While Plamegate is certainly the most interesting issue of the day on a few fronts, it's a well-covered national story and certainly in the way of journalism I have nothing to add to the discussion. Closer to (my) home, there is an inverted Washington power play going on in Oregon during this legislative session, and things are perhaps coming to a head. After passage of the state Senate Bill 1000--which both outlaws discrimination by orientation and passes civil unions for same sex couples--the focus turned to the Republican-controlled House, which has behaved this session as if it ran Congress and the Executive, instead of being the minority institution in an otherwise Democratic landscape. House Leader Karen Minnis has refused to schedule the bill on what appears to be grounds that it would run afoul of the recently-passed Measure 36 (bumper title: One Man One Woman).
The news--simultaneously that the bill passed the Senate and would likely die there--made some national ripples. The National Gay/Lesbian Task Force gave solid props to Basic Rights Oregon (BRO), who spearheaded the legislative challenge of getting the Senate to pass the measure. Gays from Pittsburgh to St. Louis caught the word, and I link to the St. Louis one because it indicates congratulations from Log Cabin Republicans as well. Even Southern Voice covered it, in a more triumphalist "Thank Goodness Minnis Will Stop It" sort of tone, if I don't mistake the placement of a large picture of her to accompany the Buck Stops Here story. The Statesman-Journal takes a better hack at it.
This type of maneuver is generally accorded to majority leadership in legislature, it seems, although most of the time it's done because the measure wouldn't pass anyway. According to Bryan at GayRightsWatch, however, Minnis may actually be holding out because it would pass--but would represent a defeat for "her people." And that's where I think this is more than run of the mill obstructionism.
First of all, it's a shameless reversal of all the mouthings from the right on Measure 36--it wouldn't affect civil unions, that's what the legislature is for, etc. Now all of a sudden the thing that people in support of 36 said was definitely NOT applicable, is now a subversion of 36's core purpose. There is a BRO offshoot site called subtly enough Track the Lies, which has a nice little flash movie to demonstrate this particular hypocrisy. (Hat tip to B!x on that one.)
Second, to say it thwarts the will of the people as expressed by 36 is absurd, since while Oregonians do indeed not favor the pure right of marriage, larger majorities tend to favor the establishment of civil unions. Besides the Senate, Governor Ted is on board, and can't figure out why nothing is moving (on anything) over at the Capitol. Nike is taking the fairly courageous stand in favor of the bill. So given that support, to refuse a vote is really what would be thwarting the will of the people.
As Track the Lies indicates at their page, a rally is scheduled for Wednesday the 20th in Salem at 6pm, with a hoped-for surprise guest. Until then, you can register your support for SB1000, focusing on the need to get the thing onto the floor at least on principle. You can contact the various media with a letter to the editor; they get printed more often than you think if they're cogent, brief, and timely. You can bug Air America to stay on this story, particularly Thom Hartmann, who does a show out of Portland during morning drive.
More to come on this.