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May 09, 2012

Comments

Obama has changed his mind. I can see that the so-called liberal media is trying to play this as flipflopping to protect Romeny from all of his flipflopping. There is a difference between actually changing one's position due to input or learning and changing one's position every five minutes based on who the audience is on any given day.

What Biden said didn't sound like a gaffe. He took his time and said it clearly, not like it was off the cuff.

Don't know how this will play out in the election, but how radical is it really to take the same position on gay marriage as Dick Cheney?

...but how radical is it really to take the same position on gay marriage as Dick Cheney?

Heh. Let's get something straight (if you'll pardon the expression): Democrats who take reasonable positions are godless commie fascist radicals; Republicans who take the same positions are heroes and patriots.

Seriously, though: quite aside from my considerable sympathy for gay people, I am tremendously glad to see Obama come out of the (political) closet this way. I am glad to see him present the country with another clear and sharp difference between himself and Romney. I want elections to be about distinctions. Coming together is for after elections. Choosing up sides is what elections themselves are about.

--TP

I agree that Biden didn't slip. It was probably planned - it makes sense that the campaign would anticipate the issue (because of the NC amendment) and have Biden broach it, with Obama to follow up after the crowd was warm.

I don't care a bit that this was stage-managed, though. I can understand frustration that Obama didn't produce this sooner, but I think he's general been a very good LGBT ally. To paraphrase someone over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, I'm not big into noble defeats.

Going off of what I read there, LBJ voted against antilynching legislation several times. If his vote could not pass those laws, and that decision made him able to rise to power and pass the CRA, VRA, Great Society, etc, would we really wish he'd taken a stand that would have great rhetorical (but no political) impact?

Please note that I don't think lynching is equivalent to banning gay marriage - nor do I think Obama is the same as LBJ. I just think the parallel is that people are reviling Obama for pragmatism on an issue where it seems justifiable or at least a close call.

Or another simile, the NAACP in the early 20th century did not bother going after integration, because it would have been futile. Instead they pursued more funding for black schools, and made their move on desegregation when the political climate would tolerate it.

I think it is a case of words beig louder than actions. Obama's record on LGBT rights is pretty darn good, but lots of folks very vocally didn't give him credit. Now, simply by stating an opinion that has no real effect on anything, he is getting credit.

Julian--

I agree.

Biden was sent out to test the waters.

And it worked out well. When Obama looked at the response to Biden, he decided that he could say this pre-election (though his statement will upset some Latino supporters, and a smaller percentage of Afrianc-American supporters, it doesn't look as if he will lose many of their votes.)

Meanwhile Romney has now come out four-square against Gay marriage, losing not only whatever Gay/lesbian vote he had, but turning off some liberal/moderates who are liberal on cultural issues.

Biden did well and the Obama strategy worked.

I agree that Biden (and Sec. Duncan) were trial balloons.

But I simply cannot see this as an electoral ploy (unlike most of the pundits I have heard from so far today). The homophobes were never going to vote for Obama, due to his dropping Don't Ask Don't Tell, and refusing to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage [sic] Act. So no votes lost there. And gays would have to be insane to vote for Romney (given his current position on those points). So where is the gain/loss?

I see it instead as an attempt to move the thinking of the black community, at a time when they still see him as their hero. After the election, win or lose, his clout there will be smaller. But now, he has taken the opportunity to move the debate.

Well said, Mr. President.

I think Obama's shifting position on gay marriage is similar to my own on abortion. As long as there seemed to be a viable modus vivendi it was justifiable to go for a compromise. In the case of abortion a ban with clearly defined exceptions, in the case of homosexual partnerships a legal recognition that in essence gives the rights/privileges but without the formal title. But with the opposition making clear that no compromise of any kind will be accepted (next step: rebanning of contraception and recriminalizing of homosexuality*) the only viable position for decent** people seems to be to go the full way in the other direction. While we are at it, the 'war on drugs' would drive me to a 'legalize it!' position, if I were (was?) in the US. And I am not gay or female and my drug consumption consists of a about half a bottle of sparkling wine per year and the occasional rum-flavored chocolate.

*not just the acts, that too is just an intermediate. It's about Gesinnung (disposition) not deeds
**Imo any decent person thinks that abortions are nothing to be happy about and that they should be kept to a minimum (by removing the need, not by making it a crime)

Obama would have been fine with gay marriage in 2008 if he thought he would have benefited electorally. That he has finally come out and said what he's always believed is political calculation, not an evolving view.

That said, big deal. That's what politicians do. The calculate, cut corners, fudge, dissemble, throw out red meat, smile and shake hands with anyone and everyone. Romney has to keep his base in line, just as Obama could not have moved on this before he did. Romney will be vilified for doing what he has to do in a way that Obama was never seriously criticized for doing what he had to do.

Would Romney, given his druthers, demure on SSM and let it become reality? I think more likely than not, yes--as would a good many Republicans I know here in Texas who are forced into their own closet by the bomb throwers that currently hold sway.

But, what Obama has done is still historic for many reasons. Most importantly, his coming out will accelerate the universality of SSM, which is the best part. Almost as importantly, four years hence, either the Republicans clean their own house and at least declare neutrality on the issue or they consign themselves to minority status for a generation. The more this matter is debated, the less rational and more bigoted the right's leadership sounds. Third point: Obama's evolution was calculated. As time passes, more and more views will 'evolve', and, more and more, those 'evolutions' will be seen as opportunistic, not principled. Late comers might as well not come at all.

Which, for fiscal and national defense conservatives like me, is not a good thing.

It could of course have the opposite effect. If Obama loses to Romney, esp. by a very small margin, it could drive the Dems back to 'safe' bigotry because 'we lost for being too gay-friendly'.

If Obama loses to Romney, esp. by a very small margin, it could drive the Dems back to 'safe' bigotry because 'we lost for being too gay-friendly'.

If Romney or his surrogates wave the bloody shirt of homophobia, it's game over for them and four more years for Obama. The independents will preponderate heavily for Obama and many more people will move from "undecided" to being on board with SSM.

If Romney doesn't know this, he is too stupid to be in office. Many here may not like him, but he's not stupid. More to the point, his remarks so far are hardly what I would call incendiary--which itself is a sign of the times and, hopefully, an indicator of what passes for his core. If he demagogues this, he loses a lot of people, far more than he would ever gain.

McK'n'T, I'll have to take your word for it that R Money is not stupid...though I'm not sure how one would parse the distinction between him and stupid; I must admit, it's just as likely that he's so detached from the world of ordinary people that HE can't tell what's clearly stupid to them.

As for political calculation, the President is not even in the same league as Mittens, for whom EVERYTHING is carefully calculated. Stupidly calculated - transparently, clumsily, and ridiculously so - but nonetheless contrived to achieve some imaginary escape velocity.

Being "vilified" for his dependable serial ignorance, two-facedness & general lack of grasp may be what "he has to do", though as you say. Hey, he's running for President, for Pete's sake! But it's foolish to suggest that 'vilification' of his 24-karat ineptitude and inconsistence somehow rises to the level either of the constant, dishonest hysteria directed at the President by his political (and, umm, "cultural") enemies, or to the serious policy differences he has brought upon himself.

BTW, turning a blind eye/ear to criticism of the President does not indicate a LACK of criticism, and devotion to false equivalence does not level the playing field. Either way, general revulsion toward "conservatives" and their wild-and-crazy policies have already consigned Republicans to another generation or two of wandering in the wilderness, eating sack-cloth 'n' ashes & pining for the fjords.

That's the best-case: worst-case (for the wrong-wing) is the whiggification of the party as a whole, and the general discrediting of "modern conservatism" in general.

Elections in the US are less decided by public opinion than by the degree of mobilization on one side (and the suppression or at least demoralization of the other). Even worse, it tends to come down to this in a handful of swing states. God, guns and gays have been old and proven ways to mobilize the Right. A few hundred thousand RW single-issue nutters plus a similar number of disenfranchised 'undesirables' can easily swing the POTUS election. That's one reason to put state anti-gay initiatives on the ballot on the day of federal elections. From a purely political point of view Obama is making a bet that his statements now will mobilize more for his side than for the other. Otherwise I think he would have waited until after the election. And again, I think he is uncomfortable with 'marriage' as opposed to 'civil unions' for homosexuals but has been driven to the pro side by the extremism on the anti side.

"More to the point, his remarks so far are hardly what I would call incendiary--which itself is a sign of the times and, hopefully, an indicator of what passes for his core."

His remarks? He has surrogates to make his core remarks.

I'd say what passes for his core is his treatment of his dismissed gay foreign policy adviser.

Of course, his gay former foreign policy adviser's core is rancid hatred of Barack Obama, so where does that leave us?

Romney's core likes it both ways, which is not to say he's bisexual.

And he won't be bipartisan as President either.

No, he and his posse may not actually wrestle gays to the ground and cut off their hair, but he will enjoy firing them.

"Which, for fiscal and national defense conservatives like me, is not a good thing."

Not to pick on you, McK, but judging by the behavior of R politicians in the Presidency or Congress, what makes you think the Republicn party is the party of fiscal conservatives? Democrats actually have a better track record, judging by deficts anyway.

Laura, you're absolutely right. Judging by deficits, judging by Wall Street, by jobs - you name it - Democrats outperform Republicans. But there's one thing Republicans hate: taxes on the rich. It all boils down to that.

The John Birch Society now has full control of the late Republican Party. They are much more well-rounded in their hate than merely hating taxes on the rich, though that is the hill they will repair too for their last stand.

They contain multitudes in their hate.

By "they" of course, I refer not to the few conservative refugees who camp at OBWI until the bugs who have taken over their Party are nuked from space.

It's now full-on national war against gay marriage, including giving up the states' rights crapola, which they've never believed anyway (well, not since most of them were slave-owning southern Democrats back in the day) given Norquist's binding of their hands to eliminate any experimentation by starving the States too of revenue:

http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/05/10/481772/romney-adviser-gillespie-constitutional-marriage-ba/

It could of course have the opposite effect. If Obama loses to Romney, esp. by a very small margin, it could drive the Dems back to 'safe' bigotry because 'we lost for being too gay-friendly'.

We've been here before; this is already claimed by many pundits to be what sank John Kerry in 2004. Of course, Kerry was anti-gay-marriage, but it didn't matter; the coming of legal gay marriage in Massachusetts, for the first time ever in the United States, provided the mobilization anyway.

Personally, I think the effect of that was exaggerated; what sank Kerry was a combination of Swift Boating, his own lack of charisma, and the last dwindling remnants of 9/11 Bush fever. But the belief that gay marriage got him by turning out the "values voters" doesn't seem to have sent the Democratic Party running away from gay rights to any extent that they weren't already.

Meanwhile, is romney going to throw his lot in with this sort too?:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/05/10/afternoon-open-thread-18/

If so, then these people can't be talked to.

I think Lee Harvey Oswald carried a John Birch Society supplied weapon that looked much like the one pointed at Obama's hairline in that ad.

They can't be talked to. They are beyond reach, except through telescopic sights.

The only campaign ad Obama should run is the same one, but with the weapon pointed in the other direction.

what makes you think the Republicn party is the party of fiscal conservatives?

Which deficits are you referring to? I'm pretty sure the current debt spiral began in 2007--a Republican in the whitehouse and Dems having the senate and the house. Then, of course, in '08, the Dems had it all. Hasn't our deficit doubled in less than 8 years? Here's a link that illustrates my point: http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html

That said, neither party has been particularly effective in controlling spending.

I don't think either party is good at controlling spending, either. However the Republican approach--which isn't based on math, political reality, or consistancy between stated position and voting behavior--will never result in anything except increased deficits. The Republicans in national office increase the deficit intentionally because thet's the only route to imposing their extremist ideology on the rest of us.

Democrats are reality oriented. They know that somethig cannot be gotten for nothing. they knowthat people, includig Republican voters, want the federal gravy train to make regular deliveries. they also have a sense of the common good. So they tax and they spend which is what the voters, when they are beig honest with themsleves, want.

So one party deliberately cuts taxes, spends like drunken sailors on the miliatry and their own disricts, creates deficits on purpose, and uses their deficts to rationalize their idologically driven attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other progrrams that aren't important to wealthy Republican politicians. The other party tries to raise the funds needed to pay fo rthe things the voters want.

I'll take honesty or ideology any day.

[likely offensive and off-topic rant]

Whether you're a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a libertarian, or anything other than an oligarch, and you've been a Republican because of it, it's a tough pill to swallow to know that your party has been fully taken over by monied interests. You may simply not be able to know it, in the same way that people can't acknowledge flaws in people they've loved for a very long time (or even a short time in many cases - that might actually be more likely, but I digress).

Admitting to being played over the years with a lot of talk but not much action on your concerns is embarrassing. It's even more embarrassing when they act in opposition to your concerns, as opposed to simply talking them up only to do nothing. It's easier to adopt the "untax the rich" platform yourself to feel like you matter.

(Of course, the Democrats are only less guilty of the same things, both on playing people with rhetoric and being beholden to monied interests, but that's another story.)

If you're a "national defense" conservative, it's a happy coincidence that national defense feeds enough of the monied interests that it gets some real love. Of couse, that love goes to the top. Fnck the poor disabled vets when they come home. There's no profit there.

[/likely offensive and off-topic rant]

it's a tough pill to swallow to know that your party has been fully taken over by monied interests

Leaving aside that this has been the standard criticism of Republicans for as long as I can remember, and conceding that the charge currently has some supporting evidence, the problem is that the same is true for the Democrats, they are just lest honest about it and, in my mind, even worse: really, really large operations carry plenty of weight with the Dem national leadership. Small and middle sized operations, not at all, other than lip service.

it's a happy coincidence that national defense feeds enough of the monied interests that it gets some real love.

There's a bit of conflation here. Defense appropriations and pricing are probably as much if not more of a scandal than Medicare/Medicaid fraud.

Staying off topic, if that's okay, which it likely is, since there doesn't seem to be much on-topic discussion for us to interrupt - the Democrats do have significant membership that includes people who advocate for the poor, for minorities, for the unemployed, for the struggling middle class, for the preservation of established social programs, for protecting the environment, for the rights of low-level workers, etc., which the Republicans completely lack.

The Dems aren't perfect by a long shot, but, that aside, gimme a break. Seriously. It's Friday. I don't need any additional impetus to drink.

How did I manage to leave out the rights of gays? I must have been trying to be off topic. Jeez.

the Democrats do have significant membership that includes people who advocate for the poor, for minorities, for the unemployed, for the struggling middle class, for the preservation of established social programs, for protecting the environment, for the rights of low-level workers, etc.,

I agree that, in addition to sucking up to the giants of US commerce and industry--who kindly suck up right back--the Dems stand for those you have listed, although just what the Dems actually propose for the struggling middle class is a bit muddled, but then I'm not sure what the definition of middle class is anymore.

My take, generally, because I am out of here in less than an hour, is that much of what the Dems do for others is done with yet a different group of others' money. Nor am I usually impressed with how the Dems 'help' others. But, I don't doubt that they care.

What the Dems don't give two s**ts about is the small and medium sized business and why should they? There's no money in it.

neither party has been particularly effective in controlling spending. -- McTex

Sad, but true. The critical difference, for this fiscal conservative, is that Republicans seem determined to combine their increased spending with decreased revenue (aka taxes). I don't like tax-and-spend, but I like borrow-and-spend even less.

What the Dems don't give two s**ts about is the small and medium sized business and why should they? There's no money in it.

Unless we use the rather skewed definition of 'small business'* as per the GOP, I'd say the Dems still care more than their colleagues. Which does not have to mean much though.

*which e.g. includes Bechtel but also top hedge fonds and holdings

McTx, you know what's the best thing the federal government could possibly do to help small businesses? National health insurance, that's what. A "public option", that's what.

Anybody weighing the risks and benefits of starting a new business has to consider many, many things. One of them is: if I end up making half a million bucks a year from this venture, will my 500,001st dollar be taxed 35 cents or 40 cents? Another is: if I quit my corporate job, will I be able to buy decent health insurance on my own, or should I just pray I won't get sick before I make my 500,001st dollar?

To hear Republicans talk, would-be entrepreneurs worry exclusively about the first thing. That's just nuts.

--TP

Defense appropriations and pricing are probably as much if not more of a scandal than Medicare/Medicaid fraud.

Tru dat.

if I quit my corporate job, will I be able to buy decent health insurance on my own

Likewise.

Played a gig last weekend, was talking to the piano player. He and his wife are both musicians, so no day job with bennies between them.

For he, his wife, and their 8-year old daughter, they pay $1500 a month for health insurance.

That's like paying another mortgage each and every month.

As a musician, I play well enough, and am sufficiently plugged into my local musical community, that I could do it for a living. Probably not make as much as I make writing code, but I could make a reasonable living.

That will never, ever, ever happen because my wife is self-employed, and my job brings the benefits.

The world isn't necessarily a better or worse place whether I write code or play music for a living, and I have no complaints about the path I'm taking through life. But I'm with Tony, IMO the single thing that most stifles entrepreneurial, risk-taking action is the crazy high cost of health insurance, and the incredible risks associated with not having it.

Especially if you have kids.

IMO, the ways in which the D's are much better for middle class and working class people are that they have, so far, been much better about preserving the public services that make the difference between "having some bad luck" and "living in your car".

So, unemployment, SS, Medicaid, Medicare, TANF or SNAP or whatever the hell it's called now, etc etc etc. Also, student loans, job training, etc.

What the R's are, consistently, in favor of, at all times, is lower taxes, especially for folks who own stuff. I'm sure that does make them more attractive to small to medium size business owners. But as noted, the biggest leg up you could possibly give to a small business person would be some way to manage the cost of health insurance and health care.

"The homophobes were never going to vote for Obama, due to his dropping Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Oh, come on now! This is either disingenuous, or demonstrates jaw dropping ignorance of the racial demographics of public opinion. Obama got a percentage of the black vote approaching 95%, and the majority of blacks are, by the current definition, "homophobes". Thus Obama gets the votes of a LOT of "homophobes". QED

I realize it's difficult to honestly address this, because the reliance of the Democratic party on getting almost all the black votes means you have to pretend they're saints, both to avoid their attention to the fact that, on some issues, they actually agree more with Republicans, and to avoid admitting that the Democratic party is reliant on the votes of, yes, bigots, but it's still the truth.

It's funny that the phrase "tax-and-spend" gives people such a frisson of profligacy, when the whole point of taxation is to spend that money somewhere else where we think it will do more good.

"the problem is that the same is true for the Democrats, they are just lest honest about it and, in my mind, even worse: really, really large operations carry plenty of weight with the Dem national leadership. Small and middle sized operations, not at all, other than lip service."

Many bad things are true of the Democrats, such as being beholden to moneyed interests. My perception of the Republicans is that they are even worse, and on very important issues like the regulation of the financial sector, environment, energy, women's rights, gay rights, and defense. Feel free to point me to an issue where you think the Republicans are committed to doing less evil than the Democrats.

To paraphrase a shirt, Republicans 20whenever - why choose the lesser evil?

The question that Brett brings up is addressed a bit in this article.

And before we get too deeply into this aspect of the subject, I want to make it clear that if anyone starts taking this conversation into the rough, and finds it necessary to refer to people participating in this discussion as bigots or homophobes, you'll be cooling your heels for a while. I'm not calling out anyone and I can see this going both ways, so please think carefully before ascribing beliefs to commenters on this blog, regardless how justified you may feel in doing so.

It's accurate to say the Republicans have a lock on the votes of those folks who vote their homophobia because it is an important issue to them. It's beenn R party policy for years to, as the Walker campaighn acknowledged, divide and conquer by appealing to the hate voters in order to get them to the polls to vote against their won interests and the interests of their neighbors.

Which is not to say all R voters are homophobes, of course. Just that people who are motivated to vote out of homophobia rea going to vote R.

The idea that Dems are MORE sold out to corportations that Repubicans is a selfiindulgent fatasy. Which party thinks corporations are people? Jeez the R sell out to big money has a been a primary feature of the R party for decades! It goes all the way back before FDR. BRett, don't you know about the K Street PRoject?

the reliance of the Democratic party on getting almost all the black votes means you have to pretend they're saints, both to avoid their attention to the fact that, on some issues, they actually agree more with Republicans, and to avoid admitting that the Democratic party is reliant on the votes of, yes, bigots, but it's still the truth.

There's a legitimate point here, which is that blacks, as a group, are in many ways socially conservative, and quite often economically conservative as well. There is, in fact, a natural (R) constituency among blacks, as well as among other ethnically or racially defined demographics.

But if you're looking for what keeps blacks voting (D) all you need to point to are the folks carrying posters of Obama with a bone in his nose.

It ain't rocket science. More like a (R) own goal.

The strategic political implications of socially conservative blacks following Strom Thurmond, Erick Erickson and the rest of the Confederacy into the Republican Party are bracing, to say the least.

I really don't think the Democratic Party can survive if the Republican Party monopolizes ALL of the bigots in America. Sheer numbers reveal that's just not fair.

A political party without bigotry, without the demagogued fear of the Other (how many gay, black, liberal voters, the trifecta of Otherness, unless your mother also happens to be a converted Muslim Hispanic immigrant, too -- what's not to hate? -- are there? Not many I suspect) is not sustainable in America.

Next thing you know the JohnreBirchican Party will drop its pretense of liking the Jews, once the latter are all coaxed to Israel for more precise targeting by God, and Al Sharpton will put an "R" in front of his name and suddenly re-appear as an Ed McMahon-type audience fluffer on the Glenn Beck Show. "Yyyyesss, oh great one!"

One can imagine the rotting corpse of Lee Atwater, grasping its in-casket cell phone with his 22-inch fingernails, nose and ear hair flowing extravagantly, dialing Mary Matalin: "Mary, you tell Mitt that if he wants to really let the dogs out, start distributing posters at Tea Party confabs depicting Barack Obama, not only ultra-pigmented and with a bone in his nose like a Kenyan witch doctor, but dressed like RuPaul and blowing a kiss. That's your road to vistory!"

"And, Mary, god-bless your stunning facial bone structure, tell the Romney campaign that if they want to crack the Negro vote once and for all, to pass it around that Treyvon Martin wasn't just nibbling on Skittles while scouting out the neighbors' stereos while also black, but he was cruising, if you know what I mean. By God, you'll have the NAACP itself lining up to petition Zimmerman's full acquittal."

"One more suggestion, Mare, for driving a wedge into the black vote. Tell Romney's peeps to not only play UP the anti-gay dust-up in high school, that's right, but also let it get around that Mitt and his posse beat the sh*t out of Bayard Rustin back in the 1960s, too. Why, Martin Luther King himself would don Confederate flag boxer shorts and run himself up a Ku Klux Klan flagpole at Liberty University.

If only George Washington had thought of this gay-card strategy. Why, when the King of England (a cynical man) promised freedom to the slaves and way too many blacks fled behind the British lines to fight the enslaving colonials, he could have let it get around that the king was a little light in the royal slippers and the slaves would have returned to the plantation and given up all hope of Brown versus Board of Education.

This guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPyTYuKsOcw

... who feels the same way about gays and lesbians as he does about women, belongs in the Republican Party. For all I know, he's Ann Coulter without the winning sociopathy, though they seem to share a predilection for certain sadism.

Maybe he can ask for heterosexual integration of the Log Cabin Republicans.

His identifying feature, as a member of a group which should be discriminated against by whatever means, is that he is an a*shole, a label he earned by dint of pure, individual effort.

Obviously, he's found his political home, as as*holes of all races, creeds and sexual persuasion have in the Republican Party.

Why so many non-as*holes remain in that dangerous hijacked organization is a question for another day.


I look forward to a new Republican PAC, funded by straight black republicans in favor of whooping cough:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/05/12/at-least-we-kept-taxes-low/

A coalition. The Rainbow Sanitarium Republicans

So, the bottom line is, if bigots vote for your party, it's proof bigots are sometimes willing to vote right. If they vote for the other party, it's proof the other party panders to bigots.

Pathetic.

In any event, the (laughable) claim that Obama won't be getting the votes of a lot of homophobes stands refuted.

Both parties pander to certain segments of bigots. The Dem advantage is that 'their' bigots are the targets of the other party's bigots, so the likelihood to lose thm to the other party is low. The GOP on the other hand cannot risk to lose their bigots because they have no guarantee that this will get them enough of the Dem base (it takes some time to reverse party loyalty).
Apart from that, as far as I can see the GOP has >90% of the murderous bigots on its side and leaves the soft ones to their opponents.
Disclosure: I find male homosexual acts nauseating (but also a number of very common heterosexual ones). I also am not very fond of 'gay' culture. That means I am an inner homophobe. But I'd not make an election issue out of it and it certainly gives me no right to call for a ban of any of the above. The mayor of my city is famously gay ('und das ist auch gut so', to quote him verbatim) as is our foreign minister. I like to former and dislike the latter (for his GOP-light policies).

"So, the bottom line is, if bigots vote for your party, it's proof bigots are sometimes willing to vote right. If they vote for the other party, it's proof the other party panders to bigots."

Well, what Hartmut said, more or less.

But a closer approximation of what I think might be that if bigots vote for my party instead of the other party, it might be that they are slightly smarter than your average bigot and just don't want to join a club that panders so ferociously for their membership using demonization of yet another OTHER as bait, somehow intuiting that they might be voting against their own present or future interests.

I have in mind the white male unionized Archie Bunkers of the Nixon era who couldn't see the future forest of Union destruction for all the minorities and the hippies in the trees.

I guess I like to split the bigot-vote to avoid the consequences of bigot monopolies.

I mean if I was a contact lens-wearer who thought eyeglasses were just an unacceptable aesthetic in good Cambodian society, I don't think I'd jump on the Pol Pot bandwagon, fearing that maybe someday the Kymer Rouge might develop a little jones against all corrective lenses worn by squinty eyed urban intellectual types.

No, show me a party that panders to Strom Thurmond, and I'll vote for the party that stopped pandering to him.

We'll see going into November which party airdrops leaflets and robocalls in the black community regarding the gay menace.

Far be it from me to guess which one.

Bouncing off wj and McKinneyTexas, I'd like to note two rather good effects of a president having an "evolving" position (although I think these weren't intentional)

One, the idea that it's ok, even good, to be thoughtfully undecided on major issues while you weigh the implications and seek more understanding. That would do amazing things to our discourse if it was more widely accepted (and is very much Obama's core message throughout his career, now I think of it).

Two, that while you're undecided you can still act on those bits of the issue where there's consensus, or a clearly right thing to do. (DADT, DOMA, unions).

Leaflet of Party A:

! ! ! BE A SINGLE ISSUE VOTER ! ! !

Please choose one from the following single issue options: a,b,c,d

But avoid the following: e,f,g,h

! ! ! BE SINGLE-MINDED ! ! !
! ! ! IT MAKES YOU STRONG ! ! !

----------------------------------------
Leaflet of Party B:

!!! Be holistic not arsehole-ish !!!

You might not like our stance on one of these: a,b,c,d (but surely disagree not on all of them at the same time)

But be honest: you agree with us on e,f,g,h even if you don't dare speak your mind in public.

Why not vote with ALL your interests in mind?

!!! We may be wimps but we are not at least not as narrow-minded !!!

This very interesting blog post, via Lawyers, Guns and Money

seems to be related.

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

I'd certainly be willing to acknowledge Brett's point if he can acknowledge that appealing to a Christian demographic that includes Bill Donohue and Ralph Reed is a similar appeal to bigotry.

I find male homosexual acts nauseating (but also a number of very common heterosexual ones).

You know, Lisa Marie Presley was married to Michael Jackson. He was really hot in bed, she claims.

Some say Danny Kaye had a ten-year affair with Lawrence Olivier. Which just gives me the willies, for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with their gender.

Ava Gardner was married to Mickey Freaking Rooney. It hurts me just to say those words.

People are attracted to other people for their own reasons. Odds are that their choices won't make a whole lot of sense to some significant population of other folks.

If you're one of those folks and it bugs you, think about something else. It ain't none of your beeswax.

Not a comment particularly directed at you Hartmut, it's just the fact that who finds who else attractive, and who wants to build a life partnership with who else, has become The Burning Issue Of Our Time makes my head ache.

Seriously, I want to ask Romney, or whoever else is making hay out of Standing Up For The Traditional Family today:

What's it to you?

People just want to live their lives. WTF is so hard to grasp about that.

And yeah Brett, some homophobes are going to vote for Obama. Some gay people will vot for Romney. It's a funny world.

People cast their votes for a pretty broad spectrum of reasons, real live single issue voters are rarer than hens' teeth.

"People just want to live their lives. WTF is so hard to grasp about that."

The singe greatest right, the right that underpins the bill of rights, is the right to be left alone by government. But no politician or bureaucrat, regardless of their ideology, is going to buy into that. To bad the right to be left alone wasn't explicitly written into the constitution.

And then there are the few closeted gays but open homophobes, knowing very well what they are doing, who will sweep into the Republican House on the coattails of a Romney Presidential win just so they can vote themselves a tax cut and some favorable offshore banking loopholes.

I heard a funny story once, probably street legend, about Danny Kaye convincing American airport customs to allow him, in uniform, to conduct a thorough, ahem, search of Olivier's person as the latter entered the country, as a practical joke between friends.

This was when the TSA had a sense of humor. Also, apparently, Kaye's wife.

But then Danny Kaye was the guy who drove himself to the hospital very late in life, parked his car in the hospital valet lot, and six or eight weeks later as he lay in what was to be his deathbed, he interrupted a conversation with a visitor by sitting bolt upright in bed and exclaiming "Holy crap, my car! I completely forgot about it!"

No doubt his wife, not Olivier, hurried downstairs to pay the tab.

I miss Olivier and Kaye.

"Ava Gardner was married to Mickey Freaking Rooney. It hurts me just to say those words."

I don't think Sinatra ever got over it either.

You know, it's funny, a guy I know who is a Limbaugh dittohead and staunch country-club Reagan Republican who lives in California and whose wife was denied some cancer chemo treatment alternatives by her private health insurer recently, and who found out there is a government agency he could approach which would help him, successfully as it turns out, appeal the decision.

He must have been really, really lonely to have made that call. This was like Greta Garbo seeking out the paparazzi.

He tells the story without a hint of Constitutional irony.

As Benjamin Franklin said when asked what he and his fellow Founders had wrought: "A lonely hearts club, if you can keep it."

Ava Gardner was married to Mickey Freaking Rooney. It hurts me just to say those words.

I'm thinking that the next open thread should be 'couples that you don't understand'. Fortunately, my wife's friends and acquaintances (and probably most of the people who know me IRL) aren't on the list, or I would be half of the couple in first.

I find male homosexual acts nauseating (but also a number of very common heterosexual ones).

A Woody Allen joke comes to mind

A: I bet you think sex is disgusting!
B: If it's done right, it is!

So, the bottom line is, if bigots vote for your party, it's proof bigots are sometimes willing to vote right. If they vote for the other party, it's proof the other party panders to bigots.

Pathetic.

In any event, the (laughable) claim that Obama won't be getting the votes of a lot of homophobes stands refuted.

I took the claim to be that people who would vote based on their homophobia were already mostly lost because of DADT. I know it wasn't expressed in exactly those terms, but that seems to be the logical interpretation, rather than "no homophobes will vote for Obama."

And the votes of homophobes for either party aren't proof of anything. Some of those votes are simply the result of obvious and overt pandering, which needs no proof.

Despite protestations from this bill's author that we most certainly are not the Soviet Union, it's obvious that conservatives, or whatever these everythingaphobes call themselves, have learned a lesson from the KGB: devolving interrogation and snooping regarding one's most personal behavior to the most local and individual level, complete with neighbors, fellow employees, and employers spying and ratting on all of us, is the most effective way of maintaining the requisite level of state terror to keep us in line.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/05/12/arizona-gov-jan-brewer-signs-legislation-permitting-employers-to-interrogate-female-employees-about-contraception-use/

Didn't Sartre, or was it Camus, say "hell is other people"? The Soviets had the KGB; we have each other.

I'm watching all of you.

The singe greatest right, the right that underpins the bill of rights, is the right to be left alone by government. ... To bad the right to be left alone wasn't explicitly written into the constitution.

I'd respectfully submit that the reason it isn't in the Constitution is because it's not something the folks who wrote the Constitution, or the Bill or Rights, would think was true.

"Being left alone" covers a lot of ground. People who live in communities larger than an extended family develop governments, and those governments have claims on the people involved.

In at least 10,000 years of humans living in something we would recognize as a society, that has, consistently, been so.

If you want to say "It's a PITA", I have no argument. If you want to say, "it ought not be so", IMO you will have an argument, not with me, but with human nature.

One of the things I find staggering in the UK is how quickly attitudes towards homosexuality have changed. The British Social Attitudes Survey does yearly surveys which, among other things look at attitudes to sexuality. In 1984 54% of those surveyed said homosexual relations were always wrong; in 2007 it was 26%. (As a comparison, the view that adultery is always wrong was held by 58% in 1984 and 57% in 2007, so it's not simply a question of a sexual free for all). The electorally-smart politicians are the ones who get on board with this: Tony Blair introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples and David Cameron is now consulting on introducing gay marriage.

"In any event, the (laughable) claim that Obama won't be getting the votes of a lot of homophobes stands refuted"

Of course there are going to be homophobes here and there who will vote based on some other issue and vote for Obama. However, that doesn't lessen the reality that the Democrats are not deliberately courting homophobe votes and Republicans are.

I got a good example of this just this morning. A client of mine announced that she hoped Obama would not be re-elcted. It turns out that her wacky church had no services today because the members spent today gathering signatures for an anti-gay marriage intiative, one of those Republican stir-up-the-base and GOTV ploys.

And talk about people being led by the nose! My clent had no idea (until I enlightened her) that the Republicans are attacking her life support systems: Medicare and Medicaid. Nope, she thought that by votig R she was standig up for good old Christian values.

So while not all homophobes will vote R, oly the R pary is deliberately usig prejudice agaist gay people as a way of getting votes. Not only is it a policy with the Repulican party to appeal to bigots, but they are doig it cynicallly to screw over the voters that fall for it.

I've been chewing (masticating, as it were, and that's not good, because it leads to parabolic ejaculations of hyperbole on my part, as has been noted here) on the suggestion that the Constitution should have explicitly stated that we have the right to be left alone by the government, and aside from the fact that once such an absolute (I noticed no exceptions or equivocations were offered) were to be stated explicitly in that document, we could have dispensed with the rest of it, including the remaining wordy bullet points in the Bill of Rights, commas included, it occurs to me in such a case that the only citizens who would be truly left alone would be the powerful, meaning some form of the corporation, certainly not one sanctioned by the government, but some supercharged reptilian form of corporation/plantation/gulag that would cause the rest of us a wretched loneliness, with no recourse for appeal, loneliness having been enshrined as the highest good in the land.

Read the full text of this: http://coreyrobin.com/2012/03/08/lavatory-and-liberty-the-secret-history-of-the-bathroom-break/

... and know simply that if a production line supervisor disallowed me bathroom breaks and ordered that I pee in my pants rather than interrupt the smooth flow of Grey Poupon mustard being transferred from vat to individual 12-oz containers, and handing me a diaper to wear, the expense for said garment deducted from my paycheck, were there to be a paycheck in exchange for my labor, given the constitutional loneliness stipulated above, I would politely refrain from killing the supervisor on the spot, he wearing urine-soaked trousers as well through no fault of his own, and found the owner of the condiment factory and strangled him with my bare hands (not before inquiring of him "Why 'grey'; it's such a drab color)" and then I would move on, apparently unhindered by government, it being stipulated once again by Thomas Hobbes that the government will have no fish to fry whatsoever, and hack his lonely family to pieces with a machete.

Then I would find Emmet Tyrell, Jr., who suggested (see article) the horse diaper as an entertaining solution to the bathroom break conundrum, and I and polythene pam would sneeze "OSHA!" at him and his last word powered by breath would be "Gesundheit!"

Look at this way, you wouldn't be able to call me a bureaucrat.


If the government would just leave us all alone, we could get together and organize ourselves collectively to secure some measure of peace and order for ourselves. Then we wouldn't even need a government, would we?

It would be just like Woodstock.

Or maybe Altamont, if Joni Mitchell had been in charge of security instead of the Hell's Angels.

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