Saturday, July 09, 2011

"I Will Never Smoke Or Chew...."

"...And I won't hang out with those who do."

Michelle Bachmann has signed a similar sort of pledge, though it's got a lot more items on the list.

I think all such pledges and promises extracted from those running for office are little more than dares. We'd do better demanding they bite the head off a live bald eagle in public: at least they'd be obliged to actually follow through. In the case of this list, some of the things it appears to demand of a Presidential candidate would require 'em to subvert the Separation of Powers and the Bill of Rights if elected. (So, business as usual, then?)

And what a list it is! The Family Leader has assembled a grab-bag of social-conservative values for their Pledge, including frequent and obsessive mention of homosexuality (Rick Santorum was frothingly happy to sign). They're agin' it, which shouldn't be a surprise; and they're agin' any claim that "those people" could be as happy or as hardwired as the rest of us.

What're they for? Well, gee, they say married couples have better sex (citing U.S. Census data -- and while I find Census questionnaires overly intrusive, I don't remember any questions about that) and more-successful children, along with a collection of dubious statistically-based conclusions leading to the assertion that, even if two people loathe one another, they should stay wed so's society and their kids will get the same advantages as the kids of the loving, married couple next door. (What's wrong with that, you might ask? Simple, there's no "control" group; it compares children of couples who choose to stay married with kids of couples who chose not to get or stay wed; this tells us nothing about the kids of couples who can't get a divorce or, for that matter, the offspring of faithful unwed couples).

They're for the First Amendment, but against porn in all forms -- so much for that racy summer novel you're reading, and so much for the lack of Zen paradox in the Judicial branch, too.

They appear to be in favor of slavery's support of marriage norms, which is (to put it gently) fairly thin ice; while their observation that the children of pre-Civil War slaves were more likely than their modern counterparts to be raised in a two-parent household (a dirt-floor doghouse of a "household," they omit to mention) is probably true, it's also irrelevant; those selfsame children were also several times as likely to be illiterate and to die of any one of a long list of childhood diseases. (You can cite the same general stat for the palefaces in the Big House; the numbers aren't as lopsided but it's a huge shift away from wedlock. So why bring up the other, except to raise a stink? War's over and the last veteran of it died a long time ago).

Near as I can tell, they stop just short of chasing us wimmens and our toddlers back into purdah -- for our own good; and in another Zen-like move, follow that by denouncing Shariah law[1], which would do the same thing and mealy-mouth the same thin justification for it.

For even more paradox, how's about their citing a long list of the sort of social diseases generally associated with promiscuity as evidence homosexuals should not be allowed to marry? H'mm, bit of a logical problem, you'd think, but it's whole camels for dessert if you can only manage to hack that gnat into pieces small enough to swallow!

The Grand Finale is the best paradox of all, all the more in that it is lifted from the Left: in the name of freedom of speech and religion, it demands the candidate fight against "...the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy." At first glance, it's nice-sounding word salad; too bad that when parsed, it's tellin' the Executive to go quash the speakers at the polyamory rally -- in the name of freedom of speech and religion.

Instead of doin' the hard work to demonstrate the superiority of heterosexual monogamy[2] in word, deed and Hollywood movie, The Family Leader want the Feds to stand over it with a whip, herdin' everybody back onto the reservation, willing or no, on the unproven assumption that it will make everything better. Ah, yes, I recognize that Leader Principle!

Top-down social engineering is just as unappealing to me when it comes from the Right as it is from the Left. YMMV.
1. It's almost amusing that the socially-conservative groups that want to fix things by gettin' Us Women back into the kitchen and nursery under the benevolent protection of Men loathe one another so intensely; Protestant monogamists vs. jack-Mormon "fundamentalist" polygamists vs. Muslim fundamentalists. Hey, guys? From over here, it looks like you're all on the same side.
2. Interesting word, by the way, in that it doesn't rule out polyandry; but I digress. Update: I'm also wrong. Alas, seat-of-the-pants etymology.


Brandoch Daha said...

"Monogamy" means "one mate", not "one man" ("monandry" or something) -- or did I misunderstand your footnote [2]?

But if they did leave the door open for polyandry, it'd immeasurably improve that dismal list.

I had really, really hoped Bachmann would have enough sense to stay away from this kid of b******t. As far as I've been able to tell, she was the only 2012 candidate in sight who might possibly be a fiscal conservative, but didn't have a mountain of negatives.

The thing about slavery, Christ on a crutch, they'll crucify her for that. Endlessly. And everybody else on the "right". The hell with her.

Ken said...

Ms. Bachmann does seem to have a penchant for own goals, doesn't she? As for the rest, I'm with our esteemed hostess. I politely decline to become involved -- voluntarily or otherwise -- with things that don't pick my pocked nor break my leg. I'd have added "...nor startle the horses," but some horses are entirely too easily startled.

It's all theater anyway. The Coke wing of the Pepsi-Coke party is fixing to shove a Mitt sandwich down our throats, and we'll see whether it's any better than Professor Reynolds's syphilitic camel.

My prediction: not so's you'd notice.

WV: rechall...where I'm liable to be, instead of in a voting booth, November of '12.

Ed Rasimus said...

We've forgotten about details like separation of powers, rule of law, or federalism. Ask Americans who is responsible for anything and despite the difference between legislate and execute we will respond, "the President". Which is, of course, why we have Obama promising everything and riding roughshod over the Constitution with executive orders and regulations.

Politicians that make blanket promises are pandering. They are feeding red meat to the base and ignoring the fact that any policy in a republic must, by definition, be forged in compromise and with consideration of priorities.

Bachman is riding the wave of right wing populism. In the process she ignores the basic concept of government by the people. All people need to be represented and at least minimally satisfied in the policy. The president and the government have to represent ALL the people and not the tyranny of a vocal majority.

I predict a rapid fade out when realism begins to rear its head.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"Rick Santorum was frothingly happy to sign."

Been reading Dan Savage again, have you? ;)

Earl said...

Ah, I play silly facebook games -- listening or reading all the stuff that doesn't fit my mind makes me think you are very brave to venture where I avoid.

Good luck, hope the house is doing well.

Drang said...

The problem with working long hours and odd shifts--about which you know something--is that you are not in sync with the "news cycle." I heard something about this, few details until reading this.


You know, Sarah Palin, Who Maketh The Liberals Heads To Explode, proved herself capable of vetoing laws the ethical principles which she agreed with, but which she deemed unconstitutional nevertheless. So there may be hope.

But someone who lets themselves be roped into this kind of a stunt has little political viability.

Loki1776 said...

"I don't remember any questions about that"

2010 Census

Combining the answers to questions 2 and 3 on Person 2 through Person 6 gives a real good estimate.

Drang said...

ISTR that GW Bush, when running for office, answered issues like this by saying :"If Congress sends me a law..."
Wish more candied dates would follow that lead.

Read the "Vow". Not sure how signing it, even for someone who wholeheartedly felt it was The Right Thing To Do, would effect a President's performance. That may be an overly legalistic POV.

LabRat said...

Bachmann is starkers. There were plenty of signs to that effect before now, but they were far less widely reported on because she wasn't considered any kind of important then. She's a complementarian, too- you should see the tortured logic employed by that movement to rationalize having a woman in a leadership position with any kind of authority over men in the first place.

I'm suffering a rant blockage. I'm not even sure where on this whole ball of hot mess I want to begin. At least now I can eliminate the bits you covered...

Bubblehead Les. said...

So if Baughmann wants to put America on this Path, how come she hasn't resigned from Congress, put on her Poodle Skirt and Pearls, and has her husband's pipe,slippers and Martini waiting for him when he comes home? Ohhh, it's for OTHER People to do, not her!

Must be a Politician, huh?

Eck! said...

this is one after reading the "VOW" the only possible call for the skeptic is..


This is something straight out of the buckle of the radical fundi bible belt to bring us to THE MARRIAGE VOW or was it the entry into the Handmaid's Tale.

The part about slavery was a subtle intro to whites gotta have more kids.
I read it as very bigoted.

In the end there are the lines and whats between them. It's all batshit.


Matthew said...

"Hey, guys? From over here, it looks like you're all on the same side."

What? Wait, why are you over there in the first place. Get back in the kitchen, woman.


Maybe politicians think the judges will award them more points if they deliberately increase their degree of difficulty in winning?


How hard is it to say, "I personally believe X, Y, and Z; but it is not in the power of the President to attempt to impose their moral beliefs on the American people by fiat nor is it constitutional for any branch of government to attempt do so in any other fashion, so I will not so attempt nor allow such an attempt to be made. Next question."

Roberta X said...

Chas: after that first Google-search to learn how Rick S's name had been verbed, No. No, no, squickfully no. Dis-gusting, but devastatingly effective negative publicity.

Matthew: Zackly. It is possible to deeply disagree with other people's damfool and/or unappealing notions without giving way to the impulse to wee all over the Bill of Rights in order to keep 'em from bein' all Not Like You.

kishnevi said...

The slavery thing is more than a double FAIL. First off, it ignores the fact that spouses and children were often sold off and the families forcibly separated, so many slave families did not survive as complete households, dirt floor or no. Second, slaves were not allowed to marry in a legally binding manner, specifically to ensure that there would be no problems when spouses were sold to different owners. The jumping the broom type ceremonies were a sort of cultural replacement of weddings, but had no legal force. IOW, slaves generally could not marry, and successful child rearing among slaves thereof would be a good argument for plain old living together and not being married.

I've seen Bachmann on the TV news shows. She can't answer a question other than by changing it into a (usually irrelevant) sound bite attacking Obama. She wants us to think she's a Papagena, but she's showing all the signs of being a Queen of the Night.

Bob B. said...

politicians do all kinds of stupid things to get elected. if you want my vote, tell me you are a strict constitutionalist and have the voting record to back it up. tell me you will interpret the constitution by the founders original intent. I don't care how many kids you've adopted. I don't care what you look like. I don't care what B.S. pledge you sign. get the important stuff right. the rest I will learn to live with.

The Jack said...

Ah yes because "good" behavior resulting from fear of the lash is so very moral.

The Power of the state to make people better sure is seductive and looks so easy.

Also I'm really creeped out by the argument that "Because behavior X yields statistically suboptimal results when compared with other behaviors it should be banned."

I didn't realize we lived in a utilitarian-actuarial-autocracy.

(And that's not mentioning the lovely trope of punishing people because their actions may result in a possible crime at a later date).

If the government can ban gay marriage because of the "poorer" children some statistical table results in, why not other types of marriage?

Why not anything else that doesn't result in the most efficient and moral and revenue generating serf-class?

Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger said...

The Jack said...
If the government can ban gay marriage because of the "poorer" children some statistical table results in, why not other types of marriage?
Why not anything else that doesn't result in the most efficient and moral and revenue generating serf-class?

That was pretty much the point of the parenting license idea the Clintons floated back when.