of trying to repeal DOMA and never really did; or (b) Obama publicly pledged to repeal DOMA because he intended to do so, and still intends to do so at what the administration deems to be the appropriate time — and in the meantime, the administration is fulfilling its ethical and legal obligations by defending the nation’s laws subject to challenge before the Supreme Court, DOMA included.

    I’d go with (b) for a few reasons. First, because it is the simpler explanation. But also because it is the more politically sensible explanation. Ask yourself this: what good would making a false promise to repeal DOMA have done for Obama in the context of his campaign? Was he really going to win votes that mattered (i.e. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, etc.) by claiming to be MORE supportive of gay marriage than he really is? THAT is the lie he is going to tell in his campaign? Is Obama’s campaign really dumb enough to make false promises that will be unpopular in the key swing states? In what universe does that make any sense?

    In this political context, it would be far more sensible to downplay whatever support you may feel for gay marriage and gay rights, and to try to avoid the issue altogether. Which is more or less what Obama did. The campaign took a somewhat confusing stance — “we don’t support gay marriage, we do support civil unions and equal right to tangible benefits of marriage, we don’t support Prop 8 and find it discriminatory, and we will repeal DOMA and fix Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” — and then tried to change the subject as quickly as possible. And when it comes down to it, that position is pretty internally inconsistent — particularly where you do support civil unions, but oppose gay marriage, but also oppose Prop 8…even though the effect of Prop 8 is to revert from gay marriage to civil unions in California. Makes no sense…unless you consider it in the political context, and realize that what the campaign was doing was tap-dancing around the issue to come as close as they could to supporting gay marriage without hanging themselves.

  99. LB – I don’t think the Administration does have an obligation to defend laws that are challenged in court. Couldn’t it join the case on behalf of the plaintiffs, or take no action? Also, even if they do have such an obligation (and I cannot at this moment recall whether you’re an attorney, and if you are my apologies for doubting you), they didn’t have to do it in the kind of terms that appear in that brief.

    I’d really like to know authoritatively whether the Executive Branch has such an obligation Constitutionally or statutorally, because I’m having arguments on another site about related issues. But even if they do, the terms and arguments they brought to bear are way over into the homophobic-asshole side of the Force, and the jerkoff who wrote this brief needs to be fired from DOJ.

  100. Obama’s administration has an ethical duty to uphold the nation’s laws,

    This argument is invalid theory until Obama starts prosecuting the Bush administration for war crimes for torture, instead of taking the “look forward, not back” stance. Invalid. As long as he picks and chooses what laws to enforce, you are again asserting as fact something that is not occuring in reality.

    And if you keep asserting and defending that which is not reality, you’ve only proven that your positions are one of blind faith rather than objective reality.

    As for the rest, it’s a lot of text and absolutely zero evidence of Obama having a secret plan to overthrow his own public position. For furture reference, campaign promises are not evidence of anything other than the promises made during a campaign. What he is doing now is exactly what he is doing now. And you’ve got nothing to show that he’s publicly arguing against gay marriage while secretly planning some strategic kungfu to universalize gay marriage.

    (b) Obama publicly pledged to repeal DOMA because he intended to do so, and still intends to do so at what the administration deems to be the appropriate time

    Argument from ignorance. You’ve got absolutely zero proof for any of this. You’re simply arguing from ignorance that this is what makes the most sense to you.

    What makes most sense to me is that he is doing exactly what he supports and there is no “appropriate time” in the future where he is planning on doing anything different than what he is doing now. There is no evidence, other than your belief and hope that it be true, that Obama will change couse at the “appropriate time” in the future. None.

    So, once again, you are acting in blind faith. Your “evidence” is nothing more than “what makes sense to you” filling in a complete lack of evidence to support any such conclusion, an argument from ignorance.

  101. Greg…LB is still trusting the Obama Administration to do the right thing on most topics eventually. You and I have ceased to do so. Is there much point in continuing the argument?

    I’d propose that both of you examine anything further you may think of saying to see whether it boils down to one of those two already-clear positions, and try to make points that do not.

    One thing, Greg: it’s not actually logically inconsistent for the Executive Branch to have an affirmative obligation to defend laws when they’re challenged in the SCOTUS, yet have discretion about enforcing those same laws. As I said above, I’m not quite sure that’s how the system works, but LB isn’t necessarily self-contradicting by asserting both halves of that. When suit is brought against the government, they are the part of the government that acts as the defense. I think that part’s right. But I think they could just say “we’ll agree to summary judgement in favor of the plaintiff.”

    The one thing that I see as a possible strategy that would redeem the whole thing is: if the SCOTUS strikes down DOMA, that would (tacitly or explicitly) reject all the arguments in that brief. THAT would be very good indeed!

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  102. Not sure why I’m bothering, but here goes…

    GL @ 113 — “This argument is invalid theory until Obama starts prosecuting the Bush administration for war crimes for torture, instead of taking the “look forward, not back” stance. Invalid. As long as he picks and chooses what laws to enforce, you are again asserting as fact something that is not occuring in reality.”

    You’re really bringing this up again? You plainly weren’t listening in that other thread, were you? Prosecutorial discretion. Separation of powers. Basic civics. Remember? And it has nothing to do with this. No connection between prosecutorial discretion and obligation to defend the nation’s laws against challenge. At all. You don’t understand the issues that you are talking about, and you are making connections that don’t exist. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Move on.

    GL @ 113 — “And you’ve got nothing to show that he’s publicly arguing against gay marriage while secretly planning some strategic kungfu to universalize gay marriage.”

    Did you read this? Me @ 111 — “Also, be careful about your phrasing here. Obama does not support gay marriage and has never suggested otherwise. (At least, not publicly…which, as far as I’m concerned, means not at all. Regardless of what he personally thinks, if he isn’t willing to enact policy pursuant to those thoughts then it doesn’t make any difference — Obama could be a big Justin Timberlake fan, and I wouldn’t give a crap because it has nothing to do with policy; likewise, if he’s a “closet” gay marriage supporter, I really don’t care, because that too would have nothing to do with policy).” If you did read it, you apparently didn’t understand it, or are choosing to ignore it. And, again, you are attributing views to me that I don’t actually hold based on statements that I never made. Which, as we have already established, really pisses me off.

    At this point, I’m going to revert to my previous position. I’m not responding to any further posts from you, GL. I’m sorry, but you are having a difficult time keeping it civil, and I’m going to end up responding accordingly, and then we’ll just get scolded by Scalzi again, and I would like to avoid that. So please, just stop responding to my posts.

    Xopher @ 112 — “LB – I don’t think the Administration does have an obligation to defend laws that are challenged in court. Couldn’t it join the case on behalf of the plaintiffs, or take no action? Also, even if they do have such an obligation (and I cannot at this moment recall whether you’re an attorney, and if you are my apologies for doubting you), they didn’t have to do it in the kind of terms that appear in that brief.

    I’d really like to know authoritatively whether the Executive Branch has such an obligation Constitutionally or statutorally, because I’m having arguments on another site about related issues. But even if they do, the terms and arguments they brought to bear are way over into the homophobic-asshole side of the Force, and the jerkoff who wrote this brief needs to be fired from DOJ.”

    I am an attorney. They do have an obligation to defend the nation’s laws. On very rare occasions, you will see the executive essentially sit on the sideline if they believe that a particular law is simply constitutionally indefensible. Theoretically, the Obama administration could have done that — but it may well be the administration’s position that DOMA, while wrong from a policy perspective, is defensible from a constitutional perspective. (In fact, DOMA is pretty obviously defensible from a constitutional perspective, which is why DOMA challenges in federal court lose, over and over again). What the administration absolutely cannot do is refuse to defend a law purely on policy/political grounds. If the constitutionality of the law is defensible, then the executive must uphold that law, even if they would like to see it repealed as a policy matter. Which is why I am saying that this brief says nothing about what Obama’s stance on DOMA may be as a matter of policy.

    I don’t know what you’re referring to when you say that the brief went “”over into the homophobic-asshole side of the Force”…I read it, and I guess I must have missed something, because the brief seemed pretty vanilla to me. Could you point to something in particular in the brief that bothered you?

  103. xopher, the “State Secrets” trial started with Bush was in office and ran over into Obama’s presidency. When the case was restarted under Obama, the judges asked if Obama’s people wanted to enter anything new from Bush’s position of the presidents absolute power of state secrets. You know, do the right thing. It was clear they were expecting Obama to change from Bush’s position. And when he didn’t, the courts were actually a bit incredulous.

    So, one can argue whether Obama has an “obligation” to defend a law before the SCOTUS or not. But it’s pretty clear that Obama was in no way obligated to submit the most homophobic rantings on the position of gay marriage, including making the slippery slope argument that gay marriage will then allow incense and other nonsense, just like he wasn’t obligated to follow Bush’s position on state secrets.

    Anyone arguing that Obama’s hands were tied is lying.

    LB, you have no proof. Since you like to point out over and over that you’re a lawyer, it might be that you confuse “proof” with the more lawyerly idea of “evidence”. But the simple fact remains: you have no objective proof of any kind that Obama is doing one thing publically and secretly planning something else entirely. It is blind faith. The fact that you really, really, really want to believe it, makes it no less of an item of blind faith.

    But for you to admit that, you’d have to acknowledge that you’re operating on blind faith, and that’s the absolute last thing that you’re goign to do. So, you just keep complimenting the emporer on his new clothes.

  104. This is one of those cases where Abi’s law applies: the loser is whoever gets the last word.

    Right now that’s me. I’ll take one for the team.

  105. Okay, I’m breaking my self-imposed rule yet again. I’m officially a sucker.

    GL @ 116 — “But it’s pretty clear that Obama was in no way obligated to submit the most homophobic rantings on the position of gay marriage, including making the slippery slope argument that gay marriage will then allow incense [sic] and other nonsense”

    Of course he isn’t. But regardless of how it is characterized by the sensationalist article linked by the OP above, the AG simply didn’t do that.

    Can you cite to anything in the brief itself substantiating this? Because I read the entire brief, and I certainly didn’t see “homophobic rantings,” nor did I see “the slippery slope argument” that gay marriage would allow incest, etc. Where did you see this? I’m honestly curious, because I really want to know what these accusations are all about. You’re obviously not the only person making these accusations, but apparently you understand them, because you are repeating them. Please help, because I read the entire brief, and I am at a loss for where comments like yours could possibly be coming from.

    “But the simple fact remains: you have no objective proof of any kind that Obama is doing one thing publically and secretly planning something else entirely. It is blind faith. The fact that you really, really, really want to believe it, makes it no less of an item of blind faith.”

    I am going to try to state this as clearly as possible. Once again: I do not suggest, and have not suggested, and would not suggest, that Obama is telling the world he’s against gay marriage, but secretly working to legalize gay marriage. He clearly isn’t. There is no grand scheme at work in that regard. And what’s more, whether or not Obama really supports gay marriage deep in his heart means absolutely nothing to me. I have no idea whether that is the case, and I don’t care. The reality is, he says he’s against gay marriage, and he therefore is not going to help get gay marriage legalized. And that’s that. I don’t have any illusion to the contrary, despite what you continue to claim. And I have never suggested otherwise. So please, if you are going to engage in dialogue with me, stop mischaracterizing what I have said.

    Here’s what I did say, and am continuing to say. With respect to DOMA, Obama did publicly say was that he intends to repeal it. He didn’t say when. He just said that he’ll do it. And when the legislature sends him a bill to repeal DOMA, I expect him to sign it. And if that doesn’t happen within the next couple of years, I expect him to push the legislature to make it happen. And nothing that has happened in the meantime — including the AG’s office fulfilling its ethical obligations in defending DOMA before the SCOTUS against a constitutional challenge — suggests or implies anything to the contrary. Nothing has changed.

    What I don’t get is that you clearly understand political pragmatism as a concept (see, for example, your post @ 95), and yet you continue to expect Barack Obama to behave like a third party candidate, with little or no regard for the political viability or consequences of his actions. You and I can take principled stands. He can’t. He has to get things done. That’s the difference between Barack Obama and, say, Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich would go after DOMA right away on general principle, and he would probably refuse to defend it against challenge before the Supreme Court, duties and obligations of the executive be damned. Obama picks his battles carefully. Which is why Obama is the President of the United States and enjoys approval ratings in the neighborhood of 60%, and Kucinich is an amusing little upstart who we hear from every four years for a few months before he scuttles away. Both have their place, but I’m not going to begrudge Obama for not being Kucinich any more than I would begrudge Kucinich for not being Obama.

  106. The most charitable explanation I can come up with for this is that the Obama administration chooses not to fight in the culture wars at a time when it still has to deal with the middle east, healthcare reform and the economy. Trying to fight the DoMA would just complicate things for him right now in so many other areas. Plus since the national polling trends seem to point toward more liberalization of marriage laws, this battle is a better one to fight in his second term or even to make a campaign issue in 2012.

    Or it could be a major fsck-up where the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

    Or maybe Obama and the AG are homophobes after all.

  107. GregLondon@109:
    Any third party candidates had no serious chance of winning, and I’m not wasting my vote on that.

    If you have a goal of advancing a third party into the two-party system, the act of voting for a third party is more important in some cases than voting for the major-party candidate. Not saying that this was true in 2008, but it was true for me in 2000 when I didn’t have the benefit of knowing that the Bush administration would be cursed. The choice was between the successor to the Clinton administration after we all got a glimpse of what Bill Clinton was really like and a candidate who seemed to be a sock-puppet. Neither of them were really appealing, although I had a slight preference for Gore.

    So I voted Libertarian.

    Besides, it wasn’t just the Nader voters who lost Florida in 2000, it was the Palm Beach democrats who punched Pat Buchanan by mistake misreading the ballot.

  108. Bozo @ 119 — “The most charitable explanation I can come up with for this is that the Obama administration chooses not to fight in the culture wars at a time when it still has to deal with the middle east, healthcare reform and the economy. Trying to fight the DoMA would just complicate things for him right now in so many other areas. Plus since the national polling trends seem to point toward more liberalization of marriage laws, this battle is a better one to fight in his second term or even to make a campaign issue in 2012.”

    …all of that is very obviously true. So what is “charitable” about recognizing it?

  109. @ Bozo – Bob Barr? Seriously? You buy his “conversion”? Because he was a theo-con back when he held office. Couldn’t you guys have gotten Jesse Ventura or something? I might have voted for him at least.

  110. Bozo@119: The most charitable explanation I can come up with for this is

    Yes, but “most charitable” is not the same as “true”. It’s a nice explanation, but there is zero reason to believe it is true.

    Bozo@120: the act of voting for a third party is more important in some cases than voting for the major-party candidate

    I’m so glad I made this page:

    http://www.warhw.com/third-party-vote/

    I didn’t have the benefit of knowing that the Bush administration would be cursed.

    I did. The man was clearly a moron from day one.

    the successor to the Clinton administration after we all got a glimpse of what Bill Clinton was really like

    Yes, I remember the good ol’ days when a blowjob would get demands for impeachment. Now the president commits 8 years of war crimes and not a peep.

    it wasn’t just the Nader voters who lost Florida in 2000, it was the Palm Beach democrats

    Uh, that’s an excuse by folks who deliberately voted for Nader to try and diminish the damage they inflicted on the country for 8 years. I’m perfectly willing to blame folks for misreading a ballot by accident. But I’m also perfectly willing to blame the 100k or so nuts who couldn’t see a difference between a guy born with a silver spoon in his hand, who couldn’t run a single business in his lifetime, and another guy who would go on to win the nobel prize.

  111. “If Obama is revealing that he lied to everyone on the social issues, and he’s causing unparalleled disaster on economics and national security . . .”

    The question doesn’t make any sense – he hadn’t, you know, done any of that before they voted for him. This particular election involved two candidates without executive branch experience or an executive branch record.

    Regardless of which you voted for, you had only the presumption that they would do what they said they would.

  112. John from GR – “So…people are still surprised when a politician acts like a politician?”

    No, but people should be angry when they do.

  113. Hey GL…since we have been at eachother’s throats in two different threads now, I wanted to focus on a few things you said in that last post that were awesome.

    BZ: I didn’t have the benefit of knowing that the Bush administration would be cursed.

    GL: I did. The man was clearly a moron from day one.

    Correct. Anyone paying attention at all could tell that the “Bush administration” was going to be a disaster. The only thing I could not have predicted was that he would actually get re-elected after four years of said disaster. But otherwise, it was quite predictable. Point, GL.

    BZ: the successor to the Clinton administration after we all got a glimpse of what Bill Clinton was really like

    GL: Yes, I remember the good ol’ days when a blowjob would get demands for impeachment. Now the president commits 8 years of war crimes and not a peep.

    Again, well played. Sensible people continue to not give a crap who blows the President, so long as his policies improve our lives. Clinton undeniably improved our lives. And, again, anyone who didn’t know that Bill Clinton was a sex fiend before the Ken Starr hit job simply wasn’t paying attention…GL 2, BZ 0.

    BZ: it wasn’t just the Nader voters who lost Florida in 2000, it was the Palm Beach democrats

    GL: Uh, that’s an excuse by folks who deliberately voted for Nader to try and diminish the damage they inflicted on the country for 8 years.

    We have a winner!

  114. WizarDru: Fourteenth Amendment, yanno. If it’s a basic human right, it’s supposed to be recognized by all the states, at least for American citizens.

    Supposed to be.

    I never did like the idea of basic human rights being up for majority vote.

  115. 126: I wasn’t aware Ralph Nader was serving on the United States Supreme Court when Bush vs. Gore was handed down. I really MUST brush up on my recent American history. And re-read my The Nation back issues from that year.

  116. Dana, had it not been for Nader, Bush v. Gore would not have come before the SCOTUS at all. We would have had Gore as POTUS, 9/11 would have been stopped, and thousands more American lives would have been saved when we DIDN’T invade Iraq, etc.

  117. A spambot’s comment just made this appear on your sidebar, and I clicked through and was really baffled. “Didn’t they say they wouldn’t defend DOMA any more? ….Ohhhhh…”

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