America is facing a number of political showdowns which stand to further reshape the nation's ideological landscape beyond what we’ve seen over the last two years.
Budget battles have been popping-up in almost domino fashion in state capitals over the last couple of weeks, threatening the financial predominance of the Democratic Party's – particularly President Barack Obama's – stalwart union base. And, this administration's inconsistency in its responses to the popular uprisings taking place in the Middle East is causing the White House to take a PR beating.
So, what is Obama's plan for putting out the fires?
"Hey, look over there!"
On Wednesday, February 23, he got almost every conservative in America to reach for the bait and work themselves into an uproar over the announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court if a case should arise.
I find myself reminiscing about a line made popular by the old Monte Python troupe: "And now, for something completely different…"
Instead of stepping up and demonstrating himself as a true leader, Obama opted to fall back on his life as a lawyer-turned-career-politician and give good old fashioned misdirection a try. Just when any semblance of success anywhere seemed out of his reach, our president took a chance on trying to create division among his opposition.
So far, it seems to be working out for him fairly well. After all, when a crisis erupts you never want it to go to waste; if there's no crisis to exploit, invent one.
There are two key camps within the tide of popular sentiment rising against progressive establishment dogma over the last two years: the mainly libertarian-leaning crowd that got the snowball which is the Tea Party rolling and the Republican establishment camp which has not only jumped all over that bandwagon but is trying to wrest the reins away for their own use. If there was one issue that could get tossed out there and create in-fighting, DOMA was it.
In fact, even libertarians are experiencing rifts over the topic. One libertarian blogger whom I recently began following has chosen to take Representative Ron Paul to task for his criticism of the Obama Administration over the DOMA announcement.
Now depending on with whom you talk, there are two key opposing arguments in this discussion: "DOMA is unconstitutional" vs. "government has no business redefining marriage."
At this point I am taking a stand and examining those points no further. I will leave it up to anyone who reads this to do their own research on them. I refuse to reach for that hunk of cheese positioned on the wooden rectangle or bite into that worm bouncing magical through the water.
Instead, I am going to re-emphasize the deliberately ignored third argument on this issue – one that I tackled already: why does government at any level need to concern itself with any situation regarding who marries whom in the first place?
Until that argument reaches more audiences across the nation, we leave ourselves in a position to be unnecessarily divided on a truly peripheral issue.
Let there be no doubt how clear Obama's mindset is: if he can’t get you to drink his Koolaid, then he will poison your tea!