Friday, August 24, 2007

Family Matters

No, dinner didn't take nine hours. I just decided - or, rather, my body just decided - that it didn't want to collapse from exhaustion halfway to Mt. Rainier on Saturday. Which is ironic since my wife never made the reservations so we're probably not going this weekend after all. YouTubers the world over will undoubtedly be crushed.

To give you an idea of how far behind I am, this Fred Thompson story is from LAST Friday:

I'm afraid CNN story you linked mischaracterized Thompson's comment on gay marriage. They've since altered the story....without noting the change.

For the record, the Thompson camp has officially noted that "Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage." He supports the rights of States to choose their marriage law for themselves.

The Thompson camp issued this statement:

In an interview with CNN today, former Senator Fred Thompson’s position on constitutional amendments concerning gay marriage was unclear.

Thompson believes that states should be able to adopt their own laws on marriage consistent with the views of their citizens. He does not believe that one state should be able to impose its marriage laws on other states, or that activist judges should construe the constitution to require that.

If necessary, he would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting states from imposing their laws on marriage on other states.

Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Is this Ready Freddie's first genuine stumble? You can certainly make a case for it.

1) The phrasing. Since there's no such legal construct as "gay marriage," it cannot effectively BE "banned". So why did Team FDT not say, "Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment DEFENDING TRADITIONAL marriage"? Sounds like he's using the lavender lobby's emphasis.

2) What's the practical difference between an Amendment "banning gay marriage" and an Amendment keeping states from spreading "gay marriage"? The latter is what FDT's Amendment would be intended to do. So why not take that last little step and make it official?

3) Fredheads would argue that this stance is consistent with Thompson's federalist principles. But how is amending the constitution not federalist? Do not three-quarters of the state legislatures have to ratify an Amendment before it becomes the law of the land? If there were any true groundswell for sodomarriage, or for "letting the states decide for themselves," surely such an amendment would never get that far.

And, of course, it hasn't. Which raises the question of why, if this is the way Fred feels about the issue, would he knowingly walk into such an obvious rhetorical trap? Why not just point out that presidents have little practical influence over state marriage policies, and no part in the constitutional amendment process in any case? Or steer the answer toward emphasis on one of the things he DID mention, the appointment of constitutionalist federal judges who won't simply take their sharpies and graft sodomarriage into the Constitution themselves? He could have then segued to how Rudy Giuliani's pro-abortion stance is garishly inconsistent with his claim to appoint judges "in the mold of Roberts and Alito".

Or maybe even sicced the Enemy Media on poor ol' Mitt Romney again:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said this week that as president he would allow individual states to keep abortion legal, two weeks after telling a national television audience that he supports a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure nationwide.

In an interview with a Nevada television station on Tuesday, Romney said Roe. v. Wade should be abolished and vowed to "let states make their own decision in this regard." On August 6, he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he supports a human life amendment to the Constitution that would protect the unborn.

"I do support the Republican platform, and I do support that being part of the Republican platform, and I'm pro-life," Romney said in the ABC interview, broadcast days before his victory among conservative Iowa voters in the Ames straw poll.

The two very different statements reflect the challenge for Romney, who has reinvented himself as a champion of the antiabortion movement in recent years and is seeking to become the conservative alternative to former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.
Okay, let's strip away the Enemy Media BS and get to what Romney actually said:

1) Romney's answer to Stephanopoulos suggests that he was not asked whether or not he supports a Human Life Amendment, but whether or not he was aware that a Human Life Amendment has been in GOP national platforms for the past generation, and THEN would he support it?

You can see the trap from the phrasing of the question. Given the frankly silly heat Romney's taken on the abortion issue, the rote answer had to be that, "Of course I support the Republican platform, and every plank in it." A "quicker on his mental feet" answer might have been along the lines of, "Well, George, as you know, the party platform is written a-fresh every four years at the national convention. And if I'm the nominee, I will do all that I can to urge its writers to make sure it continues to reflect my pro-life views." Voila! He reiterates his pro-life stance without getting tied down to the human life amendment.

2) But that's not what he said. He said he also supports the Human Life Amendment that has been in every GOP platform of generational vintage. But here again we get to the same intellectual ground as Fred Thompson's on the Traditional Marriage Amendment: Since the constitutional amendment process is the epitome of federalism, how is support for the marriage amendment inconsistent with "letting states make their own decisions on abortion" when ALL FIFTY state legislatures would consider it and THREE QUARTERS of them would have to sign off on it for it to be ratified?

Annnnnd, what role does a president have in this process in any case, or over state abortion policies? Answer: slim and none.

So have Ready Freddie and the Mittster blown it with evangelical (or "values" voters)? Not if the latter actually think through what they did say on sodomarriage and abortion, respectively. Their stumbles were not in what they said but how they said it. But that can be fixed.

If you're a Christian voter, all you have to ask yourself is this: which GOP candidates oppose Roe v. Wade - the prototype of contemporary judicial imperialism - and which one supports it? And, accordingly, what kind of judges would each candidate be likely to appoint to the federal judiciary?

THAT is the emphasis Thompson and Romney need to cultivate. Because the Enemy Media, with its vested interest in maximizing the chances of a Hillary-electing GOP split next year, will do nothing to help "conservative alternatives" slow down the Rudy Express.