Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker on Obama's gay marriage stance As President Obama continues warming up to the idea of same-sex marriage (last month he urged the state of Illinois to legalize it), Jeffrey Toobin wonders how much of the issue we'll be seeing on the national stage. The Supreme Court's upcoming hearings on cases which question the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act should present an opportunity to talk seriously about gay marriage. "Since 2011, the Obama Administration has been on record as considering DOMA unconstitutional; it will not defend the law before the Justices," he writes. But even with growing public support for gay marriage, the President and the Supreme Court are proceeding cautiously, Toobin finds. "Maybe the President does not want to lead—and maybe the Supreme Court doesn’t want to, either—but the destination of the country on gay rights is clearer every day."
David A. Bell in The New Republic on France's domestic malaise Much has been written on the factors in France's decision to intervene in Mali, with focus on the brutality perpetrated by Islamist rebels there. But the situation on the ground in France might have just as much influence on President Hollande's push into Mali, argues David A. Bell. "Far from expressing a confident sense of mission, the French public has recently been more inclined to a sense of decline, malaise, paralysis and crisis," Bell writes. And thanks to a stalled economy, tax revolts amongst the rich, and growing political divisiveness, this sense of ennui "is at least partially justified," Bell argues. Perhaps this entrance into Mali is just the shot in the arm the country needs.