Yesterday, Sullivan was clutching at this exchange like a drowning man grasping for a piece of driftwood:
The Post: Do you plan to expend any political capital to aggressively lobby senators for a gay marriage amendment?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I think that the situation in the last session well, first of all, I do believe it’s necessary; many in the Senate didn’t, because they believe DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] will is in place, but they know DOMA is in place, and they’re waiting to see whether or not DOMA will withstand a constitutional challenge.
The Post: Do you plan on trying to using the White House, using the bully pulpit, and trying to
THE PRESIDENT: The point is, is that senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I’d take their admonition seriously.
The Post: But until that changes, you want it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, until that changes, nothing will happen in the Senate. Do you see what I’m saying?
The Post: Right.
THE PRESIDENT: The logic.
From this, Sullivan concludes:
The FMA has gone unmentioned by Bush since the election – and it appears more and more like a pre-election ploy rather than a principled stand. (Of course, that’s a relief but it’s also an indication of how bald-faced a political maneuver this was in the first place). But this piece of sanity from the President deserves praise and reciprocation from those of us who support equality in marriage.
Thus reassured, he closes with buoyant optimism:
Very soon, it will be clear that Massachusetts’ judicial decision will be endorsed by its own legislature, making this case a matter not simply of judicial activity but democratic legitimacy. And then we should bide our time and let the example of Massachusetts set in. I’m convinced that once the reality of this reform sinks in, fears will recede. The president has given us this opportunity. It would be crazy not to reciprocate. But for the record: thanks, Mr president.
Sullivan may well be right on one count that the FMA was never anything more than red meat for the knuckle-draggers. But even so, the thing about pandering to a noisy constituency is that they’ll hold you to it, as we learn this morning:
The White House sought on Sunday to reassure conservatives that President Bush would work hard on behalf of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, backtracking from remarks Mr. Bush made in an interview suggesting that he would not press the Senate to vote on the amendment this year.
Remember Charlie the tuna? The bespectacled tunafish who, for reasons which are never made entirely clear, wishes nothing more than to be caught by the Starkist trawler (represented by a cartoon fishing hook) and, presumably, chopped up and served as some child’s lunchmeat? That’s Andrew Sullivan. Like Charlie, he longs for acceptance into a system that is designed to destroy him, and like Charlie, he is destined for perpetual rejection.