Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

McGreevey to resign

CNN is reporting that New Jersey Governror Jim McGreevey has announced his resignation. Apparently he’s been involved in some homosexual extramarital hanky-panky. Says McGreevey, "I am a gay American."

A Real Straussian Foreign Policy

A very thoughtful piece by Tom West about Leo Strauss and his relative influence on American foreign policy appears in the latest issue of The Claremont Review of Books. West argues that Strauss’ views on foreign policy are largely misunderstood and are not really guiding our mission in Iraq as some critics have claimed. If Strauss’ thought were guiding our policy, West argues our priorities would be more clear and, perhaps, more readily defended in the public mind. I’m no expert on this but it is a good read and offers a unique and constructive critique of the Bush policy.

Bush’s Second-Term Agenda

Free-market George Mason University economist (okay, that’s redundant) Tyler Cowen offers his prescription for what the president should do if he’s elected to a second term. Here are some of my favorites:

2. Tell Western Europe it is paying for its own defense from now on.

5. Strengthen America’s commitment to science. This will have implications for educational policy, immigration policy, and regulatory policy. Don’t restrict stem cell research. Hope that science comes up with affordable and politically sustainable solutions for global warming and clean energy independence. You might have libertarian objections to science subsidies, but the realistic alternative today is more government intervention.

12. Get on TV and tell the nation that a free economy is a critical source of our strength. Tell them you mean it, and then mean it. Economic growth is the greatest long-run gift we can give to the world.

By the way, for those unfamiliar with Cowen’s work, he is author of a couple of brilliant books: Creative Destruction : How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures and In Praise of Commercial Culture (not to slight his other books, which I haven’t read). He has also assembled an extremely useful Ethnic Dining Guide for the Washington, DC, area.

Cleveland’s Channel 8 Tomorrow

FYI, I will be on Cleveland’s Fox channel 8 tomorrow at about 7:40 am to talk about Iraq.

Declaration as Treasure Map?

Has anyone else seen the trailers for this new Jerry Bruckheimer movie National Treasure? Due out in November, it stars Nicolas Cage as a "treasure hunter" who is on a search for the clues that are "all around us" (e.g., on the currency, eye of the pyramid, etc.) about a treasure hidden by America’s Founding Fathers. Apparently, the climax of the movie is when Cage and his associate discover that the final map to the treasure can be found on the back of the original copy of the Declaration of Independence!

My husband and I were out this weekend celebrating our sixth anniversary when we were subjected to the trailer for this movie. I haven’t had such a good laugh in a long time! I was in hysterics! It was like Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Conspiracy Theory meets Harry Jaffa! If there was a Saturday Night Live exclusively for Straussian types, this trailer would need very little editing to serve as a skit.

Needless to say, I was the only person in the theater laughing and my husband (an engineer) was both mystified and embarrassed! Too bad there doesn’t seem to be a real hero in search of the real treasure in the Declaration.

Kerry’s plan for Iraq

Here, as published today, is John Kerry’s plan for Iraq. It comes, probably, as a response to critics who say that he has not put forth a real, clear plan for what he intends to do there if elected. Is this all he’s got? If this is his response to the critics then the critics were more correct than they thought. He offers nothing here but more vacuous suggestions for more international involvement. But how is that going to happen? Why would that be good? No satisfying answer is given. Are we supposed to think the involvement would come because he is more popular than Bush? Because he’s "a better leader"? Because he knows what it’s like to carry an M-16? Kerry reminds me of every annoying pimple-faced would be student-body president I ever met in my life. He’s got nothing to offer but his smug little self and he really believes that that is enough.

Same-Sex Marriage and the ABA

Courtesy of the Federalist Society, apologies for the length, but worth quoting in full to get a sense of how the American Bar Association thinks about these things:

Same-Sex Marriage Panel
The ABA held a panel on same-sex marriage Friday afternoon, titled "Marriage Redefined: Separate, Equal, or Somewhere in Between?" Panelist Rabbi Joshua Lesser-who is openly gay and active in Jewish gay/lesbian causes including Atlanta’s Rainbow Center-said that the idea that marriage has remained static is a myth. He used history to tear down the current definition of marriage to illustrate that there is no such thing as a traditional definition, stating "Women in marriage were good for two things: procreation and property. This is true in the Bible." He cited the Bible a couple of times, referencing "Jonathan and King David kissed and embraced. Now I am not saying that there’s proof that this was a gay relationship, but I am not saying that there’s proof that it was not." He then stated that Jonathan and David made a covenant with each other to protect one another’s household. Rabbi Lesser claimed that contemporary society has itself redefined marriage from what it used to be: "To say that marriage today comes from Judeo Christianity is destructive to women." He said that one man and one woman is ignorance. In speaking about defining marriage on the basis of sex, he asks, "Aren’t we better than sexuality?"
Family lawyer Sondra Harris used history as well citing the Bible, Greek, and Asian cultures where there were more than two spouses involved in a marriage. She said, "Marriage is not about love. That is a Western idea born out of Medieval times. Marriage is about property." She brought up the Council of Trent, stating that the Catholic Church didn’t treat marriage as a sacrament until this time. She then went on to cite movements in the 1970s that saw marriage as obsolete such as the Free Love movement.

The chairman of the section spoke about how Fortune 500 companies are increasingly offering benefits, stating: "The private sector has recognized the importance of this issue. Government, however, is a little slow to follow." 150 cities and 200 colleges offer some type of benefit. This needs to be done to get the best personnel and professors, she stated.

Mary Williams, of the Coca-Cola benefits division said, "What’s the big deal." She said it doesn’t really cost that much to make the change to incorporate same-sex couples.

Panelist Tom Mulroy, chairman of the ABA Family Law Section Congressional Relations Committee, compared the United States with the rest of the world and was asked what everyone else has done with this issue. His answer, "Nothing. This is a problem that the U.S. and Europe have been tackling."

Panelist Shannon Minter, of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, compared same sex marriage to discrimination of the past (i.e. interracial marriage, racism and people with disabilities). This discrimination is a "deep and scarring hardship for no rational reason." Attorney Kevin Clarkson of Anchorage-the same sex marriage opponent on the panel- responded, "There is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage." He claimed that the left is trying to use the Lawrence decision to redefine marriage. "You can’t claim the right to privacy argument under Due Process because there isn’t a long-understanding of a deep and firm routed history and tradition." Minter disagreed and said that Lawrence illustrates that "there’s no question that gays and lesbians have a right to claim the protection of the right to privacy." Clarkson claimed otherwise: "Nowhere in Lawrence does the Court mention same-sex marriage." When asked by the moderator what is at stake, Minter replied: Equal protection for children, family, and marriage as a tradition. "We can’t turn away from people who want to participate in marriage. What we are experiencing is a real test of constitutional and democratic principles that state we are all created equal. We will look back soon and ask ourselves, What’s all the fuss about?’" Clarkson responded: "What’s at stake is allowing the people to control public policy issues as well as the integrity of the judiciary. When the judiciary takes issues that are not in the Constitution and creates new ones, they are taking it out of the hands of the people."

Does anyone else get the sense that this issue will remain in the courts for a while?