Thursday, October 21, 2010

When Fall Comes...

...winter is not far behind. But last week up at the cabin the foliage was near its peak, the weather was mild, and winter still seemed far away. But as the days get shorter, the nights get colder, and we know winter will be coming, inexorably, as it always does.

This winter will seem particularly long if the Republicans win control of the House and possibly the Senate. I can only hope that the polls are wrong and the carnage won't be as bad as feared.

But if it is, I hope the Democrats and the President see the error of their ways and don't react to a setback as a sign that they need to move more to the center. Instead they should realize that the lack of support on the Democratic side is driven more by disillusionment from their core constituents rather than anger by Independents against the liberal agenda.

The recent decision by the Obama administration's Department of Justice to appeal the injunction against enforcing the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law by Judge Virginia Phillips is a case in point. As a result of the appeal, the injunction against enforcement is now on hold.

How can supporters of gay rights, who backed President Obama in 2008 under the assumption he wanted to overturn DADT, still believe in his support if the DOJ continues to block efforts to change it? The President claims he wants Congress to overturn it, but getting this Congress to do anything is, as we well know, impossible. So why not take advantage of the situation and let the judgment stand?

According to an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Walter Dellinger (former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel), the administration is, in fact, compelled to carry out the laws of the land. Per Mr. Dellinger,

"Many people seem to believe that the law would disappear if the Justice Department refused to appeal the court order. But there are two reasons that’s not the case.

First, the government has an obligation to comply with the nation’s laws, regardless of whether the president agrees with a particular statute. Doing otherwise would also set a precedent justifying similar nullifications by future administrations. The next president might, for example, decide not to enforce the recent health care reform law; all he would need would be a single ruling against the law by a single district court judge, which he would then refuse to appeal."

However, don't get the impression that he feels there is nothing President Obama can do in this situation. On the contrary, he suggests that the President make it clear that he believes the DADT law is unconstitutional and use his bully pulpit to push for the reform, something he has seemed reluctant to do in anything but a perfunctory way, and only when he's speaking in general terms. As Mr. Dillinger explains,

"However, Mr. Obama may have another option: while appealing the lower court’s decision, he could have the Justice Department tell the appellate court that the executive branch believes the law is unconstitutional.

In other words, the Justice Department would take the formal steps necessary to defend the law, but it would also make substantive arguments about why the law should be struck down. The Supreme Court could still vote to uphold the law, but the president’s position could significantly influence how the court rules.

Doing so wouldn’t unfairly strip the law of adequate defense: if the administration took a stand against the law, the appellate courts would very likely allow lawyers for Congress or outside groups to appear and argue on its behalf."

Sounds like a plan to me. It certainly couldn't hurt.

UPDATE: Found a good article in the comments section of From The Left - an article in Newsweek that details even further the things the Obama administration could do to undermine DADT.

I'm sure the President is stepping gingerly with this one to avoid controversy before the election - as if it would even help. But I hope once the election is over - whatever the outcome - that President Obama uses his next years in office to stand up for the principles he said he stood for during his campaign. Let's get DADT and DOMA repealed, let's get Guantanamo closed, let's get out of Afghanistan and Iraq completely. The latter would be the most important accomplishment he could make, since the wars are responsible for a huge amount of our soaring deficits - an amount that is never mentioned by the GOP or the Tea Partiers since military spending is sacrosanct to them. Reducing the deficit by lowering military spending would take some of the wind out of their sails. (Of course then they'd say the Democrats were weak on defense but that's another story and probably more easily countered than this vague financial "deficits" issue).

Oh well, enough venting. I decided I'm going to leave my purple format up until DADT is repealed!

In the meantime, below are pictures we took when we were in the Adirondacks last week. Enjoy the scenery and don't think about the upcoming elections if you can help it. But do get out and vote when the time comes, of course! While we may not be thrilled with the Democrats, the Republicans would be a lot worse.

We got the Little Cat a cozy cat bed and she loved lying in it by the fire.


Jack Jodell said...

BEAUTIFUL photography, Mauigirl! I read you all the way on how you'll feel if the GOP triumphs at the polls. Obama has been far too conciliatory toward the Repubs, and far too centrist as well. We elected him for big CHANGE, not to engage in collusion with the hated Republicans!

KGMom said...

Preaching to the choir!
And, you get an amen from this corner.

If I had a getaway in the Adirondacks, I just might drop out from this crazy scene for a while. Especially with such a cute kitty to keep me company.

TomCat said...

Mimi, your analysis of how Obama should approach DADT mirrors an article I did a while back, so you get a loud AMEN from me.

Great Pics!

Sherry Peyton said...

Good job Mimi, and I do agree. I'm okay with perhaps this is the only way to make it stick for good, but he needs to come on TV and explain that to the public and ask for their support and for us to rally behind. He needed to do that on so many issues. He doesn't use the bully pulpit hardly at all, and it's really been his undoing.

Mauigirl said...

Jack, exactly - he needs to "man up" as the latest buzzword goes, and do what he said he'd do and stop trying to appease people who refuse to give an inch.

KGMom, that's how I feel when I'm up there - just can't think about all the craziness going on. Which is good for me, but bad for blogging!

TC, will have to go back and read your post - may have missed it during one of my haiatuses (is that a word?) from blogging!

Sherry, totally agree. He has not used his bully pulpit, he's been way too process driven and has not been the great communicator he seemed to be during the campaign. What he did then, he had to keep doing, in order to keep everyone on his side. Distributorcap has a great post on that subject among others.

Sue said...

Gorgeous Fall scenery!

I agree, Obama has been too much a centrist for us progressives, but we should not turn our backs on the dems, that would be disastrous for our country. The democrats need to VOTE and they need to stay patient and dedicated to Obama and his agenda. We are moving forward, yes slowly but it's better than what the GOP would have done for us in the past 2 years. If the GOP takes control of the House it will only make 2012 easier on democrats, the country will have 2 years to see the rights do nothingness and kick them out, for good would be nice too!

Billie Greenwood said...

I think I need a break from politics for awhile, Mimi. I really related to your autumn photos, though! They are beautiful! :-)

BBC said...

This winter will seem particularly long if the Republicans win control of the House and possibly the Senate.

I don't give a rats ass who is in office anymore, they all screw things up.

I saw this mess coming and got ready for it, everything is free and clear and I can get by dirt cheap, this works for me.

As for wars, I've decided that they are just an interesting way of population control being as these stupid monkeys breed like rabbits and are over populating poor mother earth.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Beautiful pictures and I like the purple background (I really do like purple and I know it's a political statement of support of gays as well).

But I hope once the election is over - whatever the outcome - that President Obama uses his next years in office to stand up for the principles he said he stood for during his campaign.

Me too! He might win reelection should he do that!!!

Christopher said...

Hey Mauigirl,

Thanks for the mention!

The mess with DADT (DOMA and ENDA too) and Obama's failure to deliver is the final nail in the political coffin for me with this president.

I'm looking ahead to 2012 and I hope the Dumbos have the cajones to run a viable challenger to the current nitwit in the White House.

Rumors abound that Hillary may enter the race in 2012, or 2016. I say, why not? She wouldn't be any worse than Obusha and maybe, she would be better?

The Dems will lose the House in the midterms. Possibly the senate too but, I'm not sure about the senate but the House is definitely going GOP.

Too bad Obama is so arrogant that he ignored the polls in 2009 that said the Number One issue the majority of American cared about most was jobs and the economy. But he squandered his first year on healthcare reform as unemployment got worse and worse. The American people feel abandoned by him now and I think he will only serve a single term.

Oh well. So much for "Change, you can believe in."

LeftLeaningLady said...

I don't have a cabin set amidst such beauty and I am having difficulty blogging. You are doing great.

And headed to DC, correct? Wow! Less than a week.

nonnie9999 said...

the law is like a logic game, and there are different ways of getting to the end you want to get to. i heard on tv today that obama is setting things up so that he can bypass the congress and put the decision to eject a member of the military under dadt to a handful of people. they would have to personally sign off on each expulsion, and they won't. therefore, there will be gays in the military whose sexual orientation is known. the world will not end, and haters like capt underpants (mccain) will no longer have any arguments to rail against getting rid of dadt. dadt will expired with a whisper rather than a bang, but it will go away, and that's what's important.

p.s. gorgeous pix. i am totally jealous.

libhom said...

I don't think the GOP will win the Senate for the reason that they are running an incredibly weak set of candidates. For instance, if they had picked someone less crazy than Sharon Angle, they would have an easy win in Nevada and could focus their money on other races.

Tim said...

Well I happen to think Obama sometimes outsmarts himself. Onto the pictures..great stuff. My wife and I are very near to the Adirondacks. As a matter of fact the Catskills too. We would love to find a cabin in the woods. Enjoy, we all enjoyed your pictures.

SoINeedAName said...

I actually think the purple background is quite becoming.

And the pictures are spectacular!

Mauigirl said...

Thanks everyone - glad you liked the pictures!

Christopher, I agree Obama miscalculated. He should've had a sign on his wall like Bill Clinton did in 1992 saying "It's the economy stupid" during the past two years.

Nonnie, interesting strategy, perhaps it will work...we shall see.

John Myste said...

The cat I inherited, Oliver, looks identical to that cat. You could swap them out while I was not looking and I wouldn’t know.

Will you?