While I have frequently been quite critical of Andrew Sullivan on this blog, twice this month (here and here), I noted how he, like me, had faulted HRC for its unwillingness to debate gay marriage. In each of those posts, I wanted to make my argument (that the gay groups are more eager to attack Republicans than debate gay marriage) as solid as I could. And by bringing in someone with whom I am (more often than not) at odds, I sought to strengthen (at least one part of) my case.
To be sure, by so doing, I show Andrew to be critical of people other than the president, his party and their supporters. And acknowleding those views, I paint a picture of a more complex the image that many in the conservative blogosphere have of him — entirely in the camp of the Bush-hating left. If my primary purpose were to delegitimize Andrew Sullivan, I would not have mentioned his criticism of HRC (nor would I have praised him on a recent column).
Similarly, when the MSM was all in a tizzy over the NSA’s surveillance program of the international communications of terrorist suspects, conservative defenders of the program, frequently cited one of the nation’s leading liberal constitutional scholars, Cass Sunstein, who found the program to be legal. We also referenced Clinton administration officials, including former Associate Attorney General John Schmidt, who held that “the President had the constitutional authority to authorize the NSA program.”
If our primary purpose were to discredit liberal constitutional scholars and that Democratic Administration, we would not have used these individuals’ opinions to buttress our own arguments.
In both cases, we conservatives cited the opinions of those with whom we might otherwise disagree in order to make the strongest argument possible. If, in so doing, we show certain liberals to be less one-sided in their views than our rhetoric might sometimes suggest, so be it. By honestly reporting their opinions, we’re presenting them accurately. More often than not, people aren’t as simple as their adversaries would have them be.
Which brings me back to the gay organizations’ failure to debate gay marriage — a significant point of which I have made much these past two weeks. If gay groups were interested in making the strongest possible argument against the Marriage Protection Act (MPA), they would have repeatedly pointed out that this is the one issue where, since taking office, the Vice President has publicly distanced himself from the president.
We strengthen our case when we show that those with whom we are otherwise at odds support us on an issue. That of course might give more credit to our erstwhile adversaries, but the point should be making a strong argument, not discrediting our adversaries. Unless our primary purpose is something other that advocating issues of concern to us.
If the past few weeks are any indication, it doesn’t appear advocacy of gay issues is one of the primary purposes of the national gay groups. Their primary purposes seem to be discrediting the Bush Administration and repeating (and so reinforcing) the far-left’s articles of faith, one of which is belief in the malevolence of the Vice President of the United States. Showing Dick Cheney as something other than the Dark Prince of leftists’ twisted imaginations might distance gay groups from left-wing dogma.
They seem more interested in pleasing the far left than in promoting a positive of gay people. They just don’t seem interested in making the strongest possible case against the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment.
The failure of these groups to acknowledge conservatives, even when it can help their case, shows that they really see themselves as little more than gay chapters of a broader left-wing movement. Something we hope the next leader of Log Cabin bears in mind when he (or she) takes office this fall.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com