May 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

On hearing of the death of the great French diplomat Talleyrand, his Austrian rival Metternich is reputed to have said: "What did he mean by that?" Perhaps we can be too cynical in assessing politicians' motives. And so maybe we should just give President Obama credit for doing the right thing in endorsing marriage equality, and leave it at that. -- David Boaz
Nakedly political, but my Facebook friends are in rapture. What do I do -- pick a fight? Obama Administration Posted by John Kranz at May 10, 2012 10:40 AM

1. Why does marriage need to be a function of the state?

2. This is being heralded as some bold political decision. Why? Are the evangelicals not going to come out for Obama now? Oh, wait...

Posted by: hb at May 10, 2012 11:30 AM

Good point -- was "Julia" even married?

Of course your solution is correct. Get gub'mint out of the marryin' biz and let the Rosicrucians bond whomever they choose. Sadly, this is another example of a lonely libertarian position. A "Baptist & Bootleggers" coalition of evangelicals and gay rights activists is not going to accept our sagacious counsel on this.

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2012 11:55 AM

(I am taking a page from jk and responding to my own comments...)

Perhaps I am being too harsh, as I do think this is a net benefit for liberty. However, in looking at the media coverage I fear that this has become more about the president than the issue.

Posted by: hb at May 10, 2012 11:56 AM

In completely unrelated news, the President has a $15 Million (40K/plate) fundraiser planned tonight with George Clooney and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Like I said, completely off-topic. Don't know why I even brought it up at all...

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2012 12:08 PM

I'm going to temper that "net benefit for liberty" thought for a moment. That might have some validity if anyone believed him, but it's JK's words that frame this: "nakedly political."

In 2008, the SCOAMF campaigned saying he was against homosexual marriage; four years later, his stance has now "evolved." The truth of the matter is that, whatever he actually believes about the issue (if in fact he does actually have a belief about the issue), what he's done is given the most authoritative voices on both sides of the homosexual marriage debate the right to presume it's the pandering of political theater. Neither side believes that either of his pronouncements represent a closely-held belief; both sides recognize that he says what he says, when he says it, for political reasons.

In 2008, he stated he was against homosexual marriage to placate mainstream America's fears that he was too left, too radical, and he was casting himself as a moderate centrist; history is now the proof of theory, and all but the blindest among us now admit that was a sham. Now in 2012, he knows the evangelicals aren't going to vote for him, so that's a lost cause. Moderate America has abandoned him. It costs him nothing to offend those groups, because he's not getting them back no matter what he does. What he's facing is a very motivated right wanting him out, and a disillusioned left that he needs to get into a voting booth. There aren't enough dead voters in America to get him to 52% this year without the left, and the left is complaining that the SCOAMF isn't left enough.

In 2008, the McCain candidacy persuaded a lot of conservatives to stay home on election day; a pumped-up Obama voting bloc gave us the result we have now. This year, those roles are reversed; desperate to give the left a reason to pull the handle for him, we get stuff like this. "Romney won't back homosexual marriage! That's why you've got to vote for me!"

This might be the "net benefit for liberty" you're looking for if someone were saying this on the basis of principle. The SCOAMF is not that person. He's given everyone on both sides the right to read this as cynical pandering,

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 10, 2012 12:33 PM

As Ed Morrissey says:

"And for all of those who cheered this flip-flop, here's a question: wouldn't it have been more effective in North Carolina had Obama made this announcement before Amendment One went to the polls? According to Obama himself, he'd already changed position on same-sex marriage. An announcement last week or the week before that, with a personal plea to African-American voters, might have made a difference. Instead, Obama hid, the White House fibbed, and Amendment One won easily in a state that Obama carried in 2008. Regardless of whatever else this might be called, leadership isn't among the terms that come to mind."

Posted by: Terri at May 10, 2012 2:43 PM

I'm really enjoying the discussion on these pages - and staying out of it.

As for your Facebook friends, they claim that gay marriage is a civil right because, among other things, gay individuals were born into their circumstance. Is this any different than wealthy individuals being born into a prosperous family? Don't they have a civil right to equal taxation? To equal earned income tax credits? To food stamps?

Sure, some wealthy people choose to be rich but the vast majority of them are just following their nature. Right?

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 3:04 PM

And you were doing a superlative job of staying out of it, jg...

I'm clearly not too good at cheerleading for this Administration. I do find his Wednesday position more appealing than his Monday position. And I agree with Mister Morrissey that it's too bad he was a closed-minded, irrational homophobe for the election on Tuesday.

I suggested to one FB-friend that it is also too bad that he let that whole his-party-runs-Congress-and-has-a-Senatorial-supermajority thing go to waste when he was in his troglodyte, knuckle-dragging redneck phase.

So I'm not cheerleading, but as I once advised a blog brother: when you train a dog, and he finally does what you want is a bad time to get out the rolled up newspaper. "Good President!"

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2012 4:04 PM

Yes I was, and I maintain I am still staying out of it. I do not seek, as do social conservatives, to infringe on the individual's right to live and marry as he or she sees fit. And I do not seek, as do the so-called Progressives, to infringe on the individual's right to produce and trade as he or she sees fit.

Unlike both of the constituencies mentioned, I do not want to make anyone eat an excrement sandwich. Instead, I seek to eradicate everyone's ability to infringe anyone else's liberty. (And that is a fate worse than death for the second-handers who now control our two-party government.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 14, 2012 2:32 PM | What do you think? [9]