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High-Fives and Dope Slaps: Is DOMA going to disappear (much like, apparently, Mitt Romney's past policy positions)?

Posted by Alex Pearlman  April 3, 2012 09:23 AM

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etchasketch.jpgBy Jeff Fish

It looks like this week's accolades are a mixed bag, with two high-fives and two dope slaps.

In terms of the former, a Massachusetts court is looking into DOMA and will hopefully find it unconstitutional. And while we're on the topic of injustice, it's worth a mention that Elizabeth Warren isn’t happy with the massive tax breaks the federal government is giving AIG.

Then, for dopes slaps, we've got continued bad news from the T and another gaffe from the Guy Smiley -- I mean, the Mitt Romney -- camp.

High-Five: Mass. court looking into DOMA. Gay marriage may be legal in Massachusetts, but that's not what the federal government thinks, at least according to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA defines marriage on the federal level as between one man and one woman, meaning that even if a gay couple is married in their state, they do not receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples and they cannot file a joint federal tax return. The legal group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) is filing the suit, to be heard by the federal court of appeals in Boston.

DOMA, in my opinion, is a law that never should have been enacted and can’t be repealed soon enough. I fail to see how the federal government can have the right to define something as personal as marriage, especially in a way that causes such inequality. When someone is married, they should enjoy the same legal rights as any other married couple. Nothing the federal government decides should hinder that.

Dope Slap: T fix unlikely without revenue hikes, Deval Patrick says. This is not so much of a dope slap to Gov. Patrick as it is to the entire MBTA situation. Patrick told The Boston Globe that he “can’t see how” the T can fix its budget woes without new revenue from a gas tax or something else.

Unfortunately, I think Patrick is right: There is no solution to this mess that will not hurt at least some portion of the population. While I can’t begin to think of a plausible solution, I hope the final answer isn't an increased gas tax. Way more people drive than take the T, so why should those people have to pay more for a service they’re not using, especially at a time when gas prices are so high and people can barely afford to fill their tanks as it is?

High-Five: Warren blasts AIG's “stealth bailout.” Warren is calling out Congress and the Obama administration again, this time for their multi-billion-dollar tax break to financial giant AIG. The tax break amounts to what Warren and other former members of a congressional panel that oversaw bailouts called a “stealth bailout,” on top of the $182 million AIG already received from the government. Warren told The Huffington Post that the tax breaks accounted for 90 percent of AIG’s profits last quarter, adding that she “think[s] it’s time for Congress to end the special tax break.”

And I couldn’t agree more. Why should a company that’s already accepted billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout get even further tax breaks? It’s clear that this sort of relationship is rampant between Congress and Wall Street, and it’s time to end these egregious corporate loopholes and make big corporations play by the same rules as every other American. Because, as we all know, corporations are people, too, so why shouldn’t the same rules apply to them?

Dope Slap: The Romney campaign “Etch-a-Sketch” comment. Oh, Romney campaign, you’ve done it again: You've made it clear to your opponents and your voters that you will do or say whatever it takes to win this election and that the moral scruples of your candidate really aren’t what matters. When asked how Romney will adjust his decidedly right-wing primary election tactics to a general election matchup against Barack Obama, campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom compared the general election to a clean slate, much like shaking an Etch-a-Sketch, as if Romney's numerous positions on every issue won’t matter in November.

This statement is clearly not true. Yes, every candidate has to shift a little in the transition from primaries to a general election, but not as much as Romney does. He's been a totally different candidate in every election he’s been in (most of which he’s lost), and that doesn’t sit well with people. His policy shifts will be more noticeable than those of most other candidates because people -- especially Obama's team -- will be looking for them because that’s what Romney’s known for. You might be able to make an Etch-a-Sketch appear clean when you shake it, but if you look close enough, you’ll always be able to see those faint, permanently etched lines.

'High-Fives and Dope Slaps' is TNGG Boston's weekly politics column, written by Jeff Fish.

Photo by lizzieerwood (Flickr)

About Jeff -- I'm a senior at Suffolk University, majoring in journalism and political science. I'm the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, The Suffolk Journal, and I did a six-month co-op at The Boston Globe. I love politics, reading, movies, TV, and anything pop culture. My mind is a font of useless knowledge.

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