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Monday, February 20, 2006

13 x 3: The Worst President

Carter was the worst president of the 20th Century. I said in "Why We Hate Clinton" that he was the Buchanan of the 1900s. Here's my reasoning. Buchanan was no doubt a nice guy, and an able bureaucrat. At some other time in history, he would have been perfectly adequate - say, in the 1880s. But he had the grave misfortune of being the perfectly wrong man for that specific time, immediately preceding the crisis of the Civil War. The writing was on the wall. The crisis was imminent. A generation earlier, Jackson faced a similar problem - he planned on meeting it with a massive army, and said he would hang the first rebel he met on the first tree he saw. And he meant it. And they knew it. And the problem went away.

For a time. Until Buchanan's day, when the papers and pulpits, the street corners and general stores, all resounded again with the topic of secession. The crisis was immanent. And at this most perilous moment, a man exquisitely unfit to the task was in the highest office. Nice guy, serious, doing his best. Feckless, useless, impotent. There followed the most costly affray in American history. It's nearly 150 years later, and the scars are still visible. So much for Buchanan.

As for Carter, even at the time we could see something was seriously wrong. I recall that he got on TV and gave a really total downer of a speech, talking about a national malaise - he didn't use that phrase, but that phrase embodies the tone. It may have been another speech, where he talked about how Americans would have to just settle for less, from now on. Can you imagine? The man in the bully pulpit, saying such a thing? God. What a loser. I'm sorry, son, but you are ugly, fat and stupid - you'll just have to settle for an unhappy and unpopular life. Why not just end it all now. And by the way, your mother and I don't love you. And you have B.O.

But that just makes him a bad president, not necessarily the worst. During the hostage crisis in Iran, he authorized a rescue attempt, and then called it off - while the world watched. A helicopter or two gets mechanical problems in the desert, so let's just give up. I mean, someone might get hurt! OK, that's just weak and irresolute - not necessarily the making of the worst president. Then, to "dramatize" the seriousness of the hostage problem, the Pantomime President effectively locked himself in the White House for a year. Wouldn't leave it, hardly - to demonstrate how grave the issue was. The "Rose Garden Strategy." Wouldn't leave his room, and wouldn't eat his supper, either. Little Boy Lost.

He changed emphasis from containing the Soviets (at least as bad as the Nazis), to pushing human rights. Not a bad thing in itself, although he seemed to envision this as abandoning allies, rather than pressuring for change (the Shah, Marcos) - and he funneled millions of dollars into the Sandinista communists ... for some inexplicable reason. But again, this is just politics, right or wrong, and need not make him the worst. He gave the Russians an ultimatum to get/keep their brigades out of Cuba, and when they ignored him ... um ... er ... his spokesperson Emily Litella ("What's all this fuss I keep hearing about rushing bride aides to Cupid?") said, "Oh ... never mind." He did respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, by halting wheat sales to the USSR. That really hurt ... the American farmer. And we boycotted the Olympics. Vicious. And really effective. But again, lots of presidents make stupid decisions. By mid-term, unemployment was 11% and inflation 12%. Interest rates were over 20%. But these things happen, one supposes. He castrated the military -- but maybe that was some sort of a stategy. Even today he rushes about the globe endorsing corrupt elections and anti-American dictators. And he does what no president has done in living memory -- undermines the current administration. But that's just his politics -- stupid, and perhaps treacherous, but not at all uncommon from the Left. So what, then. Why is Carter the worst President of the 1900s?

Iran.

Effective action needed to be taken. Immediate, forceful, effective action. A war, if necessary. Some of us could see it then. Now, it should be clear to everyone. Five hundred years of international law thrown out the window by a criminal regime, with impugnity. Iran is the major problem of this era. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was one of the student leaders who invaded our embassy and took the hostages. Now he's pressing for and achieving possession of a nuclear arsenal. He makes speeches about the pig ape Jews, and how Israel will be destroyed. By him. And he says the Great Satan - that's us - will also be destroyed. Never did the Soviets approach such vitriol. The Soviets were sane - by which I mean rational as we understand it. Iran, now, listens to voices no one else can hear. Those voices say destroy the US and the Jews, and Iran wants to obey.

That's why Carter is the worst president in six generations - maybe ever. We needed a Jackson or a Lincoln or a Roosevelt - either - and instead we got a Buchanan. It's taken a generation to come to maturity, but the perspective of the ensuing years makes it clear. He was midwife to the monster that will destroy us, if we let it. The Peacock Throne is a nest for harpies - ravenous, man-eating and irrational. In a few months or a few years, their claws will be sharp enough. It may be, soon, that the Civil War is no longer the costliest of wars for America.

Thanks for that, Carter. And happy President's Day.


J

20 comments:

Lori Heine said...

This is a very thoughtful and intelligent blog. Although I voted for Reagan both times -- which obviously means I'm no big fan of Carter's presidence -- I would like to take issue with you on just one matter.

Carter was, indeed, a washout as President. Nevertheless, he is one of the finest human beings ever to hold the office. Instead of playing golf and lining his pockets on the speaking tour, he spends a fair amount of his time building houses for those who have none. I do believe that in Jesus's scheme of things, this is a lot more important.

Now we've got swagger-boy in office -- Mister Mission Accomplished -- whose greatest achievement before taking office was that he was a pom-pom girl for the school football team, a combat-dodger during Vietnam and the failed owner of a baseball franchise. Whatever his shortcomings concerning Iran, I seriously doubt that Carter would have been out playing golf while New Orleans drowned.

As for keeping us safe from terrorism, the verdict is still out on that. So far all President Pom-Pom has done is make the world safe for Islamist loonies to torch statues of Ronald McDonald.

Keep up the good work, though. In general, again, this is a highly readable and worthwhile blog.

Lori Heine said...

P.S.: I DO know how to spell "presidency." If I could type as well as I can spell, I'd be in business.

Jack H said...

Greetings, L. I agree entirely with your comments re Carter. I didn't emphasize his, um, altruism, because it really wasn't relevant to my point. It would have taken only a sentence to do so, and I thought about it, but I would have dismissed it in my typical condescending manner. Alas, altruism isn’t what the presidency is about. It’s about advancing the interests of specifically the USA. How we may differ in interpreting that goal is as it may be, but the job is to protect the Constitution and the country.

It’s like being a parent. We advance the interests of our children, over the interests of some other family’s children. As adults, we care and look out for all children. But when it comes to crunch time, save your child, and let the other one die. Hard? Cold? Yes. Tough. Job one: protect what it’s your job to protect. It’s called “duty.” So that Carter cared about the citizens of other lands makes him a good man. It’s irrelevant, as to his presidency. We don’t want psychos or sociopaths, but we do want clear-eyed executives who can make the hard decisions.

As for Bush, I have a brief observation in the comments for “Why We Hate Clinton.” I appreciate and enjoy good old-fashioned political invective. In “Dignity,” I said Kennedy “wears his character in his face, every Boodles gimlet rising like a carbuncle on that enormous blotchy pumpkin he uses for a head.” I still giggle to myself when I read that. Ho ho.

But I just disagree with you, on Bush. He’s the only president of my lifetime that I’ve liked. How odd. He “swaggers”? How is that substantive? He stood under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished”? Indeed, the major military objective had been achieved. Do you imagine some other mission was meant? We must differ on that point. He likes team sports? I don’t, but I don’t see the point as meaningful. He dodged combat? Since when is serving the nation in time of war in the National Guard a mark of cowardice? He flew several score of scramble missions in the Gulf of Mexico – if that’s too bucking-bronco macho for some, it still isn’t a mark of shame.

As for New Orleans, it is, alas, a local issue (I am, you see, a federalist). That FEMA blew it is hard luck, and that its head, appointed by Bush, was unqualified is too bad. But as I say, every president makes stupid mistakes. The current kerfuffle of “Port-gate” is an example of political tone-deafness on Bush’s part. He is no tap dancer.

RE terrorists being safe, I shall make no comment save to register my disagreement.

As for spelling, it is my secret shame. I have to be humble about something.

:-)

But thanks for the kind words.

Best,

J

Lori Heine said...

J, you present your arguments very well. I agree, first of all, that as your comments about Carter concerned strictly his performance as chief executive, that's probably where I should have left it.

As to Bush, the other issues may be mainly sound and fury, but his attitude toward our Constitution does alarm me. We have a very important principle in U.S. government called THE SEPARATION OF POWERS. Nobody has been able to explain to me why the President should not obtain a warrant from a judge if he wishes to wiretap someone's phone. If we cannot trust a judge to have the best interests of the people in mind, then we certainly can't trust a president to, either.

Then there's the matter of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would violate at least three existing amendments to the Constitution. True, it was probably a cynical move on Bush's part to endorse it -- I'm sure he knew it wouldn't pass at the federal level, and that it was simply red meat thrown to his base. But what sort of integrity can a man have when he stands up before God and everybody and swears "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," yet then turns around and backs a boondoggle that would, if enacted, do grave damage to the supreme law of the land?

I am tottering out on the first steps of a political blog of my own. As a libertarian and a states' rightist, I, too, believe that things like the Hurricane Katrina mess ought best to be dealt with locally (though I would say private citizens should handle it, rather than government at ANY level, as much as possible). As I am, primarily, a writer on religious matters, though I speak of politics, the character and substance of the human subject is never far from my mind. Thus my point concerning Jimmy Carter.

I don't believe that a man's ideas or his "performance" can be separated from his character (or, for that matter, a woman's, either). I left the Democratic Party because of my revulsion over moral midgets like Bill Clinton and John Kerry. I'm afraid that with sadly rare exceptions, most of them are children playing a game.

Best of luck to you and to your blog.

Jack H said...

Greeting L. I’m not a news junky, but I like to get the facts straight, so I’ve just done a bit of research. The oversight body in charge of granting warrants is the FISA court, empanelled in 1979. In its first 21 years, in only one year were any modifications made. Prior to Bush, only two of the 13,102 warrant applications were modified. Since 9/11, 179 of 5,645 requests were modified. Six were outright denied. Hmm. Either Bush’s requests were particularity odious, or there was politics at play. Which? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer calls it “unprecedented second-guessing.”

FISA requires probable cause of terrorist involvement – very reasonable – and also that the target is engaged in activities that “may” involve a crime. That’s the problem. What consideration, other than the fact of terrorist contact, might suggest possible involvement in a crime? The risk is too high, the demand too stringent, given the type of criminal dealt with.

There’s also some subtler reasoning involved. No congressional law can modify, limit or in any way impinge upon any Constitution-granted presidential authority. If the Constitution grants the president some power, Congress has utterly no say in the matter. Administration of any war is the president’s Constitutional duty. Congress has a say, in that it holds the purse strings, but even that can be gotten around. Every president has known this – every president has at times ignored FISA, including, or course, Clinton. The justification being that Congress had no voice in the particulars of some specific terrorist matter.

Further, Congress did grant Bush “whatever authority needed” – I paraphrase – to fight terrorism. Obviously Congress has authority to abrogate only its own power, but this was a sweeping statement. If they don’t like it, they need to change it, not complain and trump up political (*political,* for God’s sake) scandals. It’s called integrity.

Given the need for speed in some terrorist-fighting situation, bypassing a judge is not unreasonable, and is provided for in the law. The controversy hinges on Bush’s not getting the warrant retroactively, within 72 hours. He exercised executive privilege as a war president. Wrong? Perhaps. Criminal? Precedent says not.

Re the Federal Marriage Amendment, I have no interest in the matter. It is so self-evident to me as to what marriage is, that I am befuddled by the controversy. But your reasoning as to the Constitution is faulty. A proposed Amendment cannot “violate at least three existing amendments to the Constitution.” Amendments amend. If Amendment X says “no one shall be compelled to work in salt mines,” and then Amendment Y says “all Avars shall be compelled to work in salt mines” – there is no contradiction here. Injustice, yes, but no contradiction. I won’t belabor the point, but only point out that no right is absolute. The guilty man condemned to death has self defense only as a natural, not a civil, right. Just remember that slaves were counted as three fifths of a person for purposes of allotting House seats, but themselves weren’t citizens. Politics is the art of the possible. The Constitution was written on compromise and in blood.

As to whether or not Bush is ‘cynical,’ as to what he ‘knew,’ whether or not it was red meat to his base’ – these are matters of speculation. Integrity is a rare and precious thing, and if he lacks it that would be a shame. I’ve learned not to see every disagreement as a condemnation of someone else’s character. I try to find an honorable motive in reasonable people. The politics of invective disgusts me - a little name-calling is fun once in a while, but we can’t take rhetoric for reality.

I spent some years as a registered Libertarian (sounds like a contradiction in terms), but I hadn’t bothered to inform myself as to the details. It’s just too irresponsible and impracticable. Sorry. Reality trumps theory. Human nature is what it is, and government is necessary. I think I pointed something like that out just recently, in “White Sheep.” But I too have some interest in matters of faith, as may be noticed on this blog. As for performance/character, we know character through performance. That’s why I don’t bother speculating about motives. Not my job to judge souls. I judge bodies – what they do.

My, I *have* gone on and on. Gotta run.

Best,

J

Lori Heine said...

Dearest J,

I do appreciate your comments, but I would like to add just a couple more of my own regarding some of the things you've said.

"Given the need for speed in some terrorist-fighting situation, bypassing a judge is not unreasonable, and is provided for in the law. The controversy hinges on Bush’s not getting the warrant retroactively, within 72 hours. He exercised executive privilege as a war president. Wrong? Perhaps. Criminal? Precedent says not."

It defies logic to believe that a President is automatically more trustworthy than a judge. That judge has no Secret Service to protect him or her, and no bunker to hide in should terrorists attack. There's no reason to think a judge wants to get blown up any more than does anyone else.

We should keep in mind that, should the Patriot Act become permanent, we are giving not merely THIS President unlimited wiretapping powers, but ANY future President, besides. When the day comes that a Chief Executive hostile to the Religious Right gets into office, and uses those nifty, permanent powers to spy on Evangelical churches, thereafter using the "evidence" obtained to strip said churches of their tax-exempt status, I don't expect to hear a peep of protest out of you or any of your little friends. You will have forfeited your right to complain.

As I am the President's employer, and my taxes help to pay his salary, I have every right do believe that "precedent" is wrong. If you would like to hear further from me on this, you are perfectly free to visit my blog, where I comment on Pom-Pom often.

Thanks so much for commenting on your definition of marriage. But with all due respect, had I given a tinker's damn how you define it, I would have asked.

There is simply a DIFFERENCE OF OPINION in this country on that issue. So sorry if that baffles you -- it isn't about to go away. You can sit in your own little hidey-hole and define it however you choose. I am concerned not with how people may DEFINE THE WORD, but with my right to protect my own, private property and my family as I see fit. As long as you keep away from my family, stay out of my home and keep your hands off of my property, I care not how you define "marriage" or any other word.

Your definition of "libertarian" is somewhat troubling. You seem to have us confused with anarchists. For the record, a "libertarian" is someone who believes in LIMITED government. One who believes in no government at all is an anarchist. As challenged as your definition of this word is, I doubt it would be helpful to hear your definition of "marriage."

And as to amendments to the Constitution, the legal way of changing one is to pass another amendment repealing it (do you, perhaps, recall Volstead?). The charlatans trying to slip the FMA by the people are hoping that most will simply be too pig-ignorant to know this. Of course the blood would run in the streets if anyone were to try, for example, repealing the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment. Hence the reason for the attempted end-run.

Very nice exchanging ideas with you. We will simply have to agree to disagree on the aforementioned issues.

Best Regards,

Lori

Jack H said...

Greetings again, L. It’s not about who’s more trustworthy. It’s about allotted powers under the Constitution. We may not like it, but "liking" is opinion, not law. Regardless of a judge’s personal interest in safety from terrorists, no judge, nor Congress, can impinge on the President's lawful authority. Which takes us back where we started.

Re the Patriot Act, it is a law that can be rescinded. Congress can check a rampant Executive by doing so. I believe its nifty powers are limited to national security aspects of foreign-inspired terrorism. Some other law would have to get the RR. Say, RICO. ... Oh, that’s been done. As for me and my friends – thanks for not saying “cronies” or “henchmen” – I have a diverse body of acquaintances, and we have a variety of unexpected opinions. I’m not much of a complainer, though – more of a doer. :-)

I’d never argue about your opinion, or question your right to have it. I may question its validity, as you might mine. Ah, the marketplace of ideas ... so invigorating! When I say “precedent,” I don’t mean your opinion. I mean *stare decisis.*

Re my definition of marriage, regardless of whatever type of damn you’d give for it, you will notice upon a careful reading that I didn’t offer it. You sound a tad defensive, m’dear. :-) Just a little.

I didn’t go into my Libertarian history – brevity is a virtue I might be encouraged to practice. I shan’t give my definition – you wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn for it anyway. Enough to suggest that I don’t have a simplistic view of the matter – just don’t want to get into it. No interest.

Thanks for reminding me about Volstead. I’m too stupid and ignorant to be able to think of such things on my own. (Oh, I *do* tickle myself!) But I don’t believe anything I’ve written would imply that an amendment is passed any other way than through the prescribed manner. Whether or not those with whom you disagree politically or socially are “charlatans” trying to “slip” something through, I don’t believe the actual process is a quiet one. I don’t know what they are “hoping,” but you do understand that an Amendment can be 'changed' without being 'repealed.' I really don’t know what you mean in this context, by “end run.” I’m pig-ignorant on the issue. Is someone attempting to pass an amendment without passing it lawfully?

What I expect, given polls that I’ve seen, is that an amendment defining marriage as it has generally been understood by Western Civilization for the past 1500 years, would pass, without need for subterfuge. Maybe not – but to complain that there are some who would have it so, is to argue against reality.

Best,

J

Lori Heine said...

Hello, J.

"Re my definition of marriage, regardless of whatever type of damn you’d give for it, you will notice upon a careful reading that I didn’t offer it. You sound a tad defensive, m’dear. :-) Just a little."

Please pardon me. What this amendment might possibly do -- whether passed at the federal level or the state -- would be to make war against my ability to protect my estate, leave it to the heirs I choose, designate the person I trust the most to make my healthcare decisions should I become incapacitated, and a great many other things. As I am, right now, managing a sizeable estate and caring for a mother who's far gone in Alzheimer's dementia and has a cancerous brain tumor besides, such issues weigh very much on my mind.

Those of us who must deal with the issue of "marriage-like rights for same-sex couples" in the real world can't afford to sit there on cozy little catbird seats and play smug about it. I am 43 years old, and cannot cryogenically freeze myself until this issue is settled.

The old "1,500 years of Western civilization" thing is cute, but tired. And not at all the point. I don't know whether you feel you must change the subject because you aren't winning the argument or what -- but in truth, you haven't even given it much of a try.

I will try this one more time. We don't use laws to define words. For that, we use the dictionary. Every society with any semblance of freedom, going all the way back to the time of the Magna Carta, has respected and protected, at least to some degree, the right of the people to hold private property. Without that right, freedom is impossible. Laws pretending to "define" marriage are, in my opinion, an attack on the individual's right to private property no less odious and insidious than is socialism itself.

The Constitution, indeed, provides a means of amendment. An amendment may either be altered or repealed -- but the Constitutional process is BY AMENDMENT. My objection to simply ignoring existing amendments, and whitewashing over them with something that violates and contradicts them, might be better off heeded.

Even if I were as straight as a broomstick up the bazoo, and thought homosexuality the greatest scourge to humankind since the Black Death, I would still like to hope that I would have read the Constitution and understood how it operates. To pass a new amendment that undermines the authority of existing amendments -- without making some (Constitutionally-provided) effort to address the existing amendments by changing or repealing them -- would do grave and unprecedented damage to the supreme law of our land.

It's been nice sparring with you. If you ever choose to learn more about why I believe as I do, you might want to visit my blog.

Thanks again.

Lori

Jack H said...

Greetings L. The issue of marriage rights is certainly a serious one. My "defensive" comment wasn't regarding the substance of your comment, but rather the tone. There are legal instruments that address your concerns, of partnership and powers of attorney, and now of civil unions, domestic partners, etc. You will be more informed on the matter than I, but even if legal recourses fall short for you, so far, the matter still isn't one of "marriage", but of rights. The emotion on both sides of this issue stem not from rights, but from definitions: "what is marriage". Nothing will be settled here, so I avoid the matter entirely.

Missing your point, re "changing the subject" - seems to me I was addressing your digression on marriage. If the issue is definitions, then we must look to usage. This is a change of subject? I see this more as a discussion than as an argument - keeps my blood pressure down, that way. :-)

I agree that we shouldn't institute social engineering via laws. I appreciate - no, laud - your recourse to dictionaries. Might I suggest you actually check out the entry on "marriage?" Onelook.com is a useful tool in this regard – many dictionaries, there. Only the very most recent, and politically correct, entries will allow for a definition friendly to your, um, revolutionary usage. And these will only follow, not precede, the changes in law that various states and countries have made. Hmm. So it seems like it has been law, rather than usage, that is at play here. I agree that it is ridiculous to have to try to define marriage through law. But of course, statutes do generally open up with a section where terms are defined. This is a standard occurrence. The odious thing is to re-define words through laws, I should think. As to which side is attempting that, we will probably disagree. But this is a pleasant, and I'd say friendly conversation, so we need not allow our differences to engender any negative feeling. In so far as it is possible, let's live peaceably with all men, and women. :-)

As for amendments, I would simply recall my X and Y example, trusting you see my point. We must agree that there are amendments that are ignored. The Ninth and Tenth come to mind. Que lastima.

I think you may be misunderstanding something. An amendment automatically modifies and supercedes any preceding law. It automatically addresses “the existing amendments by changing or repealing them.” We would hope an amendment would be clear, in this, to avoid future confusions, but the root of “amendment” is “amend” – that in itself should make the matter clear. You may wish to remind yourself in the matter, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Just trying to be helpful. :-)

Best,

J

Lori Heine said...

Again, J, you are missing my point about a couple of things.

If the FMA is passed then the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment is A PART OF what would be violated. Believe it or not, many people on BOTH sides of the issue are motivated by their religious beliefs.

You are living in a fool's paradise if you think most Americans would take kindly to a new amendment's simply rendering that clause null and void -- especially if it's done in a way too dishonest to openly acknowledge that a new amendment has been passed that has robbed the people of this protection.

Of course the only honest way (and the sole way that protects Constitutional integrity) to abolish the non-establishment clause in the First Amendment would be to first pass another amendment, separate to the FMA, that specifically eliminated the non-establishment clause.

As totally astonishing as it may be to you, I wish to marry for the same reasons that you do, or that any other Christian heterosexual does. I'm not going to argue with you about it here. My reasons are as religious as yours are, and again, whether you like it or not, there is a DIFFERENCE OF OPINION in the Church today about this. I would recommend you do some reading up on the subject -- and that you read something that exposes you to the other side of the issue. It may change your mind or it may not, but at least to those of us whose lives you don't understand, you would not seem so ignorant.

It never ceases to amuse gay and lesbian Christians when people like you speak of the issue as if we somehow simply missed ever reading the Bible. I have a B.A. in English from a Southern Baptist University, and I can guarantee you I have thoroughly studied both the dictionary and the Bible. I need a lecture from you on neither.

Of course you feel you must brand me as a politically-correct, bleeding-heart queer. I'm one of those radicals who run around wantonly changing word-definitions in dictionaries. Were you to study an old dictionary, you would find a variety of different words given meanings now considered archaic. I'm sure those who spoke Old High German once fretted over this same problem, but now they are one with the sod and the whole language has passed them by. I hate to break it to you, but one day it will happen to us, too.

Stereotyping gets you nowhere. It generates much heat, but hardly any light. Again, I recommend my blog to you if you have any sense of honest inquiry as to what I really do or do not stand for.

Going back to matters such as powers of attorney, as I have been in and out of lawyers' offices, over the past few months, more times than I can count with regard to the passing of my father and the illness of my mother, I can assure you I am not ignorant of such provisions. I know that they can still be made with regard to a domestic partner -- and THOSE (NOT how somebody else defines marriage) are precisely my concern. The problem is -- as I have already alluded in earlier comments -- the FMA and its more localized cousins seek to strip those in my position of ALL rights and protections, in many states including those you have mentioned.

I'm sure you mean well, and it is because I do NOT believe you are the standard-issue, ignoramus, thumbsucking fundamentalist jerk that I have bothered to reason with you as I have. But unless you intend to simply keep silent on the issue that I raise, may I advise you that you may want to educate yourself about it? (And no, listening to Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson probably isn't going to help.) It won't necessarily bring you around to my opinion, but at the very least, it might open your eyes about a few things.

And what Christian doesn't desire that!

Off I go, now, to another round of errands -- this time at banks -- regarding estate matters for the folks. So charming to exchange ideas with you again...

Lori

Jack H said...

Greetings L --

I expect there's a lot of point missing, all over the place. For my part, it's not that I don't get your point, but that I disagree with it - and even my disagreement has generally gone unstated. In so far as you've attempted reason and evidence, I find your case unconvincing in the extreme. My mind is not closed, but it is closed to emotion, to rhetoric, to dogmatic assertions. My mind is open to evidence.

You do realize that it would be legal - not *right,* but legal - to repeal the First Amendment? As you know, amendments amend, so if the "FMA" were to alter the application of the First Amendment somehow, it would be Constitutional. I have no trouble at all believing that both sides might frame this as a religious issue. I, however, see marriage more as a social than as a religious institution. One can marry without a church, but not without a license, after all. But I don't wish to go too far afield. Was there a point here I've missed? Still missing it. Or I didn't miss it at all.

I'm not seeing how a Constitutional definition of marriage would nullify the establishment clause. Marriage is not a religion, to be established. If it is an aspect, or application, of religion, yet it has *already* been limited, by requiring licensure. I'm sure you can follow the implications of this point, the most obvious of which is that the First Amendment has not been trashed by the fact that marriage already is, and always has been, regulated by the state.

I think I've asked, how is any of this "secret"? It's not front page stuff, but even I have heard something about it, and as I've said, I'm not a news junky. You make a large point of this, and I'd like it explicitly explained. How is it secret, and who is keeping it secret, and how are they dishonest?

I continue to offer no argument against your desire to marry into your own gender. I should argue with your feelings? I have not characterized my own feeling about this at all – the “totally astonishing” seems to be a bit of projection or some other psychological defense or rhetorical device on your part. (There is more to say, here, but let's hope the digression can be avoided.) Again, my reasoning isn’t religious, here. A religious argument certainly could be made, and I might make it sometime, but I haven’t, here. As for what I’ve been exposed to, hmm, how shall I say this? Assumptions and projections aside, have *I* presented myself as particularly insular in my perspective? Do I seem uninformed on a broad range of subjects? That I disagree with an opinion of yours doesn’t mean I am uninformed of its substance. I have not mastered the details of the specific case of the "FMA" - but I explicitly stated from the beginning that I don’t really care about the issue. For this, I seem “ignorant?” Hardly fair, I think. The "FMA" is your drum to beat, not mine. Now if you want to talk about abortion...

But let’s not. But if you do, see my “Travail”:

http://forgottenprophets.blogspot.com/2006/01/travail.html

But let’s not.

Where did I “lecture” you on the Bible? I’ve looked again through these comments, and find nothing at all from me on the Bible. Nothing whatsoever. As for 'people like me' – I think perhaps I detect some emotion here, which might be better directed at someone else. You write, “Of course you feel you must brand me as a politically-correct, bleeding-heart queer.” How about you ask me what I feel, and I tell you, rather than you tell me? Again, I have in no way “branded” you as a “bleeding-heart queer.” I did use the term “politically correct” re dictionary entries. Don’t see how that applies to you, though. In any case, I’ve shown you no disrespect at all, let alone used such invective as “queer.”

Your observations on archaic words doesn’t really apply to this discussion. “Marriage” is not an archaic word, and the movement – your movement - to alter the definition is a recent phenomenon. By “old dictionary,” you can only mean those published in the '90s. Hardly archaic. In any case, the issue isn’t about running around changing “word-definitions in dictionaries.” If that were all, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of passion involved. Interesting rhetorical tactic, Lori, but I’ve striven here not to use such devices. Appreciate the same. ;-)

Have I stereotyped? A challenge, Lori: read through these comments, yours and mine, and see who has made sweeping, unsupported and negative statements about the other. This is a challenge. I look forward to accepting your apology, graciously. :-)

You may be confusing me with some other correspondent. I’ve mentioned no states. If you will provide me with links or documentation regarding what new laws do (or will) exclude or limit powers of attorney for domestic partners, I’d be edified. You've applied the word 'ignorant' to me; if you yourself are not ignorant of the details, you can easily dispel my ignorance in this specific matter. Exactly what statutes are passed or pending, that “seek to strip those in my position of ALL rights and protections.” This is a very important point, and there would be more power in such a specific than in any multitude of emotional declarations or vague generalities that might be propounded. If you respond, please do me the courtesy of providing this info.

You will note, L, that I’ve said all along this is not an issue I’m interested in. I do intend to keep silent. If I decide to write on it, you may be assured that I will provide facts and documentation of my case. I did this with you, you’ll recall, in my comment of 2/23. I don’t really listen to Rush. I agree with him, though, mostly. I’m sure you can handle that fact, with grace and tolerance. What more might we wish, from one another?

Best,

J

OBloodyHell said...

> It’s like being a parent. We advance the interests of our children, over the interests of some other family’s children. As adults, we care and look out for all children. But when it comes to crunch time, save your child, and let the other one die. Hard? Cold? Yes. Tough.

...And, if you want to take this analogy a bit farther, it's pretty bad form for a grandparent to undermine the authority of a parent by naysaying everything the parent says to the child. Regardless of what they think, it's not their job to be parent, but to be grandparent. Most of the time that's to shut up and be positive about things.

Carter doesn't do what he does because of altruism, it's because it enhances his public image. If that PoS ever gave a rat's ass about anyone, he wouldn't support dictator after dictator in justifying the oppression and subjugation of their own peoples. The best damned way to know an election is utterly corrupt is to have Carter preside over it and have the dictator win.

Jack H said...

N - "grandparent" - excellent point. Wish I'd thought of it. I'll just pretend I did.

:-)

J

Duchess Of Austin said...

Wow...grand discussion! Tell me though, how did this go from being a discussion about what a dreadful president Jimmy Carter was, to a thinly veiled insult fest on gay marriage? It has been a great read, though!! Jack....you CAN'T quit. I'm quite addicted and my world would be a little bit darker :-(

Carter WAS a dreadful president. I was a teen-ager in that time, not old enough to vote, but even I could see he wasn't right for the job.

It's probably shallow of me to confess this, but I remember vividly that Rosalind was going to wear her dress from the Georgia governor's inauguration to the presidental inauguration ball! No class....you'd think that a woman becoming the First Lady of the United States could at least buy a new dress. Tacky, tacky....

Carter's religious principles, did, IMO, have a great deal to do with how he performed as president. I believe, as does Lori, that he's truly a godly person, and he really does believe in the things he does, and does so from the heart. That said, he was an ineffectual president, and unfit for the responsibilities, and attendent pressures of the office. The poor man's hair turned white in 4 years. Some people are just soooo nice they are totally incapable of making tough decisions. They just CAN'T. Carter was one of them. I believe he bit off more than he could chew. Being the governor of Georgia can hardly be on the same level as leader of the free world.

To Lori: I, too, would like to see where you get your assertion that the FMA would strip your rights to civil remedies like wills, powers of attorney and the like. I've never heard of that, so I'd be interested in that information, even if our gracious host is not.

Jack...you're amazing and with your permission, I'd like to link this blog to mine.

G.W.C. said...

I just ran across this discussion, obviously, I'm a year late, and "a bit off topic, by being on topic". There is, however, something I'd like to add.

I don't want a nice president. I want one capable of "doing the ugly, dirty and vicious".

Give a man a fish, he'll be back for another tomorrow.
But, if you teach him to fish, then kick his ass out, and he'll either take care of himself, or go mooch off someone else. Either way, you win.

Jack H said...

Nice is okay, if the times will have it. These aren't them. Those weren't either. That's why I don't have a problem with Guiliani. Provided he stays true to what he says about judges. It's all a pig in a poke, but of all the guys running, Rudy is the one who'd kick in the back of a badguy's head. Good. We'll see.

G.W.C. said...

I'm not particularly fond of Guiliani. Mostly, it's his position on gun control (I'm a gunsmith, besides, look at how well it worked in England. Only the criminals have guns there, even the cops have to sign them out, after filling out paperwork and getting 20 forms of authorization). But, If it comes down to it, I'll vote for him. I remember, on 9/11 that pic of his face covered in dust, the only clean spots were where his tears had cut through it. Most people saw a man bereft, sad, in anguish. While he probably was those thing and more, what I saw was a man who was EXTREMELY PISSED OFF. Yeah, I'd vote for him, that was not a time for sadness, it was a time for blood. I've been called a "warmonger" many times, especially because of my profession. But, honestly, I'd rather be a warmonger than a peacemonger. At least you know the warmonger will show up to fight for a just cause. The peacemongers? Well, they'll just support your enemies, just as they're doing now.

Jack H said...

Fond? What is this word, "fond"? I do not recognize it in this context. Different job description. Mayors have to worry about street crime. Presidents have to defend and protect the Constitution.

G.W.C. said...

Good point. Emotions have zero relevance toward qualifications, or governing for that matter. Not that anyone could ever convince a liberal of that fact. With them, emotion, perception, and "how it feels" is all that's normally relevant, and that, truly is sad.

Everything has it's time: emotions, logic, generosity, strangley, violence gets more time than most. But, I think that is as it should be, for now.

Jack H said...

That's hate speach.