With all that has been taking place in Madison, CP has not commented on the decision by the Obama Administration to no longer defend DOMA in the courts. That is was a most proper decision goes without saying. That it came too late, in my estimation, also goes without saying. To defend the indefensible is hardly one of the prouder moments of this Democratic Administration.
What I did think noteworthy however, even more than the announcement itself, was the fact conservative types in the Republican Party, and especially those who aspire to the White House, were muted and calm when commenting. It was as if laudanum had been collectively administered to the GOP. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the effect it had on the party of wing-nuts. I only wonder why more drums of it can not be bought and used throughout the year for this group?
The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that after two years of defending the law — hailed by proponents in 1996 as an cornerstone in the protection of traditional values — the president and his attorney general have concluded it is unconstitutional.
In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”
Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.
Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”
The sharpest reaction came from Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, in an interview here during a stop to promote his new book, who called the administration’s decision “utterly inexplicable.”
A few years ago, the president’s decision might have set off an intense national debate about gay rights. But the Republicans’ reserved response this week suggests that Mr. Obama may suffer little political damage as he evolves from what many gay rights leaders saw as a lackluster defender of their causes into a far more aggressive advocate.
“The wedge has lost its edge,” said Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist who worked for President George W. Bush during his 2004 campaign, when gay marriage ballot measures in a dozen states helped turn out conservative voters.