Friday, December 28, 2012

Reality, Meet the GOP

Reality and the Republican Party are not close friends.  That was evident on election night when Karl Rove blubbered and fought with his pocket calculator trying to dispute the election results his own network, Fox News was reporting.

Now, perhaps, there is a watershed event.  Former House Speaker and failed presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying, “I don't think these guys have a clue.”  He was speaking about the Republican National Committee and its internal review of what went wrong during the election . 

Part of that interview was most relevant for LGBT Americans, when Gingrich breached the subject of Gay Marriage. He felt that the GOP needed to open their eyes and see that the majority of Americans no longer have a problem with same-sex marriage.  Wow!

Specifically he made the distinction between “"marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state".   He went on to say, “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states -- and it will be more after 2014 -- gay relationships will be legal, period."

The phrase “accommodate and deal with reality” is what struck me most.  After all, this is the man who actually thought he had a shot at the Presidency.  A man who was divorced twice and has a spotty history of infidelity, as well as being reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee, seriously thought he could stand up to the scrutiny of a Presidential run?  It would seem that reality and Newt were not well acquainted.

Newt was even a signatory to the National Organization for Marriage pledge regarding a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  What happened? 

Well, Newt and the GOP are not immune to public opinion, and though they seem to be fighting it every step of the way, he and others on the right have seen that the age of bashing LGBT people to rally the base, no longer works.  Time is marching on and leaving that sad chapter in American political history in the dust.
"I didn't think that was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act," he said. "It didn't seem at the time to be anything like as big a wave of change as we are now seeing."
This may bode well for the upcoming decision by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Perhaps even the conservative voices on the bench will see the tide turning and clear the way for federal recognition of same-sex unions.  We can hope for that, but one stumbling block still stands in the way, and that’s Justice Antonin Scalia.  His recent comparison of the ban on sodomy to a ban on murder might give us a clue to his thinking.  Though he claims to be a “textualist” when it comes to the Constitution, he is more of an absurdist, reducing his arguments to absurd comparisons. 

In the end, his absurdity may not matter.  My hope is that Scalia will be writing the minority dissenting opinion on DOMA and that his words will look every bit as silly as Karl Rove on election night. The tide has turned and Scalia doesn’t notice, and when you can’t see something that is so evident that Newt Gingrich can see it, then you might end up looking as absurd as your argument. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Heading Off The Cliff

You can't turn on a news report without hearing references to the "fiscal cliff".  Terrifying? Not so much, but still a real issue.

Quite frankly I don't think the Republicans have any intention of negotiating and a re perfectly willing to do a Thelma & Louise on January 1.  Why?  Because they can let the automatic lifting of the Bush tax cuts happen, the spending cuts and all, then they can pass a bill that cuts taxes for the middle class and still say they didn't raise taxes.  They cut them!

Pretzel logic for sure, but the GOP excels at that.  They can pass legislation to restore the military spending and claim they were defending the nation. More pretzel logic.

When this happens, and I do believe it is a "when" not an "if", the Democrats in Congress need to make it abundantly clear that it is the GOP 's fault. They need to control the narrative and not let the Republicans play their semantic game. 

I suspect President Obama is already working on a speech that will lay out the facts for the American people in a way that makes it abundantly clear who is at fault for this mess.

In the long run it wont hurt us much, unless the stock market gets neurotic and starts kicking in some automatic selling programs.  Oh and then there is the debt ceiling....   The Chinese curse is coming true, "may you live in interesting times."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Emanuel is translated as "God with us".  That was the biggest message of Jesus and of the birth narrative. The story in my opinion was meant to give a graphic example of what Jesus taught in later life  He took the idea of God being only in the Temple and moved the focus to individuals.  God was and is with us, not hidden behind the veil of the Temple.

Jesus was a reformer.  His path was meant to bring us closer to the divine and to free us from the rules and structures of the Pharisees.  His path broke free from the rigid rules and relied on the simple commandment to love one another.

As I celebrate this season and reread the birth narratives I know that indeed a new light did come into the world.  May the light of this season brighten your days.

Note:  Sometimes I get off on a theological bent and I have to reassert that what I write is just my opinion.  Take what you like and leave the rest.