January 26, 2005

Lobby Like It's 2004

by PG

At Law Dork, Chris recently predicted that President Bush would push the Federal Marriage Amendment to win votes for the 2006 election. A. Rickey commented,

You want to see the FMA put back on the agenda, made not "just an election issue"? It will be, when next pushing it makes more sense than just sitting on one's victories. When might that be? Well, my bet would be either when a legislative attempt to overturn Goodridge fails, when another state supreme court mimics Goodridge, or when someone makes a FFC challenge to a state DMA using Goodridge.

Bush didn't make it clear that anything was a vote grab. Good tactics suggest that he spend his political capital elsewhere, because there are bigger issues and, frankly, momentum is at least temporarily on his side now. [...] To put it more bluntly: the trigger for the FMA isn't the 2006 elections. It's the next judicial move.

Both Chris and Tony may be wrong.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Arlington Group, a coalition including Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, recently sent Karl Rove a letter threatening to withhold support for Bush on Social Security reform unless Bush pushes the FMA. On Monday, Senate Republicans promised to reintroduce the amendment eventually, though Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said they'd prefer to wait until they saw better chances for passage.

If there's real political substance behind this move, the Arlington Group and the voters it claims to represent -- "countless voters who stood with him just a few weeks ago, including an unprecedented number of African-Americans, Latinos and Catholics who broke with tradition and supported the president solely because of this issue" -- may induce Bush to bring the FMA back up before either Chris or Tony predicted.

Of course, Karl Rove might do the math, decide that Social Security reform has enough support from the country-club Republican types who would be put off by a drive for a socially regressive alteration of the Constitution, and tell Dobson et al., "Thank you very much for your votes, but you can't hold the president's agenda hostage."

Still, the letter is very much of a piece with the media's reporting about how Christian conservatives feel emboldened by post-election claims that moral values propelled Bush to victory, and are ready to press for making their priorities Bush's own.

January 26, 2005 12:04 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Perhaps by 2006 elections "morale" values will trump the alleged "moral" values.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline at January 27, 2005 07:01 AM

I don't know who this "A. Rickey" is, but most of us lawyers in MA know that the MA legislature cannot, by itself, overturn Goodridge. Overturning Goodridge would require, not only at least one more action by the MA legislature, but also a vote of the electorate.

Moreover, the events in MA in the election last fall suggest that the "one more" action by the MA legislature is hardly a foregone conclusion.

BTW, to those paying attention, Bush's trigger is the next election. Why would he care what happens in the judiciary?

Posted by: raj at January 31, 2005 12:48 PM
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