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February 24, 2011

DOMA and Base Jumping

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Steven F. Hayward, on Obama's decision to no longer defend DOMA as a politically strategic decision to rev up his leftist base in preparation for 2012, in his piece at The Corner titled "Base Jumping":

Whatever the legal merits or demerits of the Obama administrations decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, politically it looks like a sign that Karl Rove has once again got into their heads and inspired Obama's political team to rally the Democratic base for next year's election. Given the Left's many disappointments (Guantanamo still open, Bush tax cuts extended, Afghan war expanded, etc.), something high-profile like dumping DOMA will go a long way toward juicing the bankers of the Left in Hollywood and elsewhere.

Bill Galston, a sensible and straight-shooting liberal, saw this coming a while ago, and observes the defects in a worthy piece in The New Republic. In describing what he calls a "Colorado versus Ohio" strategy, Galston concludes:

It's easy to claim that the administration need not choose between a Colorado strategy and an Ohio strategy. At the level of tactics, that may be true. If the Obama campaign raises as much money as, or more than it did, in 2008, it will be able to organize and advertise everywhere. But at a deeper level, that doesn't hold. The administration can have only one agenda. If its policy choices over the next 18 months are directed principally toward mobilizing voters from its base, it will pay a price among the millions of others without whose support Obama would never have been elected.
Dumping DOMA doesn't look like a strategy that will play well in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, or other states Obama carried last time. Maybe the title for this post should be "Broken Axelrod."
Two things come to mind here. First of all, you just gotta love the "Broken Axelrod" quip. Secondly, one is left wondering if this president is remotely capable of simply doing what's right and following the law (DOMA is an existing law - instead of choosing which laws he wants to enforce and basing his decisions solely on poltical strategy?

As I wrote yesterday, just to make clear what's happening here, the DOJ ... whose job it is to defend our laws ... has been directed by Barack Obama to no longer defend DOMA because Barack Obama 'has a feeling' that DOMA is unconstitutional. The last time I checked, the final arbiter of what is constitutional is the Judiciary, not the president ... who apparently believes he gets to decide which laws need to be enforced and which ones aren't ... based on what his advisors believe to be strategically favorable for 2012.

This is the kind of "change" that Obama hath brought us. And center-right Americans better hope and pray that Hayward's alternate title of "Broken Axelrod" is prescient.

Posted by Richard at February 24, 2011 10:43 AM

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