Thursday, January 20

On Bush Not Supporting FMA

A frequent commenter who goes by the Internet nom de plume DarkSyd requested a comment on this essay by "Ed" (go read it, as they say, I'll wait). I have seen discussions about this issue elsewhere poking around the net today, but wasn't moved to write on it. The contention is the President is abandoning the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) push having just used it for political capital in the election campaign and then dropping it. This wouldn't be the first time a pol used such tactics, but it is always disappointing when it occurs.

First, to make my position clear, for myself, I currently oppose Same Sex Marriage (SSM) for reasons relating to social engineering. Studies done in Scandinavia have shown that with the passing of SSM, the rate of children left in single parent homes has very much been on the rise since SSM was instituted. It was proposed (and the study produced data to back this contention up) that this rise was correlated with SSM in that this has encouraged thought that marriage was not about family, children, and clan, but instead is a relationship (especially sexual) between two adults. This leaves children, all too often, out in the cold. But, alas, I no longer know where I saw the link, but it was on this web site, interested readers can search. Finally, one of the arguments in favor of SSM concern "respect" for the gay community. It is my understanding that all of the legal rights which at issue that might be resolved by SSM already are available to the gay couples desiring them. It is "respect" they wish. I fail to see how SSM will achieve that end. I think Joe Carter's "recycled" post on this issue is very relevant.

That being said, it doesn't necessarily follow that FMA was the Presidents highest priority on the campaign trail. It was my impression that both he and Mr Kerry skirted around that issue where possible. Backed into a corner by events in Massachusetts and San Francisco, this issue could not be avoided. However the idea that anything he might have said on that issue would have mattered very much to most of the electorate is a little naive. Anyone who thinks that the President doesn't now push this issue hard enough is dellusional if they believe Mr Kerry would have been a better supported of FMA.

As the claim that the president, in not spending the political capital earned by the election on pushing for the FMA is abandoning the fundamentalists who supported him based mainly on that reason. I'm a little confused by that, where is the voting bloc who would have supported Mr Kerry except for sticking point the FMA? I think that constituency was never in play. With Mr Kerry supporting state sponsored abortions anyhow, anywhere, for anyone and opposing parental consent for minors, well I think for example the intersection of the set of FMA opponents and the set of those whose opinions on abortion mirrors Mr Kerry's is vanishingly small. The President has chosen to spend his post election political capital to attack Social Security as his first major initiative. Currently, I support that idea (not necessarily his plan) 100%, although I reserve the right to change my mind pending the results of my ongoing reflections on entitlements and Christian charity.

There is one last point to address, one which ~DS~ has echoed in the past so it must be a familiar meme echoing out there:
If a Federal Marriage Amendment or an overturning of Roe v. Wade actually passed, they would have nothing to run against. They'd have nothing left on which to point the finger at those godless evil pagan usurpers, no way to exploit the issue and make people afraid. And fear, ladies and gentlemen, is the lifeblood of politics. You get out the vote by exploiting people's fear of Them.
Now an amendment takes a lot of political will to pass, 2/3 of Senate + House then it goes to the states. Overturning Roe v Wade requires a judiciary which will not sqawk when laws overturning it are written. I'm no expert, but I've heard no estimates that indicate either is a realistic possibility. The Partial-Birth ban passed, but enforcement is currently jammed in the courts. A more ambitious law likely would not fair much better. Drumming up support by emphasizing your differences is a definition of politics. Calling it exploiting people's fear of them is just a rhetorical ploy.