Tag Archives: Joe Biden

In Case You Missed It… President Obama Has Evolved

-Casey Klekas

On Thursday, February 28, the Obama Administration submitted a legal brief to the Supreme Court in favor of ruling California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The Administration filed an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief insisting that Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A friend-of-the-court brief is an offering of case-bearing information to the court, which may be considered or thrown out. The brief also said that discrimination against same-sex couples deserves heightened scrutiny.

In effect, the Administration is siding with those who wish to overturn Proposition 8 and set a standard against similar laws across the country.

This seems to be another glimpse of the President’s “evolution” on the question of legalizing same-sex marriage. At one time he stood for traditional marriage, he but believed the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution, should be struck down. President Obama said this was an issue that should be handled at the state level.

This evolution was hurried along when in May 2012 Vice-President Joe Biden said at a press conference, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”

This forced the President to publicly clarify his own views. On May 9, 2012 he said, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Since then, the President hasn’t been shy about his views on same-sex marriage.

He was the first president in our history to mention gay rights in an inaugural address, saying, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Nine states plus the District of Columbia have already legalized same-sex marriage, including Maine, Maryland, and Washington, which were the first to do so as a result of popular vote. In those states, same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits as are enjoyed by opposite-gender twosomes. This includes tax benefits, Social Security, and family medical leave protections.

The new move by the Obama Administration to file the friend-of-the-court brief is worth noting because the Administration was under no political obligation to get involved. The President could have simply let the two California couples who are appealing to the Supreme Court continue unaided by the White House in their fight to overturn Proposition 8. In a White House briefing on Friday, March 1, President Obama said the brief represented his Administration’s position on the matter, and that he wanted to help overturn something he thought unconstitutional and unfair.

In my opinion, the fact that we’re describing the issue as “marriage equality” rather than “gay” or “same-sex marriage” is of great value to the cause. The vocabulary of equality and fairness appeals to our national creed. Instead of using identity politics and demanding that special treatment be paid to a long-oppressed minority, the marriage equality movement has perhaps unconsciously enlisted public support by phrasing itself in moral terms rather than merely political ones. This is heartening news at a time when we need to be reminded of our country’s greatness. Most of our successful progressive movements have played a similar tune—a tune that shows the timeless dichotomy between the young and the old.

Image by JUZ © from http://www.flickr.com/photos/youthoughtyouhaditgood/8507055361/

Twitter Decides VP Debate Winner

-Aubrey Wieber

Joe Biden went into last night’s debate knowing he had to make up for his running mate’s faltering performance in the first 2012 Presidential Debate. Obama went into the debates with a hefty nine-point lead over Governor Romney, but with Obama’s passive performance, the race became dead even.

Just four years earlier the world saw a different Obama, one that attacked his opponent and inspired the American people. During the debate, that man was nowhere to be found. The president spent the majority of his time looking down at his podium while Romney fed on him like a wild animal.

Biden also excelled during the 2008 debates and, unlike his running mate, came out swinging. He repeatedly took shots at the hypocrisy in the Romney/Ryan campaign while still finding time to point out his opponents’ lack of use of statistics when explaining how their policies would work.

Ryan also energized his base with a decent performance; though, it was nowhere near the victory that Romney took home the week prior. Before the debate, pundits from all sides agreed that Biden would attack Ryan’s lack of proficiency on foreign policy, a subject Biden is exceptionally well-versed in. However, much to the Obama camp’s dismay, Ryan actually performed very well during the foreign policy section.

After the debate, I wanted to see the world’s reaction. Polls didn’t seem to have a clear consensus on the debate other than claiming it was strong for both camps, much better than the first round between the presidential candidates, and most on the left side felt that moderator Martha Raddatz, an ABC reporter, was a strong improvement over the previous moderator, PBS’s Jim Lehrer. I took to Twitter to see the public’s reaction.




Conservatives, however, felt that Raddatz was favorable to Obama’s campaign.



Overall, people had a range of reactions to the debates, but most seemed to think it was more entertaining and competitive than the first round.




After the debate, CNBC sent out this tweet declaring Paul Ryan as the victor:

Tallying up a winner in what appeared to be a good back-and-forth debate seems to be a near impossible task, but it’s clear that this debate was an improvement from the first, and that these debates will have a huge impact on the presidential race.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter!

Image from http://www.salon.com/