Steve King eyes Justice Dept budget

STEVE KING EYES JUSTICE DEPT BUDGET…. The Obama administration announced this week that it no longer considers the Defense of Marriage Act constitutional, and will no longer defend the law against court challenges. The right, not surprisingly, isn’t happy, but there’s a noticeable difference in the way different wings of the party are responding.

Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa, for example, offered this message via Twitter earlier today.

“If President Obama won’t redirect Holder’s DOJ to aggressively defend U.S. DOMA law, I will move aggressively to cut their budget.”

It’s certainly possible King will find some unhinged allies to pursue this, but I find it easier to just roll my eyes at his nonsense given the muted response from the rest of the party.

In the hours that followed [the Justice Department announcement], Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

To be sure, Mike Huckabee, who takes a back seat to no one when it comes to hating gays, was considerably more hysterical about this, but in general, much of the Republican Party effectively took a pass on Obama’s DOMA move. It suggests the issue is losing its potency.

“The wedge,” GOP strategist Mark McKinnon said, “has lost its edge.”

The religious right, meanwhile, expects Republicans in Congress to do what the White House no longer wants to do — defend DOMA in court. If lawmakers ignore it, the culture warriors are likely to go apoplectic, but it remains to be seen just how much the party intends to invest in this, Steve King’s wild-eyed threats notwithstanding.