October 22, 2004

The Spice Boys: One big difference between Band Aid and Band Aid 3 is that the original featured British performers who hadn't been thoroughly rejected by stateside music fans. I guess if it's for a good cause, we're supposed to pretend Liam Gallagher and Chris Martin are important rock icons....

October 21, 2004

As a result of last night's game, this post has now been retracted by its author.

October 19, 2004

Jacques Derrida "dies": The Onion has its pre-election review of the swing states.

October 18, 2004

George Soros also rigged my fantasy baseball league.
Karl Rove has a reputation for being a genius, perhaps undeservedly, considering the late collapse his candidate had in the 2000 election. If he's going to earn that rep this time around, it could well depend on how well he's can make gay marriage a wedge issue again, after the week we've just spent discussing the sexual preference of the Vice President's daughter. The controversy clearly played to the short term benefit of the President; after being swept in the debates by John Kerry, and seeming to be less "presidential" than his opponent in the polls taken in the aftermath, it may have been a necessary diversion to change the topic to the propriety of that subject being raised by the Democrats in the first place, and (especially) the rather clumsy and stilted way Senator Kerry brought the subject up. Bush has moved into a slight lead again, and for the time being the momentum the Kerry Campaign had generated since the end of September has stalled.

All of that is fine and dandy, but as far as a winning strategy for November is concerned, it's not going to mean squat. After all, we're talking about the modern-day Republican Party. To Karl Rove, George Bush, et al., gay-bashing isn't a bug, it's a feature. For a campaign that was relying on the "Three G's" (God, gays, and guns) to turn out its base, and that had made rather unsubtle references to its opponent being "French-looking", to now be forced to adopt a defensive posture over this issue can't be what anyone planned.

Let's remember how this all came about in the first place. George Bush was asked, during the third debate, whether he thought homosexuality was a lifestyle "choice". The correct answer is the one that the scientific community has come to, as well as (at least in his public actions) the Vice President: No. John Kerry used his response to point out that fact, that the Cheneys have a daughter whom they are proud of, who has a prominent position in his campaign, who has a partner considered to be enough a part of their family that she came on stage after the Vice Presidential Debate, and who is openly gay. If the Cheneys ever attempted to deprogram their daughter from her lifestyle decisions, the public record is silent.

But to answer that question in the negative would be disastrous before his religious conservative base, which is overwhelmingly homophobic. Answering "I don't know", when his Administration's actions contradict the public behavior of his Vice President, is a lawyerly way of evading any truthful answer. It is the sort of answer a tobacco executive might give if he was asked whether his product causes lung cancer, or a fascist historian might use if asked whether there were any Jews gassed at Auschwitz. After all, there's always some doubt; who can tell, with absolute, 100% certainty, what is true and what is false. If the President was to be asked whether he believes that the Theory of Evolution is a more accurate description of the origin of mankind than the Book of Genesis, does anyone doubt what his answer would be?

Kerry's response, while clearly hurting him in the short run, puts the Bush Campaign in a bind for the final two weeks. Any attempt to press the issue of gay marriage among swing voters is going to bring back the discussion to the sexual preference of Mary Cheney, whose privacy (and, it goes without saying, her right to be gay) the campaign has strived to defend the past few days. I don't see how Karl Rove gets around that.