Bruce claimed today that she believes Democrats intend to put liberal social issues such as abortion, gun control, and gay rights on the back burner for the next couple of years. She says that they may be hoping that the American people forget what the party really stands for so that they can take the presidency in 2008. Her assertion is primarily based on quotes such as this one:
David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group, expects Democrats to push legislation to bar workplace discrimination against gays and amend the federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation. Still, he says, those changes won't come until “much later” in the session.
While it could be that Bruce is correct and there is some big left-wing conspiracy in the works where single-issue groups where the Dems don’t have to cater to their constituent bases for the next two years and then offer them the world when the GOP gets evicted from the White House. But that seems far-fetched.
What her post doesn’t seem to take into account is that while conservatives have definitely lost control of the House of Representatives, they have a strong voice in the Senate. More importantly, George W. Bush is still President. He has been EXTREMELY light on the vetoes in the last six years, but he still retains the power to veto any bill he disagrees with and Congress would be hard-pressed to overturn it.
This is to say that David Smith is absolutely correct that the Dems will push Gay issues, but we should not expect any real changes to occur until much later in the session—as in after President Bush leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.