Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Did NOT see that one coming

So, I read today that the Obama Administration will no long oppose legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act -- taking the position that, when you get right down to it, the law is kinda unconstitutional.

When I say I didn't see it coming, I mean from a political strategy point of view.  From a practical point of view, I did see it coming -- in the broad sense that I think that ultimately, there's only one way this dispute will actually end, and that's with equal rights for homosexuals.  But that's in an ultimate sense -- it might take a bunch of adverse court decisions and a whole new generation of Americans for this to happen.  So, I mean, yeah, I think that's how it will play out, but I didn't expect the current administration to go there and I certainly didn't expect it to go there today.

And here's why:  Just yesterday I was watching the news about how Republicans in Congress were targeting Planned Parenthood (and pretty much anyone who provides abortions) for budget cuts, and my thought was, "well, that's just going to help the Democrats take back the House in the next election."  Because, here's the thing -- it isn't the ultra-conservatives or the ultra-liberals who decide elections, it's the moderates.  And moderates didn't vote for Republicans because they're against abortions; they voted for Republicans because the economy is in the toilet and the Republicans promised jobs.  

And we've seen this before -- we vote a party in to do something, and instead, they see being elected as a great opportunity to push other items in their agenda forward -- which ultimately results in us then voting the other party into power (who will proceed to do the same thing from their side).

So, what I expected to see from Obama and the Democrats in Congress was either:  (1) a media poop-storm about how the Republicans forcing their social anti-abortion agenda rather than rational fixes to the economy; or (2)  sort of letting the Republicans get away with it with the understanding that they would point to it at the next election as a reason for voting the Republicans out.

What I did NOT expect was for Obama to play social issue against social issue.  To say, "I'll see your no-fiscal-support-for-abortion-providers; and raise you a no-legal-support-for-the-Defense-of-Marriage-Act."  I mean, DAMN.

(Amusing, though, that Republicans immediately picked up on the proper response to the play.  The above linked article includes this quote:

"While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that divides the nation," Boehner aide Michael Steel said.

Hmmm.  "[S]tir up a controversial issue that divides the nation"?  Sounds an awful lot like abortion, from where I'm sitting.)

But, still, the very last thing I expected out of the Obama Administration was to counter with its own move on a social issue.  It will be very interesting to see how this one plays out.

1 comment:

Wil said...

Follow the money. Promises made must sometimes be kept. GLBT contributors are not as willing to stand on sidelines forking over money as they may have been in the past.

And I do like the in-your-face-ness of it all, too.