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    August 16, 2008

    McCain at Saddleback Church

    Posted by: Chris

    Johnmccainrickwarren I hope my gay Republican friends pay close heed to the very disturbing answer that John McCain gave tonight on marriage. Much of it was not new, including his generous willingness to allow gay Americans in relationships to enter into "legal arrangements" with each other -- at least our right to private contracts isn't at risk! But it is grossly disingenuous to say we should have "the same rights as other citizens" when he's just made clear that we can't marry -- a basic human right -- and in fact he opposes any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, whether it be civil unions, domestic partnerships or even D.P. benefits offered by public institutions like universities and hospitals.

    That wasn't even the disturbing part. McCain also made much clearer than he has to date that if "any federal court" says that one state, like his home sweet home in Arizona, has to recognize gay marriages from other states, then he'll reverse his "courageous" opposition to a federal constitutional amendment banning all states from marrying same-sex couples.

    It matters not to McCain, who claims to respect federalism and the role of the states to decide these questions, that the U.S. Constitution may well require each state to recognize and respect the decision other states have made on this question -- just as they do on almost every other similar decision. If some federal judge somewhere decides the notorious Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, probably because of the U.S. Constitution's "full faith and credit clause," then McCain is fully on board with George W. Bush, Rick Santorum, and other hard-right-wingers who would amend our nation's founding document to forever ban any state from deciding the issue for itself.

    (Note: If this overturning DOMA is really McCain's trigger, then he ought to support a limited federal amendment that enshrines the portion of DOMA that provides one state should not have to recognize gay marriages from other states. His answer belies a political, and cynical, willingness to go much, much further.)

    Perhaps even most disturbing was his list of current Supreme Court justices he believes should not have been nominated: Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Steven Breyer, appointed by President Clinton, and John Paul Stevens and David Souter, nominated by Republican Presidents Ford and Bush Sr. All four were eminently qualified and confirmed by wide Senate majorities. You don't get any clearer glimpse at the Supreme Court that a President McCain envisions.

    The real irony of this clear, new statement from McCain on a federal marriage amendment is how it came only minutes after he listed Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), the black civil rights pioneer who fervently supports gay marriage, as one of the three "wise" men he would rely on as president. Then, only moments later, he offered as America's "greatest moral failure" our inability to defend the rights of those different from ourselves.

    (Late-added note: Obama's answer was actually worse. In addition to his wife and 85-year-old grandmother -- really? they are the wisest people to turn to on matters of state? so much for arguing 71-year-old McCain is too old to trust! -- he offered up Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator who is an expert on defense issues, as well as forcing the bigoted "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy on a president of his own party. Is this a veep hint? Please, no!)

    There's no way to square his respect for Lewis and civil rights with his complete disregard for the lives and hopes of gay Americans. His views on legal recognition of gay couples are to the right of the vast majority of Americans, and even President Bush himself -- who has spoken favorably about civil unions.

    Rhetoric about civil rights is empty and hypocritical if in almost the same breath John McCain can assert such hardened views about lesbian and gay Americans.

    An endorsement from Log Cabin really ought to be unthinkable now.

    (Photo of John McCain and Pastor Rick Warren via Justin Sullivan/Getty)



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    1. Strict Scrutiny on Aug 16, 2008 11:07:23 PM:


      Great analysis. I know you said you didn't want an "amen" blog, but you really have said it all. There's not much to add.

      I was initially impressed with some of McCain's answers, particularly the part where he admitted that his greatest moral failure was the collapse of his first marriage (infidelity issue).

      But then it ventured into more predictable territory and I knew what was coming. His opinions about gay relationships were nothing new. I recall that he had once previously said that he would support a marriage amendment if federal court judges started interpreting the FF&C clause to require other states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in CA and MA.

      One thing I found very amusing though -- I knew he did not like Ginsburg et al. So his answer was not surprising in that regard. I am surprised, though, that he didn't mention Tony Kennedy as someone he would never nominate. Kennedy has authored several controversial opinions that are anathema to the right wing, including Lawrence v. Texas, the case which struck down sodomy statutes. I think this is telling. He doesn't know what the issues are necessarily; he just knows who the liberal guys are and who the conservative guys are.

      If this guy wins, the gay community is in trouble, to say the least.

    1. Andoni on Aug 17, 2008 5:17:57 PM:

      The problem with McCain is that there is not coherence in his statements. He makes shot gun statements that do not fit into any coherent policy or overall philosophy. He says contradictory things within minutes or days of each other. This guy's not a Maverick, he;s a loose cannon.

      If American chooses him, good luck to America.

    1. Allan on Aug 17, 2008 9:59:39 PM:

      If you thought McCain seemed well-prepared for the questions, and noticed he answered the multipart question on education before the full question was even answered, you might be interested to know that McCain did not ARRIVE at Saddleback until Obama's hour was half-finished, and only THEN was he shown into a quiet room.

      And it's now being suggested that McCain may have lifted the "cross in the sand" story from "The Gulag Archipelago."

    1. Tim on Aug 19, 2008 5:44:54 PM:

      LOL geez Allan would you have made that accusation against Obama if the times had been reversed? Should it even matter, regardless of the timing and the suspicion none of the questions were unexpected or odd for the venue. As for the charge of hypocrisy I believe you'll find that Solzhenitsyn never wrote that anywhere and wasn't even a christian if I remember my own readings of the "Gulag Archipelago". But accuse away, it makes you all that much more believable when you banter with inuendo and baseless accusations lifted from the dross of the Koskids drippings.

    1. Allan on Aug 19, 2008 7:58:50 PM:

      Thanks, Tim, and I would have found it equally interesting if EITHER candidate had been reported to the public as being in a "cone of silence" when in fact it wasn't true.

      And you are correct that the latest understanding of the evolving charge of plagiarism by McCain has been updated. No one has been able to locate the story in The Gulag Archipelago. It turns out that it was attributed to Solzhenitsyn by Chuck Colson. So the source from which McCain may have lifted the story was itself mistaken, but the charge that it was not part of McCain's own experience as a POW still stands. By the way, McCain used to tell the story in the third person about "a soldier." Kind of like how Ronald Reagan used to use the plots from old movies as personal anecdotes.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 20, 2008 12:40:28 PM:

      If you thought McCain seemed well-prepared for the questions,

      As both he and Obama should have been, since they got several of them in advance.

      Which makes this particularly interesting.

      (Late-added note: Obama's answer was actually worse. In addition to his wife and 85-year-old grandmother -- really? they are the wisest people to turn to on matters of state? so much for arguing 71-year-old McCain is too old to trust! -- he offered up Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator who is an expert on defense issues, as well as forcing the bigoted "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy on a president of his own party. Is this a veep hint? Please, no!)

      Obama's performance at Saddleback made it more and more obvious that the Democrat Party made its candidate choice based on Joe Biden's famous words:

      "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man!"

      Unfortunately, that doesn't help Obama in intellectual exercises or coherency at events like this -- which is why, rather than publicizing their candidate's answers, the Obama campaign is spreading rumors about how McCain "cheated".

    1. Tim on Aug 20, 2008 2:15:37 PM:

      Alan, I'm sorry to hear about the pedophilia charges against you, Oh those weren't true? So you are a pedophile, right? You just haven't been caught. I hear you really like the young ones.

      See that's how your attack is going, You hurl an accusation with no basis and than you cling to it like it was the gospel truth despite having no evidence either way. It's immature and illogical and will always come back to haunt you.

      I don't believe Obama is stupid but I think his inexperience is hurting him, in fact I think the democrats made a mistake in bringing him out too soon. Given 10 years and some more campaigning he'll be an awesome politician with a strong shot at any office but right now he's in way over his head. McCain has decades of experience, and a good team, plus he's actually run before and knows a lot of the pitfalls to avoid. Your personal attacks on him are juvenile and unfortunate.
      Stick to the issues and work to forth Obama to keep his campaign pledges, it's bad enough that the democratic party keeps us in the back rows after pumping us for money, but we can at least stop them from pledging support to DOMA...maybe.

    1. Hawyer on Aug 20, 2008 2:43:40 PM:

      Article VI, section 3, of the Constitution states that: "..no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

      I, for one, believe the author(s) of the above provided total clarity on the subject therein.

      Accordingly, I am appalled at the political dog and pony show served up by Christian televangelist, tract peddler, and multi-milliionaire Rick Warren - a venue elaborately produced to subject our presidential candidates to not just a religious test, but a religious strip search

      And I am even more appalled that Obama would submit to this hostile kangaroo court, clearly stage managed to showcase McCain's willingness to shamelessly pander to the religious right.

      Talk about lose-lose - Obama was clearly uncomforable and out of his element - as he should be around all of that fucking God talk.

      While McCain's smarmy disingenuous reminiscences played right into the hands of the God crowd - prepossessed with enacting denominational dogma into public law. And their boy John Sidney was right on board.

      And yet the Corporate Media glommed on like buzzards on a shit wagon. What a disgusting spectacle - and the nadir in civic discourse.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 20, 2008 4:41:04 PM:

      Talk about lose-lose - Obama was clearly uncomforable and out of his element - as he should be around all of that fucking God talk.

      That's a rather odd reaction, given the Obama campaign's advertising and Obama himself giving sermons in churches, both of which involve quite a bit of that "God talk" that seems to so appall Obama supporters and at which people have gushed that Obama seems so comfortable in the pulpit.

    1. Hawyer on Aug 20, 2008 7:30:46 PM:

      NDT, Dear:

      Obama, unfortunately (in the political context) is a true Christian; i.e., in concert with the United Church of Christ and the (authentic) Baptists, subscribes to the doctrine known as the "priesthood of the believer" - which exhorts him to translate his own proclivities in terms of the gospel of Jesus Christ - not the "gospel of secular politics"

      For that, his artificial horizon is automatically 180-degress off-base when he sits down in the presnce of a theocrat like Rick Warren.

    1. Tim on Aug 20, 2008 8:23:13 PM:

      I think they are all looney, trying to live according ancient precepts that are in direct contradiction to the truths that we have discovered by actually studying and learning things.

      Look at mental illness's where are those found in the bible? Do they not exist? Or do they believe you can pray them away? Bah time to start facing the world and universe on real terms not artificial boundaries written by druggies in the desert 3000 years ago.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 21, 2008 12:19:31 AM:

      A "theocrat" who, Hawyer, Obama himself supported and endorsed.

      Now, can you explain why Obama supports these people who you scream are "theocrats" -- or, more precisely, why you support Obama when he supports and endorses these people who you decry as "theocrats"?

    1. Tim on Aug 21, 2008 6:05:54 PM:

      Because Obama represents something in his mind that he could never be as a functioning politician. It's not rocket science it's psychology.

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