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Jeb Bush Chooses Expedience On Gay Marriage Issue

Memo Pad Politics

Jeb Bush Chooses Expedience On Gay Marriage Issue

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush looks on prior to speaking at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, DC, November 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

“You’re like a dull knife, just ain’t cuttin’, just talkin’ loud and saying nothing” — James Brown

Granted, it’s not entirely fair to use that lyric to describe Jeb Bush’s comments on same-sex marriage. After all, he is not known to have talked loudly.

But he was definitely saying nothing.

That, admittedly, may be a minority opinion. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and Politico all used the same word to describe the statement Bush issued about same-sex marriage: “conciliatory,” they called it.

The statement in question was released to clarify remarks Bush made in a brief interview with The Miami Herald on Jan 4 as the courts were sweeping away a gay-marriage ban approved by Florida voters in 2008. Bush, a probable 2016 presidential contender, lamented the new status quo. “The people of the state decided,” he said. “But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

A day later, Bush recalibrated, issuing the following statement: “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

That is, yes, an improvement over the bare-knuckle, anti-gay politics that have long characterized Florida’s former governor. But “conciliatory”? Not really.

One is struck by Bush’s apparent implicit belief that fundamental rights are, or ought to be, subject to majority approval. Does this apply also to the question of which group of adults can or cannot vote, protest or own property? And if not, then by what logic does it apply to the question of which group of adults can or cannot marry?

As for his plea that we respect those who seek to “safeguard religious liberty” … really? Apparently, that is to become the preferred euphemism, the “states’ rights” of resistance to LGBT equality. But just as the only “right” the states’ rights crowd was ever interested in was the right to discriminate on account of race, so the only “liberty” the religious liberty folks ever seem to want is the liberty to refuse service to same-sex couples.

So let us not get too carried away by Jeb 2.0. What he offered last week was less about extending olive branches than about trying to have his cake and eat it, too — to simulate change without actually changing. This kind of fence straddling will become all too familiar as conservatives grapple with the fact that marriage equality is here and, more to the point, that they have been — yet again — bypassed by social change and repudiated by progress.

“Respect the … people on all sides,” says Bush. And yes, that sure sounds noble. Problem is, you reach a point in every successful struggle for human rights where there is only one side for decent people to be. It happened with civil rights; it happened with women’s rights, it is happening now with gay and lesbian rights. In response to which, Bush serves up this watery soup, which will, one suspects, be particularly unsatisfying to those directly injured by the hurtful words people like him spoke and the restrictive laws they passed.

Apparently, though, that’s all he can bring himself to offer. Fine. But let’s not call it more than it is. The Herald probably caught the flavor of Bush’s words better than the Times, the Post or Politico. Its headline read: “On gay marriage, Jeb Bush ready to move on.” In other words, having come into a new era where the bigotry he championed has fallen from favor, the man who would be president is eager to change the subject.

That isn’t conciliatory, friends. It’s expedient.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132. Readers may contact him via email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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  1. Eleanore Whitaker January 14, 2015

    JEB needs to explains his part in his relationship with Pedrara and Recarey before he thinks he’s presidential material. The GOP bulls will throw any trash in the White House. Been there, did that.

    1. adler56 January 14, 2015

      Jeb only looks like a good candidate to those with no morals or ethics. He’s a freakin Bush- a liar and a thief and he got his daughter out of prison sentences more than once for drugs.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 14, 2015

        I don’t know this about JEB and his daughter. But, Bush history does seem to repeat itself. I live in NJ. Older people recall that in GWB’s college days, he and a few of his buddies got busted by Princeton cops for being drunk and disorderly.

        I think the GOP has more than a few boozers at the top of their ranks. I’m not talking social drinkers. But, outright boozing that affects their ability to make clearheaded judgments and decisions. McConnell for one, Boehner for another.

        1. charleo1 January 14, 2015

          If they were interested in making their own decisions, clearheaded, or otherwise. They’d have steered clear of Republican politics. So, heavy drinking is probably a distraction from the knowledge they’ve deeply disappointed their Mothers.

  2. Dominick Vila January 14, 2015

    It is not easy to appease everyone. Jeb’s positions on issues such as the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba and immigration law reform are, clearly, designed to satisfy the GOP base, and are easy to take considering the limited political risks involved. An unambiguous position on gay rights, including the same gender marriage issue, are much more risky, and Jeb knows it. Appearing sympathetic to a cause championed by Democrats would derail his presidential candidacy. Taking a hard line on on gay rights, would move him to the Huckabee-Santorum camp,, which means that his candidacy would be rejected by mainstream Americans. The only recourse, for a center-right candidate like Jeb Bush, is ambiguity, similar to that articulated by his misunderestimated older brother. Unfortunately for Jeb, this is an issue that is not going to fade away. The media, and the base of his own party, will demand clarity, and sooner or later he will not have to reveal where he stands on this and other social issues.

    1. janis mcdonald January 14, 2015

      I don’t care where a presidential candidate stands on the social issues — let people live the way they want to live. I want to know where the candidate stands on debt, education, entitlements, healthcare, immigration. (Personally, if my gay neighbors want to get married or adopt children or have children of their own — I don’t perceive that to be my business.)

      1. Dominick Vila January 14, 2015

        Social issues are important, but like you, I am more interested in issues such as the economy, job creation, fiscal matters, the future of Social Security and MEDICARE, and national security, than the sexual orientation of other people. In part, because by now this should be a non-issue.
        Unfortunately, there are many among us that don’t see things that way, and who are more likely to vote based on the stand a politician takes on issues such as gay marriage, abortion, or illegal immigration, and our politicians (Republicans and Democrats, are well aware of that fact. That is the reason we hear so many intelligent candidates, such as Jeb Bush, make fools of themselves trying to avoid issues that they know are the top priorities of so many Americans.

        1. charleo1 January 14, 2015

          It’s clear, most Americans care a lot more about the bread, and butter issues, than the Gay marriage issues. But, the Conservative Right only pretends to care about the B&B. until they get elected. And, as we’ve witnessed, John Boehner’s House, and GOP Governors, and GOP Super Majority Legislatures, in dozens of States, spent enormous amounts of time on sex. Obsessed with sex! Premartial sex, marriage, abortion regulation, vaginal probes, definitions of rape, limiting, outlawing contraception, Civil Rights, and lawyers for zygotes, defunding Planned Parenthood. And almost no time, if any time, on job creation, tax reform, immigration, securing Medicare, or sustaining Social Security.

  3. adler56 January 14, 2015

    The low income, low info voters on the racist- I mean Republican side will never change. They might as well take the Hemingway way out because we’re never going back to white, conservative rule- EVER.

    1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

      Your ignorance is on display today. Very well done, you should get a cookie. However, I wouldn’t worry about a white, conservative rule, the real problem is your term “rule”. You have accepted being a slave to the government and seem to like it. While being “ruled” might be your idea of freedom, I’m sure there are quite a few who disagree with that reality. Because your right, we are now being ruled. You asked for, it and accept it willingly. Think about that!

  4. atc333 January 14, 2015

    Jeb! is his Brother’s Brother. That tells you all you need to know. Two Bushs were much more than enough. This nation does not need to play “Russian Roulette” with this one.

  5. Paul Bass January 14, 2015

    “those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

    A direct quote. This translates to ‘those of us who are bigots and just can’t stand the fact that you gays want the same rights as everyone else’
    This is NOT conciliation! He is a weasel bigot, too nutless to even admit his bigotry.

    1. whodatbob January 14, 2015

      I disagree with your, “translation”, interpretation of JEB’s comment.

      Raised Catholic and still practicing, to me Marriage is a Sacrament between a man and a woman. That has nothing to do with the legality of marriage. Two people who are committed to sharing their lives must have the legal right to marry.

      Bush’s comment did not address the legal issue. Shame on him.

      Religious liberty is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

      1. Paul Bass January 15, 2015

        I was raised catholic also, and the statement that you think marriage is a Sacrament, does NOT negate the fact that it COULD be between a man/man or a woman/woman.

        In some Christian religions (not catholic, yet!) LGBT individuals CAN have the Sacrament of marriage. So it is some of the US states that are behind the times.

        1. whodatbob January 15, 2015

          You are correct in this post. I was stating my belief to exercise my religious freedom, does not make me a bigot nor does it make Bush a bigot. Many years ago in a lecture a priest said in the eyes of God, when two people make a commitment to spend the rest of their life together in love, they are married. Nothing else is needed, no witnesses, no legal documents, no Church blessing, nothing.

          That in mind, once legal equality is gained the rest is window dressing.

          1. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            If it was not for religion we would not be having this discussion.

          2. whodatbob January 20, 2015

            Correct. Freedom of religion is freedom for each person to believe what that person chooses to believe. If the beliefs of a religious sect do not agree with your beliefs you are free to join a religious sect that has beliefs with which you belief.

          3. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            In my many years of being condemned to the lake of fire I have come to the conclusion that every human has a different take on their religion different than any body else. Only one denomination will stampede through the pearly gates the rest of us will be partying in hell.

          4. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            That got way to complicated for me.

  6. Thomas James January 14, 2015

    The USA should just have a law that allows any two persons who want to be legally joined together for the purposes of tax, property etc to do so. What people want to do in their bedrooms should be their own business. Persons who pervert underage boys or girls should face the penalties of the law. It is sad when a politician has to be deciding whether he is a supporter of gay rights or same sex marriage or both. Politicians should have the privilege of focusing on those issues that will contribute to national growth, economic stability, financial viability, enhancement of the image of the USA in the eyes of the world. The USA is the bastion of freedom in the world. Without the USA there would certainly be more chaos in the world.

    1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

      Good day Sir! You stated: Persons who pervert underage boys or girls should face the penalties of the law. Would you apply that to Muslim’s as well? Under Sharia, 14 is the legal age of marriage and in some countries it’s even younger. I only ask because our laws and Muslim belief seem to be at odds. In my opinion, our laws stand, despite their religious beliefs. What say you?

      1. Paul Bass January 14, 2015

        Jesus (I know ‘Christian’ not Muslim) said something to the effect ‘give to Caesar the thing’s that are Caesars’. Generally interpreted to mean obeying that country’s civil laws.

        This would imply civil law should have precedence. Of course we can all choose to (civilly) disobey those laws, if we are willing to suffer the results.

        of course that is exactly the dichotomy between fanatics and civil society.

        1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

          Can you clarify a little? Do you think Muslim’s should employ forced marriage with minor’s? You can also consider just regular marriage. Or do our century’s old laws apply to everyone who comes to this country?

          1. Paul Bass January 14, 2015

            Marriage, in America, is still governed by state law. The age of consent varies by state, with some of the southern states using 16 (maybe even 14?).

            If you are here in America, no, you should NOT be able to have forced marriages with minors, it being illegal.
            Luckily we don’t have Sharia law here in America!

          2. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            Do think Muslims should even be considered civilized? The day is coming when the Muslim world is going to have knock down drag out with civilized society. It is going to be nasty.

      2. Thomas James January 14, 2015

        I think the law of the land should stand. As they often say “When you are in Rome you do as the Romans do”. Governments make laws according to the dominant religious beliefs of the lawmakers and leanings of the Government of the day. Man’s laws are not necessarily God’s Laws. For example Jesus’s mother was reputed to be about age 15 when he was born. In the concept of “An eye for an eye”. Jesus told his followers that law was given to them by Moses because of the hardness of their hearts. In many instances world practices do not necessarily reflect justice and mankind’s freedom. What glorifies a man in one country like being married to a 14 year old will send him to jail for life in another country.

  7. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

    Gay marriage is such a silly argument. It’s really nobodies business what other people do if it doesn’t effect them in any way. It bothers nobody and should have never been a subject, BUT, because the governments are involved, it became so. When this subject first came up, the governments should have simply changed the name of the license to a civil union license and we could have moved on peacefully.

    But the majority thought they could push their beliefs on the minority, aka Democracy. Fortunately, Being a Constitutional Republic the majority has been over ruled and Gay’s should rightfully have the same rights as non-gays. As far as Jeb Bush, I don’t vote in Federal elections because I believe they are totally fixed, but if I did vote, I would never vote for another Bush. PEACE!

    1. Paul Bass January 14, 2015

      Hey Gary,
      If a conservative like yourself and a yellow dawg like me can agree that Jeb should keep his nose out of everybodies bedroom (including the gay’s bedroom), there is hope for America!
      You have a great day!

      1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

        I have been labelled a Liberal Right Wing Extremist, what ever the hell that means. I prefer just being an American who can think for himself without the help of political parties. In short, I’m not of any party that can factually labelled. There are many issues I have opinions on that we would agree with. Best wishes to your and yours!

    2. Robert Eckert January 14, 2015

      Why should the government have changed the name? “Marriage” is the name that has been used since the Roman Republic (maritare was the Latin verb), before Christianity existed and long long before the medieval church created the “sacrament of matrimony”. Churches should stop trying to steal the word that belongs to the civil law, and has always belonged to the law. They are welcome to the word “matrimony” as a name for their ceremony; it is a word with only religious and no legal meaning.

      1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

        Just a thought when all this began. I really don’t care, to be honest what it’s called, none of my business. Had the governments just changed it, maybe a lot of the debate could have been avoided and Gay’s would have had their rights much sooner, at least as far as the legal sense. The rest of the argument would have simply been over semantics and word usage.

        1. Robert Eckert January 14, 2015

          The word is not just embedded thousands of times in the legal codes of the United States and especially the 50 separate legal codes of each state, but also in the legal codes of other nations, which do not offer mutual recognition to some newly created status with a newfangled name. The word belongs to the LAW. It is the churches that have to change the way they talk.

          1. Gary Miles January 14, 2015

            It’s not an issue with me. As I said, if they went about it smarter and got some words changed, they would have had their rights much sooner as far the legal side, then could have fought for the term to be returned. At least they would have had the rights intact during the fight, instead, they took a different route and made their fight for rights much slower. I am looking at the battle as a whole not one specific issue (the use of the word marriage). I have no beef at all with gay marriage, none of my business. As far as the word itself, I could care less also. I don’t believe that looking back and providing an idea that would have benefitted them as being all that bad, do you?

          2. Robert Eckert January 14, 2015

            What I am trying to explain is that “getting some words changed” was not in fact a smart approach. Convincing every government on the planet to change terminologies simultaneously was never going to happen. Getting a few governments to create a novel terminology just for us only had the effect of making recognition across even state lines impossible so that every job change or even vacation travel was fraught with peril.

          3. jakenhyde January 14, 2015

            Unless the federal government changed its terminology to domestic partnerships, you suggestion wouldn’t fly for bi-national married couples. It HAS to be “marriage” for the feds to even consider resettlement in the USA for a foreign spouse. And that applies to straight and gay marriages.

    3. whodatbob January 14, 2015

      You said a mouthful!

    4. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

      Would you vote for a shrub? It might be a better choice than anything we have had in years..My wife makes me vote, other wise I would rather mow the lawn.

  8. jakenhyde January 14, 2015

    What I want to know from J. Bush is: What happened to and where are the hundreds of children who disappeared but were supposed to be under the control of child protective services while Jeb was governor? He’s never explained that and I think it’s absolutely criminal of his administration to try to hide, or at least fail to address, that problem.

    1. iowasteve January 14, 2015

      And also, why did Jeb Bush fail to support gay marriage while he was Governor in FL? All of a sudden he has changed his position. Typical of a Bush anyway – they all lie and especially the younger ones. Like George.

      1. jakenhyde January 14, 2015

        Maybe he “evolved” on the subject. But he didn’t say that. So I think he’s just trying to get gay people to vote for him. Maybe the Log Cabin republicans will, but they won’t if they’re smart.

  9. charleo1 January 14, 2015

    More to Eleanor’s point. For those of a particular mindset, drinking, and thinking are seldom mutually exclusive activities. That’s where one gets such statements as, “including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections, and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.” Jeb’s wrongheaded description of two groups who are obviously seeking exactly the same things, as if their goals were somehow mutually exclusive, is in no way conciliatory, but prejudiced to the core. To say that Gay couples were only primarily seeking, “greater legal protections,” And straight couples were protecting their religious freedoms, and the, “sanctity,” of the institution. Ignores the fact Gay couples have been making these lifetime commitments without the advantages of equal protection for years. But are not concerned about either their own religious freedom, or the sanctity of the institution they are entering. It’s insulting. But, if he wants the Republican nomination for President. He should stick with the usual Right Wing answer. We should really leave the issues of basic Civil Rights, such as voting, whether one may choose their own seat on a public conveyance, be served in a privately owned business, marry outside of their race, or marry a partner of the same sex, up to the individual States. Oh, and I almost forgot. Get rid of activists judges, flouting the will of the American People.

    1. hicusdicus January 14, 2015

      Very few homosexuals make life time commitments.

      1. charleo1 January 14, 2015

        Remind me how you know this. Since the divorce rate is 50%
        among straight couples.

        1. iowasteve January 14, 2015

          Actually there were some studies done, and they showed that gay couples last longer and have a far lower divorce rate than any straight couples. Gay couples do more for the community and make good parents as well. Not sure where hicusdicus get’s his “facts?”, but they are not facts at all, if they are not true. Those are Fox News types of facts. Facts with no backing. And don’t ask me for the studies links, I wanna see Hicusdicus’s documentation for HIS statements. They just don’t exist, so I don’t have to show anything.

          1. charleo1 January 15, 2015

            Right! What it seems Americans have come to realize, is two things. One, Gayness is a matter of genetics. They are, who they were born to be. And two, in all other respects, they are the same as the rest of us. Perhaps made a little stronger, and more determined, by their circumstance of always having to swim against the cultural stream of people like “hicusdicus,” who can’t seem to control their bias. And, just have to make some inane comment.

          2. hicusdicus January 15, 2015

            It may be inane to you but it is real. Most people find gayness repulsive that is human nature. I am assuming you are a catcher, fine with me I am not your problem. Your problem is the hundreds of millions of people who quietly disagree. No one but the affected agree with genetics..

          3. iowasteve January 20, 2015

            Problem here is that you CLAIM people find it repulsive, but how many of them are watching the gays in their own homes. How cares what they do at home? I have never run into gays doing anything differently than straight people out in public. And in case you don’t understand – it isn’t any of YOUR business what gays do in their homes. I have NEVER had a gay person come up to me and try to “make me gay”. They honestly could care less.

          4. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            I take it you have never been to a gay pride parade. The next thing you are going to tell me is that a brownie queen runs a specialty bakery. Why would they try and make you gay? Would that not be redundant? Are you aware of the fact that leather bars have nothing to do with cow hide ? Genetics have nothing to do with homosexuality it is just in the eye of the beholder. See, now you know things you never knew before. You might want to visit huff post gay voices. One could be crying out for you.

          5. hicusdicus January 15, 2015

            This is based on the hundreds of gay acquaintances I had when I was their land lord. Most of the information came from them. Never once did I hear the genetics excuse. They said it was a matter of choice. Even the dykes said the same thing. I don’t care what they do as long as I don’t have to hear about it. Like I don’t want to hear about bowl movements but right now I feel a pressing nibble.

          6. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            There are always studies to prove what anybody wants to hear. The anybodies keep sucking it up. I bet that was not politically correct.

          7. iowasteve January 20, 2015

            So, show me the studies that prove I’m wrong. Just because you have some gay friends that said otherwise, this is not a study. Find a study that is not politically biased and then show me the facts – and not FOX facts, real facts.

          8. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            The fact that you are babbling on NM proves you are wrong. Either you are right or you are wrong. Since you are not on the right then you must be wrong. See! that was easy Since I am not on the left then I must be right.

          9. iowasteve January 20, 2015

            Not sure what NM means – but my “babbling” is just asking you for facts, which don’t exist. And, of course, you wanna drag politics into this, once again – no answers, just a bunch of nonsense and name calling – typical from the right.

          10. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

            NM, National memo. Name calling? All I want are gay friends. Who wants friends that are morose and unhappy?

        2. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

          You have forgotten already?

      2. drdroad January 14, 2015

        Wrong. You are simply prejudiced and making this up. I’d bet the statistics, if there are any, would be the opposite!

        1. hicusdicus January 20, 2015

          Canada has records on homosexual marriage and their divorce rate] and how the marriages fair. Go check it out I really don’t care.

  10. robertbenefiel@att.net January 14, 2015

    Once a person gets Presidential fever all principals go out the window, Jeb should just ask Willard

  11. Garmin Woods January 14, 2015

    Yawn. Few partisans actually care about gay marriage. Democrats certainly don’t, otherwise they would not have overwhelming supported, even gushed, over their presidential candidate who said point blank, “marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” And Republicans don’t either, otherwise right-wing media would be lambasting Bush for his recent conciliatory, er, expedient remarks. But they aren’t.

    And while I’m here, feeling a bit feisty, and writing to an obviously hyper-partisan crowd, I just have to ask, “Are you idiots?” I mean, do you have any understanding at all of how to persuade? How to achieve consensus? How to win? Or do you even care? It looks like you might care. Every time I visit here, there are strongly voiced appeals, what looks like passion, and apparent real concern. And yet, when presented with an opinion article like this from Leonard Pitts Jr. (who makes his living by intentionally thwarting consensus), you quickly jump on his bandwagon to find fault in Jeb Bush’s progress. Yes, I said progress. His position now is better than it was. That’s progress. Is it where it needs to be eventually? No. But when someone makes progress, you support them. You say, “Good job” and “thank you” and nice things. You encourage future progression. You don’t say, “Shut up. We don’t believe you. You’re just being conciliatory. And worse – expedient.” Leonard Pitts, and everyone on his wagon are encouraging regression. Pitts is intelligent, so I believe he knows what he is doing and he wants (or at least benefits from) division and regression. But what about you reading this?

    When dealing with someone with differing beliefs, being open-minded and giving the benefit of the doubt is paramount. You should give them more latitude to expand and progress, but at the very, very least, you should afford them the same latitude as you give to those with perspectives more similar to your own. You supported Obama in 2008 when he was flat out against gay marriage. You supported Obama in 2012 when he changed his mind and said it was a state’s issue. And you called that evolving, not expediency. (Being an election year, you were probably wrong, it probably was expediency, but that is another discussion).

    If you truly want to make progress on gay marriage, and someone like Obama or Bush appears to be making progress, why encourage it with the Democrat and fight it with the Republican? Do you really want only half of America to progress on gay marriage or do you want all of America to progress? Looks to me like you only want half. Looks like you don’t really care.

    1. joeg2028 January 14, 2015

      GW, what you fail to accept, it seems, is that in 2008, the majority of public opinion had not yet come around to accepting gay marriage, so that was a factor in BHO’s election that year. He probably could have safely remained holding that position in 2012 because it was the one that his opponent held and holds, but he chose to show his evolution on the subject (though I also think that an argument can be made for political expediency there).

      Jeb Bush’s position, in contrast, “evolved” (or as you say, made “progress”) in the span of about a week. I read that as definitely political expediency after his advisers pointed out that his lame comment to the Miami Herald was far out of the mainstream.

      1. Garmin Woods January 14, 2015

        I accept facts. And the public opinion polls in 2008, 2012, 2014, etc. are facts. I also accept the relationship these facts have on the positions and statements of politicians. All the more reason to support a conclusion that politicians like Barak Obama, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton too, for that matter, are changing their minds for political reasons. For expediency.

        It’s not perfect. It’s not pure. But it’s better than them never changing. Pretty hard to go backwards now. And isn’t this what we want? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone eventually changed their minds and supported gay marriage? Even if it was political expediency, isn’t it still progress? And if it is progress, why accept one instance of it and reject the other? Why not accept all of it?

        1. Sand_Cat January 14, 2015

          Is “GW” code for Jeb’s brother 🙂

    2. Sand_Cat January 14, 2015

      Is it progress, or just hypocrisy to get votes? Jeb comes from a not-too honest family, and no one has any reason to believe there’s any sincerity in his “progress.” Those of us who are not idiots don’t want him as president, regardless of hjis alleged “progress.” So much for your claims.

      1. Garmin Woods January 14, 2015

        I don’t know that it is not hypocrisy anymore that you know that it is. But to dwell on that would be not only relegating the discussion to guesswork, it would be peripheral to what I am questioning. But if you think it is important, I would ask did you feel that it was hypocritical for the President or Hillary Clinton to change their position?

        And my questions have nothing to do with him being president. I don’t want him as president, either. But I want him on the pro side of gay marriage. I want everyone on the pro side of gay marriage. Those are “my claims.” What’s wrong with that?

        1. Sand_Cat January 15, 2015

          I don’t think a genuine change in anyone’s position is hypocrisy; I just don’t happen to believe much of anything Jeb Bush or any other Republican says these days. There have been too many lies, and too many dead people as a result of those lies, a great many of them told by Jeb’s brother. I believe he has a bad enough record on most issues that a change on this one is insignificant: I’m quite certain he would never fight for his new “beliefs.”
          I was running rather on hot last night, and didn’t mean to offend you, but I find Jeb Bush with his smug look and the rest of his family offensive.

          1. Garmin Woods January 15, 2015

            No worries, I didn’t take offense. And my opener in this forum was admittedly potentially offensive, so I would not be undeserving of a little blowback in that regard. And I hope people can see that I’m not trying to promote Jeb Bush here. But I think we can talk about him, and especially this recent event, honestly, without our biases and preconceptions dominating the discussion, right? It’s not like we risk convincing anyone here to vote for him if we accept the idea that his statements are a step in the right direction for him on the issue of gay marriage.

    3. charleo1 January 14, 2015

      I’m a Democrat, so I watch, and listen to Right Wingers all the time. And even if they at first appear to be softening their position on anything, I for one will not be fooled. There’s is no conciliation in Bush’s feeble attempt at fence straddling on the issue of marriage equality. And no benefit in doubting the Winger’s stone wall opposition to Gay Marriage. The GOP needs those millions of Moralists, and Homophobes, that make up the majority of the GOP base. So let’s be real. This bunch is so out of it, they don’t see the tide of public opinion has changed. And, wouldn’t care if it did. A few years ago we had a contingent of like minded Congressmen travel to the African Nation of Uganda. Where whatever they said, or promised the Ugandan Gov. it started passing laws that criminalized Homosexuality. And a bill proposing a penalty of death for the second offense of being Gay, narrowly failed in the Ugandan Legislature, as of late last year. Proponents promised to revisit, later this year. My point is, you don’t play with these people. They are what they are. They want to be Uganda. And we’re fools to think any different.

      1. Garmin Woods January 15, 2015

        As horrific as Uganda’s anti-homosexuality legislation and the history and people associated with it are, using it as evidence to estrange millions of Americans or reject a politician’s comments seems illiberal to me. Not sure where you got your information. Hopefully not just here. Try NPR, The New York Times and/or GuardianUK which still have some excellent archived articles. Even Jeff Sharlet’s book, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” which is heavy on conjecture, has a chapter which tells the story more accurately than what you may have been exposed to. Warning: Sharlet exposes some Democrats, too.

        But to be fair, I really can’t tell exactly who you are talking about. You use words like “millions,” “majority,” “this bunch,” and “these people.” But I have to tell you, that last one struck a chord. Especially when followed by your next sentence, “They are what they are.” Those are the EXACT words my uncle uses when he talks about Hispanics. And he is a racist. Something to thing about.

        And so your conclusion is: “They want to be Uganda. And we’re fools to think any different.” You can’t possibly know this, but you say it anyway. It is a devastatingly hateful statement, and you say it anyway. Well, I don’t believe it. So I guess I am a fool. I am a fool who will except this tiny step from Jeb Bush, however “feeble,” hoping it will lead to a larger one. Because I don’t have any restrictions on who I will allow to accept gay marriage. I want the entire country to accept it. Yep, even him.

        1. charleo1 January 15, 2015

          Look, as devastatingly hateful as you may consider
          my comment. I have to go with what people do, and not what they might say. I use the word, “they,” in the sense, that “they,” are not in any way people I would trust to be truthful with respect to softening of their position on Gays. After all, they didn’t changed their position on African American’s Rights, even after losing a Civil War. And continue to back the elevation of a politician with ties to David Duke, to the third most powerful post in Congress. So, I watch what they do. What they do counts. They’ll say anything.
          As to the well documented case of the C Street Congressmen, taking a junket to Uganda. Uganda being of intense interest to many of the same Evangelical Minster’s extensive outreach efforts in that Country. Being associated ideologically with many of the politicians living in the C Street House, in Washington, a few block from the Capitol, who visited the Country, as an exclusive group. We do not know what they may have said to the people in gov, there. So, perhaps the murderous legislation against Gays, that came up shortly after their departure is merely a coincidence. That the same vile pot of discrimination, and demonization of Gays, they stir up here in this Country behind their pulpits, and in the halls of Congress, didn’t spill over in their sermons, and the promises made by the pious politicians, “just wanting to reach out, and help.” But, I’ll not be believing it, thank you. Not for one second.

          1. Garmin Woods January 15, 2015

            Actually we do know quite a bit about what “they” said in Uganda. They’ve told us themselves. And a lot of what they didn’t tell us was researched and documented by people like Sharlet. I read his book. And it is a horrible situation (that has long preceded Sharlet or C Street connections, BTW. Curiously, few politicos noticed the plight of Ugandan gays before 2009).

            But how do you get from Uganda to not letting Jeb Bush take any steps towards marriage equality? It’s not like we’re talking Jim Inhofe, who was actually in Uganda, sponsors gay-marriage ban legislation, etc. Is that the tie you are making? Uganda to Inhofe to Republicans to Bush. Will you allow only Democrats to support gay marriage? I think if there are Republicans who are making steps in that direction (even small ones, even expedient ones), we should welcome them. People don’t change their minds easily, and we have been working very hard to effect that change. When we see a glimmer of hope, some little crack in the armor, shouldn’t we be glad? Shouldn’t we then work to brighten that glimmer or widen that crack? What good does it do to extinguish the hope or strengthen the armor? I don’t get it. It seems disingenuous. It makes us look like petulant frauds. Like we don’t really want people to change their minds. Like we want them to cling to their old ideas so we can continue to loathe them for it. Like we enjoy it.

          2. charleo1 January 15, 2015

            Well, you know, you’re right, in a sort of give ’em the benefit of the doubt, at the first glimmer of any possible kumbaya moment with the saner sounding knuckle draggers, like Jeb Bush. Who’s backers would much rather their Party completely get out of the culture war business. And get on with the corporate subjugation of American business, American Labor, and democratic governance as we know it. Their political problem is about selling their trickle down, claptrap to enough people without including the other faction of their Party. For whom issues, like Gay Marriage, criminalizing abortion, or empowering Fundamentalist Christianity over a mostly secularist, live and let live society, trump whatever economic agenda the Bush Brothers, or Koch Brothers, have settled on for the economy. But, I really don’t want to loathe them. That’s where you’re wide of the mark. I wish the GOP hadn’t have decided to introduce this hateful fringy, appeal to the lowest common dominator, rhetoric into the political process. My thoughts were, that two diverse Parties, with the best intentions for the Country at heart, meeting in the middle with common sense solutions, was a very fine way to create public policy. But no more. Now it’s this assertion on the Right, and it’s a predominate one. That my Party, the Dem. Party, the Dem. Voters, myself, my family, are all illegitimate participants. That we as a Party, and Dems. in general have but one driving motivation. And that is to vote ourselves benefits from the gov. to which we are not entitled. That, or we’re bleeding heart Socialists, mixed liberally with moral-less atheists, all without a clue as to what made America great. So, it’s not only Gay Rights, but my Rights as well, that aren’t worth a spit to a radicalized Republican Party either. In all honesty, as a freedom loving, patriotic Democrat, I can feel no better towards the Right, than they feel about me.

          3. Garmin Woods January 15, 2015

            You’ve said you “watch and listen to right Wingers all the time.” I can’t claim the same so I can’t match your experience there. But I do know that watching and listening, if it is media-based, is a significantly different experience than in person discussion, which is where I get a good portion of my information about right wing people and their beliefs. And I can’t match your sarcasm and bitterness for these Americans. All I can suggest is that there may be other experiences and awareness to be had. There is a considerable difference between what is real and the tiny portion that media presents to us. Don’t believe me? March in a gay pride parade and compare your experience to the subsequent news reports.

            You say “I can feel no better towards the right than they feel about me.” I’ve read almost the exact phrase at right wing sites. In fact, your writing and tone reminds me a lot of the forum at The National Review, except the nouns are different. I wonder what we risk by being better? By feeling a little better about the right than what we believe they feel about us. Since what we believe they feel about us is subject to the error of our interpretations anyway, it might even make sense to compensate a bit, to ensure that we aren’t the major contributor to this two-to-tango dysfunction.

            And what do we risk by not being better, or at least trying to? A downward spiral. We’re already in such a tailspin. It isn’t irreversible, but it is accelerating. And in a downward spiral, any reversal, any change in direction, any move to the middle, will be small. We could miss it. We might not recognize it at all. In a situation like this, perhaps benefit of the doubt can benefit us.

  12. nana4gj January 14, 2015

    Jeb Bush may be a very nice man, and he may be smarter than “W”, as his parents have implied on occasion, but he is not smart enough. He is not convincing and/or committed to anything but what is politically correct at the time. I find his difficulty in expressing himself, his inability to articulate clearly and concisely and convincingly, a “symptom” of his lacking in any firm convictions or even knowledge on any subject. Some might call it “awkwardness”; I call it uninformed and unconvinced, to even himself.

    His mother tells us that they told their sons to make money before even considering elected office. One, became a baseball part owner and a Governor, the first real jobs he ever held; the other, sat on Boards; and both got those jobs because of Poppy’s friends in high places.

    Romney and Jeb both “want to be President”, well, who doesn’t have a yearning to be called “President” but how many of them could actually be an effective, credible President? You’ve got to have more than a family name and a sense of entitlement because of it, or because your Dad was so successful in what he accomplished and you’re his son. Neither one of these has the “natural” personality characteristics that attract and endear the populace; one is downright offensive and rude; the other is sweet, uninformed, “likeable enough”, but child-like and instills no confidence. Neither one is broadly educated in theory and logic or possessing of empirical knowledge; both have had narrow, stilted life experiences; and neither one is a thinker, or, much of a doer. Of course, there are still enough countries left that have not yet been insulted by Romney.

    In fact, these comparisons can be applied to all of the “wannabees” in the GOP this time around: Cruz, Paul, Reuben, Christie….whose rhetoric is usually offensive and insulting and childlike and uninformed and petulant. None of them are even sweet, however, or at all likeable.

    It’s a pretty amateur bunch that does not bode well for the role of Leader of the Free World who should have the empirical as well as the formal education and the life experiences to build character and problem solving skills and leadership.

    I admit my standards for what I want and expect in a President are now set very high. I have a more defined criteria because when I had to give up my first choice 6 years ago, I had to really look, listen, and measure, and I came to identify some concrete assets the likes of which have not disappointed me and which I have been so grateful to have experienced in my lifetime.

    But, this bunch doesn’t even come close. With the bunch of clowns and creeps in the Majority Congress today, there is no way I can put the likes of any of them in the Oval Office.


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