Some commentators are saying that President Bush's current push for the Federal Marriage Amendment, as well as his soon to come focus upon judicial appointments, are just calulated political ploys by him to deflect public interest away from the Iraq War debacle, the soaring national debt, and rapidly increasing energy, gas and oil costs. Of course, in addition to this attempt to blind us from the dangerous failures that Bush and his administration have brought upon us, it is also a tactical move to win back some of the conservative and evangelical constituencies that he is presently losing. The underhanded nature of this strategy is revealed by considering that President Bush reiterated his support Monday for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, even though it has little chance of passage. Bush's speech came just as the Senate was set to open three days of debate on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.
Moderate law professor Ann Althouse quotes this comment from Sen. Ted Kennedy: "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple." Althouse sees it somewhat differently: "I'd say it's a vote for political gain, whichever side you're voting on, and it's not the least bit pure, though it is rather simple."
Whether the President really personally wants a gay-marriage amendment is also being questioned. Just last year, Bush said he saw no reason to push for a constitutional amendment, since it had no chance in the Senate while the "Defense of Marriage Act" remained on the books. The act allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Today, The Huffington Post pointed to a Newsweek article where an unnamed friend of President Bush stated, "I don't think he gives a s**t about it. He never talks about this stuff." That, combined with the fact a two-thirds majority is required for passage has a growing number of Americans seeing an extremely transparent, last-ditch attempt to boost Bush's public approval ratings, thereby hoping to increase the Republican's chances in the midterm elections this fall.
"Bush is trying to appease angry conservatives and Christians by pushing this amendment," writes Christian ex-liberal La Shawn Barber. "It's an empty and meaningless gesture because the thing will never be ratified."
A note published in Salon has observed: Hey, don't be sad. This is what politicians do. They suss out our cheapest, most irrational fears and stoke them into barnfires that blot out everything that really matters, from Iraq and Iran to, let's see, government corruption. But all is not lost. We're smarter than that. Our politicians want us dumb and angry, but we grow more tolerant.
Another article in Salon on Tuesday, June 5th, described Monday's opening Senate political campaign against gay marriage as a curiously bizarre affair. Michael Scherer wrote, "There is something queer about this week's Senate crusade to outlaw gay marriage. If you listen closely, the leaders who oppose single-sex unions refuse to talk about gay people. They talk about activist judges, welfare rolls, the rights of voters and the birthrate of single mothers in Scandinavia. But there is not a gay man, a lesbian woman or a bisexual teenager in the mix."
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