Sunday, February 27, 2011

On the Air Again with Tim Corrimal and Friends – Episode 157

Episode 157 of the Tim Corrimal Show is now up. This week, Tim and I were joined by returning guests David of the Blue Eyed Blog (@My1BlueEye on Twitter) and Sarah Cosgrove of Mashrabiyya (@s_a_cosgrove on Twitter), and new guest Ian Boudreau (@iboudreau on Twitter), to discuss the decision by Pres. Obama and the Justice Department to cease defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court; the union protests in Wisconsin (and elsewhere); and the uprising in Libya against brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since I wrote a lengthy blog post on the DOMA decision earlier this week, I won’t reiterate those points here. But I will say this. If you still believe Pres. Obama’s Republican opposition acts in good faith, you’re out of your ever-loving mind:

Newt Gingrich said in an interview with conservative website Newsmax that he believes President Obama’s decision to stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act is a potentially impeachable offense. The former Speaker of the House -- and presumptive candidate for president -- stopped short of saying congressional Republicans should call for articles of impeachment against Obama. He did say, however, that if a hypothetical President Sarah Palin similarly rejected congressional legislation, she would be crucified by the left.

At the outset, notice the falsehoods Gingrich tells in the Newsmax interview. First, he says that Pres. Obama supported DOMA during the presidential campaign. The President flatly did not. During the campaign, Pres. Obama said he preferred civil unions to full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, but he expressly opposed DOMA itself:

I also believe that the federal government should not
stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and
lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.
… I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Next, Gingrich inaccurately says Pres. Obama has unilaterally decided not to enforce the law. Again, that is flatly untrue, and Gingrich must know it’s untrue. Attorney General Eric Holder, in his letter to Congress indicating that the Obama Administration would no longer defend DOMA in court, explicitly stated:

Notwithstanding this determination, the President has informed me that Section 3 [of DOMA, 1 U.S.C. § 7] will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch. To that end, the President has instructed Executive agencies to continue to comply with Section 3 of DOMA, consistent with the Executive’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality. This course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter of the constitutional claims raised.

Even Glenn Greenwald, a fairly vigorous critic of Pres. Obama on gay rights issues in the past, agrees that despite the Administration’s correct decision not to defend DOMA in court, it must “continue[ ] to enforce the law until it’s repealed or struck down.” That, of course, is exactly what the Obama Administration is doing.

And therein lies the absurd irony of Gingrich’s assertion that by refusing to defend DOMA in court, Pres. Obama may have committed an impeachable offense: The President, of course, has taken an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The President has determined (correctly, as it turns out) that DOMA violates the Constitution. So, by refusing to defend in court a law the Administration believes is unconstitutional, but continuing to enforce it until such time as the courts – who, of course, have the final say – make a determination as to whether that law passes constitutional muster, Pres. Obama is acting in a manner that is entirely consistent with his oath of office.

Years ago, my late brother Tom described the Gingrich-led impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton as an attempted bloodless coup. If that sounds harsh, consider the fact that anyone with rudimentary Google skills could’ve learned the truth about the President’s decision not to defend DOMA in a matter of minutes. That Gingrich nonetheless peddles falsehoods about it strongly suggests that he and his fellow travelers on the right no longer care about the truth. Or the constitution. Or the results of elections. Rather, they will seize on a controversial but courageous decision by Pres. Obama as an excuse to try to overturn the results of the last presidential election.

Because, it seems, they are overtly hostile to democracy itself.

© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.


  1. Hey Dave. An excellent follow up to the show. What the Newt seems to be "conveniently" ignoring in his position and statements is the extensive use of "Signing Statements" that the Bush Administration used when it decided The White House was above the Law and didn't need to follow the laws passed by Congress. One can only imagine the outrage from some on the Right if Obama followed that precedent.