Bloggers discuss the future of same-sex marriage in Iowa, Tony Snow's resignation, and the all-powerful infant-formula lobby.
Weddding day: Polk County Judge Robert Hanson struck down Iowa's gay-marriage ban Thursday and ordered local officials to start processing licenses for several homosexual couples. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney issued a statement condemning the ruling, and the county's attorney has already asked for a stay.
Liberal Atrios is delighted and characteristically terse: "Fabulous," is all he has to say. Newbie liberal blogger Schmitz Blitz is more cautious: "We saw how the 2003 Massachusetts ruling in favor of marriage equality ushered in backlash across the country, culminating in 27 state amendments denying the right of marriage to gays. I fear this Iowa ruling will have a similar effect, especially with election season upon us. This is why I'm generally against sweeping court decisions like this."
For many bloggers, the real import of the news is how it'll change the 2008 presidential race: "Democratic and Republicans candidates will not be able to campaign in Iowa -- as all will be doing in coming days and weeks -- without addressing the ruling and the broader issue of same-sex marriage," opines liberal John Nichols at The Nation's Campaign Matters. Picking up where Nichols leaves off, lefty Todd Beeton from MyDD weighs in on the political fallout: "The Republican's responses won't be difficult to divine, of course. In fact, they'll probably trip over themselves to be first to call it a gross example of judicial activism. How the Democrats respond on the other hand could get interesting. … [I]n the end, they'll likely hide behind the old 'the courts need to sort it out' delay tactic."
Over at the National Review's water-cooler blog, the Corner, Stanley Kurtz predicts the ruling will benefit Romney: "On balance, this would certainly seem to help Mitt Romney, who rightly criticized the ruling as another example of an activist court and unelected judges trying to redefine marriage and disregard the will of the people as expressed through Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act.' Romney also rightly went on to pointed out the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment." Lefty Marc Ambinder concurs: "Romney … could not have asked for a better post-labor day gift than the decision by a Polk. Co. judge to throw out the state's voter-passed gay marriage law. It's the lead story across the state today, and Romney is already getting props from conservatives for his response."
Read more about the Iowa gay-marriage ruling.
Snow day: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will leave his job Sept. 14. The one-time conservative pundit is ailing with cancer, but cited financial concerns, not his illness, as the reason for his departure. He'll write books and hit the more lucrative speechmaking circuit.
Righty AllahPundit from Hot Air rejects the financial rationale: "[H]e told Hugh Hewitt a few weeks ago that it was coming, ostensibly because his paycheck isn't enough to support his family in the manner they deserve but probably because he's just exhausted from having to spin Bush's crap."
At the Carpetbagger Report,liberal Steve Benen assesses Snow's legacy: "Snow was probably the most genial of the three Bush press secretaries. He combined the dishonesty of Ari Fleischer, the secrecy of Scott McClellan, the credibility of Baghdad Bob, and the smooth confidence and blind loyalty of a Fox News personality"
Snow does have a few defenders. DrewM. at the conservative Ace of Spades is sorry to see him go: "I hope Snow is the new model for White House spokesmen, especially for Republican administrations … an aggressive advocate for the policies of the President and one who isn't afraid to take on the smug, preening members of the White House Press Corps." Mark Kilmer at Red State also has some kind words: "There is only one Tony Snow, and his unique talents cannot be replaced … Godspeed, Tony."
Read more about Tony Snow's resignation.
Spilled milk: The Washington Post revealed Friday that the Health and Human Services Department toned down pro-breast-feeding ads after the infant-formula industry complained. Now Congress is looking into whether political considerations interfered with public health.
The Pump Handle, a public-health blog, has a good post by public health professor Susan Wood: "I was still working for FDA (and had previously been at the HHS Office on Women's Health) when all of this occurred, and remember the concerns and disappointment when this new exciting campaign to promote breast feeding was watered down … HHS' priorities need to get back in order. The formula industry should play no role in the development of a breast feeding campaign or in how data and information is shared. But unfortunately they had/have a very big place at the table."
Rob Schofield at the Progressive Pulse is outraged: "No matter what they say about their concern for the common good, when it comes to publicly held corporations in which the maximizing shareholder returns trumps everything, it's all about the money and nothing but the money."
But Ed Morrissey, blogging at Heading Right, thinks the government was overstepping its bounds to begin with: "This is just another example of nanny-state meddling in areas for which the federal government, and government in general, are unsuited to operate. … The health advocates used the same political pressure to get the ad campaign started in the first place, and now they complain that the formula industry they wanted to harm had the audacity to play by the same rules. What's next — Congressional hearings on the undue influence of Big Formula?"
Read more about the breast-feeding-ad debacle.