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VAWA is a pet project of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who drafted the initial legislation that President Clinton signed into law in 1994. Last reauthorized in 2005, it is set for reauthorization in 2011.

Gender-conscious groups are gazing into their crystal balls. There’s Mr. Biden, who said last year, “My proudest legislative achievement in the Senate was passing the Violence Against Women Act.” There’s scaredy-cat Mr. Reid, who excuses men behaving badly. And there’s the neutered version of abuse called “intimate partner violence.”

Look at it this way. Miss Houston’s ex, Bobby Brown, was a wealthy singer-songwriter when he married the pop songbird in July 1992. Eight months after her father escorted her down the aisle (sans shotgun), Miss Houston gave birth to the couple’s only child. Since then, Mr. Brown has been imprisoned, faced arrest warrants and charges of battery and failure to pay child support. Mr. Brown’s financial slide led to another warrant issued last year, before the economy showed signs of better days.

Should Mr. Reid cut him some slack?

Deborah Simmons can be reached at