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Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Wong Fu, With Honor, Thanks for Everything, Joe Lieberman

In this hour of triumph on DADT, let's just take a moment to note that for all the drama, the Dems not only did the right thing, they did it the right way.

Obama, with the help of Bob Gates, argued time and again that it was really Congress' job to repeal DADT and that a change of this social import shouldn't be left to the courts. Amen to that. Not only does the court's traditional deference to the military make them an unreliable savior, but there is a real difference in the legitimacy courts and Congresses have on matters of social change. Brown v. Board was far less effective than the Civil Rights Act a decade later. And Obama showed great restraint in not preempting Congress, first by refusing to unilaterally suspend the policy, and second by appealing an anti-DADT decision at the US District Court (to the great confusion and chagrin of the LGBT community and their allies in the Dem base). It sets a bad precedent for presidents to manipulate the law when they simply don't like its outcomes, a lesson the base should have absorbed from eight years of GWB. We are a constitutional system, and matters of potentially divisive social change, Congress should take the lead.

Unfortunately, Congress (by which I mean "the Senate") is badly broken thanks to GOP filibuster madness. No matter. They still got it done today, great credit to the oft-maligned Harry Reid. He's got a far harder job than Nancy Pelosi, but he's done himself proud over the last two years. Two key moves that made it possible? The Obama tax deal, of course. But also not kicking Joe Lieberman out of the Dem caucus when everyone was screaming for his scalp two years ago. Sometimes shameless ass kissing to scumbags pays off. Joe, you're still on my shit list. Today, shalom!


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