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Wisconsin Democrats’ “Affront to Democracy”

You can learn a lot about the silliness of certain liberals just by going to the gym. I say that because that’s where I get my daily dose of CNN which seems to be constantly playing on the television monitors in the cardio area.

First, some background.  When Wisconsin Senate Democrats didn’t like some provisions in the budget bill that the state’s elected governor presented, they fled the state in order to prevent the elected state Senate from voting on the bill.  Democrats were unhappy that the party elected to majority status in the legislative chamber had the votes to pass the bill.  While Republicans had the votes, they lacked a quorum of “20 senators to be present for bills that authorize spending money.

Had Democrats remained in the state, they could have debated the bill, raised objections, offered amendments.  Instead, they preferred life on the lam.  So, after three weeks, Republicans, as John Hinderaker put it finally lost patience.  A committee “stripped some financial elements from the bill, which they said allowed them to pass it with the presence of a simple majority.”  The remaining provisions curtail the privileges the state had long granted to public employee unions.

As Governor Walker reminded his fellow citizens in a statement, “The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused”.   And now with “exquisite irony,” Allahpundit quips, supporters of the truant Senators “are screeching, ‘This is not democracy!’(more…)

Truant Wisconsin Democratic Senators Want a “Border Summit”?

This is rich.  In order to resolve the budget “impasse” that they created by fleeing the state, the fourteen Democrats elected to represent various jurisdictions in the Wisconsin state Senate have invited the Republican governor to meet with them near the border of a neighboring state.  That good man wisely dismissed the letter in which they suggested the meeting:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday dismissed as “ridiculous” a letter from a Democratic state Senate leader who suggested a meeting “near the Wisconsin-Illinois border” to discuss the state’s budget impasse.

Sen. Mark Miller sent the letter to Walker on Monday, offering a border summit as a way to resume stalled negotiations on the state’s budget.

Border summit?  Huh?  Are they attempting to resolve tense relations between the Badger State and the Land of Lincoln?  Will they need intermediaries from a neutral state?

Shouldn’t they return to Wisconsin if they wish to resolve Wisconsin‘s budget impasse?  Maybe the governor might meet with them if they returned to the state they were elected to serve.

In what Moe Lane calls, “one of the better official political letters“, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald reminds his Minority counterpart how representative democracies work:

As you know, your opportunity to compromise and amend the bill was on the floor of the state Senate. As you know, you forfeited that right and opportunity when you decided to flee the state instead of doing your job.

Just love the way the Republican who has remained in his jurisdiction doing his job addresses the letter to the flighty Democrat:  “Sen. Mark Miller/Parts Unknown, IL.”

Help Find the Missing 14

In the interest of helping law enforcement in the Mid-west, we are posting this important public service announcement.

(Via Badger 14, via Instapundit.)

Another Democrat calls it “war” when Republicans advance their agenda through the legislative process

Well, if you’re at war,Democrat, why are you fleeing to the safety of another jurisdiction instead of manning the battlements as most people do in such conflicts.

Do these guys have any regard for popular elections?

“It sounds like war to me, and I think that’s what he’s declared this (legislative) session,” [Indiana House Minority Leader Patrick] Bauer said.

He said Democrats are ready to negotiate but won’t return to the Statehouse until Republicans stop pushing their “radical agenda.”

Um, Patrick, so, you’re telling Republicans elected to a majority in last fall’s election that their agenda is “radical,” so you’re going to take your marbles and run away?   Last fall, Indiana voters elected more Republicans than Democrats to the Indiana House, ending your term as Speaker.  That means, you no longer get to set the agenda.

And just like his Wisconsin counterpart, Jon Richards, he describes majority Republicans’ attempts to advance their agenda as war.  What is it with these Democrats, can’t they accept it when Republicans win elections?

Just amazing that Mr. Bauer, after forty years in the legislature, many in the minority, could call it “war” when the party that won a majority of seats in the most recent elections, moves to advance its agenda through the legislative process.  If the agenda were so radical, Bauer should be able to peel off enough Republicans to vote against it.  Failing that, he and his fellow Democrats should easily be able to persuade Hoosiers to reject Republicans in 2012 and replace them with less radical Democrats.

But, no, Indiana House Democrats, like their Wisconsin Senate counterparts, are acting like spoiled children who can’t get their way and run for the hills, er, the state of Illinois.   Don’t see any Republicans running away in states where Democrats are in control.  Nor did we see it in 2009 where there were a lot more such states. (more…)

Those undemocratic Democrats

My, my, my, my, what is it with Democrats in Midwestern States.  They see their party lose seats in the state house and when a bill comes up, they oppose, they run for the hills, er, a neighboring state.

Now, they’re shutting down the legislature in the Hoosier State:

Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.

A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

All to protect the power and perks flowing to public employee unions through their privileged bargaining positions.  Oh, yeah, and the cash that flows from the state treasury to the public employee unions and into Democratic campaign coffers — and for ads on their (i.e. Democratic candidates’ behalf.

Somehow, I just don’t think these will play well with Indiana voters — or those in other jurisdictions.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  ILoveCapitalism offers:

I love how all this exposes the Democrat leaders’ real agenda. Not civility. Not unity. Not bi-partisanship. Not post-partisanship. Just clinging to political power – and its companion, political money.

When Democrat leaders say words like unity, civility, bi-partisanship, etc., they really mean that Republicans should cave into them; let them win. If Republicans win – and apparently are serious about their principles – then it all flies out the window

Democrats shutting down democracy in Wisconsin

While Democrats, both nationally and in the Badger State, are pulling out all stops to thwart Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s necessary — and fiscally responsible — reforms, they are showing themselves to be the real opponents of democracy and responsible governance.   State Sen. Jon Erpenbach whines from Chicago (a city which, by the way, is not in the state in whose legislature he was elected to serve) that it’s the governor’s “responsibility to bring the state together. The state is not unified. It is totally torn part.

Yet, it is Erpenach, his fellow partisans and their union allies responsible for tearing the state apart.  They orchestrated the angry rallies.  They walked out of the legislature, expressly in order to prevent legislators from doing their jobs:

“I’m starting to hold [Democratic Minority Leader Mark] Miller responsible for this,” [Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott] Fitzgerald said. “He shut down democracy.”

The protests have attracted teachers, grade school children, college students and other workers over four days. Police report they have been largely peaceful, with only nine people cited for minor acts of civil disobedience as of Thursday night.

The school children did not show up of their of their own accord, but were dragged there by their teachers who walked off their jobs in order to protest the policies of their elected representatives.  The majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate is right, with the apparent blessing of the national party, his Democratic counterpart is shutting down democracy.  Even some liberal pundits agree.  On Time’s Swampland blog, Joe Klein reminds us:

An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that. . . . .

But we’ve had far too many state legislatures, of both parties, that have been cowed by the political power of the unions and enacted contracts that force state and city governments to be run for the benefit of their employees, rather than for their citizens. This situation is most egregious in far too many school districts across the nation. The events in Wisconsin are a rebalancing of power that, after decades of flush times and lax negotiating, had become imbalanced. That is also something that, from time to time, happens in a democracy. (more…)

Illinois Recognizes Civil Unions the Right Way

After the elected members of both houses of the state legislature passed a bill recognizing civil unions, the elected governor of Illinois signed a bill recognizing same-sex civil unions:

The measure, approved last month during the General Assembly’s lame-duck session, lets gays and lesbians use civil unions as a way to enjoy several of the same rights as people who are married, ranging from sharing a nursing home room to being involved in dramatic end-of-life decisions.

The law takes effect June 1 once signed. It also applies to heterosexual couples, signifying a step short of marriage.

While it is a good thing that the bill allows same-sex couples to seek protections and privileges for their relationships, it is unfortunate that the legislation also applies to mixed-sex couples who already enjoy the option of seeking state recognition of their unions as marriages.

Still, it is a step in the right direction.  Kudos to the elected officials in the appropriate branches of Illinois state government for moving forward on such recognition.

Party Like It’s 1773!

A good reminder of the significance of this date…. from the Heritage Foundation.

On this day in 1773, a group of colonists disguised as Indians boarded British merchant ships and dumped into the Boston Harbor an estimated £10,000 worth of tea as a protest against British colonial policies.. John Adams declared this event, that we celebrate today as the Boston Tea Party, to be the “grandest event which has ever yet happened since the controversy with Britain opened.” What led once loyal colonists to protest the World’s leading power?  How should we think about the Tea Party two hundred thirty-seven years later?

The American Revolution began as a tax revolt. After defeating France in the Seven Years’ War (which began in North America as the French and Indian War), Great Britain gained control over vast areas of land in the Americas, but also incurred massive debts. For the first time, Parliament looked to the American colonies as a source of revenue, and so began the long train of abuses against the American colonies. The American Revenue Act (sometimes called the Sugar Act) expanded import and export duties and created new government mechanisms to enforce trade laws. The Stamp Act was the first direct tax levied on America, requiring all newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets, and official documents—even decks of playing cards!—to have stamps as proof of payment of taxes.

These new policies outraged the colonists. The problem with the policies was not the amount of taxation—the taxes were actually quite low—but the process by which the British government imposed and enforced these taxes. As loyal colonists, the Americans recognized Parliament’s authority to legislate for the empire generally. But, the power to tax was a legislative power reserved to the colonists’ own assemblies rather than a distant legislature in London. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 had forbidden the imposition of taxes without legislative consent, and since the colonists had no representation in parliament they complained that the taxes violated their traditional rights. Thus the American’s rallying cry became: “No taxation without representation!”

The British rejected the Americans’ argument for self-government. The Declaratory Act of 1766, asserted Parliament’s absolute sovereignty over the Americans, including the power to make laws for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever.” “No taxation without representation” meant no taxation without the approval of the British Parliament. It never literally meant—not for the Americans or even for the overwhelming majority of British citizens—representation in that body. The colonists, like all British subjects, enjoyed “virtual representation” of their interests by the aristocrats that controlled Parliament.

After repealing the earlier taxes, the British government passed a new series of revenue measures (called the Townshend Acts) in 1767, which taxed goods such as paper, glass, lead, and tea—and once again affirmed the power of British courts to issue undefined and open-ended search warrants (called “writs of assistance”) to enforce the law. Asserting that the sole right of taxation was with the colonial legislature, Virginia proposed a formal agreement among the colonies banning the importation of British goods—a practice that quickly spread to the other local legislatures and cut the colonial import of British goods in half. So Parliament eventually repealed those duties, too, except for the tax on tea.

Our forefathers did not destroy the tea cargo because of a simple tax dispute. At issue were the principles of self-government, consent, and natural rights. These principles are enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and continue to define us as a nation and inspire us as a people.

In 2010, we have our own intolerable act—Obamacare, a massive bureaucratic expansion of government over one-sixth of the American economy and many aspects of our lives and medical decisions. But there is a key difference between the situation now and that of 1773. Those early patriots had to establish their independence and to start anew. But, our task is different. “It is not about fixed bayonets but fixed principles; not about bullets but ballots. Our task is not to overthrow; it is not revolution; it is renewal and restoration of those self-evident truths of constitutional government at the heart of America.”

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Land of Lincoln’s Imperfect Civil Unions Bill

First, kudos to Illinois legislators for passing a law recognizing same-sex civil unions.  This is the way states should go about recognizing gay relationships, through the legislature, not the courts.

But, the bill’s chief sponsor in the state House, state Rep. Greg Harris was wrong to include different-sex couples in this new law’s protections.  Such couples already have an option for recognition of their unions:  marriage.

Still, while an imperfect bill, it is a step in the right direction.

Iowa Voters Reject Justices Who Mandated State Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

In Iowa, voters “removed three justices who participated in a ruling last year that made the state the first in the Midwest” to recognize same-sex marriages. While the governor appoints the justices in the Hawkeye State, they “have to stand for periodic retention votes, a system known as merit selection.

It seems voters approve judges a matter of course, but this time, a coalition of outside advocacy groups pushed for their removal because of their vote on same-sex marriage:

The outcome of the election was heralded both as a statewide repudiation of same-sex marriage and as a national demonstration that conservatives who have long complained about “legislators in robes” are able to effectively target and remove judges who issue unpopular decisions.

Leaders of the recall campaign said the results should be a warning to judges elsewhere.

“I think it will send a message across the country that the power resides with the people,” said Bob Vander Plaats, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor who led the campaign. “It’s we the people, not we the courts.”

“The risk of leapfrogging — or ignoring — public opinion on controversial issues was brought into sharp relief Tuesday,” New York Times writer A.G. Sulzberger observes, “when voters chose to remove all three justices who were on the ballot seeking new terms.”

“They are,” my former fellow Virginia Law Federalist Todd Zywicki writes, “the first Justices who failed to be retained since 1962, when the current system was implemented.”  Todd offers a good discussion of voters’ use of the power of retention, so just read the whole thing.  We could have avoided all this mess if judges deferred such matters to legislators who must answer to the people in biennial elections.

Todd’s post via Glenn Reynolds who offers, “I’m in favor of gay marriage, but I think it’s better that it happen legislatively. On the other hand, had these justices been retained it would have been democratic sanction for the decision. That’s a virtue of elected supreme courts.(more…)

What New Hampshire teaches us about gay marriage

Last week in a piece for the Advocate, Drew Sweetwater wrote:

In California from 1999 to 2003, Democrats controlled the state legislature, and there was a Democratic governor, Gray Davis. During this time marriage equality (sic) legislation was not made law and upheld in California.

To the present time, many gay rights activists are comfortable dumping millions of dollars into the campaign war chests of Democrats running for office — Equality California, the Human Rights Campaign, and other so-called nonpartisan gay organizations — and they have nothing to show for it. Talk about a bad, fraudulent investment.

He notes a well that at the national level, neither the 110th nor the 111th Congress, both controlled by Democrats, have moved forward on repeal of DOMA.

But, Calfornia is a special case.  The leading gay advocacy group, “Equality California,” while, little more than a (gay) front group for the California Democratic Party has great sway in a state capital dominated by Democrats.  And they wear their partisanship on their sleeve.  Stroll down the street in the city where Drew and I live and you’ll see their storefront headquarters decorated with Boxer and (Jerry) Brown signs.

They’ve long had influence in Sacramento, but never use that influence to put forward innovative solutions to address their concerns.  Instead, they constantly lobby for measure upon measure, assuming that whatever they want, they can get through the legislature.

Well, that’s not always the case.  In the wake of the passage of Prop 22 in 2000, a measure which codified the traditional definition of marriage as one man and one woman into state law, they stomped their feet and gnashed their teeth and hoped and prayed some nice, kind judge would spare them the hard work of making the case for state recognition of same-sex marriage. (more…)

Kudos to Elizabeth Gilbert

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - August 13, 2010.
Filed under: Gay Politics,Republican Form of Government

‘Eat Pray Love’ Author to Lobby for Gay Immigrants:

The author of the runaway best-seller “Eat Pray Love,” whose foreign-born lover was barred from permanently living with her in the U.S., will go to Capitol Hill next month to lobby for changing immigration laws to allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their partners from other countries.

Elizabeth Gilbert, whose memoir was made into a film starring Julia Roberts that opens today, will announce today that she will join gay rights activists to push for passage of the Uniting American Families Act.

The measure would allow lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their permanent partners for legal status under the immigration principle of “family unification.” Under current law, only partners who are married to American citizens may apply for permanent residency.

More on this anon, but I really need to get back to my dissertation.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  At least one reader, The_ Livewire picked up on one of the reasons I posted on this, “Kudos for her lobbying congress, rather than bypassing the people on this.”  Exactly, the elected legislature is where such issues should be resolved.  Let’s hope her lobbying is effective and the bill clears Congress — and is signed by the president.

“Log Cabin Republicans vs. USA: One [Headline] Says It All”?

Save for the bracketed word in the title, every word in quotation marks in the title above comes from an e-mail Log Cabin sent out to its list earlier this week.  Did they even consider how that sounded?

In the e-mail primarily a fundraising appeal, the organization discusses the court challenge it brought against Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT), “Log Cabin Republicans is proud to have brought this case, and is committed to fighting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on all three fronts – on Capitol Hill, within the executive branch, and through the courts.”

While I share their goals of overturning DADT, I don’t share their commitment to fighting this in all three branches of the federal government.  I’m concerned about the precedent this would set of having a federal court interfere in military policy, something the Constitution clearly delegates to the executive.  Recall that it was President Harry S Truman who desegregated the military.   And when President Bill Clinton punted on keeping his campaign promise in 1993, he agreed to legislative intervention.  Until he signed that bill, the president could have, with the stroke of a pen, repealed the ban.

Instead of bringing this suit in a court of law, Log Cabin should deploy its resources to lobbying wavering Republican Senators and to working with Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN) to push the Senate to move forward on repeal.

Tea Party Groups Silent on DOMA Ruling

While I would prefer that the Tea Party groups acknowledge how Judge Tauro’s use of the Tenth Amendment could further their small government agenda, I do take a least a little bit of comfort in their decision to remain silent on the ruling:

While many conservative organizations immediately decried a federal judge’s decision last week to invalidate the federal ban on recognizing gay marriages, tea party groups have been conspicuously silent on the issue.

The silence is by design, activists with the loosely affiliated movement said, because it is held together by an exclusive focus on fiscal matters and its avoidance of divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Privately, though, many said they back the decision because it emphasizes the legal philosophy of states’ rights.

The comfort I take is related to that part I emphasized above.  The silence provides further evidence of the Tea Party focus on matters fiscal and further and so helps undermine the left-wing/media/Democratic narrative of sinister racist or anti-gay forces dominating the movement.

Washington Post writer Sandhya Somashekhar quotes one activist who pretty much sums up what’s at issue here:

Everett Wilkinson, state director for the Florida Tea Party Patriots, agreed: “On the issue [of gay marriage] itself, we have no stance, but any time a state’s rights or powers are encouraged over the federal government, it is a good thing.”

NB: Tweaked the text slightly as I had initially written it in haste.

Case Overturning DOMA provision gives gay Americans and conservatives reason to cheer

It is not often when a judge hands downs a ruling which ostensibly benefits gay people while using legal arguments correspondent with conservative ideals.  In many cases, judicial action sought by gay activists relies on strange logic relying on principles at odds with our ideals (& constitutional guarantees) of limited government, separation of powers and federalism.

Occasionally we see a ruling which causes the libertarians among us to cheer while making social conservative grimace, e.g,. Lawrence v. Texas which struck down state sodomy laws.  (While I like the result, I wish they had worked it through the Ninth Amendment, reactivating that often ignored provision, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.“)

Now, while I’m wondering if the federal benefit at issue in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the federal court case striking down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on Tenth Amendment grounds, will cause appellate courts to overrule Judge Tauro, this ruling (at least for now) remains a decision that both gay people and conservatives can cheer.

Gay people should be pleased that DOMA will not prevent partners from getting benefits to which they are, by dint of their relationships, should be entitled.  Conservatives should be delighted by the invocation of the Tenth Amendment; courts are recognizing (as they long ago should have recognized and once did) what the Founders made explicit:  the federal constitution creates a government of limited powers.

While we don’t hear this too often within gay activist circles, it needs be said.  Any law which limits government and expands freedom benefits gay people, not just because of our sexual orientation which makes us different from the social “norm,” but also because we’re individuals just like everyone else.

Freedom is good for all people.

Tenth Amendment Jurisprudence Serves to Invalidate DOMA Provision

When I first read U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that portions of DOMA were unconstitutional because the legislation “interferes with the right a state to define marriage“, I wondered which provision in the federal constitution he used to justify his ruling.

Now I like the result because I believe that same-sex partners should be allowed Medicaid benefits, the issue in this case.  And those seeking those benefits had sought the protections of marriage.  But, I feared it may have been based on shady constitutional logic where the judge (or justice) found his justification in illuminations refracted from reflections in the charter’s penumbrae.

Thus, when I looked into matter, I was delighted to learn that Judge Tauro had rooted his decision in the Tenth Amendment.  That provision reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  So, favoring a federal government of limited powers, I think he’s on pretty solid ground.

But, from Volokh, we learn that some liberals are wary of rooting the decision in this oft-ignored provision:

Jack Balkin has an interesting post on today’s two Defense of Marriage Act cases from the federal District of Massachusetts, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, and Massachusetts v. HHS. The latter case found DOMA unconstitutional, as applied to Massachusetts, because DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment by infringing the state’s traditional core sovereign power of defining lawful marriages. The most important parts of the Tenth Amendment analysis are at pages 28–36 of the opinion. Balkin is concerned because the Judge Tauro’s “Tenth Amendment arguments prove entirely too much. As much as liberals might applaud the result, they should be aware that the logic of his arguments, taken seriously, would undermine the constitutionality of wide swaths of federal regulatory programs and seriously constrict federal regulatory power.”

If you have time, read all of Balkin’s post; I thought that David Kopel did a good job of summarizing the key points–at least those I wanted to address, so I just quoted his introduction above.  (His post is also a good one.)  We conservatives should welcome a decision limiting the federal government’s regulatory role to those powers delegated to it by the Constitution.

And I believe states should define marriage. (more…)

McChrystal’s Inappropriate Comments

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:30 pm - June 22, 2010.
Filed under: Republican Form of Government,War On Terror

In a choice between General Stanley McChrystal and President Barack Obama to head national security policy (or to determine which strategy and tactics to use to implement that policy), I would, without hesitation, pick the former.  I believe he has a better understanding of the risks we face and the means we need take to mitigate them.

That said, I cannot defend, indeed, strongly criticize the comments the top commander in Afghanistan made to the Rolling Stone‘s Michael Hastings.  I agree with Defense Secretary Robert Gates who, according to Politico

publicly rebuked Gen. Stanley McChrystal Tuesday, saying in a statement that the top commander in Afghanistan had “made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment” in the biting remarks he and his aides made in a Rolling Stone article about President Barack Obama and others in the administration.

Simply put, a military commander should not make “dismissive and derogatory remarks to a magazine reporter about U.S. government officials involved in” setting military policy.  Once again, the indispensable Jim Geraghty:

Many people I know think highly of McChrystal, and he has earned his accolades. But a general in the American armed forces cannot, on the record, mock or deride the vice president and the U.S. ambassador, much less the president of the United States. You and I can; we’re just some schmoes; we don’t report to him in the chain of command. I’m sure many generals have thought many colorful expressions of criticism toward presidents over the years, but they cannot blab them to reporter.

Emphasis added.  In our system of government, the military is subordinate to civilian authority.  You and I may prefer McChrystal’s judgment to that of Obama, but the latter was elected and the former serves at his pleasure.  Criticize Obama we can — and should — but McChrystal has a duty to follow his commands.  If he disagrees with the president, he should make his disagreements known to the Administration, but through private channels not in a widely-circulated (or even a not widely-circulated) publication. (more…)

As goes Maine. . .

Maine is no longer the bellwether she once was in the Nineteenth Century, but should voters in the Pine Tree State vote down a “citizens’ veto” of legislation recognizing gay marriage (that the elected legislature passed and the elected Governor signed), it could signal a shift in popular attitudes toward gay marriage.  To be sure, few polls have shown any significant trends in favor of gay marriage in the past three or four years.

However, the recent Gallup poll showing that Americans are becoming increasingly conservative also found that attitudes toward gay marriage “have stayed about the same since 2008.”  There may  not be a movement toward state-recognized same-sex marriage, but there certainly isn’t a return to the overwhelming opposition we saw in the 1990s.

I had assumed that, without a state Supreme Court decision for gay marriage opponents to rail against, citizens of Maine would not feel disenfranchised by their state’s manner of recognizing same-sex marriages and they would veto the veto.  The polls though show a very tight race, with the latest indicating a narrow victory for Question 1, “which would reverse the state’s law legalizing same sex marriage

At 51-47 it’s within the margin of error but there has been slight movement in support of the question since a PPP poll two weeks ago showed it knotted up at 48.

As Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling wrote, “It’s just going to come down to which side does the better job of getting its people out.”  I don’t know what kind of ground game those opposing the initiative have put together.  If it’s anything like their efforts last fall in the Golden State, things don’t look good for those who seeking to uphold the legislature’s action.

Given the number of signatures gathered by opponents of the legislation (they gathered twice as many as needed), those favoring Question 1 clearly are fired up and are certain to vote.

All that said, I don’t have much information on the ground game of those opposing the initiative.  If they’ve learned from the mistakes made last fall in the Prop 8 battle in California, then we’re in for a long night in the Pine Tree State.  We could see the first defeat of a measure seeking to limit marriage (for state purposes) to its traditional meaning.

But, I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Contract From America

This was a grassroots-generated concept springing from this year’s Tea Parties across the USA. [Emphasis added by me below.]

We, the citizens of the United States of America, in order to protect our country from those who seek power and authoritarian control under the false guise of compassion and altruism, call upon our elected representatives to sign this Contract and by doing so commit to upholding the principles herein:

Individual Liberty

Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not gifts from the government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.

Limited Government

The purpose of our government is to protect our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.

Economic Freedom

The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.

I’ve signed up.  You should too.  And take it to your Member of Congress to sign.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Senator Doesn’t Know How Many Czars There Are

If a member of the United States Senate, you know, serving in a branch of government which is supposed to be overseeing the executive branch, doesn’t know how many czars there are, that suggests these officials are operating without adequate legislative oversight.

Over at Nice Deb‘s blog, I chanced upon this statement from Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander:

Commenting on the same video, Ed Morrissey observes that the GOP has begun to pushback on czars, starting “in the Senate, the legislative body Barack Obama has bypassed with his proliferation of unaccountable commissars in government.

Morrissey links a Washington Post op-ed by Alexander’s colleague from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who raises the constitutional question:

Unfortunately — and in direct contravention of the Framers’ intentions — virtually no one can say with certainty what these individuals do or what limits are placed on their authority. We don’t know if they are influencing or implementing policy. We don’t know if they possess philosophical views or political affiliations that are inappropriate or overreaching in the context of their work. (more…)