March 15, 2013

Rob Portman has "come to believe" in gay marriage now that he has a personal interest in that matter.

What's his personal interest? Here's what he says:
As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay....

At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.

I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God....
Now, I assume his actual personal interest is in his political career. Previously, he'd determined that the most advantageous position is to say marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, but seeing the intensity of the younger generation's enthusiasm for same-sex marriage, he's getting out in front of the issue for 2016 election purposes.

I guess he can't just say that. That would be honest, but he needs to be deepin a much deeper way. Yet what is this deepness? He claims deepness because, before, gay marriage was only something that affected people outside his family, now it affects his own son. Why is that supposed to be deep? I consider it shallow — shallow in a way that ought to disqualify a person from representing the general populace.

Imagine if he announced as a general principle: When governmental policies affects close intimates of mine, I will reframe my positions so that their interests are served. 

Maybe you are about to say, hey, Althouse, you hypocrite, you have a gay son and you support gay marriage. I have supported same-sex marriage since I first heard about it, which was before I found out my younger son is gay, and I have written 355 posts on gay marriage. See if you can find one that exploits this personal fact about me. I don't think you can. It's an argument I avoid. It offends my principles.

But that doesn't mean it's not a persuasive argument. It shouldn't be persuasive, rationally, but it hits people emotionally, and that's what Rob Portman is trying to do. A presidential candidate needs to feel like a real and trustworthy human being, and this drama of struggling with religion and love of family is the sort of thing that works.

I would not be a good politician. You have to feel reasonably comfortable with bullshit. I'm not saying you need to be a big old liar. But you must take policy positions that will appeal to voters and to articulate reasons that feel right to them. That's all Rob Portman is doing here. He's in the politician zone, and we'll see how he does.  I wish him well.

ADDED: Imagine a politician switching from a pro-life to a pro-choice choice position and writing an op-ed saying that he saw things a different way after his own daughter got pregnant.

172 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Well, I was mildly opposed to SSM until several years ago, and I doubt I'd have switched positions without having discussed it with gay friends. I think Portman is saying similarly that his son's orientation has helped him see the error of his opposition to SSM.

AustinRoth said...

"Now, I assume his actual personal interest is in his political career."

Really? You simply cannot conceive that a person, even a politician, when faced with the impact on a position or opinion of theirs on a loved one could then decide they had been wrong?

You are saying, then, that no one should ever change their mind from personal experience? Or rather, are you saying politicians are incapable of true emotions even for their own family members?

For myself, i have to say this is the first time I have seen the evidence of your Professorial Ivory Tower life so strongly impact your comments.

Certainly it is possible your supposition is true, but to simply assume it to the exclusion of other reasons is rather narrow minded, IMHO, for something that is an emotional issue when it is your family.

Shana said...

I don't doubt his sincerity. Most people I know who have changed their position on this matter did it for exactly this reason. The personal is political. Personally, I remain a troglodyte on this issue.

Mitchell the Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

As with abortion politics, weight is added to your positions if you can claim a personal stake.

In rational decision-making, it would be considered a conflict of interest.

Shana said...

Paging
Dick Cheney.

Shanna said...

Now, I assume his actual personal interest is in his political career.

This is awfully cynical of you. I know having a bunch of gay friends made a difference in my opinion on the whole subject. I would imagine having a child would have an even bigger impact.

Nico Lantia said...

If you're going to use the Bible to support your claims Mr. Portman than maybe you should actually do that.

"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor 9-10

Don't be deceived!

Homosexuality is bad for your health and mind and your relationship with God. 20-25 year shorter lifespans for homosexuals. 3-5x the rate of mental health issues. High suicide and disease rates.

Jim said...

1. I support the great libertarian approach to all marriage.

2. Does a Father really not know his son is gay until he is a college freshman?

john said...

Ann is correct. If he saw the "error of his ways" only once it became personal, then his previous political opinion was very shallow to say the least.

That he did come around is fine. How he came around, well ...

Bob Ellison said...

Ignorance is Bliss "As with abortion politics, weight is added to your positions if you can claim a personal stake. In rational decision-making, it would be considered a conflict of interest."

How far would you take this analysis? Are judges and members of a jury who convict murderers irrational because they are persuaded in part by the desire to protect their friends, family, and community?

Shana is correct: the personal is political. Cruel neutrality is a good blog attitude, but normal humans, including politicians, judges, and jury members, can't uphold it.

Nomennovum said...

Nah. I'm sure he's that rara avis: a thoughtful politician with deeply held principles.

Shana said...

John, I think you are righ that his previous position must have been shallowly held. I don't particularly respect people who make decisions this way. Nevertheless, people DO make decisions this way all the time.

Henry said...

What Bob says is to the point, though Portman is claiming a much more profound change than mild opposition.

Back in the day, none of my gay friends talked about gay marriage. If there was cause that created friction it was about the tactics of ACT UP.

When gay marriage became more of an issue and I really thought it through, I concluded that I unequivocally supported it.

This was years ago.

What has happened since as some of my gay friends have married and became parents is that their good example preempted all the anti-gay-marriage arguments that I'm sure this thread will generate.

Personal experience informs our philosophical stances, even when it doesn't change them.

Nomennovum said...

"Does a Father really not know his son is gay until he is a college freshman?

Allow me to introduce you to a big Egyptian river ...

Methadras said...

Oh so positions of principals are fine for everyone else until those principals are wittled away or are shattered by a personal circumstance, then all of a sudden it's a different or opposite position of principal. I see what you did there Portman.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Oh so positions of principals are fine for everyone else until those principals are wittled away or are shattered by a personal circumstance, then all of a sudden it's a different or opposite position of principal.

Now you're thinking like a liberal. Good boy.

Scott M said...

I consider it shallow — shallow in a way that ought to disqualify a person from representing the general populace.

Absolutely 100% correct. Principles are principles, not thin veneers you present to the public. Right or wrong can be debated, but consistency of principle usually cannot.

I wonder what Rob Portman's previous view on polygamous marriage is and whether or not it would change if his son told him he wanted to marry two men.

jacksonjay said...


Commander Mark and Gabby changed their minds about "assault weapons" after Gabby was shot with a handgun! Does Commander Mark have political aspirations or just special interest aspirations?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

He claims deepness because, before, gay marriage was only something that affected people outside his family, now it affects his own son. Why is that supposed to be deep? I consider it shallow — shallow in a way that ought to disqualify a person from representing the general populace.

A flaw in your argument there. And it's the classic correlation/causation mix-up.

Yes, it appears as if his change of heart is due to it finally affecting someone personal to him, but that is only a correlation and does not prove causation.

For example, it being someone personal to him also creates conditions where he is forced to see the effects of the policy up close, and THAT could be what caused his change of mind.

Not saying it IS, just that it is possible, so we have, pending further evidence, only correlation, not causation. Thus, your conclusion of disqualifying shallowness is not justified. Yet.

Aridog said...

Gawd this is a wearisome topic. Of course, if you have a sea change of heart on homosexuality, it derives from some personal interest...whether familial or political. (See the post & thread on infant likes and dislikes observed, as conclusions without hypothesis).

This is true...unless you never had the phobia to begin with...and go around telling people, when the topic is raised, that you just don't give a shit either way. It isn't that you don't notice...but pay attention now...it IS that you don't rank the difference as significant...e.g., don't give a shit.

I think it is against to law to not give a shit.

Ann Althouse said...

"You are saying, then, that no one should ever change their mind from personal experience? Or rather, are you saying politicians are incapable of true emotions even for their own family members?"

I'm saying people making decisions for others need to have a perspective that takes account of the effect their policies have on everyone, not a personal interest perspective. If someone is in politics to benefit his family and friends, he is not a trustworthy representative of the people.

I am interested in the perception that this argument based on personal interest is a good argument rather than the opposite.

He didn't say: I was wrong before, and I blame myself for not seeing it until it affected a member of my own family.

Maybe he came close to that, but then we should say, as I am saying: You have a limited mind, and it is limited in precisely the way that makes you a poor representative of the people. You presume to make decisions for others, but you don't get the reality of the impact of these decisions when your family is not involved.

Bob Ellison said...

Scott M said "I wonder what Rob Portman's previous view on polygamous marriage is and whether or not it would change if his son told him he wanted to marry two men."

There are different reasons to oppose SSM. Maybe it degrades the institution of marriage; maybe it is just a stop on the long slide to ultra-libertarian "anything goes" culture; maybe my holy book tells me it's wrong.

There are different reasons to oppose multiple marriage, too. The above are included. But it also seems to tend to freeze young men out of marriage opportunities as older men build up harems. And it tends to exploit young women and freeze out older women. It tends to be abusive to individuals.

Maybe some group of men, women, and animals will convince us all that all the marriage rules must be abolished.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Could this be the reason Romney didn't pick Portman as his VP candidate? Because that may have been the election. Portman would have been the favorite son in Ohio and might have been less threatening than the Ryan budget to federal employees in Virginia and seniors in Ohio.

William said...

We form our opinions based on our life experience. The experience of having a gay son is and should be just as important as what you learned in catechism class....I have no objections to gay marriage, but I also have the suspicion that it might all be just a scam. Will gay men enter marriage without entering into the rigors of a married lifestyle, i.e. monogamy? I suppose there are some English aristocrats and Hollywood celebrities who have integrated promiscuity into their marriages, but that's not the way it works for most of us. To the extent that same sex marriage is not some cynical scam, I support it....If my son were gay, I would have far less reservations. If my son were Pope, I would condemn it. Family ties are part of the equation.

Shana said...

The only people who will hold on to the notion that homosexual marriage is a non sequitur are the very religious who don't get elected to public office very often. I assume that at least a slight majority of politicians who are currently against ssm only have the most tenuous hold on the issue, and are one nephew coming out of the closet from changing their position. That way I don't get too disappointed.

It is just like being against abortion until your daughter gets pregnant at 16. What did you really believe? We are fixing to find out? Human nature is what it is, and a good portion of politicians are not as wed to their current positions as they think they are. That doesn't mean they are bullshitting. They are just shallow thinkers.

I have a clerical member of the family who changed position about homosexuality after a lifetime holding that position, because a grandson came out of the closet. Happens all the time.

MayBee said...

I used to be against it and changed my mind, well before I had kids. Yet also because I was thinking about my future kids and what I would want for them

Statistics would show, I think, it's a topic about which many people have changed their mind.

Jay said...

The triumph of emotion over reason.

Nomennovum said...

Let me be the first to say it: Will someone please pin a medal on Rob Portman posthaste?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I mean seniors in Florida.

Ann Althouse said...

"This is awfully cynical of you. I know having a bunch of gay friends made a difference in my opinion on the whole subject. I would imagine having a child would have an even bigger impact."

Did you hold yourself out as someone who would make decisions for other people before you went through this process of mental development?

Fine that real-world experience affected your judgment, but some people are able to think about other people without having personal relationships with them.

Senators vote to authorize military interventions. What if they said: I didn't know any Afghans and Iraqis when I voted to authorize those military interventions.

It's a confession of incompetence to make decisions affecting other people.

Calling me "awfully cynical" is name calling. Either I'm right or I'm wrong. I'm not going to change my opinion to look better. That's exactly the kind of bullshit I said in the post I don't like, and I'm not going to do that.

Bob Ellison said...

Ann Althouse said "He didn't say: I was wrong before, and I blame myself for not seeing it until it affected a member of my own family."

He didn't use those words, but that's the sum of his essay. It's a persuasive piece aimed at people like him. It wouldn't work to say "I was and am a selfish idiot!"

Administrator said...

I'd be all for gay marriage, if you could guarantee me that in the not too distant future, a church/priest would not be hauled into court/sued out of existence for refusing to perform a gay marriage. And you KNOW that would happen...

dwick said...

Agreed... it's no different than Obama 'evolving' from not supporting gay marriage to thinking it's okay to now thinking that any duly-passed state law that bans it is unconstitutional (i.e., anyone that thinks differently than he does is wrong...)

Aridog said...

Althouse said ... [I'm sorry, but I just cannot resist...]

If someone is in politics to benefit his family and friends, he is not a trustworthy representative of the people.

And yet you voted for Obama in 2008?

Truth be told, based upon the criticism,, some quite valid, of my opinion of Rand Paul on another thread...is their any other kind of politician?

EMD said...

I'm saying people making decisions for others

What decisions is he making, in his capacity as an elected official, that have anything to do with same-sex marriage?

If he's a "conservative", then he should let the democratic process decide such matters.

He has no power specifically on this topic in his current jurisdiction.

EMD said...

Calling me "awfully cynical" is name calling.

No, name-calling would be Professor Cynic J. Winebox, or something like that.

Scott M said...

And it tends to exploit young women and freeze out older women. It tends to be abusive to individuals.

So does stripping, but that practice is legal.

(just don't touch...and always remember, "there is no sex in the Champagne Room."

bpm4532 said...

Tolerance is one thing, subverting the language is another. Words must have meaning otherwise we will be unable to communicate. This is akin to the black congressman saying he is offended at the term used in physics, "black hole", as it must be racist.

I encourage people to find happiness however they can, and I think they should be left alone to live, consume, ingest, inhale however they choose, accepting the consequences of their actions.

However the concept of marriage is a union to produce children and perpetuate society. Yes, we use the term marriage in other contexts, but in the legal and tax context it is specifically oriented towards the rights and benefits of those who create new life and undertake the cost and time to raise them. I suspect that if we were to go to a flat tax system with with no filing categories, much of the desire for same sex marriage would disappear, certainly from the 3-5% of the population that are not heterosexual.

The political aim of expanding the definition of marriage to encompass non-heterosexuals is to delegitimize any institution that promotes traditional marriage and hound it out of existence. The ultimate Seinfeld world - a society about nothing.

This is similar to the schism in the Catholic church over women priests. These were the rules when you joined. You are free to leave and join a church whose beliefs you share, so why don't you just leave? Sure some stay and try to change it from within, but others seek to change it from without by working to delegitimze it to the point of encouraging laws be written to impede or penalize it. This wouldn't worry someone like Diane Feinstein who feels lawmakers shouldn't be concerned about constitutionality; they should just pass what they want and then let the Supreme Court sort it out.

All in all this is an outgrowth of government being way to big and complex trying to worm it's way into every part of society.

Nomennovum said...

This is awfully cynical of you. - Shanna

I think cynicism with regard to anything an politician does or says is warranted. Don't you? And why shouldn't a politician's capriciousness be roundly mocked?

Lyssa said...

AA said: He claims deepness because, before, gay marriage was only something that affected people outside his family, now it affects his own son. Why is that supposed to be deep? I consider it shallow —

I agree with you, generally. I would accept his argument more if he said something along the lines of "Seeing my son's experiences showed me that this was the way that God made him, and that there is a beauty in his relationship that I believe we should celebrate, and it helped me to understand the experiences of other homosexuals."

But either way, I am glad to see someone in his position getting ahead of this issue. Assuming that he runs in 2016, I think it will help him more than it hurts (I would NOT have said that for 2008 or even 2012).

jacksonjay said...


As I recall, Saint Barry was convinced by his daughters that SSM was totally cool. The proverbial wisdom of youth!

Paul Zrimsek said...

For example, it being someone personal to him also creates conditions where he is forced to see the effects of the policy up close, and THAT could be what caused his change of mind.

Even under this would-be charitable interpretation, it's a hell of a confession. How many other policies is this guy voting on where he's ignoring the effects because he hasn't yet been forced to see them? I don't know if "shallow" is quite the right word for this sort of voluntary blindness, but I do know it's something I want kept as far away as possible from the levers of power.

edutcher said...

Another RINO bites the dust.

They're running so scared now, they're listening to Hatman.

Tank said...

dwick said...

Agreed... it's no different than Obama 'evolving' from not supporting gay marriage to thinking it's okay to now thinking that any duly-passed state law that bans it is unconstitutional (i.e., anyone that thinks differently than he does is wrong...)


Let's not get crazy. Zero is a con man. No one knows what his "real" views on gay marriage are. He was against it when he thought that was best for HIM, and he was for it when he thought that was best for HIM.

Renee said...

I have gay family members as well, but as I tell them gay children have a mom and dad too. So I disagree. Not sure if they can accept that.

That's great they love their son, but too many children don't have their mom and dad. Our laws are no longer about public policy, but personal interests.

Fr Martin Fox said...

The reason this sort of thing inspires cynicism is the way it--oh, totally by coincidence no doubt!--lines up with the zeitgeist, as well as what would seem to be more convenient to him personally.

Thought experiment. Suppose one of the Dems who has been for redefining marriage, and adoption by those resulting "same sex marriages," comes out and says:

For many years I've advocated same-sex marriage; but recently, I have learned of tragic circumstances involving one of my cousins, her partner, and the children they adopted. The unfortunate situation--which has already gotten too much play in the San Francisco Chronicle--led me to re-assess my stance.

I know the people who elected me will be concerned; but this is a matter of conscience for me. I can't be swayed by polls or media editorials; in the end, I have to do what is right.

From now on, I will oppose any changes to the traditional definition of marriage, and family as we've always known it. Sometimes the right path isn't easy, but it's no less right.

See? It never happens. The "coincidences" always tack with the zeitgeist. How curious is that?

rcommal said...

What makes me cynical is the timing. Portman himself states that he found out that his son was gay two years ago. Why this statement now and not just a handful of months ago?

I agree with Althouse's 9:08 comment. That's pretty much my take on the subject.

Other than that, I don't care either way what Portman thinks. Gay marriage is not a top issue for me (I've come to the conclusion that--if it were possible which I concede it is not and therefore won't expend energy advocating the position--it would be better if the state got out of the marriage business altogether). And in any case, on a demographic basis alone, I think it's inevitable, and therefore I would rather see political energy from whatever side be expended on other things.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sure this has been a trying time of adjustment for both the Senator and his wife and kids. They seem to be doing it with grace. Good for them.

Lyssa said...

Paul Z: How many other policies is this guy voting on where he's ignoring the effects because he hasn't yet been forced to see them? I don't know if "shallow" is quite the right word for this sort of voluntary blindness, but I do know it's something I want kept as far away as possible from the levers of power.

I disagree, because I think that kind of blindness is human nature, common to all politicians, whether they realize it or not. If he sees it, he's ahead of the pack.

MikeDC said...

Imagine if he announced as a general principle: When governmental policies affects close intimates of mine, I will reframe my positions so that their interests are served.

I think that would be great. A big problem in our current government is that the governors are subject to an increasingly different set of rules than the governed.

The more these folks have skin in the game, the more sensible (and likely fewer) the rules will be.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's a vulgar aphorism but there's a lot of truth to it: Get them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.

Might makes right.

You don't hear that one too often anymore, either.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob Ellison said...

How far would you take this analysis? Are judges and members of a jury who convict murderers irrational because they are persuaded in part by the desire to protect their friends, family, and community?

I would take this about as far as any other example of a conflict of interest. I don't think people with such conflicts should be disqualified from making such decisions. I just don't think that their opinion should be given extra weight.

EMD said...

ADDED: Imagine a politician switching from a pro-life to a pro-choice choice position and writing an op-ed saying that he saw things a different way after his own daughter got pregnant.

Dan Quayle once got the abortion question in relation to his own daughter and said that they, as a family, would sit down and discuss it. He answered the question frankly as a father, and did not immediately move to 'she'd bring the baby to term."

I'd love to find the video, but I cannot seem to locate any versions of it online.

Nomennovum said...

I'm sure this has been a trying time of adjustment for both the Senator and his wife and kids. They seem to be doing it with grace. Good for them.

LOL. Wonderful! Perfectly pitched satire! My hat's off to you, MM

Shanna said...

Calling me "awfully cynical" is name calling.

Seriously? Wow.

traditionalguy said...

Mea culpa too. The Portman explanation is a track of my own thoughts on "gay" marriage.

The issue was first posited in the late 1990s. Before that who knew any gay person wanted to get married to their lifetime partner.

The wrestling match for a Calvinist was the validity of scriptural authority. Were you denying it?

But the realization slowly dawned on me that that Christian love and loyalty for their friendship must extend to my openly gay friends too. Why not?

It was a debate on this Blog that helped me to see that new way of thinking that love and loyalty trumps being right on issues of "immorality."

Next war, please.

Lyssa said...

Dan Quayle once got the abortion question in relation to his own daughter and said that they, as a family, would sit down and discuss it. He answered the question frankly as a father, and did not immediately move to 'she'd bring the baby to term."

I think that the same occurred with John McCain. I hate those questions (along with questions involving the children serving in the military), as they seem to assume that the children have no agency whatsoever of their own on these issues.

If I had a teenager who was pregnant, I would offer her support and encouragement to keep it, and I would not consent to termination (if the law required such), but I realize that I could not force her to do anything just because I would find it to be reprehensible and believe that it should be illegal. If someone killed my grandchild, though, I'm sure that it would graviously harm our relationship.

Nomennovum said...

But the realization slowly dawned on me that that Christian love and loyalty for their friendship must extend to my openly gay friends too. Why not? -- the ironically named TraditionalGuy.

Indeed. Why not? Marriage was rendered meaningless long before the gays sought to claim it. Let them have it. The cost won't be their souls. Just their wallets.

Sorry, Father Martin.

Jay said...

Imagine if he announced as a general principle: When governmental policies affects close intimates of mine, I will reframe my positions so that their interests are served.

Uh, this has been the "argument" for gay marriage for the past 15 years.

Andy R. said...

So we need all the Republicans to have a gay kid and then they will stop fighting against marriage equality.

ORRRRRRRRRRR

All the Republicans could realize that there are gay kids out there and flip their position without having to wait to find out if their kid is one of the gay ones.

Portman is indicating he was incapable of making the correct decision about marriage equality until it affected his family. That's gross, but I'm happy to have another supporter on our side.

roesch/voltaire said...

This shows that politicians often say what ever bullshit will get them elected,but also how humans often ignore reason, logic and evidence in determining their beliefs and how they may affect others. As a result experience seems to be the only teacher for some-- still the two year gap seems to underline the sheer politics of the announcement, which makes it even more shallow.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes, it appears as if his change of heart is due to it finally affecting someone personal to him, but that is only a correlation and does not prove causation."

Read the post again. Especially this part:

"Now, I assume his actual personal interest is in his political career. Previously, he'd determined that the most advantageous position is to say marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, but seeing the intensity of the younger generation's enthusiasm for same-sex marriage, he's getting out in front of the issue for 2016 election purposes."

I never say I believe his assertion that he changed his mind because of his son. If anything, you should criticize me for assuming that it's a political calculation. That's the "personal interest" the title refers to.

In fact, I doubt if he's changed his mind at all. He's just changing what he says publicly. He choice to tell the story of his son is political, not a true story of how he changed his mind.

Why did you think otherwise?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Why is the Government in the marriage business at all?

Let Government concern itself with Corporations, Partnerships and other entities for shared financial resources and risks.

Personal vows of commitment and sexual fidelity are not the concern of Government.

Jay said...

When governmental policies affects close intimates of mine, I will reframe my positions so that their interests are served.


Meet Gabby Giffords and Carolyn McCarthy.

Gun grabbers both.

Barack esentially did the same thing when he "evolved" on gay marriage (and he helpfully chanted "Gabby deserves a vote!" on guns, a two-fer!)

This whole thing is stupid.
Gay marriage is a silly & ridiculous idea. Portman looks stupid.
It's all tiring...

Erika said...

I've had a number of friends say to me, when they find out that I'm mildly not in favor of gay marriage, that I would "feel differently if I had a gay child." No, I wouldn't. Principles are principles. I'm an INTJ. That's how I roll. I pretty much automatically reject appeals based on emotion or sentimentality.

Sidebar, but related: they're having hearings here in Texas regarding concealed carry on campus. They trotted out a woman who lost her baby when she was shot in the UT shooting in 1966. WTF does that have to do with whether other people should be allowed to carry guns on campus?

My views on marriage (and guns) have nothing to do with whether they make people feel bad and everything to do with a logical and moral system that is internally consistent.

sydney said...

When governmental policies affects close intimates of mine, I will reframe my positions so that their interests are served..

This is exactly the problem. If Senator Portman's son was a shoplifter, would shoplifting suddenly be OK?

Ann Althouse said...

"And yet you voted for Obama in 2008?"

Boring.

I'm tired of saying that it was a choice between McCain and Obama.

Pushing me about voting for Obama has no effect on me without saying something that makes it apparent that McCain would have been better. Yet you have nothing at all on that.

Jay said...

seeing the intensity of the younger generation's enthusiasm for same-sex marriage

Where do we "see" such a thing?

Obama's 60 percent to 36 percent victory among young people in 2012 is smaller than his 66 percent-31 percent win over John McCain in 2008. They were 19 percent of the electorate.

How many of them voted on gay marriage?

MadisonMan said...

My recollection is that Portman was mentioned as a VP for Romney. Surely he would've told Romney about his son.

Was that why he was not chosen? Or did Portman tell him he wouldn't accept because of his son -- that would earn some respect from me.

Had he been selected, and had the media learned of his son, it would've been an interesting thing to watch.

Jay said...

All the Republicans could realize that there are gay kids out there and flip their position without having to wait to find out if their kid is one of the gay ones.

Alternatively,

You and your ilk could identify a singular reason the state should subsidize gay sex.

Merriweather said...

So, for Althouse, and others who think that we make (or should make) decisions on a rational basis, personal experience is only a stepping stone to help us delineate an abstract, philosophical truth, a higher Platonic truth? This seems in character for a law professor, an analytic person who spends a great deal of time building strong arguments. But it's not how most people make decisions. Reaching for impersonal abstractions --- one-size-fits-all generalities -- may be useful, but it also shows a naivete about human nature, a niavete that is not at all conservative. Lots of the fancy new brain research suggests that people make decisions first, and develop their justification and "logic" second."

People are going to be moved by the people around them. If you have a family member or friends who are gay, of course that is going to affect your views, because "gay" is not some abstract thing you know nothing about, or fear and demonize. It's up close and personal. There's nothing wrong with making decisions, for yourself and others, based on your personal experience. It's how the human brain works. And from your subjective experience, you stretch to imagine the lives of others and how your decisions will affect people you will never know.

We are not philosopher kings or gods who sit above human relationships and codify truths.

pduggie said...

Doesn't anyone know how to become estranged from their kids any more for their oddball choices and family-unity offenses?

Balfegor said...

Re: Shana:

The only people who will hold on to the notion that homosexual marriage is a non sequitur are the very religious who don't get elected to public office very often.

I think homosexual marriage is a "non sequitur." Previously, I've characterised my view on it as a simple "does not compute." And I'm not religious at all -- I'm an atheist and have been since I was small. No religious upbringing whatsoever.

That said, I don't think it's a sin or anything, just kind of pointless. So my views are a bit different from many religious people. I don't support gay marriage, but neither do I oppose it. It just doesn't matter that much for society as a whole. Even if we have it, I can't imagine it will have more than a marginal impact.

Renee said...

Lyssa ,

Same feelings. We don't hit or kill in our house. That includes abortion. My children also know if one was pregnant or had a young woman pregnant, we will help out with parenting/ baby needs to finish school or whatever. No reason to ever have an abortion here.

If my daughter wants an abortion or my son encouraged one I don't think I could support that. If they think it is right to abort, then I failed as a parent. I think I would have find new living arrangements for them.

Of course I believe in the parable of the prodigical son, but...o I could not support an young adult who chooses abortion when s/he had all the loving support from us to choose life.

I'm not judging other young adults, who would be denied such love and support from their own families. So hard to have a baby, when your own family wants you to abort and you have no emotional support.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I disagree, because I think that kind of blindness is human nature, common to all politicians, whether they realize it or not. If he sees it, he's ahead of the pack.

There's a grain of truth to that, sure, and I might have been more accurate to say "this is why I don't want the levers of power to be hooked up to much of anything." But I still think there's a difference of degree here. Politicians, like other people, will often fail to consider the effects of their actions on strangers; Portman seems to be saying that the idea of considering them never even occurred to him.

Renee said...

Balfergor, I'm Ok calling everything civil unions. Why call two men in a relationship matrimony, the latin root of the word is about becoming a mother. Then having birth certificates be truthful documents on maternal/paternal kinship. People have a right to their identity.

Nomennovum said...

That's gross. - Andy R.

Yeah. Ewww. Portman's personal feelings don't 100% comport with your personal feelings. Yucky.

DADvocate said...

Portman's change will hurt him severely. No matter what, he's a Republican. He'll lose Republican votes and not pick up any Democratic votes. He better do some tough defense of the 2nd amendment and other conservative values or begin planning on a real job.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm willing to give Portman the benefit of the doubt with regard to SSM after considering the impact inside a family as opposed to as a policy decision.

OTH, Constitutional Law Prof Obama was against SSM and supported DOMA in 2009 and up till 2012. Surely he had a legal framework that underpinned his view. Now He's 'evolved' and claims that DOMA is unconstitutional. What was his original basis and what has changed, other than the vote count?

Renee said...

Jay, Enough did. Fact is people have no interest in having children, that is their right to choose and the law is only reflecting our culture.

Amexpat said...

Now, I assume his actual personal interest is in his political career.

That's true with many politicians but not all. I don't know Portman well enough to have an opinion here.

But I do think that it's legitimate for politicians to change their opinions when they acquire direct experience of a policy that they previously supported without first hand knowledge of that policy's impact. One of the problems with legislators is that are often insulated from the impact of the laws they pass.

We primarily need politicians that are competent administrators with the ability to lead on tough economic or foreign policy issues. When it comes to social issues like Gay Marriage, society as a whole can determine what's right and wrong. There's nothing wrong with politicians taking their cues from social changes in society.

Guimo said...

When a child can be conceived through anal intercourse, come back and talk to me about SSM.

Balfegor said...

Re: Renee:

Balfergor, I'm Ok calling everything civil unions. Why call two men in a relationship matrimony, the latin root of the word is about becoming a mother. Then having birth certificates be truthful documents on maternal/paternal kinship. People have a right to their identity.

That would be fine too. And real marriage can remain the preserve of custom and religion. But I'm not going to go all rectification of names on everything here -- it just doesn't matter all that much.

dbp said...

Paul Zrimsek said...

"For example, it being someone personal to him also creates conditions where he is forced to see the effects of the policy up close, and THAT could be what caused his change of mind.

Even under this would-be charitable interpretation, it's a hell of a confession. How many other policies is this guy voting on where he's ignoring the effects because he hasn't yet been forced to see them? I don't know if "shallow" is quite the right word for this sort of voluntary blindness, but I do know it's something I want kept as far away as possible from the levers of power.
"

Yes, this exactly.

Is it really possible he never met a gay person who was passionate on this issue? If so, he lived in a bubble. Otherwise it does not speak well for his sense of justice that he only considers this when it is his own son.

If he is only changing now because it is an opportune time to get ahead of the curve, fine--whatever. He is treating his constituants like they are idiots. Which is what they are if they keep voting for him.


Renee said...

Guimo, it happens. Google it, but only with heterosexual couples.

Texan99 said...

Maybe it's not a simple question of suddenly discovering he has empathy for the victims of one of his harder-edged policies. Maybe it's that, confronted with someone he's close to who is gay, he no longer can bring himself to believe that it's a sin, because that's inconsistent with everything he's come to know about his son's character.

Nomennovum said...

I think homosexual marriage is a "non sequitur." Previously, I've characterised my view on it as a simple "does not compute."

Bal, your problem is you're taking the old-fashioned view of the definition of marriage. Marriage has been rendered meaningless. More than half end in divorce. Catholics get divorced and don't give a shit about how this affects their relationship with the Church. The vows are taken as mere suggestions ... or worse, a joke. Couples even rewrite them ... and then break those. It is, in the whole, not treated as a holy union of a man and a woman. It is treated as something to try out (especially by woman), to be tossed aside when something better comes along, or one spouse is unhappy. The state permits divorces for literally no reason whatsoever. Feminists treat it as an ATM for women. What kind crap instituion is that?

It is a joke. A lark. This is why the gays are suddenly interested in it. It is not serious -- just an excuse for a lavish party.

dreams said...

It would seem to me that finding out your son is gay would have to change your perspective regardless of your politics.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

ADDED: Imagine a politician switching from a pro-life to a pro-choice position and writing an op-ed saying that he saw things a different way after his own mistress got pregnant.

FIFY

Shana said...

Balfegor-

Forgive my bit of self-indulgence in hyperbole. I didn't mean to suggest that only the religious have principles, I just suspect that for most, continuing to hold to an increasingl unpopular opinion might require some Divine help. For me, it doesn't matter what might happen with my children because Thus says the Lord. That is where I derive my principles. Now of course, followed by the caveat, theere but for the grace of God go I, and "Let him not boast who puts his armor on as him who takes it off". Nobody knows what they will actually do until their daughter is raped or their son shows up with his friend Spencer.

Jay said...

Per the other post on Di-Fi vs. Cruz:

Diane Feinstein says:

“I was a Mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. **I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons.”


How is that any different than this Portman scenario?

Renee said...

Nomen sad isn't and it.

jacksonjay said...


When a child can be conceived through anal intercourse, come back and talk to me about SSM.

Yin and Yang

Balfegor said...

Re: Nomennovum:

Bal, your problem is you're taking the old-fashioned view of the definition of marriage. Marriage has been rendered meaningless. More than half end in divorce. Catholics get divorced and don't give a shit about how this affects their relationship with the Church. The vows are taken as mere suggestions ... or worse, a joke.

I don't disagree that the parade of horribles some gay marriage opponents trot out have pretty much all already happened. They can close the barn door, as the saying goes, but the cows are already gone.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

So we need all the Republicans to have a gay kid and then they will stop fighting against marriage equality.

No, I guess there will be some that don't kiss their brains good-bye just because the kid comes out of the closet.

ORRRRRRRRRRR

All the Republicans could realize that there are gay kids out there and flip their position without having to wait to find out if their kid is one of the gay ones.


They know there are homosexuals out there. They also know the world does not revolve around them.

Portman is indicating he was incapable of making the correct decision about marriage equality until it affected his family. That's gross, but I'm happy to have another supporter on our side.

What you've got is a turncoat. And, if things change sufficiently in the next few years (like somebody makes the mistake of telecasting the Castro festival instead of the Rose Parade), he'll turn again.

Friends like that, you don't need.

chickelit said...

traditionalguy said...Next war, please

Offered as a hypothesis, without proof: I think that the "next war" will be Federally mandated equal access to adoptable children.

Lyssa said...

Texan99: Maybe it's that, confronted with someone he's close to who is gay, he no longer can bring himself to believe that it's a sin, because that's inconsistent with everything he's come to know about his son's character.

This seems reasonable, too, though I suppose that it would be politically harmful to say outloud. That's along the lines of what I was trying to get at with my first comment, though.

Doug said...

I would respect Senator Portman's change if he said: "I have changed my personal views on gay marriage since finding out my son is gay, but my title and my job is "Senator" because I was elected by my constituency, and I must therefore represent them on policy matters with the positions I took when they voted for me."

The Drill SGT said...

Amexpat said...
But I do think that it's legitimate for politicians to change their opinions when they acquire direct experience of a policy that they previously supported without first hand knowledge


Two that come to mind are George McGovern, who saw the light with regard to burdensome government mandates and regulations after he left the Senate and tried to run a small hotel. WSJ:

I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

DiFi, who after nearly being shot in SF,
"Less than twenty years ago I was the target of a terrorist group. It was the New World Liberation Front. They blew up power stations and put a bomb at my home when my husband was dying of cancer. And the bomb didn't detonate. [...] I was very lucky. But, I thought of what might have happened. Later the same group shot out all the windows of my home. [...] And, I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that's what I did. I was trained in firearms. I'd walk to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon. I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me."

now she wants to outlaw guns :)

Aridog said...

Althouse said ...

... without saying something that makes it apparent that McCain would have been better.

In other words, what? Can't make a McCain Presidency "appear" to be anything because it doesn't exist.

Frankly, old dude that I am, I cannot imagine any Presidency being worse than Obama's...and none in my lifetime have gone 4 years sans budget.

I've repeatedly spoken about the dangers of running the country on Continuing Resolutions for years on end...and none of the bright lights, including you, respond.

Boring.

As you say ... you have nothing at all on that.

Renee said...

Balfegor, some of us 'cows' returned to the torn down barn. It kills me to think that I have love ones falsely believe I don't like them for being gay. Otherwise i will not close my eyes to the fatherless epidemic, even if i have to rebuild the barn from the rubble.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

And yet you voted for Obama in 2008?

Boring.


No, when you every now and then talk about him as if he's suddenly vindicated your faith, that keeps it alive.

I'm tired of saying that it was a choice between McCain and Obama.

Pushing me about voting for Obama has no effect on me without saying something that makes it apparent that McCain would have been better. Yet you have nothing at all on that.


Oh, come on, would we be $16T in debt with Junior as POTUS?

Would Iran be "less than a year away from the bomb"?

Aridog said...

Clarification:

Althouse...I was responding your remark...If someone is in politics to benefit his family and friends, he is not a trustworthy representative of the people.

The reference I made to Obama is on topic and germane to that opinion of yours...which you did not apply to Obama, but seem willing to apply to Portman.

Frankly, I find Portman, Paul, Obama and all the rest boring now. None of them serve any interests but their own and that of their cronies.

Nomennovum said...

I predict sky-high gay divorce rates, exceeding those of straight couples. For lesbians, the divorce rate will asymptotically approach 100% (but not reaching 100% due to the frightenly high spousal murder rate).

Pastafarian said...

Althouse: "Pushing me about voting for Obama has no effect on me without saying something that makes it apparent that McCain would have been better. Yet you have nothing at all on that."

You had an argument here, at one point, Althouse. I came to your defense a few times.

Then Obama was re-elected. And that wouldn't have happened, had he never been elected the first time.

We'll see just how bad things get in his second term. I'm guessing very, very bad, either during his term, or soon after, as a result of his policies. Bad to the point that no sane person would wonder whether McCain might have been worse.

Did you know that we're in an energy boom right now, that would rival the tech boom of the 90s, were we not saddled with this hard-left government? If it weren't for that energy boom, things would be worse than the 1930s. I guess everything looks peachy from where you're sitting. Hell, you probably consider Obama to be a net positive.

I'm in manufacturing, not academia. From where I'm sitting, the only way Obama could be any worse would be if he instructed the CDC to crop-dust all major American cities with smallpox spores.

I had assumed a certain degree of contrition on your part, Althouse, after Obama's re-election. I guess I gave you too much credit. I misjudged just how incapable you are of admitting you were wrong.

Andy R. said...

Also, the obvious dynamic of the Republican Party is that plenty of their elected leaders support marriage equality but have been afraid to say so because of their bigoted voter base. The elected Republicans simply aren't all uneducated religious nutjobs.

So now they are going to have to come up with sham cover stories about how they "reversed" their position. They can't all have gay kids. They are going to be trotting out distant half cousins twice removed to explain why they saw the light. It's going to be a hoot.

Bob Ellison said...

That sounds like a really boring alternative-history novel: The McCain Era.

"Deliriously fat and hirsute protesters mobbed the White House every day for eight years. McCain bombed Iran, cut discretionary spending, and increased spending on the military and veterans' benefits. It was only his verbal tics, unpredictable outbursts, and hostility to individual freedom that shielded him from near-universal hatred. When he finally pushed through his plan for the federal government to own all real estate except his several homes and those of John Kerry, critics on right and left were left asking what?"

Renee said...

Even in Massachusetts gay couples and even large heterosexual families are discriminated in adoption. Children and their social workers can discriminate based on a child's needs. The child picks the family not the other way around. Yeah it is ok to say a child needs/wants a mom and dad.

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/family-services/adoption/dss-adoption-faqs.html

Renee said...

Nomen, the first gay marriage in Massachusetts lasted 800 days.

Nomennovum said...

Also, the obvious dynamic of the Republican Party is that plenty of their elected leaders support marriage equality but have been afraid to say so because of their bigoted voter base.

Andy R., every time I read your comments I think, "Gosh, this guy simply cannot get any stupider."

But you prove me wrong again and again and again.

Tom said...

Ann, you succinctly put into words what I was feeling about Portman's change of heart. It IS politically shallow to change positions just because it now affects your loved ones - maybe in ways that you hadn't thought of before. It's not a rational way of arriving at an informed political position - although I'm sure it IS the way that most actual people (that is, not politicians) change their minds on key, emotionally-charged issues. I think that Portman came to the right conclusion, but he got there in a way that does not ring politically true.

Nomennovum said...

Hey, Andy. I'm a "bigoted voter" and I support gay marriage.

Wrap your tiny mind around that.

Nomennovum said...

Nomen, the first gay marriage in Massachusetts lasted 800 days.--Renee

So, Andy R. has something to shoot for then.



EMD said...

Diane Feinstein says:

“I was a Mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. **I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons.”


It's not different. But it is a bit of a squirrel! moment when we could just talk about Portman.

(And yes you can call Professor Cynic a hypocrite if you'd like.)

EMD said...

"And yet you voted for Obama in 2008?"

Boring.


Did she vote for Obama in 2012? If not, she's betrayed her son.

Jay said...

EMD said...


It's not different. But it is a bit of a squirrel! moment when we could just talk about Portman.


What I'm getting at is that Ann doesn't have a "This is shallow because it impacts me" standard to public policy.

Andy R. said...

This is absolutely brutal:

Hero Sen. Rob Portman Courageously Endorses Equal Rights For His Family Members

Amartel said...

Portman is saying that his policy positions can be swayed by emotional arguments from family members. This speaks poorly of (1) his policy positions in the first place, and/or (2) his ability to stand fast for what he believes. Or, alternatively, (3)he's using his gay son as an excuse for conceding a politically inconvenient position so he can run in the middle of the conservative pack in the next election. Portman's a smart guy so I'm going with (3).

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Also, the obvious dynamic of the Republican Party is that plenty of their elected leaders support marriage equality but have been afraid to say so because of their bigoted voter base. The elected Republicans simply aren't all uneducated religious nutjobs.

Only the ones who can't wait to reach across the aisle to their friends in the Democrat Party.

And, since more people are anti than pro, it makes sense to stay anti.

So now they are going to have to come up with sham cover stories about how they "reversed" their position. They can't all have gay kids. They are going to be trotting out distant half cousins twice removed to explain why they saw the light. It's going to be a hoot.

You really do live in your own fairy land, don't you?

What's going to be a hoot is all the RINOs who "saw the light" getting primaried next year and finding they haven't got a home.

mccullough said...

Then, again, Portman is a U.S. Senator. Gay marriage is not within the powers of the U.S. government.

If he were a legislator or governor of Ohio, his position would matter. Unless Portman is going to say that he will only vote for federal judges who will rule that states have to permit gay marriage under the Constitution.

Elsewise, who cares what he thinks. For that matter, who cares with what Obama thinks.

Andy R. said...

Gay marriage is not within the powers of the U.S. government.

Have you heard of the Defense of Marriage Act? That law that Congress currently needs to repeal.

Michael said...

AndyR: If the bigots could choose a spokesperson for gays who would undermine the building good will of Americans in favor of gay marriage they would choose you. If ever there was a proponent for a cause that turned off more people I would like to know who that was. As it is, I think you take the prize. Stop. Please. Stop.

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

Pushing me about voting for Obama has no effect on me without saying something that makes it apparent that McCain would have been better. -- Ann A.


McCain would have been better because his policies could not possibly have been worse than Obama's, plus we'd have Meghan McCain as first daughter with more self-absorbed stupid than Joe Biden could ever hope to muster. And that would have made the last four years more fun.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Lots going on in this thread. Let's jump right in shall we?

Andy R complaining about uneducated nutjobs: Geez Andy, can we leave Bitchtits Mahal's educational failings out of this? Stay on topic.

And hostess Ann getting a bit peeved that she is called out on her 2008 display of poor judgement, your hissy fit is most unbecoming.

Your public acknowledgement of voting for the worst president in the history of the republics will and rightfully should haunt you until the end of your life.

If hubris prevents you from acknowledging your mistake and apologizing in this public forum, then you deserve to be mocked and critisized for it at every opportunity.

Ugly Ann, ugly.

MayBee said...

Obama had previously (2002?) filled out campaign questionnaires iststing his support for gay marriage. That's why nobody believed he was really against it and then evolved

If we have to doubt Portman because we doubted Obama upon his conversion to make a show at neutrality.....how boring

Richard Dolan said...

"I guess he can't just say that. That would be honest, but he needs to be deep ...."

So does Ann, apparently, and this post is deeply cynical. What a pickled view of politicians it presents. Sometimes it pays to remember that they are people too.

Nomennovum said...

An apology to us for voting for Obama is not warranted. I think her voting for Romney and getting 4 more years of Obama is punishment enough. As additional penance, she gets to be welcomed into the ranks of Bigots, Racists, and Toothless Rednecks LLP.*

___________
*Partners may not transfer their partnership interests or withdraw from the partnership without first doing the full Andrew Sullivan.

Jeff Teal said...

I will have no problem with SSM when someone can convince me it is about anything but tax breaks and insurance.When the rational decision is to have everyone file single unless they have dependent underage children.Or maybe I'm just sickand tired of subsidizing all birthers.

Jeff Teal said...

Every person should pay the same tax rate not based upon marital status.But then I've been one of society's most penalized for my entire adult life-because I've been my GMs caregiver for 24 years.And taxed at the single guy rare throughout.Portman,the Professor, and others just want to have their cake and eat it too.Like mosr children.

TML said...

Let's reverse that:

ADDED: Imagine a politician switching from a pro-choice to a pro-life choice position and writing an op-ed saying that he saw things a different way after his wife got pregnant.

Thanks

Renee said...

"When the rational decision is to have everyone file single unless they have dependent underage children.Or maybe I'm just sickand tired of subsidizing all birthers."

As a 'birther' I agree with your concerns and your rational decision.

rcommal said...


ADDED: Imagine a politician switching from a pro-choice to a pro-life choice position and writing an op-ed saying that he saw things a different way after his wife got pregnant.


Chris Christie didn't write an op-ed (that I know of, anyway) but he has said publicly that he became pro-life (with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother) after hearing the heartbeat of his daughter, Sarah, at 13 weeks gestation back in 1995. Before that, he described his pro-choice position as basically the default.

Here's an example, from a CNN interview in June 2011:

"I heard a heartbeat. I had been pro-choice before that. I would call myself before that a kind of a non-thinking pro-choice person, kind of the default position. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter Sarah, who is now fifteen, we happened to go to one of the prenatal visits at 13 weeks. My wife didn't look at all pregnant at that point, visibly, and we heard this incredibly strong heartbeat. As I was driving back to work I said to myself you know, under my position on abortion I would say that a week ago that wasn't a life. I heard that heartbeat, that's a life. It led to me having a real reflection on my position and when I took time to reflect on it I just said you know what? I'm not comfortable with that anymore, that was back in 1995, and I've been pro-life ever since."

chickelit said...

Nomennovum said...
An apology to us for voting for Obama is not warranted. I think her voting for Romney and getting 4 more years of Obama is punishment enough. As additional penance, she gets to be welcomed into the ranks of Bigots, Racists, and Toothless Rednecks LLP.*

I wasn't aware that Althouse had voted for Romney. I figured she voted for a third party candidate in 2012. In any case, I hope she voted for somebody rather than against someone. The latter is politically perverse in my opinion.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Gay marriage is not within the powers of the U.S. government.

Have you heard of the Defense of Marriage Act? That law that Congress currently needs to repeal.


It was an act of pandering that never should have been proposed in the first place (Ninth and Tenth Amendments) by a Serial Rapist in Chief, who is now pandering in the other direction because he wants a third term in the White House

Mike said...

Let's see:

Portman changes stance on opposing gay marriage because his personal experience leads him rethink his position.

Obama changes stance on gay marriage because he realizes he needs his base fired up before November.

Which one shouldn't "be in a general position of [political] power?"

n.n said...

His precipitous change of heart suggests that he lacks integrity. It's better for all people that his opportunism is exposed sooner than later.

That said, if he wants to reclaim his integrity, he needs to explain his choice in two ways. First, is it compatible with his faith, or does he reject his faith. Second, is it compatible with evolutionary fitness, and does his thinking promote or degrade it.

That his son chooses a homosexual behavior is one thing. His dignity as an individual is not questioned. However, it is quite another to broach tolerance and normalize an objectively dysfunctional behavior.

As a representative of the people, he needs to answer to his faith and the circumstances of reality.

Jeff Teal said...

Renee -thank you.As the man with the really small dog in the fight I get verra frustrated with both sides.To me they are both childish.One bunch is saying "I wanna play too".The other bunch is screaming that its their toys and the first bunch can't play with it.And the first bunch is pitching a hissy fit and trying to take the second bunch's toys .Pretty soon an adult gonna show up and take everybodys toys away.

EMD said...

What I'm getting at is that Ann doesn't have a "This is shallow because it impacts me" standard to public policy.

I've always assumed she just posts as stories pop up and doesn't think too critically about the overall consistency (outside of cruel neutrality) of her opinions on her blog.

EMD said...

I've always assumed she just posts as stories pop up and doesn't think too critically about the overall consistency (outside of cruel neutrality) of her opinions on her blog.

And yes, I've just realized that the cruel neutrality thing is inconsistently applied from time to time.

Aridog said...

Just for the record, I was not calling anyone out, in my initial comment (vis a vis voting for Obama)...I was responding appropriately (and a bit tongue in cheek)to the remark: ... If someone is in politics to benefit his family and friends, he is not a trustworthy representative of the people ... as it applies to other politicians ... and nothing more.

I am not responsible for how anyone else mis-takes my remark. It seemed clear enough to me, and some others.

@ Mike at 2:27 PM has my meaning precisely. Better said...and clear is always better.

Anglelyne said...

Bob Ellison: How far would you take this analysis? Are judges and members of a jury who convict murderers irrational because they are persuaded in part by the desire to protect their friends, family, and community?

Or, one could make the (more logically congruent) analogy of people favoring leniency toward murderers because they have loved ones who have murdered. But we can all see that it would be stupid to analogize gay marriage to murder. (That's the beauty of being careful with one's analogies: "hey, that ain't going where I wanted it to go. Best drop that line of argument and find something that makes sense".)

Shana is correct: the personal is political. Cruel neutrality is a good blog attitude, but normal humans, including politicians, judges, and jury members, can't uphold it.

No, that's why jury members are questioned about their and their relations experiences - so they can be rejected if they are likely to be unable to exercise the necessary detachment. Is it possible for a human being to extirpate emotion from his reasoning? No. (You'd be a sociopath.) But that's not the same thing as judging complex issues solely on the basis of personal attachments. I have a vague recollection that this is the sort of "reasoning" about issues and candidates that gets derided as "typically female" and offered as an example of why women shouldn't be allowed anywhere near important decision-making. I guess when male politicians do it it's different.

The whole premise here is malarkey, anyway - that if you know and like or love someone who is A, B, or C, then you will necessarily be in favor or against X.Y, or Z. Look, I've had gay friends and relatives through all my teenage years and adult life. I still think SSM is a prodigiously stupid and wrongheaded notion. The good character of my friends and relatives is irrelevant to my reasons for believing that.

David said...

"I would not be a good politician. You have to feel reasonably comfortable with bullshit."

You misunderestimate, Althouse. You have to become one with the bullshit, until you and the bullshit are indistinguishable, even to yourself.

There are exceptions. For example, John McCain was one. Once upon a time.

The bullshit usually wins.

Leah said...

I am Rob Portman, 7 years ago my son came out to me and my husband. At the time I was against gay marriage but not against gays. Because of my son I changed my miind - he is getting married to a wonderful man next year.
I don't think the 'I was there before it affected me personally' makes you a better person than the one who changes their mind because of personal experience.

David said...

I was a Mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. **I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons.”

And shortly after that, because she felt that her state employed full time armed bodyguards were insufficient, she started carrying a gun.

And made sure everyone knew she was carrying a gun.

Nomennovum said...

I wasn't aware that Althouse had voted for Romney. I figured she voted for a third party candidate in 2012. -Chickelit

Thought I remember her (or someone) saying that. I could be wrong.

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

n.n said...

As a representative of the people, he needs to answer to his faith and the circumstances of reality.

Not really. @ Nonapod had it right a couple days ago when I was disparaging Rand Paul. We are doomed to disappointment if we project our expectations on politicians and then find them lacking.

My career, military and federal, experience tells me this...but I needed @ Nanopod to remind me. Politician is a breed apart....success requires sacrifice of integrity.

What I disliked most in military and federal service, as well as enjoying the challenges of rising to a crisis now and then, was being lied to frequently and worse, being expected to lie on the behalf of others.

No politician, or senior level appointed bureaucrat, or officer, can survive without the necessary ambivalence and the skill I lacked.

wyo sis said...

"I hope she voted for somebody rather than against someone. The latter is politically perverse in my opinion."

Sadly, perverse is the only position a voter is left with sometimes.

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

always preferred women her were perfect 10s until I got my first girl friend, who was an 8. Then I came to realize that the less beautiful women made better girl friends. None of my subsequent girl friends was above an 8 either, including the one who became my wife.

For this reason, I look down on men who only date and marry 9s and 10s. I think they are jerks and assholes, as well as being less intelligent than I am. They are, in effect, bigots. Also, I see no difference between the reason I changed my mind regarding female beuaty and someone who has always favored the less beautiful for whatever reasons.

Anglelyne said...

Leah: I don't think the 'I was there before it affected me personally' makes you a better person than the one who changes their mind because of personal experience.

Not necessarily, but when "changed one's mind because of personal experience" means "changed one's mind when it became personally advantageous to me or mine, or because one lacked the courage to hold an unpopular opinion", then it does suggest a lack of integrity.

"Personal experience" doesn't make one right, either.

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

Aridog:

If that is your perspective, and I do not deny that it reflects a substantial subset of humanity, then what is your motivation to participate in these discussions, if not to express your thoughts which may promote positive progress?

In any case, I am simply stating that the ideal and pragmatic must... should be reconcilable. This man claims a faith, which precludes him from normalizing this particular dysfunctional behavior. This man, presumably, does not deny the inviolable imperatives of the natural order. This man needs to explain how he is capable of reconciling his faith, evolutionary principles, and his newly acquired belief system.

As for me, I am looking to form a consensus with other reality-based individuals, as well as individuals of faith who adhere to principles which are reconcilable with our common reality. It is my hope that we can avoid the periodic dysfunctional convergence that has plagued civilizations throughout the world and history.

That said, I am not so naive to believe that it is likely or even possible to avoid the inevitable clusterfuck. Still, I am not yet sufficiently motivated to join ranks with the cluster. So instead I choose to socialize with people who may or may not be of like-mind and like-interest. Is that why you are here?

Perhaps Americans will succeed where others have failed.

Aridog said...

n.n said...

Aridog: ... what is your motivation to participate in these discussions,...?

Fair question, and one I'll have to think about. It may be pointless ... I am under no illusion that I have the most to say here.

As for me, I am looking to form a consensus with other reality-based individuals, as well as individuals of faith who adhere to principles which are reconcilable with our common reality.

I suspect I am merely looking to see if there are any others out there who do as you suggest...hold firm to believed principles. I have done so several times in my life and always to my detriment externally...only satisfaction is internal. I do not regret those decisions. I am not sure it is a productive behavior...anymore anyway.

I just can no longer expect any politician to do the same...their game is different. Their success depends upon accolades in the form of votes.

So instead I choose to socialize with people who may or may not be of like-mind and like-interest. Is that why you are here?

To answer: I think that is why I am here. I enjoy the company of people not always like me, perhaps I enjoy those who most are not like me at all. When I perceive difference...I'm curious, not hostile. Been that way my entire life. It has kept me alive.

I'm hostile only if directly physically threatened...then I am without moral reservations of any kind.





Titus said...

Portman is a dick. Primary this RINO.

Of course personal experience effects politics.

There is no way Cheney or Portman would of "becum" supportive of gay marriage without having a dyke or fag as a kid. Other relatives would not changed their minds. But a kid...that's a no brainer, unless you are Rick Santorum and he would rightfully throw the freak out of the house.

And Obama's horrible too for changing his mind, so there!

Next up Susan Collins is going to cum out as a carpet muncher and Pat Toomey is going to be ok with the fags getting married .

The good news is James Imholfe has no gays or dykes in his extended family-he has shown pics of all 500 of them and none turned gay. He will always be firmly in the one man one woman marriage camp.

n.n said...

Aridog:

Life may be pointless. My perspective is to follow a path until there is cause to change course. My motivation to follow one path rather than another can only be explained as an article of faith.

That's it. I do not pretend to possess a knowledge or enjoy access to the nature of our state, other than that which is reconcilable with the majority of people in this world.

If possible, I prefer to avoid all forms of confrontation. For now, we mostly enjoy the luxury of participating in rhetorical conflicts. This is likely a phase which can best be described as "heaven" or possible a purgatory on Earth. It is mostly painless and largely productive.

Well, good luck to you. I hope men and women have evolved to the extent they can avoid the next dysfunctional convergence. Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that we have not. We are still driven by our baser instincts and desires. We pay tribute to enlightenment, but only in jest.

Methadras said...

Shanna said...

Calling me "awfully cynical" is name calling.

Seriously? Wow.


Well, when someone like Althouse is as heavily invested in homosexual marriage as she is, her skin gets pretty thin when it comes to it. Calling her awfully cynical in this regard might as well have been You're a fucking moron that is to stupid or ignorant to even understand the topic at hand, so there!!! NYA!!!

Methadras said...

Nomennovum said...

Oh so positions of principals are fine for everyone else until those principals are wittled away or are shattered by a personal circumstance, then all of a sudden it's a different or opposite position of principal.

Now you're thinking like a liberal. Good boy.


Bro, y u gotta hurt me like that bro? Come on.

Andy R. said...

Primary this RINO.

The civil war within the Republican Party could cause real problems for them if the bigots don't surrender quick enough

rcommal said...

Well, hey, then, you all, engaging in a damn near (though not close to
perfect) storm of performance art.

***

What was wished for, yes?

***

sigh

n.n said...

Aridog:

My objective is peace-of-mind, which, paradoxically, is not necessarily advanced through my participation in these discussions. Fortunately, the extent of the incursions suffered is limited during a rhetorical exchange.

My interest is to develop positions which are internally, externally, and mutually consistent. In a state free from physical conflict, my peace-of-mind comes from holding beliefs which can be reconciled.

Well, that's why I am here. I am on a mission to identify principles which are reconcilable with both nature and humanity. It has been both a challenging and rewarding adventure.

As for people... well, judge them individually. There are no gods, not even mortal gods, on Earth. We are each dreamers, and vulnerable, in our own unique ways.

As for conflict, I prefer to avoid conflict in all its forms. My only redeeming quality in this respect is that I will stand my ground when confronted physically or rhetorically. I will not, however, initiate a confrontation, but I will respond to the limits of my ability.

Anyway, from what I recall, our positions are not wholly incompatible. I look forward to future exchanges, even if they are disagreements, but are conducted cordially and in good faith.

rcommal said...

n.n.

So help me, I am put in mind of "Bad Romance," God Hisself help me, please.

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

Andy R said:
"The civil war within the Republican Party could cause real problems for them if the bigots don't surrender quick enough"

This is exactly the type of remark one would expect from a neo-pagan. Neo-pagans do not have any objective standards to measure morality so they have to resort to bullying and name calling to win their way.

Zoe Brain said...

Neo-pagans do not have any objective standards to measure morality so they have to resort to bullying and name calling to win their way.

So I gather you're a neo-pagan then?

SukieTawdry said...

Portman didn't have a gay son and then one day, he did. It's the rare heterosexual parent who wants his child to be homosexual. Portman is overcompensating, seeking to neutralize his feelings of discomfort and loss, feelings he considers unacceptable because he loves his son.

Or not.

Achilles said...

Everyone here please read the 9th Amendment to the Constitution and the 10th Amendment to the constitution. If you still don't get it here are some crayons for you:

This is the dumbest discussion ever. Our government is taking more than 5% of our wealth every year through inflation and printing money. There is a structural deficit. If we completely zeroed out defense spending we would still have a deficit. This government is absolutely ridiculous and all of you fools want it to define marriage one way or another. Is there anything the government cannot make worse by getting involved? This is a topic for two people and their community, not the government.

Dumbest. Discussion. Ever.

You are all retards for jumping to Andy R.'s tune.

Illuninati said...

Zoe Brain said:
"So I gather you're a neo-pagan then?"

Nice tu quoque argument.

Neo-pagan is a term to describe a world view not an invective.

m stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.