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Not the postpartisan we were promised

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - January 20, 2013.
Filed under: Obama Incompetence

Even AOL/HuffPo has noticed:

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Do wonder if the Huffington Post will the link between Obama’s policies and the continued high unemployment and his rhetoric/actions and those perpetually persisting partisan fights.

“Marriage Rights” and Motives

Two events in the past few days have gotten me thinking, again, about the arguments for gay marriage.  On the one hand, there was the statement by GOProud on its support of gay marriage as an issue nationwide. And on the other, there was a recent article in The Atlantic on “The High Price of Being Single in America.”  The Atlantic article intrigues me because, in my reading of the article, it indirectly undermines some arguments for gay marriage by making the case that, for single people, at least, policy makers and other institutions haven’t necessarily been “fair” in granting special status to heterosexual marriage.  The “marriage isn’t fair to singles” argument, however, if fully unleashed, could have the potential to derail the case for gay marriage: after all, there are more singles (both straight and gay) than there are gays and lesbians in committed partnerships.

The Atlantic article is seriously flawed in both its methodology and its conclusions, but that is not why it interests me.  It interests me because, by making the “marriage isn’t fair to singles” argument, it unintentionally illustrates how far the “mainstream” case for gay marriage has deviated in recent years from the more thoughtful and high-minded case that was made for the issue at the time the first serious arguments for gay marriage began to appear widely in the popular press.  And the evolution (though perhaps devolution is the more apt term) of the argument in this way is completely apparent from the way in which those on the gay left greeted the GOProud announcement.

I believe that the push for gay marriage comes partly from two different places philosophically: one is the desire by gay couples to have the same sorts of legal and financial privileges as straight, married couples, which is a consequence of having written laws and policies designed to provide special status to married couples; but the second place it comes from is what has been called “the politics of recognition,” i.e., the desire of gay people to have their worth recognized or validated in some sense  through public policy. The second push comes more from a psychological need which might be emotionally appealing, but which doesn’t  necessarily qualify it as good policy. The first comes from a more legitimate grievance against a government with an interest in deciding which sorts of relationships are “more equal than others.” (The first motive–and kind of argument–is also, incidentally, key to winning over more  conservative and libertarian kinds of voters.)  The two different strands of the argument can exist together in a kind of symbiosis, but separated, they are potentially at odds with each other.


Introducing Kurt–a new occasional blogger

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - January 20, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging

Sometime later today, our frequent commenter Kurt will be posting a piece here at GayPatriot under his own name.

This past summer, shortly after meeting when I passed through his adopted hometown, he and I started up a correspondence.  I found myself seconding many of the observations he made .  From time to time, I did disagree with him, but always found he offered thoughtful insights.

I expect I will share many of the sentiments he offers here, but that doesn’t mean I will agree with his every post — or his every thought.  And I daresay, Bruce, Nick and Jeff will stand in similar stead.  🙂

Obama’s Soaring Rhetoric/His Divisive Actions

In a little more than two hours, Barack Obama will reach the midpoint of his presidency.  And we here at GayPatriot, along with many other thoughtful conservatives across the country (not to mention perhaps a plurality of independents) either wonder or marvel at his success at staying on.

We would have thought that after his first four years, a majority of voting Americans would have seen through his sometimes soaring rhetoric and despaired at his attempts to divide us.  They would have understood that despite the narrative he created in the 2008 campaign, he was a partisan politician first and not a post partisan unifier.

Yet, the record notwithstanding, some people, perhaps a majority of Americans, still like the idea of Barack Obama.  And the legacy media certainly made it easier for them to like him, amplifying images that made the Democrats appear to be a regular guy, relaxed on TV talk shows, brewing his own beer, watching sports.  And, in the final days of the campaign, the images of him together with the Republican governor of New Jersey showed him as identical to his 2008 billing, a man, pursuing the national interest, above the rough and tumble of partisan politics.

Americans wanted to like this man.  And the media have made it easier for them.

Those who still like the idea of Barack Obama like that idea far more than does Barack Obama himself. (more…)