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The Lindsay Wagner Approach to Gay Marriage

To understand the decline in quality of the debate on gay marriage from its early potential to its current name-calling, you can start by reading two pieces by Andrew Sullivan 19 years apart.  In the first, “Here Comes the Groom,” he outlines a solid argument on the merits of extending the institution of marriage to same-sex couples.  In the second, “My Big Fat Straight (sic) Wedding,” he rhapsodizes about how wonderful state recognition of gay marriage makes him feel.  With said recognition, his “wedding”* “shifted a sense of our own identity within our psyches and even our souls.”

That later form of “argument” is currently on display in a San Francisco court room where lawyers are making a 1970s case for gay marriage, it’s all about feelings, nothing more than feelings.  These lawyers have, in the words of my friend Charles Winecoff, turned gay marriage advocates’ “fetish for state-sanctioned self-esteem into a federal case.

In the trial, Perry v. v. Schwarzenegger, a lesbian couple from Berkeley and a gay couple from Burbank, seek to overturn California’s Proposition 8.  And in so doing, Charles reports, they’re trying to make federal law out of a saccharine ’70s song:

[Attorney Ted Olson] Olson opened the show by declaring that “domestic partnership has nothing to do with love” – essentially admitting that the two couples are seeking legal recognition of their feelings. Then the complainants took to the stand to deliver a string of what even theLos Angeles Times called “emotional accounts,” proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that non-celebrities no longer need Oprah (or Jerry Springer) to validate their existence.

First, Jeffrey Zarrillo testified that ”the word marriage” would give him the ability “to partake in family gatherings, friends and work functions as a married individual standing beside my parents and my brother and his wife.  The pride that one feels when that happens.”  Does he mean that, like Michelle Obama and her country, he never before felt pride being with his partner?  In their nine years as a couple, did they never attend any of those events together?

If “the word” means so much, why not just call yourself married? (more…)

In the wake of Brown Victory, Obama Returns to Campaign Mode

Right now, what Obama really needs is a prime minister, someone better suited than he to attend to the day-to-day management of government.  With said person in place, say, as White House Chief of Staff, the president can do what he does best, give speeches and otherwise interact with the news media.  Basically, he needs a more adept manager reminding him of political and fiscal reality.

His right-hand man in the West Wing (well, with Obama, he might better be called a left-hand man), Rahm Emanuel, is first and foremost a political partisan.  He would be better served someone who both knows the way Washington works and has earned the respect of Republicans.  Bill Clinton picked just such a man for the post when he tapped Leon Panetta as his Chief of Staff in the summer of 1994 as the first signs of the coming Republican tsunami were being made manifest in special election victories and popular unrest over the then-incumbent’s health care initiatives.

Panetta took over too late to avoid major losses for his party in the 1994 elections, but he helped the Clinton White House find its balance in the second half of the Democrat’s first term.   His boss then became the first Democrat to win reelection in 48 years.  Obama would be wise to follow his fellow Democrat’s example and appoint a Panetta-like figure to replace Emanuel.

But, instead of going for a respected politician with a knack for policy, “Obama’s first significant personnel change in the wake of the Massachusetts debacle”,  Jennifer Rubin reports, “is to hire back his campaign manager“:

Not a new economic team. Not a new chief of staff. Not even a new national security staff to replace the gang that dropped the ball on the Christmas Day bomber. No, with the Obami, it is never about substance or getting the policy right. It’s not about governance. It is about the perpetual campaign. So the campaign manager gets the emergency call. (more…)

The emerging free market consensus

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:34 pm - January 25, 2010.
Filed under: Freedom,Republican Resolve & Rebuilding

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

In her piece of the significance of Scott Brown’s victory last week, Peggy Noonan asks whether or not it was a backlash:

It seems cooler than that, a considered and considerable rejection that appears to be signaling a conservative resurgence based on issues and policies, most obviously opposition to increased government spending, fear of higher taxes, and rejection of the idea that expansion of government can or will solve our economic challenges.

Like Fred Barnes, who sees Brown’s victory as representing as alignment between the tea party movement and moderates, Peggy observes that Brown eschewed social conservatism to articulate the real concerns of the voters:

They focused on the relationship between spending and taxing, worried about debt and deficits, were moderate in their approach to social issues. They didn’t have wedge issues, they had issues.

That’s what the polls have been showing, Americans think the government is doing too much.  And this is where Republicans need to be moving.  The concerns of the American people increasingly align with the bedrock principles of the GOP, principles which our party, in recent years, took for granted.

Thus, as Freeman Hunt puts it, the “answer”, for Republicans is “easy“:

It’s a no-brainer. It’s even Constitutional. People are sick of the spending, sick of the debt, sick of the bailouts, sick of the handouts, sick of the back room deals, sick of the taxpayer funded bribes, sick of the bureaucrats. They want unyielding, unapologetic fiscal conservatism.

(H/t:  Instapundit.)  In short, what the GOP needs do is return to its Reaganite roots.  As the Gipper might have said, freedom is the glue which holds our party together.  Let’s hope his heirs remember this as this go forward this fall.

As if Massachusetts Wasn’t Enough of a Wake-up Call

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - January 25, 2010.
Filed under: Obama Health Care (ACA / Obamacare)

Pew Research Center: Health Care Ranks Eighth on List of Public Priorities

California Voters Ready to Say, “No, Ma’am”?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:06 pm - January 25, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics

Asking whether Barbara Boxer will be the next victim of angry voters, Kimberly Dvorak wonders how the aftershocks of Brown Revolution will reverberate the Golden State:

The Massachusetts senatorial elections sent waves of uncertainty to many incumbents across the country and California’s Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has watched her poll numbers drop and competitors pull within single digits. . . .

The fact that Boxer’s support is frozen at 46 percent against all GOP challengers suggest that the race, for now, is about her rather than those running against her. Boxer is viewed very favorably by 25 percent of California voters but very unfavorably by 34 percent.

(H/t Instapundit.)  With the Golden State’s unemployment at 12.4%, the “fifth worst jobless rate in nation“, Mrs. Boxer certainly has some explaining to do. She defended her vote on the “stimulus,” saying it would create jobs in the Golden State.

Looks like this three-term incumbent is going to have a tough time running on her record this fall.  But, I’d advise my fellow California Republicans not to get cocky.  Mrs. Boxer excels at running against her opponents.  Her eventual opponent needs be prepared to defend her- or himself against this partisan firebrand’s gutter politics.  Heck, she’d go to the sewer if that’s what it took to defeat a Republican.

Athena’s Sage Advice for Scott Brown

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:52 pm - January 25, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Noble Republicans

In the wake of Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts last week, the conventional wisdom is that he’ll be defeated should he run for reelection in 2012.  But, those who forecast his defeat should bear in mind that four years after William Weld was elected Governor of the Bay State in 1990, he won by a margin of over 2 to 1, defeating a Democrat with a hallowed name on that side of the political aisle, Mark Roosevelt.

Now, to be sure, Brown is a different situation, running for a second term in a federal office.  And Bay State voters have been more willing to give Republicans the keys to the State House than berths inside the Beltway.  But, one reason Teddy Kennedy did so well in his home state, despite his troubles with alcohol and women, was that he actually attended to the state, assembling a top-notch constituent service operation and returning frequently.

Brown can hold the seat that the celebrated Democrat once held by doing what he did, no, not womanizing and carousing, but by returning to the state frequently and connecting with his constituents.  He could start by visiting cities, like say, Boston and Pittsfield, where he fared particularly poorly.  Within his first seven months in office (i.e., by the end of the summer, before Labor Day) have held a town hall in each of the state’s fourteen counties.

He should also avoid (as much as possible) stumping for his fellow Republicans outside the Bay State, as he will certainly be asked to do.  As Peggy puts it, he “needs to avoid the Descent of the Congressional Vampires“:

they’ll want him fund-raising and speaking all over the country, not knowing or perhaps caring that the best work he can do for his party is succeeding in the eyes of his constituents, who couldn’t care less about the fortunes of the GOP. He needs to avoid the vampires in the nicest possible way. (more…)

Another One Bites the Dust

In 2008, Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry ran unopposed for his 7th term in the House of Representatives. This fall, he’s not running at all:

Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow morning, according to three sources briefed on the decision.

Berry will become the sixth Democrat in a competitive seat to leave in the last two months but the first to announce his retirement since the party’s special election loss in Massachusetts last Tuesday.

John McCain won the district by 21-points. Last Friday, Vic Snyder from the state’s neighboring First Congressional District announced his retirement.  Call it the Brown effect?

This leaves Mike Ross in the 4th Congressional District as the only Razorback Democrat running for reelection to the House.