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Was Flipper smarter?

Everyone knows that dolphins are very smart animals. So it's probably an insult to dolphins to refer to a politician who flip-flops when he realizes that he has made a tactical error as "Flipper."

So it is with Gov. Perry, whose stunningly stupid remarks about homosexual "marriage" have required him to flip-flop rather spectactularly.

Now, please, don't misunderstand this as an attempt to get involved with the 2012 election early. I despise the increasingly lengthy campaign-before-the-campaign. I have to admit that I probably wouldn't be noticing what silly things Perry is saying about the 10th amendment if he weren't a plausible GOP 2012 candidate. However, the real reason I'm blogging about it is that, as regular readers of W4 know, the 10th amendment, enumerated powers, and limited federal government are all concepts dear to my heart, and I hate to see them misused by ignorant people who have no idea what they are talking about, especially if this misuse is done by someone influential enough that he might confuse my fellow conservatives.


Perry's original remark went like this:

Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.

Now, this is an incredibly stupid remark. Normally when one makes a comment in the imperative mood, directed to a presumed political audience, we can take it that one is making some sort of political allusion to some present issue. One would therefore infer from Perry's remark that conservatives are somehow urging us to do something contrary to the 10th amendment in the homosexual "marriage" debate and that Perry is disagreeing with them about this policy. Right?

Except that there is no such policy. There is nothing that conservatives are urging anyone to do that the most ardent 10th amendment hawk could object to on 10th amendment grounds. Nothing. Nada. Zero. DOMA isn't contrary to the 10th amendment. The attempt to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, obviously, is not contrary to the 10th amendment.

So what the deuce was Perry talking about? What was he urging conservatives to do or not to do in order to "stay out of [New York's] business"?

I doubt that he knew. It just sounded like a great line. To him or to somebody. Wow, what a gallant defender you are of states' rights. What integrity. What courage. What populism. "Stay out of their business." That's tellin' 'em, Gov. Perry.

Well, of course, there was quite a storm after Perry's remarks, and political opponents took advantage of them, so now he back-pedals. Perry resoundingly tells us that he is a strong defender of a marriage protection amendment. Now, Gov. Perry, that's great and all, and of course it isn't against the 10th amendment. But, unless you're still really ignorant, perhaps you realize that such an amendment would mean that New York's recognition of homosexuals as "married" would be nullified, right? You do know that, right? So, defenders of homosexual "marriage" presumably wouldn't think that an attempt to pass such an amendment counts as "staying out of New York's business." Hmmm.

In his attempt to save face, Perry makes the perfectly correct point that the rights of states are recognized by the amendment process itself. Quite right. How did you come to sound like you were so confused on that in your original remarks, Governor? More, he says that his original comment was merely a recognition of the present "state of law." But why make such a statement in order to call attention to the present "state of law"? Why express such a recognition at all? It's not as though conservatives are urging that federal marshals go out right now and arrest justices of the peace in New York for issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples!

Let's face it, "If you believe in the 10th amendment, stay out of their business" just does not sound like, "Unfortunately, we do not yet have a federal marriage amendment, and therefore what the legislators of New York have done is presently legal. This only underscores the urgency of passing a federal marriage amendment." No. Somehow, those just don't sound the same atall.

Of course, the mantra of states' rights has been a commonplace as a pseudo-argument against a federal marriage amendment (e.g., John Kerry used this argument), which Perry should have known.

But there's more. By some strange coincidence, Rudy Giuliani has been shooting off his mouth in words that sound remarkably similar to Perry's original remark, and at approximately the same time:

"I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states," Giuliani said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." [snip] "I think it's wrong, but there are other things that I think are wrong that get decided by democratic vote," Giuliani told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

If you want to keep your social conservative credentials burnished, the last person you want to be sounding like is Rudy Giuliani.

Maybe Flipper really was smarter.

Comments (22)

I don't know much about Perry. The state of TX is governed fairly well, and I guess he has a hand in that. But stuff like this and the gardasil fiasco in TX sure do make you wonder about his judgment.


I heard the same things about GWB when he was running. It was said he was especially adept at working across the aisle. But WDC and Texas are worlds apart as beltway denizens are so wont to remind us.

Good post, Lydia. I would just add that Article IV applies here as well.

Several NY town clerks -- all Republicans -- have already resigned or raised the possibility of their resignations because of the SSM law. Gov. Cuomo has encouraged this by his statements saying SSM objectors shouldn't be town clerks.

At minimum, a smart candidate should be aware of, and opposed to, policies that purge his fellow party members from the government, and from public life in general.

"I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states,"

If most gays would keep it to their bedrooms I think most conservatives would be a lot less interested in what they do...

Kevin, a very good point, and one that wouldn't have occurred to me.

Kamilla, you're quite right about article IV, which also underscores the urgency of an amendment. The other thing, of course, is that the federal government is constantly making decisions about who is married and who isn't for purely federal purposes, as a would-be Presidential candidate should know. For that reason and even now, the issue literally _cannot_ be kept at a purely state level.

So, Rudy Giuliani wants conservatives to stay out of people's bedrooms, and he wants these matters to be decided by the states. But, if a state decides against homosexual "marriage" just within their state, then those passing the law have not stayed out of people's bedrooms, have they? Giuliani cannot have it both ways. Which does he want? I suspect that I know, based on his background.

Not really related, but while on the subject of the GOP and water-dwelling mammals...


You just can't make this stuff up.

As you say, NM, not really related.

"As you say, NM, not really related."

But still rather humorous.

I'm not going to discuss species conservation and limitations on human activities on this thread, NM. Suffice it to say that I think those are real issues and am not particularly inclined to yuck it up with lefties who just want to portray conservatives with doubts about any of their species-preserving actions as stupid fools. Please, bag it.

Your wish is my command, Madam Chairman. I'm nothing if not obliging.

Random thoughts:

Flipper is infinitely smarter - he never went into politics.

It seems as though most politicians should have mandatory retreats, twice a years, where they get away from everyone and do nothing but sit in a nice quiet room and read and think.

I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states

Spoken by a man who seems to understand nothing about marriage. Marriage is not a private institution. In fact, secret marriages were outlawed for that very reason. Things don't get decided by the states, either, as if there could be fifty different opinions on what constitutes a marriage. There are certain ideas that transcend individual reckoning and must be applied to all men. It is as if Giuliani would be perfectly happy to proclaim that the law of gravity was voted down in Connecticut. Marriage is a universal and is beyond the definition by a state. It must be adopted by all or it becomes a vacuous concept. Call gay marriage something else, but marriage it is not.

Also, since God is the oversee of the natural law and marriages, and any legitimate government must promote the common welfare as defined by the natural law, then, since God witnesses marriages, day by day, so must the state. It is not true that governments should get out of the bedroom - it should never let some things into the bedroom to start with. So, sure, keep government out of the bedroom as long as it is understood that governments must have a right to say who gets to go into the bedroom to start with. Even that doesn't go far enough, however, since abuse can occur in the bedroom, even among those who have a right to be there.

Really, Giuliani's comment, in the scheme of things is silly.

The Chicken

The libertine position on sexual matters _is_ silly. One wonders sometimes if they hear themselves. Then one is afraid that they do hear themselves and are quite pleased.

I'm trying to understand what the latest Texan conservative savior is saying.

On one hand he is all for state rights and, even though he is personally against "unisex-marriage", he is for NY state right to legislate it.

On another hand he is for Federal Marriage Amendment. Which WILL remove the right of NY state to legalize any marriage not between one man and one woman.

Do we have another intellectual giant from Texas gunning for Presidency?

Everytime we think we have a racehorse, we end up with an ass.

What is Matter with Texas?

Since WWII we had 2 or 3 (GHW Bush is a suspect) Prezs from Texas: Johnson, George HW Bush, Jorge Bush.

Two disasters and a big disappointment (Bush papa).

Just a random occurrence? Not very likely. 3 out of 3 are bad or horrible.

Perhaps Texas, a country sized and populous that was an independent country at one point has some unique features. Features that make successful TX pols failures in Washington DC.

Demographically Texas has a unique feature of Tejanos (Spaniards/Mexicans who lived there for hundreds of years) allied and merged with Good Old Boys money bags.

Economic structure is also unique for a state in the union.
It is a natural resources based economy, low-wage jobs are relatively abundant, low taxes, low regulations, low services environment.

Illegal immigrants are welcome to work and drive wages of citizen and legal residents down but are not given too many government bennies.

Mexico would be like Texas if, instead of corrupt narco-cronies, Bush dynasty and Rick Perry have run it.

Maybe, that is why Jorge Bush loves Mexico and Mexicans so much, he would not let any Mexican murderer to get executed.

Mexico, undoubtly would be better off under Bushes and Perries.

Texas seems to be OK.

The US of A is not so much.

What do you think?

Any Texan patriot care to explain horrible Presidents from Texas?

Mick, in keeping with your self-ascribed title, I think you're a little over the top. I believe there was a philosopher who responded to someone's calling Kant a "disaster" that it would be a shame to waste on Kant an epithet that clearly should be reserved for Hegel. Something similar applies, mutatis mutandis, to your comments about the Bushes and, say, Barack Obama.

In any event, I do wonder whether on sheerly empirical grounds we should accept the puzzling but apparently correct conclusion that, much as we admire Texas and much as it epitomizes a lot that conservatives rightly think is good about America (um, guns, for example), nonetheless Presidents taken from among its governors don't turn out as good as we might have expected.

Certainly I deplore the tendency (I've seen it in another forum) to resent this criticism of Perry as if he were some sort of heir apparent and above criticism *on the very basis of* his being governor of Texas.

Mr. Luse,

Can I use that line?


Sure, Kamilla.

I get a chuckle when I think what Mick would be saying if Al Gore had been elected president instead of Bush, which he would be if we didn't have an electoral college. Since Gore didn't get the presidency, Mick can utter the famous last words: "Well it couldn't have been any worse!" I have a different opinion however.

"Flipper is infinitely smarter - he never went into politics"


this is good and i like it

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