Episode 176 of The Tim Corrimal Show is now up, and it’s a very special show, indeed. Of course, they’re all special, but this week Tim and I were joined by the inimitable Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show (@lizzwinstead on Twitter) and all-around decent human being and fantastic comedian; my good friend John V. Moore of Windy City Watch (@johnvmoore and @windycitywatch on Twitter); and Sheila Friend (@slfriend79 on Twitter), who hasn’t joined us for awhile but is always great to have on the show.
After Lizz updated us on her current tour in support of Planned Parenthood, we introduced our “Twitter Friends of the Week” – and I have to give another special mention to mine: ex-pat Chicagoan Allen McDuffee of the Think Tanked Blog (@allen_mcduffee and @ThinkTankedWaPo on Twitter), which is now a part of the Washington Post. Congratulations, again, to Allen for his move to WaPo. They’re lucky to have you.
So, anyway, after our Twitter Friends we moved on to our weekly Republican 2012 Clown Car update, which now includes former Louisiana Governor (and Democrat-turned-Republican) Buddy Roemer, the guy who’s most famous for losing to Edwin Edwards, who went on to narrowly defeat former (but not really former) Klansman David Duke in the 1991 gubernatorial race. Tim also played the audio of this clip: the infamous Gay Barbarians In Need Of Discipline glitter-bombing Marcus Bachmann’s office. Poor Marcus Bachmann. I’m afraid he’s secured his place as the punch line to every other joke that’s been told, or will be told, about the 2012 presidential race …
After that levity, we turned our attention to the most confounding story of the past few weeks: The federal government’s rapidly approaching debt ceiling and the Republicans’ intransigence despite the Democrats’ willingness to put everything on the negotiating table. Tim played a clip of Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blizter in which Rep. Wasserman-Schultz reiterated the President’s position that both sides should be willing to discuss all available options to solve both the debt ceiling issue and the federal budget deficit, but that Republicans have essentially refused even to consider tax increases (or, for that matter, simply closing existing tax loopholes).
That clip lead to a frank discussion of where we are on the debt ceiling issue (of course, we recorded the show yesterday, before Pres. Obama addressed the nation this evening), and I think it’s safe to say we all feel more than a little uneasy with the prospect of considering any sort of adjustments to key programs like Social Security or Medicare – programs that are not in any sense a part of the country’s debt problem – in conjunction with negotiations over raising the debt ceiling. However, John made a very important point that’s worth reiterating here: None of us was actually in the room when these negotiations were taking place, and most of us have little appreciation for how these kinds of negotiations typically proceed. What’s different today is that with the internet and social media, much more of the legislative sausage-making process is aired in public; so that those of us without the experience of having been in those types of negotiations are seeing more glimpses of the process than we’ve ever seen before. That means that we have more bits and pieces of information, but we don’t necessarily have any better idea what to make of those bits and pieces. And so it’s probably not wise to overreact or to panic at this stage … even though none of us likes to hear that anyone, least of all a Democrat, is considering any cuts to essential programs in this context.
So, after that discussion we turned to my new “Legal Corner” segment, this week focusing primarily on the curious machinations the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has gone through lately. First, the good news: Last week, President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed a certification to Congress – as required by the Don’t Ask, Don’t tell repeal bill passed last December – to the effect that the military is now prepared for the repeal and that “implementation of the necessary policies and regulations … is consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.” (You can download a .pdf image of the certification here.) Consequently, DADT officially ends on September 20, 2012.
But that wasn’t the only development on the DADT front this past week. Because although the repeal act provides that DADT remains in full force and effect until sixty days after that certification is signed, you may recall that there is a pending case in California, now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, challenging the constitutionality of DADT. In that case, Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, Nos. 10-56634 and 10-56813, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California initially ruled that DADT was unconstitutional and entered a world-wide injunction prohibiting the military from enforcing the policy. The Obama Administration, believing it was duty-bound to defend acts of Congress against court challenges, appealed the District Court’s decision, and on November 10, 2010, the Court of Appeals entered an order staying enforcement of the District Court’s ruling.
However, on July 6, 2011, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay of the world-wide injunction against enforcement of DADT, believing that the certification required by the repeal act was imminent. The Administration then objected to the lifting of the stay, and after the parties were afforded an opportunity to brief the issue the Court of Appeals issued a revised Order on July 22, 2011 (the same date the certification was signed by the President), reinstituting the stay of the District Court’s injunction except to the extent the injunction prohibited “investigating, penalizing, or discharging” existing military personnel. You can read or download the court’s July 22, 2012 Order here. So, from now till September 20, the military is prohibited from investigating, penalizing or discharging” service members under DADT, but the law otherwise remains in effect.
As we discussed on this week’s show, although it seems inconsistent for the Administration to certify that the military is ready to go ahead with repeal of DADT, on the one hand, yet argue that the injunction prohibiting enforcement of DADT should continue to be stayed while the Log Cabin Republicans appeal remains pending, on the other, those dueling positions are consistent with the view the President has always expressed: That the way to get rid of DADT is through the legislative process, given that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution specifically gives Congress the authority “[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” I also agree with Tim that the President is proceeding extremely cautiously in areas like this so as not to give Congressional Republicans any cause to stir up (bogus) impeachment proceedings, and that’s probably a wise move.
In any event, this much we do know for certain: DADT is on its way out, most likely permanently, and the country is better for it.
So there you go. Enjoy the show!
© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.