June 26, 2004

Fun With The National Review

Maggie Gallagher writes about the courageous Governor Mitt Romney (link included in original):

Mitt Romney is a brave man.

While the GOP glitterocracy attended the first gay wedding of one of their own, Gov. Romney was in Washington, D.C., making the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician.

"Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians," Romney began by way of preface. ...

When you have prefaced an argument against gay marriage with a statement professing tolerance and acceptance of gays and lesbians, you have ceded the field of battle. If you truly accept gays, it's hard to justify giving a tinker's damn about whether or not they can marry, beyond the hand-wringing over electoral politics. Indeed, the rest of this silly exercise in epistemological wanking is given over to lamenting that the terms husband and wife, and mother and father, are being replaced on government forms with party A or B, or parent A or B. Next thing you know, it'll start raining frogs. She closes:

...The change has begun: The needs and desires of a tiny fraction of adults in alternative families are becoming the basis of a new moral norm. Anyone who departs from it risks thundering denunciation from self-righteous elites who are no longer satisfied with tolerance and civility living with our deepest differences but wish to impose their vision of morality on the majority.

Hah. Not only does this demonstrate good intellectual judo, it has the entertaining side benefit of being exactly wrong. The majority of people don't have a problem with gays being accorded the same rights as everyone else. Polls show a distinct majority in favor of either civil unions or full blown marriage. As soon as the demagogues stop trying to put the fear of God into whomever will listen, the moderate fence-sitters will quickly decide that this is the biggest non-issue to come down the pike in years.

Hint: When you can no longer imply that gays are bad and unacceptable because your audience is sympathetic to them, you're going to lose that fear of God angle pretty darn quick.

Next, Andrew McCarthy argues that the torture memos are a manufactured scandal. Of Bybee, one of the chief authors of the Bush torture doctrine and now a federal judge, he says the following:

...At the time the memo was drafted, Bybee was the head of DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, the brainy legal beagle unit that serves as "lawyers for the lawyers" on knotty issues that affect not only DOJ but the wide array of executive-department agencies. According to the Times, Bybee's memo was addressed to chief White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and it provided an expansive assessment of the president's capacity to allow physically aggressive interrogation techniques by so narrowly crimping the concept of "torture" as nearly to define it out of existence. ...

So, yes the memo was very, very bad. And wrong. But hey, it was written by a brainy guy working on difficult and probably boring subjects, and who reads that stuff, anyway? Apparently, no one important.

...Now, those same people are implying that the president of the United States may be a torturer because of reading material he probably never even saw, much less read. And they have not the slightest concern about the chilling effect this will have on presidents asking for, and policymakers providing, advice about issues that affect national security. I guess DOJ should forget about all this "top secret" classification jazz and just file its memos at the library. ...

A chilling effect? I certainly hope so. I hope that the next time any administration no matter the party, has some bright light in the ranks that starts asking for legal opinions on suspending or finessing the Geneva conventions on torture, they hear only a resounding "Hell, no."

If we are all very lucky, the mere mention of the subject will draw forth looks that could burn a hole right through the head of the offender. For 50 years hence, lawyers would blanch, political advisors would shiver, and someone would inevitably whisper softly, "You idiot, do you remember what happened to the Bush administration?"

Posted by natasha at June 26, 2004 10:09 PM | Wingnuts | Technorati links |

For 50 years hence, lawyers would blanch, political advisors would shiver, and someone would inevitably whisper softly, "You idiot, do you remember what happened to the Bush administration?"

Amen, natasha. These guys think it is okay to spy on every aspect of the lives of Americans (supposedly to keep the homeland safe), but expect to have their immoral and blatantly anti-constitution screeds to be protected under the seal of secrecy. Any American government that proposes breaking the law and trampling the bill of rights ought to be put in prison and certainly shamed for their anti-American actions for posterity.

Posted by: Mary at June 26, 2004 10:06 PM