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Archive for April 12th, 2010

“Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law.”—the Associated Press

“Congressman Mark Kirk — the Republican running to fill Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois — bravely vowed to ‘lead the effort’ to repeal the bill. Now he glumly tells a local newspaper, ‘Well, we lost.’

Repealing a bill that became law last month is radical. Acquiescing to a decades-long flurry of legislation that effectively repeals the Constitution’s limits on federal power is conservative.

[T]his appears to be the working definition of conservatism embraced by most GOP politicians. Republicans campaign on canceling spending programs, shutting down government agencies, and overturning Roe v. Wade. But once safely in office, they tend to leave most liberal handiwork alone,

If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation’s finances, then conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against.”— W. James Antle, III


 

Republicans Against Repeal

By W. James Antle, III

Well, that didn’t take long. After Democratic supermajorities rammed through their health care bill, Republicans were full of sound and fury about how this injustice will not stand. Even John McCain was on board, telling a television interviewer, “Outside the Beltway the American people are very angry and they don’t like it and we are going to try to repeal this.”

But in the GOP, cooler heads always prevail. What these Republican heads want to cool down is the campaign to repeal the health care takeover. Reports the Associated Press: “Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law.”

One of the Republican leadership’s volunteer firefighters is none other than Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee responsible for getting GOP candidates elected to the Senate this fall. Cornyn initially unfurled the “repeal and replace” banner, only to quickly make an exception for the “non-controversial stuff,” such as the ban on preexisting conditions which is unfortunately exactly what necessitates the “controversial stuff” like the individual mandate.

Cornyn was later seen pouring cold water on the idea entirely. Asked by the AP whether he was going to advise Republican senatorial nominees to run on repeal, he said, “Candidates are going to test the winds in their own states… In some places, the health care bill is more popular than others.” Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee doesn’t need a weatherman to tell him where the wind blows: “It’s just not going to happen.”

Republican candidates seeking to join Cornyn and Corker in the club have gotten the memo. Shortly before Obamacare passed, Congressman Mark Kirk — the Republican running to fill Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois — bravely vowed to “lead the effort” to repeal the bill. Now he glumly tells a local newspaper, “Well, we lost.”

Not only is it the case that Republicans “do not have the votes,” but Kirk noted “a sliver of good things in the bill which Republicans agreed with.” Judging from the similarities between the new national health care regime and the Massachusetts bill Republican Sen. Scott Brown voted for and GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney signed into law, for some Republicans it is more than a sliver.

Republicans against repeal have found an amen corner in the cooler heads among conservative commentators. One Oliver Garland even counseled that repeal was fundamentally unconservative: “True conservatives are not radicals; they respect tradition and work for stable reform to fix institutions.”

There you have it: Repealing a bill that became law last month is radical. Acquiescing to a decades-long flurry of legislation that effectively repeals the Constitution’s limits on federal power is conservative. Ronald Reagan should have raised taxes to conserve the Great Society and shouted, “Mr. Gorbachev, remember and reform that wall!”

Then again, this appears to be the working definition of conservatism embraced by most GOP politicians. Republicans campaign on canceling spending programs, shutting down government agencies, and overturning Roe v. Wade. But once safely in office, they tend to leave most liberal handiwork alone, failing to repeal even Bill Clinton’s tax increases. Occasionally they add a few big-government flourishes of their own — a new entitlement to enlarge Medicare’s unfunded liabilities here, a record increase in federal education spending there.

When David Frum blogs about the Republican pedigree of some ideas in the Democratic health care bill and suggests Republican snouts should have found their way to the trough, there is outrage. When Republicans actually govern this way, too often there is silence — eerily like the hush that falls over antiwar protests after Democrats are elected on promises to end wars, even though the wars still continue.

If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation’s finances, then conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against.

The Republican Party will simply be the saucer that cools the Tea Party. Cooler heads will have prevailed — and so will have liberalism.

W. James Antle, III is associate editor of The American Spectator.

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(H-T elvisnixon.com)

“What they [homosexuals] are seeking is not, or not primarily, the right to confer Social Security benefits on their partners upon their death or medical power of attorney. What homosexual activists seek is honor – a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Marriage developed over centuries to meet several specific, fundamental needs: children’s need for a father, a couple’s need for a promise of fidelity (and consequences for breaking that promise), young people’s need for a transition to manhood or womanhood and men’s (and women’s, but mostly men’s) need for a fruitful rather than destructive channel for sexual desire – a way of uniting eros and responsibility. In other words, marriage developed to meet the needs of opposite sex couples.

Same-sex marriage … would say that the ideal marriage is gender neutral – not a way for boys to become men by marrying and pledging to care for women. It would say that the ideal marriage includes children only when they have been specially planned and chosen – children would become optional extras rather than the natural fruit and symbol of the spouses union. It would say that the ideal family need not include a father – a message that is especially pernicious in a country where one-third of births in 2000 were to unwed mothers. And it would say (because who can imagine that most homosexual couples would wed?) that marriage itself is optional, not the norm – that marriage is for heroes, and since you and I aren’t heroic, we must not be called to marry.”—Eve Tushnet


 

What Homosexuals Want

By Eve Tushnet

The same-sex marriage debate has focused on the question of what marriage is. But perhaps it’s better to begin from a different angle: Why does society give marriage special honor? Because it’s this honor that activists are really seeking. If homosexual couples could cobble together all the bureaucratic oddities and benefits (and penalties) that attend marriage but the law still refused to call their unions “marriages,” no one can pretend the activists would be satisfied.

What they are seeking is not, or not primarily, the right to confer Social Security benefits on their partners upon their death or medical power of attorney. What homosexual activists seek is honor – a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. So we should start with the fact that our society exalts marriage over all other chosen relationships. Yet marriage is hardly the only important kind of relationship.

Many women will admit their best friends are closer to them than anyone else. (This fact has spawned a whole genre of “chick flicks,” from beaches to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.) Many men will acknowledge they are more open with their friends than with their wives and that they are fiercely loyal to their friends. We rely on friends in familial, romantic, financial and medical crises.

Then there are siblings; uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews; beloved teachers; professional mentors; godparents; and models of faith. Most of us are blessed with at least one of these people in our lives – the person who was there for us, who believed in us, who guided us. We incur great debts to these people, and we live in loyalty to them. But we are not married to them, and no one is arguing that we should be. So clearly there is something more about marriage that merits our attention.

Marriage does more for society than the other kinds of loving, dedicated relationships. These other relationships do less to nurture children by giving each child a mother and a father; to corral the often destructive forces of sexual desire into loving and productive channels; to bring people from youth to adulthood; and to align the interests of parents and children rather than forcing tragic choices between the two. Marriage gets honor from society because it does all these things more than any institution does or could.

Marriage developed over centuries to meet several specific, fundamental needs: children’s need for a father, a couple’s need for a promise of fidelity (and consequences for breaking that promise), young people’s need for a transition to manhood or womanhood and men’s (and women’s, but mostly men’s) need for a fruitful rather than destructive channel for sexual desire – a way of uniting eros and responsibility. In other words, marriage developed to meet the needs of opposite sex couples.

At this point, the most common question that arises is, “So what? Okay, maybe marriage didn’t develop in response to same-sex couples, but c’mon – how can Bob and Jim getting married really affect your marriage?” There are three basic reasons to think same-sex marriage will damage, perhaps fatally, the institution of marriage – maybe not in this generation, but in the one that grows up with same-sex marriage as the norm.

The first reason is simple: This is America. This nation is built on the idea that even minorities can shape the culture they enter. Racial and ethnic minorities have already done so; no honest author could write a history of American culture without noting how much of it began as black culture, Jewish culture, and Irish culture. And from TV shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” to subtler infusions of “camp” humor, homosexual culture is already affecting the majority culture.

The second reason is that homosexual activists are merely picking up on a trend begun by and for opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is just the next step in the divorce culture. The belief that marriage is merely the way that our culture expresses its approval of atomistic adults’ sexual and romantic partnerships isn’t new – it’s the same “me generation” worldview that produced “fatherless America.”

And finally, unlike easy divorce, same-sex marriage would change the fundamental ideal of marriage. Even the most ardent defenders of divorce today view it as a necessary evil, a response to the tragedy of marriage failure. Same-sex marriage by contrast, would say that the ideal marriage is gender neutral – not a way for boys to become men by marrying and pledging to care for women. It would say that the ideal marriage includes children only when they have been specially planned and chosen – children would become optional extras rather than the natural fruit and symbol of the spouses union. It would say that the ideal family need not include a father – a message that is especially pernicious in a country where one-third of births in 2000 were to unwed mothers. And it would say (because who can imagine that most homosexual couples would wed?) that marriage itself is optional, not the norm – that marriage is for heroes, and since you and I aren’t heroic, we must not be called to marry. Any one of these changes would be destructive. Put together, they are a recipe for disaster, a recipe for revisiting and surpassing the harm done to families by the “sexual revolution.”

Marriage has taken a beating. Americans cohabit, we divorce, we remarry, we split our resources between several sets of children. But we still have hope that we may recover the true meaning of marriage, because we still know the ideal: the lifelong, fruitful union that makes boys into husbands and fathers, and reconciles the “opposite sexes” to one another. Same-sex marriage would mean losing that ideal and losing our best hope for marriage renewal.

Copyright © 2003 Circle Media, Inc., National Catholic Register

For Further Study

Books – The Homosexual Person by Fr. John F. Harvey and In Defense of Marriage by Tim Staples and Matthew Arnold

CD – Confronting the Gay Agenda by Tim Staples, Deacon Dr. Bob McDonald and Fr. Frank Fusara, C.P.M

Web Sites – MarriageDebate.com and DawnStefanowicz.com

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