Ringside Seat: Gay New World

If you're a Republican these days, the agita just never seems to end. The public is blaming you for this sequester business (so unfair!), your own colleagues are giving up on fighting Obamacare, the publicdisagrees with you on pretty much every major issue, and to top it all off, this gay-marriage thing won't go away.

It seems like such a short time ago when you could blast Democrats for wanting to let sodomites destroy this cherished institution—what with their tastefully appointed homes and desire to file taxes jointly and visit each other in the hospital—and just watch the votes roll in. But no more. Now public opinion has turned against you, former Republican presidential candidates are writing that supporting same-sex marriage is the conservative thing to do, and you have to watch ads in which Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Laura Bush argue in favor of it (granted, the former First Lady asked that she be taken out of the ad, but it still stings). 

Perhaps some succor can be taken from the good people of Jones County, Mississippi, who reacted with fury when their Laurel Leader-Call published a front-page article headlined "Historic Wedding" (hard to argue there) about two local women getting married. The paper was deluged with outraged phone calls, and its Facebook page got more angry comments than it ever had before. The paper's owner responded by telling his readers that their obligation as journalists is to report the news, and it was newsworthy. The nerve!


So They Say

"cmon ari old news. pat's passion is the constitution and he would have had to leave judiciary com. do what you love."

Jose Canseco, in response to this question from reporter Ari Melber: "Why did Leahy pass on chairing appropriations?"


Daily Meme: Citizens United Round Two

  • Be very afraid: The Supreme Court is taking another stab at campaign finance next October.
  • McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission pits an Alabama businessman against limits on campaign contributions. 
  • Current rules stipulate that one person can't spend more than $123,200 on candidates over a two-year period. Which, of course, McCutcheon and his backers at the Republican National Committee argue is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
  • McCutcheon spent $33,088 on 16 candidates in the 2012 election cycle, and a whole bunch more on party committees, clearly not enough.
  • The D.C. Circuit Court found McCutcheon's arguments a bit flimsy—and, the judge who wrote the opinion is pretty dang conservative. Then again, tossing out barriers to free-flowing campaign cash seems to be all the rage for our country's highest court.
  • If the Court strikes down the hard-cash limits, they'll be cutting out the heart of federal campaign-finance laws as they've stood since 1974. As Rick Hasen puts it, "a whole host of campaign contribution limits could be subject to future challenge."
  • The Court already has a precedent for getting rid of limits they deem as too low. In 2006, the Justices struck down a Vermont law that set the lowest contribution limits in the country.
  • That doesn't mean states aren't going to fight back. North Carolina, New Hampshire, and West Virginia have all called on Congress to pass an amendment to reverse 2010's Citizens United decision.

What We're Writing

  • Robert Kuttner thinks it well past time we stopped listening to the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission.
  • Jonathan Bernstein looks at the issues most likely to dominate the Democratic field in 2016.

What We're Reading

  • New CEO or not, BP goes to trial for gross negligence in the Deepwater Horizon spill next week. 
  • Leon Panetta has announced that if the Pentagon sequester cuts go through, 750,000 civilians will be taking unpaid furloughs for one day a week to make ends meet.
  • A young man in California killed four people with a shotgun today. That makes 2,033 gun deaths since Newtown.
  • Five of the biggest U.S. banks are shelling out a collective $45 billion in mortgage-relief measures in a deal with the Justice Department.
  • Score a point against cognitive dissonance today: GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans won't be heading to CPAC this year.

Poll of the Day

Pew has a lengthy report on American Catholics now that Benedict's about to bounce. There's the typical breakdown of about half of Catholics wanting the Church to move "in new directions"; the other half is opposed.  However, Catholics strongly favor allowing married priests (58 to 35 percent) and electing a Pope from the developing world (60 to 14 percent).