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Has Obama Really Failed?

This is a thing that’s going around. Screen-Shot-2015-11-05-at-4_37_03-PM-550x321 The implication is that Obama’s presidency has been bad for the Democratic Party. I guess you could make that case, kinda sorta. And since the Democratic Party threw themselves all-in to his Cult of Personality, it’s kind of Karmic that it would lead to their withering in state governments and Congress.

But I don’t think Obama or his Alinskyite backers care very much about states or legislatures. Obama has been spectacularly successful in centralizing autocratic power in the executive branch; aided and abetted by Republicans who are either too timid to oppose him or actively collaborating. Obama has unilaterally re-written welfare laws, immigration laws, environmental laws, and labor laws. His administration has imposed policies on the states ranging from dictating what school children may eat for lunch to how states may use natural resources. The Democrats may be losing power in the states and legislatures, but Obama has largely made them irrelevant.

Rhode Island recognizes gay marriages the right way

After several tries, the Ocean State will start recognizing same-sex marriages on August 1.   Both houses of the legislature voted in favor of such recognition and the elected governor signed the bill into law.

And this legislation, like that in New Hampshire, addresses the concerns of those who contend such recognition would force churches (and other religious institutions) to perform weddings at odd with their faith’s doctrine.  According to the Associated Press’s David Klepper:

The bill that passed the House stated that religious institutions may set their own rules regarding who is eligible to marry within the faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony. The Senate added language to ensure that groups like the Knights of Columbus aren’t legally obligated to provide facilities for same-sex weddings.

With such provisions, the Ocean State not only recognizes same-sex marriages, but also protects religious freedom.


FROM THE COMMENTS:  Jayne contends that “union of 2 males or 2 females is, biologically, historically and culturally so vastly different from the union between a male and female that to define it with the same term renders the definition meaningless.”

I would agree that same-sex unions are different from different-sex ones merely because of the differences between men and women, but is she right, are they “vastly different”? (Emphasis added.)

“Did Ron Paul go too far this time?”

The headline is what I just saw on Yahoo! (hence the quotes). The article is from Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor:

Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has slammed US law enforcement for responding to the Boston Marathon bombing with “police state tactics.”

In a post on the website of libertarian activist Lew Rockwell, Mr. Paul said Monday that the governmental reaction to the tragic explosions was worse than the attack itself. The forced lockdown of much of the Boston area, police riding armored vehicles through the streets, and door-to-door searches without warrants were all reminiscent of a military coup or martial law, Paul added.

“The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city,” according to Paul.

Furthermore, this response did not result in the capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Paul charged. He was discovered hiding in a boat by a private citizen, who called police…

The article seems to be written by a leftie: it unfortunately goes on to quote the pompous and silly Glenn Greenwald, and uses guilt-by-association to insinuate that Austrian economics (Ludwig von Mises) somehow goes with racism.

But brush that aside: the main topic is still interesting. Your thoughts? Who went too far: Ron Paul, or the Boston police?

But, Nancy, you didn’t hold a vote on DOMA repeal when you were Speaker (& Democrats Held Majority in the House)

On Facebook, super-sweet left-wing blogress Pam Spaulding links this article from the Washington Blade, Pelosi vows to drop DOMA defense in Democratic House:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed to drop congressional defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court if Democrats retake control of the House in November.

Um, Nancy, please do tell me why you don’t bring up DOMA repeal when you were Speaker and had a 76-vote (256 Democrats to 178 Republicans) majority in the House.  We wouldn’t have to worry about litigating this issue if Congress had repealed the legislation.

RELATED: When they had a majority, House Democrats never voted on repealing DOMA, yet now they’re campaigning on Obama’s support of same-sex marriage

What gay Republicans (should) expect from the state

Consistent with conservative principles as articulated by the Republican Party at least since its founding — and particularly in the post-Civil War era as well as in the last third of the preceding century (roughly synchronous with the rise of Ronald Reagan), we should favor laws which do not distinguish based on race, religion, sexual orientation or any other similar factor differentiating one human being from another.

We shouldn’t ask government to sanction our sexual orientation, but do ask that it not condemn it.  We don’t need validation from the state to live freely.  And it is not warranted for the state to punish us for our difference — nor for acting upon our sexual/emotional longings for affection and intimacy.

We ask simply to be treated as human beings with each individual retaining the right to determine his destiny.

And by not asking for privileges based on our difference, we make clearer our commitment to freedom (and indeed to the ideal of equality under the law), to the state leaving each man, each woman alone to determine his, to determine her own destiny.  At the same time, we reaffirm the principles which have made this nation great, have made it strong and made it a shining example for those seeking freedom from oppressive regimes and seeking to replace such regimes with more equitable administrations.

In short, by not asking for anything from the government, we lead by example, reminding all Americans that we don’t need favors from the state in order to seek out opportunities, fulfill our own destines and pursue our own happiness, on our own or together with individuals with whom we choose to associate as part of groups we choose to join.

More on this anon.

NB: Tweaked the text to make it a bit bolder.

Republican House in NH rejects repeal of Granite State’s recognition of same-sex marriage

Liz Mair reminded us yesterday of something significant about the New Hampshire House’s rejections of “a bill that would have made their state legislature the first one to repeal” the state’s decision to recognize same-same unions as marriage: the legislature that rejected repeal was overwhelmingly Republican.

Now, to be sure, the GOP leadership did push repeal, but the rank and file did not entirely fall into line. This is pretty significant considering how small the districts are in the Granite State; most representatives know their constituents. They’ll have to deal with them directly when the legislature is not in session (and even when it is). Thus this vote is considerably more significant than a vote in a larger state where legislators contact with their constituents is often filtered through their staff and special interests.

In Liz’s view,

New Hampshire Republicans who voted against repealing gay marriage made the right call. Gay marriage doesn’t represent a threat to any individual liberties so long as robust conscience protections are in place, whereas the repeal of it would undermine a prior expansion of individual liberties (even if civil unions were permitted).

Gingrich refuses to “outright reject” state-recognized same-sex marriage in Washington State

Now, this is interesting:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich declined Friday to outright reject a new law legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state, saying if it is approved by voters it will at least be enacted “the right way.”

The former House speaker’s comments came on a visit to the state Capitol where he also met privately with Republican legislators. Washington’s Democratic governor signed the gay marriage bill last week and it will take effect in June unless opponents can gather enough signatures to force a fall referendum.

Gingrich cited the possibility of a public vote in appraising the hot-button issue, noting that judges have authorized same-sex marriage in other places.

“I think at least they’re doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will,” Gingrich said.

Well, actually, Washington State has already done it the “right way”; the elected legislature debated the legislation, voted on it and the elected governor signed the bill into law.

Washington State recognizes same-sex marriages the right way

Yesterday, the Washington State House passed a bill to recognize same-sex marriages, following the action last week of the state Senate.  Governor Christine Gregoire “is expected to sign the measure into law next week.

This is exactly how states should go about recognizing same-sex relationships, with elected legislators deciding the matter.

CA Supreme Court: Prop 8 backers have standing

Even though I voted against Proposition 8 in 2008 and believe that voters should overturn it, I think the state Supreme Court got this one right:

The sponsors of ballot propositions can step in to defend their initiatives from legal challenges if the governor and attorney general refuse to do so, California’s highest court said Thursday in a precedent-setting ruling that could prove pivotal to the future of the state’s same-sex marriage ban and its notoriously vigorous citizens’ initiative process.

Responding to a question from a federal appeals court that is considering the constitutionality of the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban, the California Supreme Court said the lawmaking power granted to citizens under the state constitution doesn’t end once propositions have been approved or rejected by voters.

. . . .

In the 61-page opinion, the seven justices said denying ballot proposition backers a seat at the table would effectively grant the governor and attorney general veto power over initiatives with which they disagreed, a situation the justices said would undermine the law-making powers California gave voters in 1911.

Emphasis added.  Look, I think the California initiative process has been way overused over the years, but the law is on the books.  And a governor’s refusal to defend a law should not prevent supporters of a popular initiative from defending it on constitutional grounds.  This notion also holds for a domestic partnership law passed by the Wisconsin legislature.

“Although” Maura Dolan reports in the LA Times, “the 9th Circuit is not bound by Thursday’s ruling, the decision makes it less likely that the appeals court would decide Proposition 8’s future on narrow, standing grounds.

More on this anon (as time allows–other things I want to blog on and working on a non-blog related tedious time-consuming project.

Who’s playing political games?

Surrounded by police officers, firefighters, teachers, construction workers and others he said would be helped by the $447 billion package,” Erika Werner writes, “the president said the only thing that would block its passage would be lawmakers deciding it wasn’t good politics to work with him. ‘We can’t afford these same political games, not now,’ Obama said.”

The Democrat casts his opposition as seeking to score political points rather than stand on principle.

Ms. Werner also reported that the Democratic chief executive “proposed paying for his costly new jobs plan Monday with tax hikes that Republicans have already emphatically rejected.”  He declared that “Congress needs to pass” his bill:

“No games. No politics. No delays.” He sent it to Capitol Hill saying, “The only thing that’s stopping it is politics.”

Can you imagine how the media would have reacted if the immediate past President of the United States had issued a similar statement about legislation containing provisions his opposition had already “emphatically rejected”?

It is not the president’s job to dictate to Congress how to legislate.  A post-partisan politician would understand that his ideological adversaries often have sound reasons for opposing legislation he advocates, particularly when said legislation increases federal spending — and the federal budget is severely out of balance.

UPDATE:  Jim Geraghty, quoting an Obama advisor, shows us just how intransigent this White House is:

On “Good Morning America” this morning, Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod declared that Obama’s jobs plan must be passed in its entirety; no provisions may be rejected or excepted.

The blogger  concludes with the quip, “But remember, in the MSM narrative, it’s the Republicans who are being stubborn and inflexible.”

On Republican refusal to offer official response to Obama speech

Article 2 of the United States Constitution specifies that the “executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”   (No, Vice President Biden, Article 1 does not define the executive branch.)

We have just one president.  While we may not always agree with the incumbent, the same article (i.e., 2) grants him a term of four years.  And Barack Obama was elected to a just such a term.  Given that we have only one president, it always seemed a little odd that our media have long allowed the opposition party to offer a response to presidential addresses.  (Wonder if this process started in the Reagan era.)

Well, to his credit, House Speaker John Boehner declined to choose a fellow partisan to offer the Republican response and this has upset his predecessor:

Republicans also announced that they would not prepare an on-air response to the president’s proposal immediately following the speech, a decision House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, said was “disrespectful.”

“Listen, this is not the State of the Union address,” Boehner said when asked Thursday why Republicans would not give an official televised response. “The American people shouldn’t be forced to watch some politician they don’t want to listen to. And frankly, most of them would rather watch the football game.”

Sorry, Nancy, it’s hardly disrespectful.  Instead, the Republican refusal honors the office of the presidency and the meaning of the federal constitution.

Katrina, Irene & the Expectations of Bush’s Failure

It is perhaps instructive that Hurricane Irene threatened to devastate the East Coast almost exactly six years after Katrina did indeed devastate the Gulf Coast in and around New Orleans.

Now, to be sure, then-President George W. Bush did make his share of blunders in responding to the storm, perhaps his greatest being that he respected our federal system and trusted local authorities, who traditionally direct the response to handle natural disasters.  The federal government merely plays a supporting role.

One hundred years ago,” John Hinderaker wrote yesterday about the incumbent’s pretense of taking charge of hurricane relief efforts

. . . people understood that the president had nothing to do with hurricanes. Now, the president is expected to pretend to have control over more or less everything. This has something to do with the inexorable expansion of federal power, and also something to do with the dumbing-down of the American people.

Six years ago, our friends in the mainstream media used this expectation of of presidential responsibility over disaster relief to prove that the then-incumbent was the incompetent they knew him to be.  His image never recovered from their assault (though it just might have had he then had a press secretary who was not in a perpetual “defensive crouch“).

As the facts trickled out, it became increasingly clear that local authorities botched relief efforts in Louisiana.  Recall, that the storm devastated coastal regions in Mississippi and Alabama, but the chaos centered around Louisiana.   The then-Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, dilly-dallied before declining the “dual-hat” command structure to accommodate her concerns about “federalizing the response“.   President Bush was concerned about overstepping his bounds and not interfering with state responsibilities.

And because of those concerns for our federal structure, he was blamed for the Democratic governor’s failures. (more…)

A tax system that might cause the Founders to reach for their muskets

Until recently, when I read about the Revolutionary era, I devoted most of my attention to my three favorite Founders, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, studying less the events which inspired them to rebel, focusing instead on the ideals which inspired them to establish our republic.

In recent years, I have expanded that list of favorites to include not just the father of our country, but also a man dubbed the “First American“, Benjamin Franklin.  And in studying these two great men, I considered not just their actions during and after the American Revolution, but also in the period which lead up to it.  As I read (and listened via Books on CD) to their biographies I learned why both Washington and Franklin, once loyal British subjects, broke with the “mother country.”

Fighting in the French and Indian War, Washington learned that a “colonial” could not advance in the ranks as could a counterpart born in Britain, particularly one born there wealth and privilege.  One’s birth, not one’s merit, determined the rank to which he could rise — and the leadership posts he could assume.

Building his own business from scratch, Franklin learned that in a “Proprietary” colony, there were two sets of laws, one which applied to certain families, the other to everyone else.

They believed that the law should make no distinctions based on class.

Yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, Harvey Golub, a former chairman and CEO of American Express, responding to Warren Buffett and the president, critiqued the current American tax system and showed that it now privileges certain favored “classes”:

. . . the extraordinarily complex tax code is replete with favors to various interest groups and industries, favors granted by politicians seeking to retain power. Mortgage interest deductions support the private housing industry at the expense of renters. (more…)

A conservative case why conservatives can’t yet get what we want

In perhaps the most sober conservative assessment of the ongoing debt limit negotiations, Michael Barone makes a conservative case why conservatives can’t yet get what we want:

Republicans want to reverse that enormous policy change [increasing the federal government’s share of gross domestic product from 21 percent to 25 percent], and many are ready to denounce any debt limit deal that leaves them short of that goal.

Before doing so, they ought to consult the Constitution. To achieve the changes they want and that voters endorsed in 2010, they need to win again in 2012. The deal that gets them closer to that is what they ought to be seeking now.

Barone reminds us that while Americans elected a Republican majority in the House last fall, in 2008, our fellow citizens elected Barack Obama to a four-year term.  The same constitution which set the president’s term also arms him with a veto, thus the sage pundit reminds us, “you have to win at least two elections in a row to make the kind of policy changes that the Obama Democrats made in 2009 and 2010 and that House Republicans want to make now.”

Read the whole thing.

Administration Certifies DADT Repeal

There is some good news today; the administration certified the final repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell:

Service members today welcomed a key milestone in repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), as President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, formally issued their certification to the Armed Services committees of both houses of Congress, signifying that the military is ready for the transition. In 60 days, as prescribed in the law passed by Congress and signed by the President last December, repeal will be final.

So much better to have the military certify this than have a court mandate it. The president dilly-dallied on this one, delaying this day. But, with pressure from left-wing gay bloggers and indeed some principled congressional Democrats as well as at least one Senate Republican, he finally acted.

One reason Obama succeeded where Bill Clinton failed was that the Illinois Democrat, unlike his Arkansas counterpart, made this a military issue rather than a gay rights’ issue.  Whereas Clinton moved to repeal the ban while standing beside Barney Frank, Obama sought to repeal the legislation Clinton signed by dispatching his top military aides to Capitol Hill.

Kudos to all those who worked hard to make this day come to pass.  Our nation will be more secure when it can draw on the strengths and patriotism of gay men and lesbian who wish to serve the country which has given us so many opportunities, chief among them, the ability to live free.

New York in Context

Five years ago, when the highest court in New York State refused to mandate state recognition of same-sex marriage, I disagreed with gay activists who criticized the decision, writing, “It is the job of courts to interpret the law, not set social policy“, adding

Despite the unfortunate rhetoric of the releases of HRC and NGLTF, I am delighted to see that their leaders are now looking to these legislators to make that case. Let’s hope this defeat convinces them to spend more time promoting gay marriage in legislatures and other popular fora rather than in courts of law.

Now that they have done so; they have finally achieved the result they wanted.  Elected state legislatures, I have always contended, are the appropriate fora to decide such issues.

The process was often messy, the rhetoric regularly exaggerated, the understanding of marriage generally at odds with the history of the institution, but at least those who made the final decision were elected by the people of the various jurisdictions of the Empire State and thus answerable to them at the ballot box.

We may not have had (and indeed did not have) the type of civil discussion of the importance and meaning of marriage that would have helped strengthen the institution (and not just in New York), but the branch of government responsible for deciding whether the state should privilege same-sex unions as it has long privileged different-sex monogamous unions resolved the issue.

It’s amazing the speed with which our elected legislatures have moved to consider state recognition of our (gay) relationships.  Just six years ago, the Connecticut legislature voted to recognize civil unions, without a court mandating it to do so.  (more…)

NY Legislature Votes to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Just caught this via Instapundit:

CHANGE: Gay marriage legal in New York State after Senate passes historic bill 33-29. I think it’s good that it was passed by the legislature rather than imposed by a court.

Ditto what Glenn said about being passed by the elected legislature. And to note that it passed with Republican votes — and in a legislative chamber run by the GOP.

May have more to say on this tomorrow, but Glenn pretty much summed up what I had to say (though I may add something about the religious amendment added during the final debate).

What the (Need For a) Court Challenge to Obamacare Says (Negatively) About America

So I’m reading today how the Stalinization of Healthcare Act of 2010 is facing renewed Constitutional scrutiny, this time at the hands of a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Georgia. Much hay has been made since the passage of the monstrosity and immediate court challenges thereto of the political make-up of the judges who have so far heard arguments and their seemingly ideologically mirrored conclusions about the federal government’s Constitutional authority to force its subjects citizens to purchase a service for no other reason than that they happen to live in America. Which is to say, up until now, every judge appointed by a Democrat has sided with the Administration, and every Republican-appointed judge has sided with Americans.

What’s gratifying about what we learned today is that members of the panel of the 11th hearing this particular case (this is the one in which twenty-six states have filed suit), made up of two Clinton appointees and on GHWBush appointee, are skeptical of the Administration’s position. If they were to rule the way observers are thinking they will, it’d be the first time a body representing the judicial branch has, ahem, crossed the aisle.

And to be honest, that’s what’s making me grit my teeth a little bit.

Yes, yes, yes. I’m all upset (or whatever) about the “politicization of the Judicial Branch…”

And yes. It’s always grated on me how the Left in America tends to go bawling to the Bar when they can’t convince a majority of their fellow citizens to go along with their cockamamie schemes. When accusations of ‘hate’, ad hominem insults, and attempts to shame voters (or legislators) into going their way don’t seem to win the other side over (imagine, huh?), the Left seems all too prepared time after time to lawyer-up and take their adversaries to court, rather than ever attempting (really) to settle their difference the good old-fashioned representative democratic (“American!”) way: at the ballot box.

So that’s partly—but only partly—why if (hopefully when) this charlie foxtrot is finally dispensed with, it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory for us. Not only because we had to go hat-in-hand to the Black Robed Sages like a bunch of little bitches…

No, no. It’s because this whole national humiliation has said some very troubling things about the state of our alleged democratic republic.

Consider: (more…)

WI Gov. Walker uses tactics favored by gay groups to drop state defense of law establishing domestic partnership registry

First, on this occasion, I disagree with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  He should let the state’s domestic partnership registry stand.  And as chief executive of the Badger State, he is wrong to ask that the state be allowed to stop defending it:

Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.

Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some – but not all – of the rights afforded married couples.

Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.

It does seem I already blogged about this.

But, while gay groups may bellyache about Walker’s actions here, they have helped make the case for Walker’s request of Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser.  Recall how HRC worked to pressure the law firm of King & Spalding from representing the House in its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which, like the Wisconsin legislation in question, was passed by an elected legislature and signed by an elected chief executive.

Other gay groups have commended California Governor Jerry Brown and the state’s attorney general for failing to defend Prop 8, an amendment to the state constitution ratified in the manner stipulated by said document.

For these gay groups, it seems it’s only right for the state’s elected officials not to defend the constitutionality of a law when they don’t like the law.  Otherwise, it’s just jim-dandy.  But, in praising a state for not defending a provision enacted in accordance with its constitution and criticizing an elected legislature from defending a law similarly enacted, they have endorsed the rationale Governor Walker is using to drop the state’s defense of the state’s domestic partnership registry.

Seems some believe the rule of law means the rule of the laws they like, not the laws enacted in a republican manner.

NB:  I revised and expanded this piece shortly after posting it.

UPDATE:   (more…)

NY GOP donors backing push to recognize gay marriage

It is an article of faith among the gay left that Republicans hate gay people.  A paucity of evidence notwithstanding act as if animosity toward homosexuals is a defining principle of the GOP.  Yet, an article in the New York Times indicates that some Republicans are actually the driving financial force behind the effort to achieve state recognition of marriage the right way in the Empire State — through the elected legislature:

As gay rights advocates intensify their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, the bulk of their money is coming from an unexpected source: a group of conservative financiers and wealthy donors to the Republican Party, most of whom are known for bankrolling right-leaning candidates and causes.

heir behind-the-scenes financial support — about $1 million in donations, delivered in recent weeks to a new coalition of gay rights organizations — could alter the political calculus of Albany lawmakers, especially the Republican state senators in whose hands the fate of gay marriage rests.

Seems a lot of my readers have been alerting me to this article, including one who sent me a link to this Stephen H. Miller post on the Times piece.

Do hope this article will cause some on the gay left to reconsider their prejudice.  Yet, for some reason, I don’t think this bit of news will alter some people’s hardened views.