The Bush administration seems to be its own worst enemy these days. The waffling over National Guard service, backsteps from overly-optimisitic job projections, Rod Paige's claim that teachers are akin to Osama bin Laden, Condy Rice's refusal to testify before the 9/11 commission, and, the kicker, the gay marriage ban amendment have done nothing but give the Dems more and more ammunition. It's enough to make one wonder if Bush and Rove have simply lost control of their people and their already ailing campaign.
The gay marriage amendment is a perfect example of how Bush is attempting to narrow the upcoming campaign to an over-riding issue in order to divert attention from his failings, which is not only sad, but in this case sickening. He's attempting to secure votes through a threat of pushing discrimination through Congress and the state system. While the majority of Americans are against gay marriage, as unenlightened as that stand may be, Bush's raising of the issue to the constitutional level will only serve to alienate a number of them, especially the millions of Republican gays that voted in the 2000 election. Also, since an amendment would never pass Congress nor the number of state legislatures required, many of Bush's fellow Republicans are slinking away from the administration's radical stand:
After Bush's announcement Tuesday, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said it would take time to gauge the level of support in Congress for a constitutional amendment. He suggested the difficulty of passing one may cause lawmakers to take a different approach to preserving marriage as a solely man-woman union.The New Democrats have an article up today that very accurately portrays Bush's current conundrum, pointing out how the President himself doesn't seem to know exactly what he's proposing to begin with:
"We don't want to do this in haste," DeLay said.
Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., a co-chairman of Bush's campaign in California in 2000, said he doesn't support a constitutional amendment. "I believe that this should go through the courts, and I think that we're at a point where it's not necessary," he said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the matter should be left to the states, and Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., said changing the Constitution should be a last resort on almost any issue.
With some conservatives wanting a broader approach than Bush supports, and others opposing federalizing the issue, DeLay said it's "going to take some time" to unify those groups and examine other options.
"Constitutional amendment - I believe that is the ultimate remedy left for the Congress," he said. "We are looking at other ways of doing it."
The panicky thoughtlessness -- or perhaps cynicism -- of Bush's intervention on this issue is rather breathtaking. He is proposing to amend the Constitution of the United States, but cannot articulate the language of such an amendment, and will not endorse one of the existing formulations making the rounds among social conservatives in Washington. In his statement yesterday, he suggested he did not want to override the power of the states to authorize same-sex unions or equal rights provisions that do not utilize the word "marriage" -- embracing a position more common among Democrats than among conservative Republicans. Yet he offered no thoughts on how to accomplish this crucial distinction, or how to prevent a constitutionally sanctioned national rollback of basic citizenship rights for gays and lesbians.Bush even claimed as early as 2000 that gay marriage was a state issue.
Not even Rove will be able to fix this one.