pretty soon, nothing happened

After being issued the challenge to put forth a budget, the Republicans answered… with a 19 page document that contained no actual numbers. (You can see it for yourself here.) Glenn Thrush from Politico reports that even the release was subject to some bickering as the party members split between actually creating a budget with numbers versus putting *something* out there to win the news cycle. Sadly, a budget is longer than a news cycle. This budget is something we have to live with long after the cameras turn off.

Now, I will admit that, at the Center for American Progress (a noted progressive site), I scored in the ‘liberal democrat’ range on their Interactive Quiz. (Although, it is hard to take a website quiz where you rate issues 1 through 10 as gospel, but that’s another story.) But I’m not a partisan hack. If there is a house on fire, I’m not going to argue about where the water comes from. I want to see all the solutions brought to the table. And this just disappoints in a way that makes me very, very sad.

I used to think I was a Republican in Exile, someone who was driven away by the social conservatives who hold views that I find disagreeable. (The pro-life, pro-death penalty stance makes my head hurt.) The conservatism of my youth (small government, fiscal responsibility) has been replaced by the pragmatism of the absolute cluster fuck of a mess we are in. And if the Democrats and liberals of this country are offering the better solutions, I’m willing to go along with them. For those who think this is a compromise of my values, it might be. But I live in the real world which demands solutions for the moment. And a 19 page critique of the President’s budget without hard numbers is not a solution as much as it is a partisan talking points memo. Like Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Macquire, show me the money.

Maybe I should feel sorry for them. It’s not easy to be a Republican these days. They really do need some time in the wilderness. Or we need more political parties. Or less yelling at the far right and the far left and people like myself feeling like a kid passing notes between feuding parents.

I need a drink.

Update: Vermont gay marriage bill

(Via Andrew Sullivan)

“Douglas Will Veto Marriage Equality

The Vermont governor will veto the marriage equality bill passed overwhelmingly by the state Senate. The margin in the House is also very high, as Douglas conceded:

“I’m sure that legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they did not have the votes to override a veto. I will accept the outcome of their vote either way.”

So why Douglas veto? His purported answer is unserious:

“The urgency of our state’s economic and budgetary challenges demands the full focus of every member and every committee of this Legislature.”

He can’t sign a bill and focus on the economy as well? Here’s hoping the legislature hangs tough and a third state legalizes marriage equality. Next up: Iowa. Then back to California, where the legislature already voted for the measure, only to be stopped by a funamentalist-funded initiative.”

Yeah, this “we have to concentrate on the economy and nothing else” mindset is just plain baseless. The best way to describe it would be like this: no one pays to see someone who only juggles one object at a time.

To the death of marriage

Today, the Vermont senate voted to allow same sex marriage. It still has a step to go as Governor Jim Douglas has indicated that he prefers the civil unions that Vermont currently supports. I’m not sure if this means he’s going to sign it since it passed by an overwhelming majority nor does it appear that the legislature would move to override any veto. As noted in the article, this would be the first state to recognize same sex marriage without the prompting of the state judicial system actually reading some of the discrimination laws the legislature passed.

This headlight reminded me of an article in Time I read a couple of days ago about getting the government out of the marriage business. I can’t possibly agree more with this position. As the single most controversial connection with the  religions of this country, it is past due for the government to drop its interest in something so intertwined in spiritual and political semantics.

The basic goal would be reduce it down to the benefits that couples (gay or straight) seek to provide their partners. Leave the word “marriage” to the churchs, synagogues, and mosques; it is a word whose definition is loaded with spirituality. If a church wishes to perform a marriage, fine; if not, fine as well. It is not the domain of government to dictate the rite of marriage in the church, nor should the church dictate who can become a legally bound couple outside of it.

Although, I will confess, the taking of the word “marriage” from the legal document would hurt. I was married in a church, so the spiritual aspect is there for me. But to have the marriage license seemingly boiled down to a civil union boilerplate document (which it really is already if you think about it and how many have been issued) feels a bit off.

But, then again, sometimes doing the right thing can feel a bit off.