Saturday, December 01, 2012







Distraction

Maggie Haberman of Politico writes

Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the biggest-name potential Democratic 2016 presidential hopeful who has yet to take a position in support of gay marriage, a source of discussion in Washington this week after the State Department hosted a major LGBT event at which she discussed her commitment to expanding gay rights internationally.

Clinton, who, along with much of the Democratic field, was against gay marriage in her 2008 presidential run, spoke favorably about New York's gay marriage law when it passed in 2011, but has remained quiet on her position since, as other Cabinet members such as Arne Duncan, along with Vice President Joe Biden, have voiced support, and as marriage referenda passed in four states earlier this month.

But according to two sources, Clinton's aides have privately indicated to people that she will end up where her husband and daughter, Chelsea, have emerged on the issue - in favor of same-sex nuptials.

No doubt she will, as she probably is in the midst of evolving on the issue.   'Evolving' is all the rage in politics these days, as President Obama demonstrated with same-sex marriage and Sean Hannity with illegal immigration.   And there is little doubt that Mrs. Clinton has no choice but to follow in the ideological footsteps of Joe Biden and Barack Obama, as Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign explains:

Without any relationship to Secretary Clinton, what I'll say is that no serious [Democratic] contender for the presidency in 2016 will not support marriage equality.   It is a forgone conclusion that every candidate as a result of the president's leadership on the this issue [will be for gay marriage]...[he] literally ran on the issue and was re-elected.

The President literally ran on the issue and was re-elected.   (Sarcasm Alert) Viewers may have missed the frequent mention, the back-and-forth parrying, on the issue of same-sex marriage during the first and second presidential debates.   (The third debate was to be exclusively about foreign policy and national defense.) It was an accidental omission, we are to believe, that neither candidate would refer to the burning campaign issue on which Obama "literally ran."

No question was asked about "marriage equality."   And other than Barack Obama announcing in Denver that the occasion marked his twentieth wedding anniversary, neither did either candidate take the opportunity to swing the discussion anywhere in the direction of marriage.    (Probably both candidates were wise in their assessment.)

There may have been, though, a reason aside from strategic positioning that same-sex marriage never came up.   It's an issue that has no importance beyond itself, that is completely unrelated to the distribution of power in society.   In March, a Washington Post blogger commented

For renowned Washington attorney Ted Olson, mounting the legal battle against Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, doesn’t just mark a high point in his 45-year career — during which he has argued nearly 60 times before the Supreme Court, and cemented George W. Bush’s victory in the 2000 presidential election.

“This has been the highlight of my life,” Olson said last week at the annual networking dinner hosted by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for Georgetown Law’s LGBT student group, Outlaw. “This is the most important thing we’ve done in our lives. It’s not just become a legal challenge, but it’s about the hearts and minds of a country changing.”

The extraordinarily gifted and accomplished Ted Olson has not undergone a change of heart since he wreaked so much damage in 2000-2001.   Oh, no.  He then served as solicitor general under the president he helped foist upon the nation and most recently played the role of Joe Biden in preparing Paul Ryan for the vice-presidential debate.

Odd it may seem that Ronald Reagan's assistant attorney general, George W. Bush's solicitor general, private attorney to two of the last three Repub presidents, and Paul Ryan's help-mate would emerge as arguably the most important figure in the drive for "marriage equality."   One blogger in mid-September remarked "A lot of folks are scratching their heads this weekend after word came that Ted Olson will be prepping  Paul Ryan for his vice presidential debate with Joe Biden. Olson, as you probably know, is the attorney who won the overturn of Proposition 8 with his colleague David Boies."

Stop scratching.   We can assume Ted Olson sincerely believes that gay people should have the right to enter into marriage with whomever they wish.  We can assume also that Mr. Olson, who did what he could for the G.O.P. ticket, agreed with Mitt Romney when the latter clearly enunciated the fundamental Republican creed:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

That statement demonstrated the sense of entitlement and resentment of the super-wealthy and highly-connected.   It, rather than controversy over same-sex relationships (as Mitt Romney surely understands), reflects what the distribution of power in America is all about in 2012.




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