February 29, 2004
Kerry Strategy Revealed
The Washington Times has uncovered John Kerry's secret strategy to cripple Benedict Arnold corporations and bring American jobs back from overseas. So far, the Republican Party has been hard-pressed to pin down the shifty senator from Massachusetts on policy issues. As the Times points out:
On the policy front, Mr. Kerry spent nearly two decades promoting free trade, and now he is running as an unabashed protectionist. He voted to authorize war in Iraq, and he has now become one of its most strident opponents. He voted for the USA Patriot Act, and now he opposes it. He voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, and now he attacks it.
Ducking and weaving, shucking and jiving, Mr. Kerry has been a moving target. But no longer: the Times has brought him to bay:
On the fund-raising front, Mr. Kerry relentlessly claims to be the only four-term U.S. senator who never accepted a single limited, regulated donation from a political action committee (PAC); but in December 2001 he formed his very own PAC, which collected more than $2 million, including nearly $1.5 million in unlimited, unregulated soft money that he lavished upon Democratic parties and officeholders in the early primary states. He has eviscerated lobbyists as "influence peddlers," but he has accepted more political contributions from lobbyists during the past 15 years than any other member of the Senate in that time period.
Mr. Kerry initially embraced the taxpayer-financed matching-funds system for presidential primaries; but after his own fund-raising efforts spiraled downward during each successive quarter last year, he ditched the matching funds and dipped into his personal inheritance in a desperate, wildly successful attempt to resuscitate his flagging campaign.
It now develops that Mr. Kerry's presidential campaign has accepted nearly $150,000 from executives and employees of companies whose jobs or operations were moved overseas by "Benedict Arnold CEOs" in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The Washington Post, which tallied those donations, also reported that Mr. Kerry accepted more than $400,000 in additional contributions bundled together by two "top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens." David Roux, who described himself last year as the "anchor tenant in John Kerry's fund-raising mall," has raised more than a quarter-million dollars for Mr. Kerry since 2002.
Pressed for an explanation, Senator Kerry (who has the same initials as John F. Kennedy and is rumored to have served in Vietnam, although this report remains unconfirmed) explained:
"There is no inconsistency in my positions - my stand on the issues has always been crystal clear. This is simply part of a brilliant plan to weaken Benedict Arnold corporations from within. The Kerry campaign plans to hit them where it hurts: in the pocketbook. By accepting huge campaign donations, my campaign is siphoning off excess funds that would otherwise be used to send American jobs overseas. That's the kind of innovative thinking America can expect from a Kerry administration. You won't see this sort of visionary leadership coming out of the Bush White House."
GOP re-election campaign chairman Marc Racicot was said to be experiencing some sort of convulsions. He is expected to release a response later today.
Right Kind of Incentives
James Joyner is in rare form over at Outside the Beltway. I don't want to ruin it for you - check it out :)
Way Too Funny
Over at Crooked Timber, Kieran Healy lays out the ultimate horror flick: The Document That Would...Not...Die.
High Concept for a Horror movie: The Constitution really is a living document.
- Night. CONSTITUTION escapes from display case in Library of Congress. Seen lurking in alleyway off of Mass Ave. Shadows. Attacks and eats Cato Institute INTERN.
- Day. The NATIONAL GUARD attempt to capture the Constitution on the Mall. Suddenly, ARTICLE III is invoked in a novel way. The GUARDSMEN find themselves guilty of treason and are forced to arrest themselves.
- Morning. Quiet alley. Constitution hides in a dumpster. We hear it interpreting itself in a high-pitched chatter. BABY AMENDMENTS push up the dumpster lid and escape into the city.
- A home office. A MAN sits at a computer. The Constitution moves stealthily behind him, past a banner on the wall reading ‘Proud to be a Resident Scholar at the AEI.’ He hears a noise behind him, turns and brandishes a gun. The Constitution quickly reinterprets the SECOND AMENDMENT and the gun disappears. -
- The Man looks at his hand in horror, and then up at the advancing AMENDMENT. Fade Out.
- Day. Golf Course. The EIGHTH AMENDMENT appears from the heavy rough and devours Justice SCALIA from the legs up. Vice President CHENEY putts to save par, makes some adjustments to Scalia’s scorecard, and smiles quietly to himself.
The linking scenes pretty much write themselves. Call him for a complete synopsis.
Hat Tip: Outside the Beltway
Kerry's Record on Defense
Max Cleland has endorsed John Kerry, calling him "A Leader to Make us Safer". Says Cleland:
From my vantage point, the one person who can reclaim politics and patriotism for all Americans while making the United States safer is Sen. Kerry. Quite simply, Kerry has a better understanding of foreign relations and national security than any presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime. In 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has been a leader in the battle to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to modernize our military, promote human rights abroad and improve our nation's security.
I would like to examine a few Mr. Cleland's assertions.
Quite simply, Kerry has a better understanding of foreign relations and national security than any presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime. Hmmm...this would make Mr. Kerry wiser and more experienced than FDR, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and George Bush Sr., to name a few of our more distinguished presidents. I would be curious to know Mr. Cleland's reasons for rating Senator Kerry ahead of all of these men.
In 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has been a leader in the battle to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to modernize our military, promote human rights abroad and improve our nation's security. This is an interesting assertion. According to a Washington Times article quoted by the Center for Security Policy:
The Center for Security Policy has analyzed more than 75 votes over the past decade cast by Mr. Kerry and other senators. The Washington-based conservative think tank gave Mr. Kerry one of the lowest ratings of any senator.
In 1995, for instance, the group gave Mr. Kerry a rank of five out of a possible 100. In 1997, Mr. Kerry earned a zero from the Center for Security Policy, which identifies its goal as "promoting international peace through American strength."
Among the votes the group evaluated were nine Mr. Kerry cast against developing a missile-defense system envisioned to protect the United States from nuclear attack. Also noted are the six times in the past 10 years he voted to freeze or reduce defense spending. Mr. Kerry also cast two votes to loosen trade controls over "dual-use" technology such as U.S.-made high-speed computers that can also be used by enemies to build high-tech weaponry.
The Massachusetts senator voted against defense appropriations bills that included money for weapons such as the Patriot missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber -- all of which military leaders say have become integral to the U.S. force and were crucial to winning the 1991 Gulf war and last year's war in Iraq. According to voting records, Mr. Kerry also favored cutting or canceling spending on the Apache helicopter, the M-1 Abrams tank and a wide range of fighter jets.
Republicans have also produced a proposed bill that Mr. Kerry authored in 1996 to cut the deficit. The proposal, which would have cut spending on defense and intelligence by $6.5 billion, never attracted a co-sponsor or came to a vote. This bill was so reckless that it had no co-sponsors," said [GOP Campaign Chairman Marc] Racicot.
It's hard to see how Mr. Cleland interprets Kerry's shameful voting record on defense and intelligence issues as being supportive. He seems to have resurrected the Clinton tactic of loudly repeating a bold lie until it becomes accepted as truth. The complete lack of factual basis for such a claim does not appear to trouble him in the least.
Before Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Qaida averaged one attack every two years. Since then there has been an attack every three months. American fighter jets now accompany some domestic flights. The national terror alert system has been elevated to Code Orange five times -- despite the fact that no citizen quite knows what that means, localities don't have the resources to pay for the security increases, and no federal help is on the way.
This statement is misleading for several reasons. First, there was no organized tracking of Al-Qaida attacks prior to 9/11, so we cannot know with certainty how often they attacked. Also, Mr. Cleland points out that the attacks we do know of occurred on average every two years. How many World Trade Center attacks is Mr. Cleland willing to endure? Mr. Kerry did not favor military intervention in Iraq - he voted to authorize the use of force, but later stated he did so thinking we would go in "only with broad international support". Apparently the support of 34 nations was not enough to stiffen Mr. Kerry's spine - he later withdrew his support from the war effort and refused to vote for funds for the reconstruction of Iraq. Kerry would have preserved the status quo - and almost certainly this would have resulted in another large-scale attack on American soil instead of the smaller, uncoordinated attacks on foreign soil perpetrated by the vastly reduced and ailing Al-Qaida we have thanks to Mr. Bush.
Mr. Cleland concludes: "Like many of those of my generation, Kerry volunteered for Vietnam. Like me, he came back with a few holes in his T-shirt. He is a man with grit, guts and integrity. I would be proud as an American to call him my commander in chief."
This glib generalization conveniently overlooks the fact that John Kerry sought a draft deferment by going to Paris and, only when that was refused, joined the Navy. He served only 4 months in Vietnam, obtaining an early release under an obscure regulation that allowed him to short-tour back to DC as an admiral's aide after being slightly wounded three times and earning 3 Purple Hearts. Senator Kerry then turned on his comrades in the Winter Soldier affair, accusing them of being criminals, rapists, and thugs. He repudiated the service he now so proudly parades at every campaign stop. Cleland's mention of "holes in our T-shirts" glosses over the details of his own war injuries.
Mr. Cleland's endorsement is just another Democrat puff-piece riddled with generalizations and gross inaccuracies and short on facts. Try backing some of this up with some well-chosen evidence, and it might be convincing. As it stands, the only people who are likely to be convinced by this are those who have already closed their minds.
Winter Soldier Analysis
I found this analysis of John Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony on wintersoldier.com. It takes on and refutes, point by point, some of the more controversial statements made by Senator Kerry during his post-war protest phase. His remarks were widely publicized by the media and anti-war activists and became the basis for groundless and damaging myths about Vietnam veterans and the war itself that persist to this day.
I have edited Mr. Magruder's comments slightly for brevity. The full text is available here. I have also substituted links and/or other material where I judged it effective and have so noted. An abbreviated version of Mr. Magruder's introductory remarks follows:
We think it vitally important that the media ask of Senator Kerry if he still stands by the statements he made to Congress in 1971. These statements were significantly at odds with majority American opinion on the war at that time and they clearly parallel the opinions of the campus war protests, which, in the long run made a major contribution to the failure of that campaign and the triumph of tyranny and genocide in Southeast Asia.
If he disavows his earlier position, that would be a major blow to the myths about Vietnam that are still being perpetuated in media and university to protect those who avoided that fight for freedom. If he does not disavow his earlier position then we call on him to drop out of the race for the Presidency. In the following what I do is quote some of the more startling passages from Mr. Kerry's statement and comment on them, in some cases borrowing information from the noted historian Lewis Sorley who describes the very same period in his recent book on Vietnam , "A Better War." ...We cannot go forward into a dangerous future without national unity. It is time to end the undeserved aura of idealism that media and university attach to the phrase "anti-war activist", when in actual fact it should be viewed as shameful.
Excerpts from Senator Kerry's 1971 statement to Congress, interspersed with comments from Leonard Magruder and selected links to other materials follow. Senator Kerry's remarks are in bold.
Kerry: "Several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia , not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. They re-lived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side... We are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia."
[Note: I have substituted this passage and linked material under "Read More" for Mr. Magruder's comments] The results of this investigation, carried out by the Naval Investigative Service, are interesting and revealing. Many of the veterans, though assured that they would not be questioned about atrocities they might have committed personally, refused to be interviewed. One of the active members of the VVAW told investigators that the leadership had directed the entire membership not to cooperate with military authorities. A black Marine who agreed to be interviewed was unable to provide details of the outrages he had described at the hearing, but he called the Vietnam War "one huge atrocity" and "a racist plot." He admitted that the question of atrocities had not occurred to him while he was in Vietnam, and that he had been assisted in the preparation of his testimony by a member of the Nation of Islam. But the most damaging finding consisted of the sworn statements of several veterans, corroborated by witnesses, that they had in fact not attended the hearing in Detroit. One of them had never been to Detroit in all his life. Read more...
Kerry: "The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history."
Psychologists, who were usually against the war, to buttress their position, charged the war with having created a "killer instinct" for which there was not the slightest shred of evidence. We know this from comparing the rates of crimes by Vietnam vets with the rest of the country over the years. Also, what was "nothing" about the enormous sacrifice of men and treasure the U.S. expended to try to help a small country who asked for our aid against the horrors that we know occurred when that country went down? [Note: I have abridged Mr. Magruder's comments and added linked material] Read more... (scroll to account of Harold E Lindstrom, Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
Kerry: "We are men who have returned with a sense of anger, and a sense of betrayal which no one yet has grasped. We are angry because we feel that we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country."
A comprehensive 1980 survey by the VA reported that 91% of those who had seen combat in Vietnam were "glad they had served their country." 80% disagreed with the statement that "the U.S. took advantage of me." 66% said they would serve again. As to the effects of their service many said it made them more ambitious, more determined to make something of their lives, that it made them more serious and that they appreciated America more, valued life more. Does this sound like men who were "used?"
Kerry: "We in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those Agnew calls misfits (war protestors) were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam.
The identification with the goals of the campus war protestors, or anti-war movement, is very clear. Kerry was reportedly (U.S. Veterans Dispatch) a supporter of the "People's Peace Treaty," a "peoples" declaration to end the war drawn up in communist East Germany based on 9 points taken from Viet Cong peace proposals. The "Boston Herald Traveler" reported that Kerry marched in a protest on Dec. 12, 1971 in a group carrying Viet Cong flags and placards in support of China, Cuba, the USSR and Hanoi.
Only those in the anti-war movement called for "immediately withdrawal" an ignominious solution that the majority would not even consider. Nor did the protestors care about the soldiers. Again and again in my documentary, based on 68 interviews, "The Shame of the War Protestors: Vietnam Vets Speak Out," the veterans of that war said, "When we came home, the protestors didn't care about us." Many told about being harassed, insulted, ostracized, and even spit upon at airports when they returned.
Kerry: "To attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam... by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart."
Is there any question but what the 58,000 plus lives that were given in South Vietnam was in a noble effort to preserve freedom for an oppressed people? American soldiers did give the South Vietnamese freedom. By late 1969 almost the entire population was thought to be living under substantially secure conditions. Said Ambassador Bunker, "By the end of 1972 one could travel anywhere in South Vietnam without security forces or anything else, even though by then American forces were about all gone." The American soldier never got any credit for all he did for the South Vietnamese, the media never mentioned it to the American people.
As to what tore the country apart, it was the protestors, and here is what the nation thought about them. (From "America in Our Time," by Godfrey Hodgson): "At the height of the war, the Harris Poll showed that 69 % of the public believed that anti-war demonstrations were "acts of disloyalty against the boys fighting in Vietnam," 65% agreed that "protestors were giving aid and comfort to the enemy," 64% said they were not "serious , thoughtful critics of the war, just peaceniks and hippies having a ball." A poll by the University of Michigan showed that reactions to "Vietnam war protestors", was "by a wide margin, the most negative shown any group."
Kerry: "We are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against Communism. We found that not only was it a civil war, but that the Vietnamese were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
Was there something 'mystical' about the soldiers he saw dying all around him? Did he not know that is was because Communist soldiers from the North were trying to enslave South Vietnam? While the partition of South Vietnam into two sections makes the charge of "civil war" problematic, the fact remains it was clearly a war between a South Vietnam seeking freedom, against a totalitarian aggressor from the North, something neither the Communists nor the anti-war movement ever acknowledged. As for "hard put", few realize that in every campaign, the South Vietnamese Army lost over twice as many soldiers as we did. The figures for the five major offensives are as follows: (from "Vietnam in Military Statistics", a major history of the Vietnam War by Michael Clodfelter.) It was never made known by the media, by the way, just how badly the enemy was mauled during this war. You can see that below.
1968-the Tet Offensive- U.S.- 1,829 KIA (killed in action), South Vietnam-2,788 KIA, Communist forces- 45,000 KIA
1969- U.S. -9,414 KIA, South Vietnam - 21,833 KIA, Communist forces -156,954 KIA
1970 (includes Cambodian incursion)- U.S. -4,221 KIA, South Vietnam-23,345 KIA, Communist forces- 103,638 KIA
Laos Incursion (Dewey Canyon ll / Lam Son 719), with U.S. air support only) -U.S. - 219 KIA, mostly crews of 107 downed helicopters, South Vietnam - 8,000 KIA, Communist forces, -13,668 KIA.
1972 - Easter Offensive (with U.S. air support only) -South Vietnam 15,000 KIA, Communist forces - 83,000 KIA.
Kerry: "We found most people didn't even know the difference between Communism and Democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies and without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted the United States of America to leave them alone in peace. And they sided with whichever military force was present, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese, or American."
The most devious of all the anti-war arguments. President Thieu distributed 600,000 weapons to his people. No government in doubt of the yearning for democracy of its people would have dared do this. In the villages and the hamlets the People's Self-Defense Force had mushroomed during 1969. At years end, now organized into a combat arm and a support arm, the PSDHF had more than 1,300,000 men and women in the combat arm, backed up by another 1,735,000 people in the support arm, all ready to stop Communists.
Also, why was there no uprising against the Americans during the Tet Offensive, or any effort to aid the invaders, and why did the South Vietnamese Army then almost double, largely due to volunteers? How could an 'uncaring' people put together an army of over one million, sacrifice over 250,000 soldiers in battle, and fight against Communism, alone, for two years after the Americans had left, when, even with occasional stumbling, there were great victories as in the Easter Offensive, and An Loc. "The basic fact of life", said the noted American commander John Vann, "is that the overwhelming majority of the population - somewhere about 95% - preferred the government of Vietnam to a Communist government."
For two years the South Vietnamese held out, until Ted Kennedy, Kerry's biggest supporter, led anti-war forces in Congress in cutting off all ammunition to South Vietnam.
...The media keeps talking about Kerry's "strong national security credentials." That is very questionable. There is nothing in Kerry's speech that shows any sign of "strong national security credentials." It is very possible to be a much-decorated soldier and still have little understanding of the very war in which one is fighting. It is clear Kerry did not, and therefore might not understand the current war.
- posted by Cassandra
February 28, 2004
Ban Assault Weapons and other Trivia
"Back away copper, or I can't be responsible..."
Oh no. And in other news, research uncovers a shocking breakthrough in understanding human behavior: "The strongest indicator of high sexual activity, of the seven Clark studied, was the amount of money spent on alcohol." I wonder how much they spent figuring that one out? This is your tax dollars at work, folks.
Strengthening the Constitution
In the desire of the vast Jet Noise editorial staff to pander to the irrational prejudices of their loyal readership no effort is too much: no bridge too far, no mountain too high to climb. In other words, ask for it JarHeadDad and it shall be given unto you.
As I prowled the hallowed corridors of Towhall.com this morning, I came upon the article he referred to in his comment on the Bush and Gay Marriage thread and since it was so good, I wanted to pull it to the fore for those of you who missed his trenchant posts.
If you prefer the Reader's Digest Condensed version, the point is that the President's proposal to amend the Constitution is a single issue band-aid to a much larger problem that won't go away: judicial activism. Bush's stated purpose is to keep judicial activists from declaring DMA unconstitutional and using the full faith and credit provisions in the federal Constitution to force states to recognize gay marriages enacted in other states (regardless of whether those states have voted to legalize gay marriage). But this scenario will be played out over and over again with other issues in the future - amending the Constitution lops just one head from the Hydra - a thousand more will spring forth to take its place. What is really needed is an amendment that makes it harder for activist judges to arbitrarily reinterpret the Constitution and circumvent legislatures, thereby making law by judicial fiat.
Thomas Jefferson warned of the potential tyranny of the "despotic branch": "Over the Judiciary department, the Constitution [has] deprived [the people] of their control. ... The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will. ... The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. ... It is a misnomer to call a government republican in which a branch of the supreme power [the judiciary] is independent of the nation. ... It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression...that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped."
Indeed, virtually all has been usurped. Jefferson, in his great wisdom, knew that, human nature being what it is, judges would eventually abandon the plain language of the Constitution.
In the end, this proposed marriage amendment does little more than bandage a lesion on a body consumed with cancer. In addition, it lends a false sense of security. If the issue -- as President Bush presented in no uncertain terms -- is the imminent threat of judicial activism (and indeed it is), then the only constitutional amendment we should be considering is one that addresses judicial activism.
As for the lawlessness of these from-the-bench legislators and the elected representatives who are tasked with keeping them in check, they all disregard the Constitution they've sworn to uphold. We would ask the same question that George Washington once asked: "...[W]here is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths...?"
While this idea sounds good in theory, I believe there is sound reason for giving the judiciary the power to interpret the Constitution. First, that document is by no means clear in all its provisions and where there is doubt as to its meaning, there must be some body with the power to resolve disputes as to its meaning. Second, it was written over 200 years ago and there is no way the Founding Fathers could have foreseen some of the dilemmas modern technology and science pose - they did not exist in the frame of reference of the times. The Constitution is a living document and must move with the times - if its foundations and concepts are timeless, its applications must remain flexible if it is to be useful in a changing society.
On the other hand, I believe it has become far too easy for jurists to reinvent the Constitution to suit their mores du jour - oftentimes it seems that even its penumbras have penumbral emanations, from which activist judges construe heretofore unseen "rights" that contradict public opinion and the expressed will of state and federal legislatures. Instead of allowing the natural tide of public opinion to gradually turn in favor of liberalizing social issues, activists turn to the bench. The result is unpopular decisions that galvanize public opinion and often retard social progress that was occurring naturally.
It will require the wisdom of Solomon to limit judicial activism while retaining the ability of the judiciary to interpret the Constitution where necessary. It may be that this power simply needs to be more tightly restricted, but not eliminated entirely.
The vast editorial staff is now taking potshots from the readership.
Update: The WSJ weighs in on Insults Unpunished.
UPDATE: This discussion is continued in the following posts:
Greenburg says full faith and credit contains a loophole and David Frum poses 8 questions on gay marriage.
Thomas Sowell suggests issue is not gay marriage but preserving rule of law.
February 27, 2004
This is Bad
This is really in appallingly bad taste considering the previous post, but I really don't care. It's time to lighten up.
Bush and Gay Marriage
I didn't want to write on this subject - it provokes strong reactions and I have mixed feelings about it. I strongly favor civil unions and have reservations about a Constitutional amendment banning anything, even if it upholds the sanctity of marriage. Perhaps someone can explain just what it is about the President's speech that provokes reactions like this one from asshats like Rosie O'Donnell?
"I think the actions of the president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president. I am stunned and I'm horrified...I find this proposed amendment very, very, very, very shocking. And immoral. And, you know, if civil disobedience is the way to go about change, then I think a lot of people will be going to San Francisco..."
Please tell me what is shocking, immoral, vile, and hateful about ensuring that the will of the people as expressed by state legislature is not overruled by a few jurists in some other far-off state? As it currently stands, if Massachusetts chooses to recognize gay marriage, it could force other states to recognize such marriages enacted with its borders via the full faith and credit provisions in the federal Constitution.
The Defense of Marriage Act enacted under Clinton passed by over a 5-to-1 margin in both the House and Senate. The Supreme Court could well overturn it unless there is an amendment to the Constitution that clearly reflects the people's intent on this issue. If the people's intent is to allow gay marriage, that should be settled by a vote and duly recorded for all time. This is too important a matter to be decided by a small number of elite black-robed jurists - we live in a representative democracy where the primary form of lawmaking is by legislature. Why then are we so quick to delegate this matter to the courts?
Bush has been accused of latching on to a divisive wedge issue, but as Bush-watcher John Podhoretz points out, the President has historically been leery of divisive issues:
The first thing to be said about President Bush's advocacy of a constitutional amendment intended to ban gay marriage is that this is a matter he would have preferred not to address at all. Throughout his presidency, Bush has proved that he is uncomfortable with the Republican Party's so-called "wedge issues" - a term devised by the late Lee Atwater to refer to social controversies that pit traditional values against progressive mores.
Bush is no culture warrior, and those who are accusing him of it are simply trying to change the focus of the discussion. The story these past months is not that conservatives are acting up against gay marriage. It is that the forces who support gay marriage have decided to stage an assault on the rule of law and the proper functioning of government.
Charles Krauthammer (who I still want to be when I grow up) points out that society has been moving towards increased tolerance of homosexuality and homosexual unions for some time now. Allowing nature to take its course would probably result in the desired result in a few years. Instead, activists have decided to force the issue now and bring matters to a head instead of going through the legislative process and allowing the will of the electorate to be heard. This may well be counterproductive in the end:
Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, "halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue."
A similar "reform direction" on homosexuality has been under way for years. There is no doubt that increasing tolerance of homosexuality, reappraisal of marriage and common sympathy for fellow citizens would have led inexorably to the spread of civil unions (which I favor) and, as they became customary and were evaluated in the light of experience, perhaps ultimately to broad acceptance of gay marriage as well. Instead, the courts have once again been commandeered to impose a revolution from on high.
I could get on my high horse, but Krauthammer does it so much better that it seems a shame to deprive you of an Olympian rant:
Who did the kindling here? Bush had no desire to get involved in this issue. If not for the activism in Boston and San Francisco, it would not be an election issue at all. Boston and San Francisco have made the question very stark: We are going to have national gay marriage or we are not. "States' rights" is a phony - and ironic - alternative that will not withstand constitutional muster.
I welcome the debate on the constitutional amendment because it will shift the locus of this issue from unelected judges to where it belongs: the House and the Senate and the 50 state legislatures. In the end, however, I would probably vote against the amendment because for me the sanctity of the Constitution trumps everything, even marriage. Moreover, I would be loath to see some future democratic consensus in favor of gay marriage blocked by such an amendment.
Nonetheless, that does not render the abusive, ad hominem charges made by the marriage revolutionaries any less hypocritical. Gay activists and their judges have every right to revolution. They have every right to make their case. But they deserve to be excoriated when they then cry, "culture war!"
February 26, 2004
Dinner Party from Hell