Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004  

Iraq's in the toilet, the economy looks good--but only if you're rich, and Osama's still runnin' free. If you're the President, what do you run on? Gay marriage.

Resorting to a wedge issue isn't a bad play. The issue has no consequences--at least none that will appear in the next four years--so Bush won't get into the kind of trouble he's had with WMD. He knows that he's weakest on issues, so he's hoping to craft a campaign around character. This has been a hugely successful move for him so far (though how it will play now that his administration is charged with a number of dubiously honest actions is unclear).

But the biggest calculation is that the opposition will do what it always does: implode. The attacks have already begun. Kerry, whom I'm assuming is going to be the candidate, has already bobbled this hot potato. He knows that merely answering the question will lose him support. While Bush can expect his social moderates to stay in line, Kerry can't. Either the liberal wing or the moderates will break ranks and attack. Either way, Bush wins.

Kerry should probably go on the attack and ask why the man who claims to be a "uniter" is bringing up an issue that has no presidential relevance while people are dying in Iraq and barely scraping by at home. He should point out that amendments to the Constitution generally ensure rights, not remove them, and ask why Bush feels it's necessary. And he should ask everyone who's hoping for real change in America--moderates and liberals alike--whether they think gay marriage is the issue they want the election to turn on. Because that's what Bush is hoping for.

posted by Jeff | 11:18 AM |
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