February 16, 2004

Stand, and Deliver Your Base

Here we have Bill Maher's take on marriage.

And why does the Bush administration want a constitutional amendment about weddings? Hey, birthdays are important, too -- why not include them in the great document? Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake -- you know, to send the right message to kids.
He goes on to criticize the Democrats who don't believe homosexuality is an abomination, yet do no insist on gay marriage. I have to agree. If you are not a true believer, you should have no problem with gays marrying. And you should say so.

This is the difficulty of politics. A candidate is not one issue. If your opponent can pin you to one unpopular issue and hammer it, does that make you a winner for sticking to your guns, or a loser for failing your supporters by not getting elected? But if you follow that reasoning, how can you believe anything a candidate from either party says during an election year, if both are simply positioning themselves for those center votes?

Those center people fascinate me. Most of the people I know are already decided. They either want Bush out of office, or they think he's OK where he is. Encouragingly, no one has tried to tell me he's the best man for the job. But the action is where the undecideds are, or the people who are only tentative for Bush or against him (while we await the Democrat candidate). The people who are considering not voting for Bush... what are they waiting to hear that might change their minds? Without changing his opinions or stances, what could Kerry, for example, say to reassure them?

One chunk of voters I think Kerry needs to address are those that don't like Bush all that much but have no confidence in Kerry to pursue a course that will deal with the terrorist problem and the lingering responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kerry has not yet addressed that issue. I'm looking forward to him taking that issue head-on when and if he becomes the nominee, because I think it will mean the election. If he can convince people he's going to handle that situation in a way that spares us the mistrust that Bush has sown but also find what good we have done and build upon it, he may find some gains among these folks.

Keep the good, dump the bad, and lose the credibility gap.

(BTW - thanks Julie for the Maher link)

Posted by James at February 16, 2004 3:00 PM
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The Dems are slitting their own throats by trying to jump on the anti-gay-marriage bandwagon. Firstly, the debate has been almost entirely one-sided because Republicans and Priests have been hammering on it for the last year or so with no response from Dems.

The Church thing is really creepy because I've shot a couple weddings this past year where the sermon was entirely about how wrong gay marriage is. Plus, since when do child molesters have moral authority.

Anyway, if the Dems took the other side in the debate, the poll numbers would start to change. Just like it took a lot of opposition to the war in Iraq (and a lot of servicemembers getting killed) to change the polling on that war. You can't just follow the polls, you have to lead them.

Plus, if you look at the demographics, the majority of people under 30 support gay marriage. To come out strong in favor of this issue now sets you up for the future. To come out against gay marriage means doing the wrong thing, sets you up for failure in the future, and really hands the victory to the Republicans anyway because this is their red-meat issue.

Posted by: David Grenier at February 17, 2004 1:36 PM

"Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake — you know, to send the right message to kids."

The cake I don't care about so much. If they take away my gelato, though, I'm gonna have major issues. ;)

Posted by: soxfan at February 17, 2004 4:46 PM

In Massachusetts, we will always allow anyone to have gelato.

Historically, suothern MA was the one place the Quakers were able to remain int he state, and they were heavily involved with the underground railroad.

So, if ever it needs to be, we will have a Gay Underground Gelato Railroad in the Westport - Fall River area. I'm sure I can learn to make the stuff.

Posted by: James at February 17, 2004 7:29 PM

David - it is easier to lead when you have the podium. This is why many people have epihanies in office.

I'm not saying this to excuse anybody. You can bet that when a Democrat makes it into office, he;s going to come under a lot of pressure to deal with this gay marriage issue sensibly. And by sensibly, I mean to make sure that gays have the exact equal rights everyone else does.

As far as I am concerned this year there is one overshadowing issue: Bush is in office.

Would we be even looking at the possibility of an amendment to the US constitution if Gore were president?

Posted by: James at February 17, 2004 7:35 PM

I mean, "epiphanies."

Posted by: James at February 17, 2004 8:41 PM

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