Is It Time to Put a Fork in Howard Dean?

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Isn't it about time that the folks in the Dem Party send Howard Dean to Oklahoma for some tattoo-filled R&R? A little birdy tells us that the Vermont Screamer recently appeared on The 700 Club to denounce gay marriagel. Or, same thing, tells Pat Robertson's faithful that, HBO's Big Love and the official Democratic Party Platform be damned, marriage can only happen between one man and one woman at a time.

From the Washingtion Blade:

"The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says marriage is between a man and a woman," Dean said May 10 during a "700 Club" program hosted by conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson on his Christian Broadcasting Network.

That statement contradicts the Democratic National Committee's official stance, which was adopted in 2004.

"We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families," the platform says.

More here.

Note that the language from the platform leaves wriggle room for nervous Dems to deny that they want "marriage" for gays and lesbians. And note that most if not all major Dem leaders–Gore, Hillary Clinton, Kerry (god, is he even still alive?)–have all huffed and puffed on the subject and come out against gay marriage.

I do not particularly care about partisan politics and I have never voted for a winning political candidate at any level (the closest I came was probably in second or third grade, when my favored candidate almost won the contest to collect mission money from my fellow Catholic schoolers). But can the Dems at least offer a unique selling proposition to the Republicans by unabashedly embracing gay marriage? I can't imagine it would hurt them and making a principled case for extending the matrimonial franchise to gays and lesbians might earn them some respect from their opponents (not to mention their own members).

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  1. Would they do better to do that with gay marriage or with legalizing drugs (or at least giving the decisions to states to innovate).

  2. But can the Dems at least offer a unique selling proposition to the Republicans by unabashedly embracing gay marriage?

    That wouldn’t happen unless there was huge (like 80%)support for gay marriage. If the number was a just a slight majority, they wouldn’t dare risk alienating those who oppose gay marriage.

  3. “See, we’re kind of like republicans (cringe) we don’t want them getting married either (snivel) but but (reaches for hanky and asthma inhaler) . . .”

    Total feebs.

  4. Someone refresh my memory why it is the government’s business at all who I marry, male, female, or what? If you got government out of marriage all together then there would be no problem.

    Oh waaaaaaaaaaait. We have to collect all these taxes in marriage licenses and income taxes based marriage so gee Democrat or Republican I am screwed either way.

    Democrats don’t care who you marry but they damn sure want your money for all of their redistribution shell games that buy their votes. Republicans will at least pay lip service to not wanting your money but they want marriage licenses and laws so they can social engineer the whole country.

    I will not be voting for either of these groups of asshats thank you very much.

  5. Here’s one for all you LP candidates out there. I’ll give it to you for nothing.

    “If two (or more) people want to devote themselves to
    one another, they don’t need my permission, or anybody else’s”

    Run with it.

  6. Sadly, while an LP candidate may take your line and run with it, P, they’re apparently just as likely to advocate imploding the UN. Political parties are the problem, not the solution.

  7. How about this losers

    “Gay marriage?who the hell cares?” – Paul Hackett

    Oh wait, he’s not running.

  8. The dems aren’t going to come out for gay marriage because it’s a losing issue for them. There are like six people in the country who care enough about gay marriage to base their vote on it, and all six live in California or New York, which the dems have sewn up…

    It’s just going to hurt them in competitive districts and help them in districts where they have no competition.

  9. Actually, stating that gay families are real families and should have equal protection under the law IS drawing a sharp contrast with the Republicans.

    I disagree with this position, as I disagree with all politics that relegate gay people to second class status, even if it is entirely symbolic. But there is a much more likely explanation that bad faith; the overwhelming number of people on the downslope of middle age, even on the left, have homophobic feelings. This is even true of those who know, intellectually, that they are entitled to legal and political equality.

    You have to remember, even “younger” Democratic leaders like Dean, Kerry, and Hillary are pushing 60. Virtually every straight person of that generation still has the reflexive ick response to teh gays, even if they hold principled beliefs in equality under the law for gay people.

    In other words, I don’t think it’s very smart to assume that this position – supporting civil unions with fully equal rights and recognitions, but not calling it marriage – is one that is held for political expediency. Dean very nearly lost his office after signing the then-radical civil unions bill, but didn’t back off one inch from supporting equal rights under the law. As for Kerry – do you really find it that difficult to believe that the beliefs he genuinely holds are full of nuance?

  10. Joe – do you really find it plausible that Kerry actually holds any genuine beliefs?

  11. Joe – do you really find it plausible that Kerry actually holds any genuine beliefs?

    He believes he ought to be President.

  12. Joe – do you really find it plausible that Kerry actually holds any genuine beliefs?

    Everyone has genuine beliefs.

    Some people just don’t like to state them for fear that it will be used against them.

    As much as I am for gay marriage, let’s not pretend like Dems have nothing to lose if they come out and embrace it. For every dem that toes the “equal protection” line, there will be 10 shrill righty pundits screaming that the Dems want to “destroy the traditional family”. When sitting senators talk abiout being gay as on par with (or the leading to) pedophellia and beastiality, I think its rather unfair to take Dems to task for not being frank about their beliefs and trying to take a nuanced position.

    And sadly, by quite big margins, Americans are not very fond of “teh gay” and doing anything which legitimizes being gay.

    It’s a shitty fact, but its a fact nonetheless and the Dems would be quite foolish to not approach the subject in a careful/nuanced way.

    That said, they really should be pushing the equal protections — fairness for all meme more, instead of spending most of their wind reassuring people that marriage should in fact be between a man and a woman.

  13. I think that the Democrats would benefit long-term by staking out a principled position in favor of gay-marriage even if that cost them short-term. However, I don’t think this will happen because the Democrats have become hypnotized with the idea that their fundamental problem is marketing. They think if they can just come up with the right little jiggle or phrasing they will sweep back into power. They seem incapable of understanding that their advocation of mid-20th century solutions to early 21st century problems is their core weakness.

    Since they are so focused on marketing instead of substance they shy away from taking any firm principled stand that would alienate any moderate. Their thinly veiled contempt for the ordinary citizens (“What’s wrong with Kansas”) leads them to believe that people have to tricked into voting Democrat for their own good. They no longer believe that they can just run on their actual principles.

    Unfortunately, gay-marriage has become a proxy issue for the cultural and political battle over the importance of nuclear family. The support for gay-marriage by those segments of the political spectrum who have long waged war on the entire concept of family reasonably makes many feel that gay-marriage is just a trojan horse for more of the same. Even moderate Democrats are tainted by this association so they end up bending like pretzels to try to convince moderates that they really do think family is important while at the same time not alienating the smaller but more politically powerful far-Left.

    All this spinning makes them look dishonest and shallow. Until the Democrats lose their near religious fetish for the past and truly become the progressives of political spectrum again we are going to see this kind of marketing driven crap.

  14. I think criticism of Dean here is unwarranted. As governor, I think his was the first state to allow civil unions, and in 2004, he did tout that as an elegant solution, providing the benefits gay couples were pushing for, while not calling it a marriage and deeply offending the millions and millions of people who hold marriage as a sacred institution, tied closely to many peoples religious beliefs. It sounds like he’s staying consistent to that, unless he has come out against civil unions now as well…

  15. Rob,

    I think criticism of Dean is warranted on purely tactical/strategic grounds. He went on TV and said something that wasn’t true (the platform doesn’t say what he claimed it said) that offended part of the Democratic Party base.

    I agree with Shannon Love; if the Demos are pro-gay marriage now, in 25 or whatever years when it is the default position they will be able to brag about how forward-thinking they were and how bigotted their foes were.

  16. Here’s one for all you LP candidates out there. I’ll give it to you for nothing.

    “If two (or more) people want to devote themselves to
    one another, they don’t need my permission, or anybody else’s”

    Run with it.

    Libertarians already are fully for gay marrage, or at least for gay marrage to be completly legal and unrestricted by the state.

    I think gay rights will be a winner for Democrats though, even if it loses them some votes. Here is the thing I notice here in Canada, where gay marrage is kinda legal sorta. The whole gay rights is an opportunity for the left, in that it provides excuses for state intervention. The government has an excuse to enforce more strict government employment controls (because if they don’t, people will discriminate against gays so they say), it gives them an excuse for censorship in order to “protect” gay people from hateful speech. I mean really, the left was traditionally very anti-gay, with Che in Cuba executing them or putting them in labor camps, with it being explicitly banned in the Soviet constitution… with the whole gay J. Edgar Hoover thing being a propoganda piece for the left. Even as late as the early 90’s the exclusivly Marxist writers I had to read for my university American Government class were saying that homosexuality was a “mental illness caused by capitalism”. Why has gay-rights now been grabbed up as a cause by the left.

    Gay rights CAN provide a huge opportunity for the left, in that they can use it to justify a whole bunch of government actions. These actions will allow them to consolidate control over the media and economy, and will create another perpetual underclass who must constantly be dependent on the Democrats for protection.

  17. As much as I am a strong libertarian, I disagree with the premise that “Government has no business regulating marriage”.

    After all, if you think about it, marriage is explicitly a government sanctioned contract between 2 folks. Taking out the religious aspects, which should properly be considered separately, marriage is simply a government sponsored contract that allows certain right and obligations to flow between 2 parties.

    As a government contract, it does not seem unreasonable that the government would then regulate what types of people are eligble to enter this state.

    The equal protection argument is a compelling one. However, if the government were to provide an alternative contract to “Marriage”, that would confer the same privileges and obligations (I believe the term most folks use is “Domestic Partnerships”) at least some of those concerns would be ameliorated.

    Personally I think any permutation of people should be allowed to enter this state (I really wouldn’t care if Gay marriage, Polygamy, or Polyandry were legal). But that is just my opinion.

  18. “After all, if you think about it, marriage is explicitly a government sanctioned contract between 2 folks.”

    I don’t have to get the government involved if I “contract” someone to paint my house unless they do not do the work in the contract. Even then I go to court. Government or rather the judicial branch only need be involved in breaking the contract in case of divorce.

    The act of marriage is a personal private contract between two people.

  19. Another Lurker;

    I guess you could state it two ways,

    1) Either it is an explicit government contract

    2) It is a type of contract that the government explicity recognizes as valid and therefore will enforce.

    While there is a clear distinction, in practice I don’t imagine their is a real-world difference.

    In the case of Gay Marriage, if case 2) holds. What the government would state is simply, yes you entered into a contract, but it is not one we view as valid and will not enforce.

    However, I am not a lawyer. So if someone with deeper understanding on contract can correct me.

  20. Is It Time to Put a Fork in Howard Dean?

    When isn’t a good time to put a fork in Mad How?

  21. But can the Dems at least offer a unique selling proposition to the Republicans by unabashedly embracing gay marriage?

    I consider “culture warrior” more of a genetic trait, more so than it is a communicable disease. …so I’d welcome the dispersing of culture warriors among the major parties. …Concentrated culture warrior–blech!

  22. After all, if you think about it, marriage is explicitly a government sanctioned contract between 2 folks. Taking out the religious aspects, which should properly be considered separately, marriage is simply a government sponsored contract that allows certain right and obligations to flow between 2 parties.

    Actually, it’s more than a contract between 2 folks, it’s a contract between 2 folks and the state.

    One of the most frequent justifications I’ve heard for gay marriage is visitation rights in hospitals. In other words, the argument is for using the state to force a non-participating 3rd party to recognize the contract. In that regard, a marriage contract differs from other types of contracts. The government doesn’t force a non-franchise repair shop to fix your Ford under Ford’s warranty if they aren’t a participant in Ford’s service program. But the government does force non-participants in a marriage contract to recognize it.

  23. Tale of three candidates:
    Libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik, flew to San Francisco to ride in the 2004 gay pride parade.
    John Kerry flew OUT of San Francisco the night before the parade.
    George Bush never set foot in San Francisco at all, and won the election.

  24. What the fuck…?

    I seem to remember back in 2004 an article in the New Republic worry that Dean was “too secular” and would be made mince meat of by even a mildly religious opponent. NOW he’s sucking up to that cousin-fucking, theocratic, con-man?

    I guess that Dean is no worse a whore {in the bad sense of the word)than any other politico.

  25. Lemur, you should have gone with lemming. You certain internalize the directions you’re given well enough.

    Yes, I think John Kerry has no beliefs, Al Gore is, like, crazy man, Bill Clinton is a sociopath, and Hillary is a lesbian nymphomaniac. Is that what you want to hear?

  26. “I’m not going to fork you.”

  27. I am against gay marriage because marriage as a state institution discriminates against singles in the form of tax breaks and other ridiculous perks that you get for “commitment”. Why should homosexuals get to benefit from the labor of singles? It’s bad enough that straights do.

    The only good argument for gay marriage that would convince me is a slippery slope…that is, so many things can be considered marriage that it becomes meaningless and the government ceases tax breaks and incentives for it. Barring that, no additions to the government-protected classes.

  28. Marriage should be removed from the ‘legal’ category. It should be a personal committment …a personal choice. No tax or other bennies for married couples, gay straight or otherwise (??). Why should it be wrapped into law? That way we’re equally protected under the law as individuals; citizens of the US… not governed by whom we’re sleeping and/or with whom we are procreating.

    And the only thing Kerry hasn’t waffled on is yes, he believes he should be president. LOL.

  29. Barring that, no additions to the government-protected classes.
    Exactly.

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/print?id=1950971
    “Democratic chairman Howard Dean mischaracterized his party’s platform on gay rights in an interview courting evangelicals, then set the record straight Thursday when an advocacy group called him on it.”
    IOW, tell ’em whatever they want to hear.

  30. But can the Dems at least offer a unique selling proposition to the Republicans by unabashedly embracing gay marriage?

    Sure thing; just when the Republicans are getting ready to implode as a result of their lemming-like support of Bush, let’s be sure and give them a new lease on life by making the Democrats look even more looney to the average voter.

  31. The whole point of “marriage equality” is to alter unliaterally the terms of dealings between putatively married people and 3rd parties. Marriage was not invented or defined by gov’t, and attempts by gov’t to re-define it away from its customary meaning are akin to the previous redefnition of customary weight-of-precious-metal terms such as “dollar”, “pound”, etc.

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