October 31 2003
TRICK OR TREAT: Sorry for the intermittent blogging this week,
but it's been a rough one. Today's is an abbreviated blog as well,
but we'll be back on track next week. I'm going to finally review
Austin Bay's new book and we're hoping to get back the answers
to questions we submitted to Ken Mehlman, manager of the Bush-Cheney
'04 campaign. Happy Halloween.
does his best to dampen any enthusiasm over the announcement
of the astounding
7.2% economic growth last quarter. To be fair, he raises some
legitimate questions about whether yesterday's number is an aberration
or whether it means we've really turned the corner. We'll have
to wait and see.
hard to take anything Krugman says seriously these days - even
when he discusses economics - because everything he thinks and
writes is filtered through a lens of absolute loathing for President
WRITING THE HEADLINES?: Check out these two paragraphs from
a story in today's Cincinnati Enquirer:
we've got a few days to go, we're a few points up so we're going
to press," said Fletcher in a reference to independent statewide
polls that have shown him leading Democrat Ben Chandler by as
many as nine points.
Chandler told supporters his campaign's internal polling shows
the race "dead even."
the headline to the story? "Chandler,
Fletcher neck and neck." For the record, the last
three polls have Fletcher up 8.3% on average two of the three
are beyond the margin for error. I know the Cinci Enquirer wants
to dramatize the race to sell papers, but portraying this contest
as a dead-heat is grossly misleading.
election news, new polls have Bobby
Jindal and Haley
Barbour leading their respective races. Which means that after
the recall in California, the GOP is poised for a clean sweep
of governorships this year. This doesn't really mean much of anything
for the Presidential race next year (all of these states were
solid Bush wins in 2000), but it does highlight the Dems continued
slide in the South.
It will be
fun, however, watching Terry McAuliffe do his best "Comical
Ali" routine and try to convince everyone that Dems' losing
governor's mansions in three states is a bad sign for Bush next
year. - T.
Bevan 8:48 am
October 30 2003
BORK ON GAY MARRIAGE AND THE FMA: Peter
Robinson, former Reagan speechwriter and host of the television
show "Uncommon Knowledge" interviewed Robert Bork on
the program last week. If you have the time to read
the entire interview, it's worth it. Here is an excerpt of
the discussion concerning the Lawrence
decision, the future of homosexual marriage and chances of
Robinson: "Do not believe it," says Scalia. "Today's
opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that
has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual
and homosexual unions." A decade from now, will the Supreme
Court have mandated homosexual marriage?
Bork: I think it's less than a decade. Could happen in two
ways. One is Massachusetts is about to announce a constitutional
right under their constitution to homosexual marriage. At that
point, people will come to Massachusetts, get married, go back
to their home states. There is the full faith in credit clause,
which says the other state, must give credit to the Massachusetts--there
will be a fight about the constitutionality and an attempt to
stop that. The other route--and that may spread across the country
by state court action and by full faith and credit clause. The
other route is direct appeal to the Supreme Court of the United
States, which I think, is ready to give a right to homosexual
marriage, at least will be ready in a few years.
only way to stop this is--there is a proposed constitutional
amendment saying that marriage is something between a man and
a woman. And you--and no statute or constitutional claim may
be interpreted to say same sex marriages is a marriage. Now
it doesn't try to stop civil unions. If legislatures want to
approve civil unions, it's up to them. I would oppose that but
it's up to them.
marriage itself is too important I think to be sacrificed in
the way that homosexual marriage would do. Now it must be said
that heterosexuals have already done enormous damage to the
marriage with their laws about no-fault divorce and that kind
of thing so that the whole blame for the damage to the current
situation of marriage and the family is certainly not to fall
on homosexuals. But this would be a decisive step I think.
Robinson: Unless there's an amendment to the Constitution,
the Court will indeed mandate homosexual marriage?
Bork: I think so.
Robinson: Do you then support such an amendment?
Robinson: You do? And do you think that such amendment is
likely to pass?
Bork: It's iffy. The fact is that the opposition to homosexual
marriage is eroding in the public. There's still a majority
doesn't like it, thinks it's bad. But percentages are not as
high as they used to be. And that is, in part, because of a
brilliant campaign homosexual activists have waged to convince
us that homosexuality is just like heterosexuality, just a question
of taste, question of preference and no difference. I think
that's not true but it's having its effect and it may be that
the public will not be sufficiently alarmed to adopt a constitutional
Robinson: So it's iffy?
I want to
expand on Bork's last comment, because I think it gets to the
heart of why gay marriage is (and will remain) a wedge issue in
By and large,
America is an incredibly tolerant country. But the country remains
overwhelmingly "traditional" as well, and gay marriage
is obviously an issue where tolerance and tradition meet head
has spent a great deal of time recently villifying social conservatives
to "criminalize" homosexuality. Certainly, there
are some religious conservatives who feel this way, but I think
Andrew terribly "misunderestimates" the degree to which
people of faith are tolerant of homosexuality (love the sinner,
hate the sin) and perhaps doesn't fully appreciate that the FMA,
far from being some sort of reactionary evangelical maneuver,
represents a much broader sentiment among the public and the natural
urge of a largely conservative, yet exceedingly tolerant country
wanting to protect one of its most sacred traditions.
to say most Americans probably don't believe homosexuality is
"normal"(which it certainly isn't by an empirical definition)
and many Americans still view homosexuality as immoral. But the
vast majority of Americans nevertheless respect the right of adults
in our society to make the decision to engage in their own chosen,
private sexual behavior.
parts of the country, increasing tolerance for gays and lesbians
coexists more or less peacefully with a strong sense of tradition
about the concept of marriage and family. But what bothers some
- or at least me in particular - is the idea that we must accept,
and our children must be taught at younger and younger ages in
public schools around the country, that homosexuality (getting
back to the words of Judge Bork) "is just like heterosexuality,
just a question of taste, question of preference and no difference."
In my mind
there's a big difference between a laissez-faire, live-and-let-live
philosophy of tolerance toward gays (and in fact all Americans)
the aggressive indoctrination taking place at the institutional
level in our society which promotes the behavior (and sexual behavior
at that) of a very, very small minority of people in the country
and mandates that we must accept it as equal in every respect
to the behavior of the vast majority.
I think it's
fair to raise the question, without automatically being branded
as a homophobe or bigot, whether we should be forced as a country
to change the centuries-old definition of one of our most important
civic and cultural institutions because an incredibly small percent
of the population wants us to.
story to help illustrate the point: last week a five year-old
boy turned to his mother and said when he grew up he wanted to
marry a boy. If you have kids you know that this sort of thing
isn't altogether strange; our four year-old has said on a number
of occasions he wants to marry his mom, his teacher, and any number
of other things including cartoon characters.
is: what do you say in response? If you were the parent of that
child what would you say?
If you respond,
"That's silly, boys don't marry boys," does that make
you a bigot? Or are you required by diktats of tolerance and political
correctness to tell your child, "That's perfectly normal,
son, it's okay for boys to marry boys. Whatever makes you happy."
Forgive me if I'm not willing to go there, but I don't think that
makes me intolerant, a homophobe, or anything else.
In the end,
we're back to the clash between tolerance and tradition. The former
can only go so far without taking its toll on the latter. I think
great majority of the country would like to see us have both;
a respect for the rights and freedoms of others without having
the small minority of people who choose to exercise those rights
and freedoms demand we restructure the institutions of our entire
society to promote them. - T.
Bevan 8:35 am
October 27 2003
THE THREE STOOGES: I didn't watch the debate last night but
I did read through the
transcript this morning. It seems clear that the recent vote
on Iraqi reconstruction money has become the prominent dividing
line between the Democrat candidates for President of the United
discuss repealing tax cuts and healthcare as much as they want,
but in the end their positions on the war and reconstruction will
be the defining criteria for each of their candidacies in the
early primaries and - should they win the nomination - the general
of weeks back David
Brooks noted the three distinct camps among Democrats in
Congress and their views on the vote for Iraq's reconstruction.
There are also now three distinct camps among the nine candidates
for President on the issue of Iraq:
- The "Iraq
Was Wrong From the Beginning" Camp. 4 Members: Kucinich,
Braun, Sharpton, Dean.
- The "I
Don't Agree With Bush's Approach But Iraq Was the Right Thing
to Do" Camp. 2 Members: Lieberman, Gephardt.
- The "I
Was For the War But Now I'm Just Against the President"
Camp. 3 Members: Kerry, Edwards, Clark.
agree with them or not, six of the nine candidates on the stage
last night hold principled and consistent views on the war. Gephardt's
defense of his vote on the $87 billion last night was not only
consistent and principled, but compelling:
think we all try to do what we think is right. That's what I
try to do. I thought the right thing to do, even though I want
part of it to be alone and have a lot of other suggestions about
where the money could come from, in the end you're presented
in the Congress with a vote, up or down on the $87 billion.
And I can't find it within myself to not vote for the money
to support the troops, our young men and women who are over
there protecting us, dodging bullets in a very tough and difficult
situation. And so, I felt the right thing to do was to do that."
liberals in Iowa can understand and appreciate this view, even
if they don't agree with it. More importantly, Gephardt's statement
crystallizes the issue and the illogical, opportunistic, and irresponsible
strategy pursued by Kerry, Edwards and Clark.
the end you're presented in the Congress with a vote, up or down
on the $87 billion." In the end, regardless of how much
you might oppose the particulars of the bill, the money for the
troops wasn't separate and the vote was about supporting them
every bit as much as it was about rebuilding Iraq.
You can excuse
John Edwards for being a slick politician with little or no conviction,
looking to polls to divine some sort of advantage for his faltering
candidacy. But it absolutely boggles the mind to watch John Kerry
and Wesley Clark, who serve up their own military service as a
credential for the office of president, try and convince America
that cutting off funding for our brave men and women in Iraq is
the best way to protect them.
best Wes Clark can do:
think the best form of welfare for the troops is a winning strategy.
And I think we ought to call on our commander in chief to produce
it. And I think he ought to produce it before he gets one additional
penny for that war."
This is a
great sound bite, but it's absolutely inane as a matter of policy.
We're supposed to tell the terrorists to stop attacking our troops
while we take a "time out" and come up with a better
plan to kill them? Clark should know better. Now that we're in
Iraq, there isn't a whole lot of middle ground or time for extra
planning. Either we stay or we go. How a former commander can
advocate a position that cuts off funding for U.S. troops and
will end up costing more American lives is beyond me. But hey,
as long as it can get him a 4th place finish in New Hampshire,
what the heck.
is trying to have the same cake and eat it, too. Here he is last
night responding to Joe Lieberman on the issue:
Joe, I have seared in me an experience which you don't have,
and that's the experience of being one of those troops on the
front lines when the policy has gone wrong.
the way you best protect the troops is to guarantee that you
put the troops in the safest, strongest position as fast as
possible. Our troops are today more exposed, are in greater
danger, because this president didn't put together a real coalition,
because this president's been unwilling to share the burden
and the task. And I will tell you, the American people understand
to Vietnam and the promise to "put the troops in the safest,
strongest position as fast as possible" is a wink and a nod
to the anti-war base of the party and about as close to calling
for a full-out retreat as possible without actually using the
words. They don't call John Kerry "French-looking" for
My gut tells
me we will see two candidates with consistent views on the war
square off for the nomination. Thanks to the vote on Iraq, that
only leaves two choices: Dean vs. Gephardt. -
T. Bevan 10:01