Currently viewing the tag: "Defend"

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conservative radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder should probably resign for advising President Obama not to defend the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). King also reiterated his pledge to defund the Department of Justice division responsible for upholding the law:

KING: I don’t necessarily put this at the feet of Eric Holder, although an Attorney General with a constitutional conscience would resign before he would go along with a directive to refuse to enforce the law…What I intend to do, and there are other solutions that are offered and I believe that the Speaker is focused on this as well, Speak Boehner. But what I intend to do is to offer an amendment on an appropriations bill that would cut the funding to the Department of Justice in an amount yet to be determined that would be equivalent to that amount that they would otherwise use to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Listen:

“This is a constitutional issue of significant proportions and I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t heard from some of my other colleagues,” he complained. House Republicans have remained relatively muted on the matter, but hinted that they will announce their intentions to defend DOMA before the end of the week. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) recently told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes that he supports Kings’ defunding drive and would also “absolutely” favor impeaching President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder if such a move “could gain collective support.”

In a letter to Congressional leadership explaining the administration’s decision, Holder pointed to the long history of past administrations choosing not to defend legislation. “[T]he Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a ‘reasonable’ one,” Holder wrote. “[T]he Department has declined to defend a statute ‘in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional,’ as is the case here.”

In 1996, Justice Department officials informed the Senate that the DOJ did not uphold the law “in 1946, 1963, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1990 and 1992.” In 1990, as the number two man in the solicitor general’s office, Chief Justice John Roberts “declined to defend federal laws which set a preference for awarding broadcast licenses to entities with a certain level of minority ownership,” arguing that “the FCC’s policy violated the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause because it unfairly discriminated based on race.” President George W. Bush similarly didn’t defend a law prohibiting the display of marijuana policy ads in ACLU et al., v. Norman Y Mineta and President Clinton did not uphold a law “barring HIV-positive men and women from serving in the armed forces because they deemed it unconstitutional.”

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conservative radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder should probably resign for advising President Obama not to defend the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). King also reiterated his pledge to defund the Department of Justice division responsible for upholding the law:

KING: I don’t necessarily put this at the feet of Eric Holder, although an Attorney General with a constitutional conscience would resign before he would go along with a directive to refuse to enforce the law…What I intend to do, and there are other solutions that are offered and I believe that the Speaker is focused on this as well, Speak Boehner. But what I intend to do is to offer an amendment on an appropriations bill that would cut the funding to the Department of Justice in an amount yet to be determined that would be equivalent to that amount that they would otherwise use to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Listen:

“This is a constitutional issue of significant proportions and I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t heard from some of my other colleagues,” he complained. House Republicans have remained relatively muted on the matter, but hinted that they will announce their intentions to defend DOMA before the end of the week. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) recently told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes that he supports Kings’ defunding drive and would also “absolutely” favor impeaching President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder if such a move “could gain collective support.”

In a letter to Congressional leadership explaining the administration’s decision, Holder pointed to the long history of past administrations choosing not to defend legislation. “[T]he Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a ‘reasonable’ one,” Holder wrote. “[T]he Department has declined to defend a statute ‘in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional,’ as is the case here.”

In 1996, Justice Department officials informed the Senate that the DOJ did not uphold the law “in 1946, 1963, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1990 and 1992.” In 1990, as the number two man in the solicitor general’s office, Chief Justice John Roberts “declined to defend federal laws which set a preference for awarding broadcast licenses to entities with a certain level of minority ownership,” arguing that “the FCC’s policy violated the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause because it unfairly discriminated based on race.” President George W. Bush similarly didn’t defend a law prohibiting the display of marijuana policy ads in ACLU et al., v. Norman Y Mineta and President Clinton did not uphold a law “barring HIV-positive men and women from serving in the armed forces because they deemed it unconstitutional.”

Wonk Room

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conservative radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder should probably resign for advising President Obama not to defend the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). King also reiterated his pledge to defund the Department of Justice division responsible for upholding the law:

KING: I don’t necessarily put this at the feet of Eric Holder, although an Attorney General with a constitutional conscience would resign before he would go along with a directive to refuse to enforce the law…What I intend to do, and there are other solutions that are offered and I believe that the Speaker is focused on this as well, Speak Boehner. But what I intend to do is to offer an amendment on an appropriations bill that would cut the funding to the Department of Justice in an amount yet to be determined that would be equivalent to that amount that they would otherwise use to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Listen:

“This is a constitutional issue of significant proportions and I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t heard from some of my other colleagues,” he complained. House Republicans have remained relatively muted on the matter, but hinted that they will announce their intentions to defend DOMA before the end of the week. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) recently told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes that he supports Kings’ defunding drive and would also “absolutely” favor impeaching President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder if such a move “could gain collective support.”

In a letter to Congressional leadership explaining the administration’s decision, Holder pointed to the long history of past administrations choosing not to defend legislation. “[T]he Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a ‘reasonable’ one,” Holder wrote. “[T]he Department has declined to defend a statute ‘in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional,’ as is the case here.”

In 1996, Justice Department officials informed the Senate that the DOJ did not uphold the law “in 1946, 1963, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1990 and 1992.” In 1990, as the number two man in the solicitor general’s office, Chief Justice John Roberts “declined to defend federal laws which set a preference for awarding broadcast licenses to entities with a certain level of minority ownership,” arguing that “the FCC’s policy violated the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause because it unfairly discriminated based on race.” President George W. Bush similarly didn’t defend a law prohibiting the display of marijuana policy ads in ACLU et al., v. Norman Y Mineta and President Clinton did not uphold a law “barring HIV-positive men and women from serving in the armed forces because they deemed it unconstitutional.”

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(Ilya Somin)

Last week, I defended President Obama’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, on the grounds that the administration has concluded that it is unconstitutional. Although I disagree with some of the administration’s specific legal arguments in this case, I think the president’s duty to defend the Constitution supersedes his obligation to uphold federal statutes when the two conflict.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, this is not the first time that an administration has refused to defend a federal law on such grounds.
NPR recently published a helpful summary of similar decisions by previous administrations, including various Republican ones:

While the administration’s DOMA shift is unusual, it is not rare. It has happened more than a dozen times since 2004 and many more in the past 60 years, including in some very important cases.

During the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Truman administrations, the presidents, in one form or another, refused to defend separate-but-equal facilities in schools and hospitals. The Ford Justice Department refused to defend the post-Watergate campaign finance law, much of which was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. The Reagan administration refused to defend the independent counsel law, a law subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court by a 7-to-1 vote. It also refused to defend the one-house legislative veto of many executive actions; in that case, the administration was more successful, winning 7–2 in the Supreme Court. The Clinton administration refused to defend a federal law mandating the dismissal of military personnel who were HIV-positive. The George W. Bush administration refused to defend a federal law that denied mass-transit funds to any transportation system that displayed ads advocating the legalization of marijuana. And in the George H.W. Bush administration, the Justice Department refused to defend a federal law providing affirmative action in the awarding of broadcasting licenses — a law subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court by a narrow 5–4 vote.

The fact that Republican administrations have done the same thing in the past doesn’t necessarily prove that Obama’s decision was justified. After all, as Obama himself would be quick to agree, Republican administrations make plenty of mistakes too.

The history does, however, support my point that presidential refusal to defend the constitutional of a statute doesn’t automatically lead to its defeat in Court. As NPR notes, the courts ended up upholding the challenged law in many of the cases where an administration chose not to defend it. More importantly, in all these cases the law was effectively defended by other parties, even if it was ultimately struck down.




The Volokh Conspiracy

Joe. My. God.

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On February 23, Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a letter to John Boehner that President Obama had instructed him to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but that he would notify the courts of DOJ’s “interest in providing Congress a full and fair opportunity to participate in the litigation,” i.e., to defend DOMA.  The president’s decision seems driven by politics and violates his law enforcement duty, calling into question the integrity of our justice system.  It contravenes long-standing Justice Department policy to defend Acts of Congress unless no reasonable argument can be made in their defense or they infringe on core presidential constitutional authority, neither of which is the case in regards to DOMA.  Congress must now make sure that DOMA is adequately defended in court.

To that end, there are several federal statutes that authorize Congress to intervene and take over the defense of a statute when the Justice Department goes AWOL and such intervention has been upheld by the Supreme Court.  Under 2 U.S.C. § 288e(a), the Senate has the right to intervene in litigation “in which the powers and responsibilities of Congress under the Constitution are placed at issue.”  There is obviously no question that the constitutional power of Congress to pass DOMA is at issue in the litigation that has been filed against it.  In order for the Senate’s Legal Counsel to appear on behalf of the Senate “or in the name of an officer, committee, subcommittee, or chairman of a committee or subcommittee,” the Senate must adopt a resolution authorizing intervention. 2 U.S.C. § 288b(c).  This statute does not prevent members of the Senate from attempting to intervene or file amicus briefs in their personal capacity.

Similarly, under 2 U.S.C. § 130f(a) the General Counsel of the House of Representatives can “enter an appearance in any proceeding before any court of the United States” without compliance with admission requirements (except for the Supreme Court).  This does not mean that the House’s General Counsel cannot appear before the Supreme Court; only in that court he must comply with its admission requirements.  Section 130f(b) requires the Attorney General to “notify the General Counsel” as required by 28 U.S.C. § 530D, which mandates that the Attorney General submit a report to Congress if he determines that he intends to refrain “from defending or asserting, in any judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the constitutionality of any provision of any Federal statute.”

The House of Representatives can also hire private counsel because the term “General Counsel of the House of Representatives” is defined to include “any other person authorized and directed in accordance with the Rules of the House of Representatives to provide legal assistance and representation to the House.”   2 USC § 130f(c)(3).  Under the Rules of the House of Representatives (Rule 2, Clause 8), “[t]he Office of General Counsel shall function pursuant to the direction of the Speaker.”  The same Rule says that the Speaker shall “consult” with a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, “which shall include the majority and minority leaderships.”  But that Group has no veto authority over the Speaker’s decisions according to the plain text of the Rule.  So the General Counsel (or private counsel) can be authorized by the Speaker alone to defend the constitutionality of DOMA.  There is no federal statute, as in the Senate, requiring a resolution passed by the House.

One of the cases where congressional intervention occurred is INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983).  Both the House and Senate intervened after the Justice Department joined with the plaintiffs to argue that a provision of federal immigration law that authorized either house of Congress, by resolution, to veto the decision of the Attorney General to allow a deportable alien to remain in the United States was unconstitutional, including that it was an attempt to micromanage the President’s prerogative to enforce the federal immigration law on the books.

The Supreme Court ultimately found this provision unconstitutional.  The disagreement with the Attorney General over the deportation of the plaintiff involved a determination of policy that Congress could implement in only one way: “bicameral passage followed by presentment to the President.” 462 U.S. at 954-955.  However, relevant to  the issue of the ability of Congress to defend DOMA, the Court held that both houses had standing to intervene in the Chadha case because the Court had “long held that Congress is the proper party to defend the validity of a statute when an agency of government, as a defendant charged with enforcing the statute, agrees with plaintiffs that the statute is inapplicable or unconstitutional.” 462 U.S. at 940.

If the House of Representatives wants to intervene and defend DOMA now that DOJ has said it will not defend the law, the Speaker can authorize intervention or, if he chooses, he could submit the question for a House resolution vote.  Although the House would also have to consider whether such a resolution would set a precedent calling for a vote when that is not required under the Rules of the House.  For the Senate to intervene, a resolution would have to be approved authorizing such action.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders say they will decide by the end of the week how to proceed in defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Both House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor expressed disappointment that the Obama administration decided to stop defending the law in court and said House Republicans are weighing their options.

“I’d be very surprised if the House didn’t decide that they were going to defend law,” Boehner told the Christian Broadcast Network.

“If the president won’t lead, if the president won’t defend DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), then you’ll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly,” he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a letter to members of Congress last week that the administration was reversing course and directing the Justice Department to no longer defend the law as they had during the president’s first two years in office. Holder said they now believe a key part of the law, signed by then-President Bill Clinton, is unconstitutional.

Cantor told reporters that the president’s position is that “he is not defending the law of the land is something very troubling I think to most members of the House.”

There are two cases relating to the Defense of Marriage Act pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. There is a March 11 deadline for Congress to notify the court if it intends to act in the cases.


CNN Political Ticker

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After issuing a muted condemnation of President Obama’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is suggesting that he may seek to defend the law in the government’s stead. During a recent appearance on CBN’s ‘The Brody File’, Boehner assured Christian listeners that Republicans will soon decide how to proceed in upholding the Act:

BOEHNER: Now, it’s happened before where administrations have decided they weren’t going to go out and vigorously defend a law that Congress passed but I really am disappointed in the President in his actions but if the President won’t lead, if the President won’t defend DOMA then you’ll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly. [...]

We’ve been researching all the options that are available to us. We’ll be talking to the members in the next few days about that and I expect we’ll have a decision by the end of the week…I’d be very surprised if the House didn’t decide that they were going to defend law.”

Watch it:

Boehner’s comments align the Speaker with the most social conservative faction of the Republican party and seem to undermine the belief that “the wedge has lost its edge.” Most mainstream Republicans have stopped short of calling on the House to defend the law, but conservatives like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have embraced the messaging of anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association and are calling on House Republican to push back against the President’s decision.

Santorum asked Boehner to defend DOMA in court, while Gingrich and King have both proposed “cutting the funding to the Justice Department” in response to the decision. Gingrich even went so a far as to argue that Obama is violating his “Constitutional oath.”

Wonk Room

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Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama took up the fight against childhood obesity as her signature cause with the “Let’s Move” campaign aimed at “solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.”

However, some right-wingers have a different take on what the First Lady is trying to accomplish. Sarah Palin slammed the campaign as yet another instance of “the government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities.” Rush Limbaugh blasted Mrs. Obama for promoting healthy eating despite the fact that she doesn’t “project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you.” Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) have all jumped on board. Mrs. Obama has even been blamed for an increase in pedestrian deaths.

However, today on Fox News Sunday, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) came to the First Lady’s defense:

What Michelle Obama is proposing is not that the government should tells you that you can’t eat dessert. What Michelle Obama has proposed is that we recognize that we have a serious obesity crisis — which we do.

Seventy-five percent of military eligible kids going into the army can’t qualify for the physical because they are either overweight or obese and can’t meet the minimum army standards. That’s serious. This is no longer a health issue, an economic issue, it’s becoming an issue of national security.

Watch it:

Yet, Huckabee still wanted to “be clear” that he wasn’t saying that “Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh” are “all wrong” — even though that is precisely what he implied. Gov. Chris Christie also defended the First Lady’s obesity campaign today, stating that the criticism of Michelle Obama that is coming from the right is “unnecessary.” “I think it’s a really good goal to encourage kids to eat better…I think the First Lady is speaking out well,” said Christie.

ThinkProgress

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As I noted yesterday, President Obama’s decision not to defend the Constitutionality of Section Three of the Defense Of Marriage Act in Court has aroused no small degree of controversy, as well as the absurd suggestion by Newt Gingrich that it is potentially an impeachable offense. The truth of the matter is that this is something that Presidents have done frequently in the past.

Here’s a list of some of the more prominent cases, borrowed from a 1995 letter to Orrin Hatch by the Clinton Justice Department:

This case concerned the constitutionality of § 304 of the Urgent Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1943, providing that, after November 15, 1943, no salary or other compensation shall be paid to certain employees of the Government. The employees in question filed suit against the government. On appeal, the Solicitor General joined the claimants in arguing that the statute was an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder. The Attorney General at the time suggested Congress employ its own counsel to defend the statute and, when they did, the courts gave that special counsel leave to appear and defend the law.

Under the relevant immigration laws that were in effect at the time of this case, the INS had the authority to suspend deportation of a someone in the country illegally for at least seven years if the Attorney General deportation would result in extreme hardship. The House of Representatives, acting on its own, could then reverse the INS’s decision. Chadha was a qualifying alien under the law, and the Attorney General had suspended his deportation based on the “extreme hardship” standard but Congress acted to reverse that decision. Chadha appealed, arguing that the “one-house veto” was unconstitutional and the Department of Justice agreed. Defense of the statute was handled by the Senate Legal Counsel.

This case involved a challenge to the constitutionality of Independent Counsel Act. Although the Independent Counsel was technically an arm of the Department of Justice, the Solicitor General appeared amicus curaie to argue that the statute was unconstitutional.

This case involved a challenged to the practice of the Federal Communications Commission to give preference in the granting of broadcast licenses to organizations which met a certain level of minority ownership. The Acting Solicitor General appeared amicus curaie to argue that the law was unconstitutional. The FCC used i’s own counsel’s office to defend the policy,

A federal statute permitted the Surgeon General to make an exception in the award of grants for hospitals that discriminated on the basis of race if there was a “separate but equal” hospital facility for all races immediately available. The Department of Justice joined a group of black doctors and patients in a class action arguing that the law was unconstitutional.

  • Garrett v. Alexander 477 F. Supp 1035 (D., D.C, 1979)

A federal law permitted the army to sell surplus rifles to the public, but only to members of the National Rifle Association. The Department of Justice took the position that the requirement for NRA membership was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment and made this argument in Court. The District Court gave Congress the opportunity to appear to defend the statute, but Congress declined to do so.

Federal law prohibited non-commercial radio or television stations from editorializing or endorsing a political candidate. The Solicitor General appeared to argue that the law violated the First Amendment. Senate Legal Counsel appeared to defend the law in the District Court. The case went to appeal after the Reagan Administration came to office, at that time the new Solicitor General determined that he could defend the law and did so in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, where the law was eventually upheld.

This case concerned the constitutionality of the “must carry” rules imposed on cable television providers by Federal Law. In the District Court, the Department of Justice took the position that the rules were unconstitutional. On appeal, after the Clinton Administration took power, the Department of Justice decided it could defend the constitutionality of the statute on appeal.

So, as you can see, this is a rare, though not uncommon, occurrence, and it is worth noting that there is no suggestion in the record of any of these cases that the Executive Branch’s decision not to defend a Federal Law in court was in any way unconstitutional, or a breach of the President’s duties under the Constitution.




Outside the Beltway

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“Clearly it is a dereliction of duty…”


Via Newsmax, a tangent on the news today that Boehner and the House GOP may intervene in the courts on DOMA’s behalf since Obama doesn’t want to. Ace is annoyed that Gingrich is pandering by wink-winking at impeachment at a moment when the public wants seriousness of purpose on fiscal issues. Point taken — this [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

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Amazing what two years can do. Barack Obama's promises to stir up Washington and reject the status quo seem like distant memories. We imagine they'd elicit a chuckle from most Americans if uttered today. In his latest Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer writes that "Obama's Democrats have become the party of no."

Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.

We have heard everyone - from Obama's own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is: now. Led by famously progressive Wisconsin - Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level - a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon. Recklessly principled, they are putting the question to the nation: Are we a serious people?

But why the shift from "hope and change" to the "party of no"? Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney estimates that Democrats simply misunderstand the brand of populism to which most Americans ascribe:

The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power.

In other words, anti-bailout anger is not anger at the rich, but anger at those unfairly getting rich — at the taxpayer's expense.

Is that what's behind this shift in partisan roles? Where do you see the cause?

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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Amazing what two years can do. Barack Obama's promises to stir up Washington and reject the status quo seem like distant memories. We imagine they'd elicit a chuckle from most Americans if uttered today. In his latest Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer writes that "Obama's Democrats have become the party of no."

Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.

We have heard everyone - from Obama's own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is: now. Led by famously progressive Wisconsin - Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level - a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon. Recklessly principled, they are putting the question to the nation: Are we a serious people?

But why the shift from "hope and change" to the "party of no"? Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney estimates that Democrats simply misunderstand the brand of populism to which most Americans ascribe:

The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power.

In other words, anti-bailout anger is not anger at the rich, but anger at those unfairly getting rich — at the taxpayer's expense.

Is that what's behind this shift in partisan roles? Where do you see the cause?

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Tagged with:
 

Amazing what two years can do. Barack Obama's promises to stir up Washington and reject the status quo seem like distant memories. We imagine they'd elicit a chuckle from most Americans if uttered today. In his latest Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer writes that "Obama's Democrats have become the party of no."

Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.

We have heard everyone - from Obama's own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is: now. Led by famously progressive Wisconsin - Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level - a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon. Recklessly principled, they are putting the question to the nation: Are we a serious people?

But why the shift from "hope and change" to the "party of no"? Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney estimates that Democrats simply misunderstand the brand of populism to which most Americans ascribe:

The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power.

In other words, anti-bailout anger is not anger at the rich, but anger at those unfairly getting rich — at the taxpayer's expense.

Is that what's behind this shift in partisan roles? Where do you see the cause?

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