September 25, 2009

Andrew Sullivan presents — without cynicism — Bill Clinton's explanation of why he's now for same-sex marriage.

And the explanation is a big, verbose mush:
I think, what made me change my mind, I looked up and said look at all of this stuff you’re for. I’ve always believed that—I’ve never supported all the moves of a few years ago to ban gay couples from adoption. Because they’re all these kids out there looking for a home.... So I said, you know, I realized that I was over 60 years old, I grew up at a different time, and I was hung up about the word. I had all these gay friends, I had all these gay couple friends, and I was hung up about it. And I decided I was wrong.

That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties, then if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees, and several have now, or a religious body will sanction it, and I don’t think a state should be able to stop a religious body from saying it, I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of it. I think it’s a good thing not a bad thing. And I just realized that, I was, probably for, maybe just because of my age and the way I’ve grown up, I was wrong about that. I just had too many gay friends. I saw their relationships. I just decided I couldn’t, I had an untenable position.
Clinton is a master blabber, but what did he say? He's not even for a right to marry, only for leaving it up to the states: "if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees...." He's only implicitly admitting that the Defense of Marriage Act — which he signed — was wrong. He doesn't even apologize for what he did back when he had actual power to do something. He's presenting it all as a personal journey of his. He's older and wiser. Bleh!

Clinton signed DOMA when he thought it was in his political interest, and I suspect he thinks it's in his political interest now to embrace same-sex marriage. I can understand Sullivan enthusing over whatever high-level support he gets for his big cause, but I would find him a much more interesting writer if he would shine a sharp, critical light on everything.

45 comments:

Deborah said...

He uttered the word "I" or some form of it 26 times (if I counted correctly) in two paragraphs.

Quayle said...

That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties....

Then to further societies interest, we should reject gay marriage because the facts are clear that gay relationships are not, on average, strong, committed, or bilaterally loyal.

This is a foundational structural issue, not a personal issue.

ricpic said...

The important thing is not to be "hung up." About anything.

Methadras said...

What putrid nonsense. In essence, it's about him and how his change of heart on homosexual marriage is because he is getting older and he has a lot of homosexual friends. Whoop-dee-fucking-do. Was he biting his lower lip when he said any of this? I can just transpose his voice in my head as I read that and now I feel a little nauseous.

Diamondhead said...

What a beautiful story of self-discovery. Shame about the timing.

fred said...

Clinton is this and Clinton is that, but he still stands head and heels over the guy who came after him.

Big Mike said...

... but I would find him a much more interesting writer if he would shine a sharp, critical light on everything.

Yeah, but it's been a long time since he was interesting, except in the way that a terrible car crash is "interesting," isn't it?

Revenant said...

Clinton is for gay marriage the way Carter is for civil rights -- he is embracing it after his support no longer does anybody any good. Better late than never, I guess.

Paul Zrimsek said...

When Hitch wrote No One Left to Lie To he evidently spoke too soon.

edutcher said...

fred said...

Clinton is this and Clinton is that, but he still stands head and heels over the guy who came after him.

The guy who came after him stood up against Al Qaeda; something Willie didn't want to do, but, then, standing up for his country was something Willie never wanted to do.

John Lynch said...

I guess "I was wrong. Sorry," is too hard to say.

Revenant said...

Clinton is this and Clinton is that, but he still stands head and heels over the guy who came after him.

I agree; Barack Obama is a pale imitation. :)

scinfinity said...

So Clinton has an identical view on the issue as Dick Cheney.

I anxiously await Sully's paean to Cheney...

Meade said...

That's nice. But I won't be holding my breath waiting for the impeached Clinton and his phony self-styled "feminist" supporters to evolve and realize that they were also wrong in defending Bill Clinton's serial sexual harassments while governor and president.

Cedarford said...

The great tragedy of Bill Clinton is he came into office with an intellect almost as formidable as Nixon's, with better instincts - and Reagans natural communications skills. But never really capitalized on all that potential.

I think the reason is he never believed in anything but was expedient for Bill Clinton. He lacked the vision of a great President......the willingness to stick to something doggedly until it happened. In his last few years he tried with the Israeli-Pal Peace, but that fell apart on Zionist arrogance that they controlled America's Congress - not Clinton - and on Palestinian intransigence on Right of Return for all descendents who had land or property stolen by the Zionists.

Bill Clinton doing a 180 on gay marriage is just a reversion to Clinton political form. Believe in nothing but Bill Clinton, do nothing but what is the shortest road to take to show Bill Clinton is GOOD - to his target audience.

john said...

Ann said - ....but I would find him a much more interesting writer if he would shine a sharp, critical light on everything.

Shouldn't you have said "anything"?

dbp said...
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dbp said...

Clinton and Sullivan are just doing what they always do: Clinton does or says anything that helps Clinton in some way. Sullivan supports anybody who helps in the one and only cause Sullivan really cares about.

Eric said...

I really don't understand the pass gay people give to politicians like Clinton and Obama. It's like some kind of political battered wife syndrome.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Because they’re all these kids out there looking for a home"

Wrong contraction. "There're". Which is the way a mushmouthed
Southerner (of which I am one) says "there are".

Ben J. said...

Althouse would "find him a much more interesting writer if he would shine a sharp, critical light on everything."

Oh really?

Well, I'd find you worth reading if you managed to shine a sharp eye on anything that contradicts your one-sided, Limbaugh-loving, right-wing.

Face it, Althouse: you couldn't shine a critical light on Limbaugh, Beck, the Republican Party, or George W. if your life depended on it.

Stephen Snell said...

Ben J., you're directing your misinformed bile at an Obama voter, you belligerent douchebag.

Fred4Pres said...

Of course Bill Clinton is being craven and typical Bill Clinton.

And in his heart of hearts, Sullivan is much the same as Bill Clinton. I agree with Sullivan on same sex marriage (provided it is done through the legislatures state by state) and banning torture. But it has become apparent he will justify anything for the ends--and a lot of the time the ends are what is best for Andrew Sullivan. I recognize there are lots of compromises in politics, but this is very dishonest.

Rialby said...

Maybe Clinton was just desperate to drop some milky loads?

Sorry, it had to be done. Neither man deserves better.

Rialby said...

Damn - I didn't click through until after I made the snarky comment. I had thought that Clinton did the interview with Andy when in reality it did it with Anderson. Oh wait. Comment still stands.

gaywrites said...

Ann, I agree. The first thing I thought when I heard about this was, "This is the first President that is open in his support of gay marriage." But my second thought was to instantly ask what could have possibly changed in the mind of the man that rolled over on allowing gays in the military, resulting in Don't Ask/Don't Tell. What could have changed in the mind of the man that signed DOMA? Now that he is no longer President, it is much easier for him to come out of the closet on his gay marriage support, and not much of a rallying cry for all of us affected by his administration's policies.

President Clinton may have made a personal transformation, getting out from under the views society ingrained into him, to become someone that shares the luke-warm federalism endorsement we've seen from Vice President Cheney (except Cheney's endorsement can be seen as nothing less than genuine). But Clinton may have also (and probably more likely) always been in support of gay marriage but knew it was politically unpopular to become President. And if true, you have to wonder what it's like to be one of those gay friends he talks so much about. Do the gay friends of President Clinton find him to be a man of integrity? Could one not think that both his President and his friend had let him down only to go public in "support" when its impact is fairly neutral.

Flexo said...

he thinks it's in his political interest now to embrace same-sex marriage

Well, of course.

THAT'S WHAT "SAME-SEX MARRIAGE" IS. It is nothing but political interest.

It has nothing to do with the truth of the nature of marriage. It has nothing to do with reason or logic or rule of law. It has nothing to do with even attempting to understand why and how marriage is and can only be what it is, rather than something else.

It is entirely about political interest. It is entirely about politics. Raw political power. Or, if you will, raw judicial power.

Peter S. said...

Ann, you say: "I can understand Sullivan enthusing over whatever high-level support he gets for his big cause...."

Please show where in Sullivan's post he is "enthusing" over this quotation.

Don't worry, you will not be able to do it. It is not there. Is there even a single word that seems enthusiastic?

Yes, that one post included no skeptical commentary. But Sullivan's blog has regularly voiced contempt for the opportunism of both Clintons on this issue -- as well as Sullivan's more recent disappointment with Obama's spinelessness ("the fierce urgency of whenever").

I guess it's easier to "shine a sharp, critical light on everything" when you don't have to ground that criticism in facts.

Dave said...

"I guess it's easier to "shine a sharp, critical light on everything" when you don't have to ground that criticism in facts."

Wait a minute. Are you trying to accuse Sullivan of occasionally using facts?

Won't that get in the way of his efforts to prove his theory about Trig Palin?

Sheesh.

peter hoh said...

Flexo, if you really want to keep marriage what it used to be, there's a cause that needs your support: the
2010 California Marriage Protection Act
.

Seven Machos said...

Clinton is a master blabber, but what did he say? He's not even for a right to marry, only for leaving it up to the states

This has been my position for years in this very venue, and I, too, have been a blabber.

I commend Clinton for coming at last to a reasonable and workable solution to a problem that is intractable. Next, abortion. Same solution. Any social issue, really.

sonicfrog said...

I think he's sincere. Here's why.

hl5 said...

Clinton was against it before he was for it? Or something like that?

Clinton's views seem to be the same as most other recent Dem Presidents/nominees- which weren't any different from the views of their Republican opponents. Makes you wonder why the LGBT crowd is so pro-Dem.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Clinton's wishy-washy statements should be seen for what they really are: Nothing more than a mediocre attempt to bolster the base for Hillary's next presidential run.

It's always about the politics with the Clintons, and the politics alone. There's no deeper meaning to his pronouncements than that.

He signed DOMA and DADT because it was favored (he believed) by a majority of voters. Any change will be for the same reason.

Depth of belief should never be confused with depth of polling.

Jeffrey R. Carter said...

I think it's cynical to think that you cannot change your views over time. This means no one can evolve in their thinking.

I am a conservative, but certainly have changed my views on gay civil unions. I am glad Clinton is for them.

This is not a religious issue. It's a civil man made government issue. Clinton said leave it up to the states. That's a pretty conservative view; states' rights. He said we shouldn't tell churches what to do and he is right. Government cannot tell a church what to do-and conversely, a church cannot control the government. If we have gay civil unions, it doesn't affect my marriage.

There may be unintended consequences of approving civil unions. But I think those unintended consequences are worth the risk.

All this being said, I would not support gay marriage within my church-but that is an entirely different story.

miller said...

Seriously, how is Clinton relevant?

He changed his mind and that's news?

peter hoh said...

Jeffrey R. Carter, I'm certain that churches will retain the right to marry whom they wish. There are churches that won't marry people who have been previously divorced, and there are churches who will not allow divorced clergy to serve.

Kirby Olson said...

Bill Clinton should marry Jimmy Carter, and try it out!

It's one thing to support or to be ambivalent, but leave it up to the states. I think Bill Clinton needs to go all the way, and give it a try!

With Jimmy Carter!

"Like should marry like." -- Cato

jawbone said...
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jawbone said...

Blogger fred said...

"Clinton is this and Clinton is that, but he still stands head and heels over the guy who came after him."

First, Fred mixes the idioms, "head over heels" (very much) with "head and shoulders above" (superior to) and gets the nonsensical "head and heels over".

But second, it's obvious Fred thinks W was terrible. What he (inadvertently?) reveals by putting Clinton up against a Bush standard, is just how little he thinks of Bill.

Methadras said...

Cedarford said...

The great tragedy of Bill Clinton is he came into office with an intellect almost as formidable as Nixon's, with better instincts - and Reagans natural communications skills. But never really capitalized on all that potential.

I think the reason is he never believed in anything but was expedient for Bill Clinton. He lacked the vision of a great President......the willingness to stick to something doggedly until it happened. In his last few years he tried with the Israeli-Pal Peace, but that fell apart on Zionist arrogance that they controlled America's Congress - not Clinton - and on Palestinian intransigence on Right of Return for all descendents who had land or property stolen by the Zionists.

Bill Clinton doing a 180 on gay marriage is just a reversion to Clinton political form. Believe in nothing but Bill Clinton, do nothing but what is the shortest road to take to show Bill Clinton is GOOD - to his target audience.


Clinton is a sociopath who chameleons his message to his target audience. Bill Clinton does it for Bill Clinton. He tells them what they want to hear, just like his sexual conquests, and he absorbs the adulation that comes with it. When he's caught, he lies because it's his instinctual fallback position or he told the truth in a way that eased the pain and therefore made it sympathetic for his benefit while his recipients lapped it up. Bill Clinton was a politician that could make the Caesars weep, he was that good. Unfortunately, enough people saw through the horseshit and called him out on it. He is who he is, the problem is that guys like him just don't know when to evaporate into history because it's all about rehabing their persona because they know enough people will not care or forget.

jawbone said...
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jawbone said...

methadras is so right. Clinton's first instinct was to lie, even when it wasn't necessary, when it helped him not at all. And he'd backstab his closest allies at the drop of a hat if it would gain him a tiny sliver of benefit. If he really, really felt bad about, say, falsely accusing a friend of something in order to make himself look better, he might later, in private, say, "Sorry -- politics."
Sad.

jawbone said...
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jawbone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.