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Strategic Political Distraction
June 14, 2006 6:42 PM   Subscribe

The New Yorker suggests that Bush is being pushed by his advisors to fight against gay marriage when he really has no strong feelings either way. According to Bush's close unnamed friend, "I don't think he gives a shit about it." An inspired take on strategic political distraction.
posted by JPowers (39 comments total)

 
Top Republicans don't actually give a shit about wedge issues? Wow. It's almost as if they just wanted to exploit them for electoral gain.
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on June 14, 2006


That sounds about right to me. I get the impression that he is much more moderate on many issues than the stances he takes but that he just goes along with what Rove tells him to do because it works politically.
posted by caddis at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2006


"George bush doesn't care about gay marriage."
posted by daninnj at 6:50 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm not snarking here, but isn't that blindingly obvious to, well, everybody? He dutifully ran it up the flagpole before the last election, then didn't mention it again until now, when another election looms, when his negative poll numbers (and the rest of the factually-based universe) are sitting on his shoulders and pissing down his back, shorting out the earpiece wires from the radio transmitter.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:52 PM on June 14, 2006


He's just the Decider. Other people come to him with the correct decisions to make, and then he implements them.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on June 14, 2006


stavros - I guess they're counting on it not being obvious to the droolers from Bibleland. I doubt they're wrong.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on June 14, 2006


He doesn't have any problems with gay people, but he's willing to fuck up their lives* to score political points.

Yeah, sounds about right.

(by preventing things like gay people giving each other power of attorney, inheritance rights, end of life choices, etc)
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on June 14, 2006


"I don't think he gives a shit about it."
posted by edgeways at 7:08 PM on June 14, 2006


Bush's opinion of gay marriage is probably:

Heh. Heh. Heh. Heh. You said gay.
posted by Zinger at 7:22 PM on June 14, 2006


"I don't think he gives a shit about it." anything except political survival.
posted by blucevalo at 7:25 PM on June 14, 2006


"I don't think he gives a shit about it." anything except political survival.

Not to defend the man, god forbid, but that just makes him like most other politicians. Just a little man, on a grander stage.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:29 PM on June 14, 2006


And Abraham Lincoln didn't care about the slaves. One day we'll stop being suprised by this stuff.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 PM on June 14, 2006


Lame duck. Laaaaame duck!
posted by graventy at 7:52 PM on June 14, 2006


That's actually about the least-inspired piece by Hertzberg I've ever read. Almost filler.

Still, it's fun watching the occasional outburst from the social conservatives. We can always hope they'll eat each other.

No, that isn't a lesbianism joke.
posted by dhartung at 7:58 PM on June 14, 2006


It should have been, though.
posted by Zozo at 7:59 PM on June 14, 2006


The important thing about this is why this is a wedge issue and why it needs to be played now. The Southern Baptists having just elected the liberal -- well, liberal for a Southern Baptist -- hilights the Secret Achiles Heel of the Republican coalition, which is that Evangelical Christians are liberal about poverty and torture and, more and more, about the war. The difference between a Republican Evangelical turnout and a Democratic Evangelical turnout is... (drumroll please)... Gay marriage. Abortion. Prayer in schools.

And the Democrats still don't seem to really understand what they ought to be talking about in order to play this game. Leaders like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren are more and more vocal about things like poverty and the Republicans know, even if Democrats don't, that their monopoly on the faith bloc voters has a limited lifespan. So, seriously, see this for what it is: Republicans trying to plug cracks in their oligarchy-pissedoffwhitepeople-religiousright coalition.
posted by hob at 8:08 PM on June 14, 2006


I'd like to embroider this on 300 million pillows and send it out to every American in this country:

"If you can't figure out who the sucker in the game is - it's probably you"
posted by any major dude at 8:09 PM on June 14, 2006


Evangelical Christians are liberal about poverty and torture and, more and more, about the war.

This is suprising news to me.
posted by Artw at 8:12 PM on June 14, 2006


MetaFilter: If you can't figure out who the sucker in the game is....
posted by Zozo at 8:36 PM on June 14, 2006


Excellent points hob.

Artw, I'm a brother in snarkitude, but the Dems could benefit strategically from realizing that there are some social conservatives who are actually Christ-like when it comes to thing like poverty and war. Bend over backwards to cater to them? Of course not--but don't write off the red states out of hand. This is why I think Dean's 50 state strategy is a good one, despite what you might think about him on other issues.

Datapoint: The Reps have controlled both houses for what, a few years now? At any time they could have put forward a Constitutional amendment banning abortion. Why haven't they?
posted by bardic at 8:39 PM on June 14, 2006


Gay marriage was last week's story. It's already done for this year, and the Conservatives didn't buy what they were selling this time.
posted by smackfu at 8:48 PM on June 14, 2006


He dutifully ran it up the flagpole before the last election, then didn't mention it again until now, when another election looms, when his negative poll numbers (and the rest of the factually-based universe) are sitting on his shoulders and pissing down his back...

Exactly. It's been some time since DHS has employed the Color-coded Threat Level System. Hmm, seems it was quite active before the 2004 elections and has been dormant since. I wonder when they'll haul that trick out again?
posted by ericb at 8:52 PM on June 14, 2006


Gay marriage was last week's story

Next on docket -- flag burning.
posted by ericb at 8:53 PM on June 14, 2006


It's already done for this year? As far as congressional legislation goes, maybe, but expect to hear about it millions of times leading up to the November elections. I agree that it's time social conservatives wake up and realize they're being used by Republican politicians, over and over again, but, to offer a folksy Rovean saying, this dog will still hunt.
posted by bardic at 8:54 PM on June 14, 2006


From the New Yorker comment there was not much that we did not aready know, not much new for me except the term "Christianist". Christianist, christianistic - yes, giving an appearance of christian!
Any one with any knowledge of real Christianity knows that haters are not truly... um, well, haters have some soul searching to do.
posted by Cranberry at 9:57 PM on June 14, 2006


I think he probably feels the same about gays as most straight Christian men of his age feel: homosexuality is a sin and gays shouldn't marry.

Beyond that, I doubt he cares to pick on homosexuals or make issue out of their lifestyle. I saw a documentary on his original run for governor when some fringe Republican group ran some scare campaign associating Democrats with gays. Bush was quoted as not being comfortable with this tactic because it's like pointing out the speck in someone else's eye when he has his own faults.

Does he or anyone want a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage? Probably not. But what the bill does is drum up support for the individual state bans they probably prefer.
posted by b_thinky at 10:45 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm sick to death of this stuff.
posted by diocletian at 10:50 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm sick to death of this stuff President Administration partisan politics war lies fear-mongering hate-mongering etc. etc.......
posted by papakwanz at 11:28 PM on June 14, 2006


Anyone that thinks Christians don't care has no idea what they are talking about. Look at the states, and point to one state where homosexual marriage could suceed as a ballot initiative. It has to be forced through the courts, just as interracial marriage had to (Loving v. Virginia).
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 11:44 PM on June 14, 2006


Didn't Connecticut pass civil unions without the courts ordering them to do so?
posted by kyrademon at 1:33 AM on June 15, 2006


New Hampshire, too, as I recall.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:39 AM on June 15, 2006


Bush was quoted as not being comfortable with this tactic because it's like pointing out the speck in someone else's eye when he has his own faults.

Sure, but almost every politician says some version of this when asked about a negative attack on the opposition from a supposedly independent group, and a lot of the time it's just ventriloquism.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:44 AM on June 15, 2006


It does seem fair to note that places like Hawaii, where the courts did all the heavy lifting on civil unions, turned right around and abolished them legislatively. But legislation is hard work; most of the time, homophobic folks are satisfied with the status quo unless there's a provocation.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:45 AM on June 15, 2006


Bush was quoted as not being comfortable with this tactic because it's like pointing out the speck in someone else's eye when he has his own faults.
Bush points out specks and more in other people every chance he gets--from people in wheelchairs to blind journalists to mocking and imitating deathrow inmates to rubbing bald guy's heads to ...---it's simply not believable that he's truly uncomfortable about using it as an issue.

Also, what does it say about someone and their values and religious beliefs if they can be thrown overboard so easily for political reasons? Either he doesn't really believe in those values or winning votes for his party is more important than those values.

There's no way to honestly believe he holds any religious values, or even moral ones. All this stuff does is try to paint him as essentially a decent man, which he's not.
posted by amberglow at 7:02 AM on June 15, 2006


Why is an op-ed an OK post if it's from the New Yorker?

Hertzberg is one of my favorite commentators of all time, but come on, it's an op-ed that was already old news on Monday when this issue came out. The doesn't-give-a-shit quote has already been discussed here and elsewhere for a week. Lame FPP.
posted by soyjoy at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2006


Still, it's fun watching the occasional outburst from the social conservatives. We can always hope they'll eat each other.

Meanwhile, while we hope they eat each other, they'll beat the drum, mobilize, fundraise like crazy, and win more elections. (Not to mention procreate.)
posted by blucevalo at 7:57 AM on June 15, 2006


He's Reagan II: Just there to parrot the brain trust in the back room. I think that's obvious by now that is not the hands-on type. As a person, Bush seems to be an affable guy- the opposite of his boss, Dick Cheney.
posted by wfc123 at 8:06 AM on June 15, 2006


I'm with Soyjoy.





Just sayin'
posted by Outlawyr at 8:07 AM on June 15, 2006


I'm genuinely interested to know what Bush's take is on the political issues of the day. I feel reasonably certain that he is a proxy for a faction of his party and is just not that interested in most policy decisions, and is content with allowing himself to be a mouthpiece of the political machine that he fronts. I wonder if his lame duckedness will free him up to actually expound on how he really feels. Maybe, if we get really lucky, he will start to actually interpose his preferences on that machine and something interesting will happen.

Because up until now it's been not only bad policy and bad politics, it's been profoundly boring watching the process in this administration.
posted by norm at 11:29 AM on June 15, 2006


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