With each passing day, gay bashing as a political issue is becoming more and more of a loser. It used to be that the mere raising of the specter of gay equality was enough to coax a flood of cash from conservative wallets, but as more and more families discover they have one⎯or several⎯gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members, the “stigma” continues to fade.
The only surprise is that American social attitudes have come so far so fast on the issue. Ultimately, gay rights will no longer be considered suitable for discussion in the political arena, in the same way we would never discuss equal rights for diabetics, or for redheads. It is a mark of national shame that gay equality was politicized in the first place.
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That aroma wafting through the air is the sharp odor of desperation mixed with the bitter stench of frustration. The economy is in lousy shape, and with the help of small acts of political sabotage here and there, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better by November 2012. The Chosen One presents a plump target up on his throne: He’s low-hanging fruit ripe for the plucking.
Yet, at this opportune moment, when the stars are in perfect alignment, the only generals the GOP can find to lead the charge are a buffoon whose English syntax follows rules known only to God and a guy who looks and sounds like he escaped from the animatronic Hall of Presidents at Disney World.
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This is one of those times in our nation’s history when I wish women were running things. No, by that I don’t mean that through some cruel twist of fate, a President Bachmann faces off against a Speaker Pelosi after next November. Those two ladies have lived and succeeded in the cage match of Washington politics for too long, and already have too much testosterone thumping through their veins.
I’m talking about sensible, mature women who don’t view the stewardship of this country as a zero-sum game. The kind of women who first sit down together and pull out pictures of their grandchildren, ooh and aah over them, and then leave them out there on the table so that they never forget what their meeting is really about.
After the pleasantries, they listen carefully to each other (an art which has been lost of late), take all their concerns into account with respect even for those they don’t agree with, and work out a way to make things happen where everybody wins something. It is possible, if one keeps one’s eye on the ball rather than on one’s own ego and the scoreboard.
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Fortunately, we don’t have to worry too much about what Michele Bachmann has to say, because ultimately she will never be president.
Ever since Rick Perry entered the race, any chance she might have had to corral the potent combination of cultural and fiscal conservatives evaporated. This is partly because, when given the choice, those who might have voted for her probably feel subconsciously or even consciously that womenfolk belong in a support position while the man should lead. It gives Perry a huge edge, the kind of edge he will have when these same voters find all kinds of reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney other than that he’s a Mormon.
So when Michele Bachmann calls for drilling in the Everglades⎯ which, as some outside Florida may not know, is our source of drinking water besides being a national resource⎯we can, thankfully, ignore her. Of course, she qualified her statement with the amusing locution, “drilling responsibly.”
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So, was Michele Bachmann serious when she claimed that the earthquake and Hurricane Irene were acts of God designed to get Congress’ attention about overspending, or was she making a joke?
The fact that there is even controversy about this says something about where many of us think Michele Bachmann’s reality compass is pointing. If it was intended “in jest,” as her campaign publicist now claims, I don’t recommend that Ms. Bachmann take her act to the Catskills just yet. In these situations, it’s best to keep quiet, but if you find that you must tell a joke making light of a catastrophe that has claimed dozens of lives, it had better be a real knee-slapper, which this one wasn’t. It showed remarkable insensitivity to those who lost loved ones.
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There are several sub-themes to the growing Newsweek/Bachmann controversy that bear exploring.
I’m speaking of the now-famous cover photo that portrays presidential candidate Michele Bachmann looking…well…fervent. Her supporters are claiming that the Newsweek editors are subtly trying to sabotage Ms. Bachmann’s campaign with the general public by portraying her as unhinged.
In addition, the National Organization for Women has rushed to her defense saying the photo is “sexist.” Evidently, sexism trumps Roe v. Wade in the pantheon of NOW priorities. It’s hard to see, however, how the photo is sexist. You want a sexist photo? Look at the cheesecake number Newsweek did a few months ago of Sarah Palin in hot pants.
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Remember Fred Thompson? He was one of the conservatives’ great hopes, too. He had swagger. He also boasted impeccable credentials, having played a Manhattan district attorney on Law & Order for several years. As it turned out, once he was on the stump he didn’t have much gravitas. His bid lasted about 48 hours before fizzling out. Just the other night, I saw him selling reverse mortgages in a TV ad. Guess he has enough gravitas for that.
Now, I ain’t sayin’ Rick Perry is as much of a lightweight as ol’ Fred, but when someone poised to make the plunge is surrounded by that much buzz, it’s hard for any mere mortal to live up to the hype. Maybe Perry isn’t a mere mortal. Maybe he really is God’s candidate, just like he believes himself to be.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Rick Perry waits in the wings" »
Cultural conservatives are unwilling to accept, or even to entertain, the notion that same-sex attraction is programmed into one’s biological makeup the same as eye color, or a preference for anchovies. To continue to insist that being gay is a willful choice, or at least the result of confusion or weakness, allows one to develop a so-called moral argument that gayness is a sin that can be conditioned out the way one housebreaks a dog.
Let us set aside Scripture for a moment. To use “Because the Bible says so,” as a basis for discussion is like shooting craps with loaded dice, particularly since many people don’t accept the Bible’s words as sacred, and the Constitution, at least for the moment, still says it can’t be shoved down our throats. Conservatives like to argue that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, and therefore same-sex marriage is a crime against society.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Michele Bachmann's therapy session" »
Without even trying, Florida Gov. Rick Scott could turn out to be a national hero.
That’s right, after a mere seven months in office, he’s become so unpopular in the Sunshine State that he’s now a liability to his party. The Republican hierarchy is worried that, thanks to his abuses, Floridians in November of 2012 will fail to pull the lever for the Republican nominee at all, or worse, vote for Obama in retaliation.
There is no strategy for a Republican to win the required number of electoral votes next year without taking Florida. In effect, Scott may singlehandedly save feckless Obama-hating Americans from accidentally electing the likes of a Bachmann or a Palin.
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Talk about being in an awkward position. Here’s President Obama, trying to smooth over a group of gay activists in Manhattan, and instead of being greeted like a hero, he’s forced to endure jeers and catcalls for not giving them the Full Monty on same-sex marriage. Hours later, New York legalizes it, leaving him eating dust and playing social catch-up to Dick Cheney, of all people.
This is one of those times when heading the great Democratic coalition can be...challenging, to say the least. Let’s not forget that⎯unlike Republicans⎯the Democrats are a loose alliance of interest groups that have banded together to push their own agendas by agreeing to help others with theirs, much like a nationwide Amish barn-raising.
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I have a problem with Michele Bachmann.
The problem I have isn’t with her socially conservative views, which I disagree with but do not denigrate, since they are legitimately held⎯nor is it with her recurring symptoms of foot-in-mouth disease, which provide comic relief more than anything else.
No, what I worry about is having as a potential president a person who is apparently capable of believing⎯simultaneously and passionately⎯in two opposing principles of government without seeing the illogic of her position(s).
She trumpets the inherent goodness of states’ rights, and has devoted herself, at least in her stump speech, to the goal of shrinking the federal government’s role in freedom-loving Americans’ lives to the fullest extent possible.
That sounds fine so far as it goes, until she is asked about New York’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage. Yes, Ms. Bachmann says, every state has a right to pass its own laws. But, as president, she would work as hard as she could to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution recognizing marriage as a contract exclusively between a man and a woman.
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