Mary Cheney

by Ted on October 14, 2004

On the subject of Mary Cheney, the labor saving device of “pointing to other bloggers” saves me from the obligation to trying to top this response from Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Reynolds breathlessly claims that “Lynne Cheney is letting Kerry have it for dissing her daughter.” How, might you ask, did Kerry “dis” Mary Cheney? Let’s look at the relevant part of the transcript:

KERRY: We’re all God’s children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as.

What a monster! How could he….er, actually, this doesn’t “dis” Mary Cheney in the slightest–it’s positive in tone and substance–unless you think there’s something wrong with being gay. So are Reynolds and Kaus just rank bigots? Perhaps, but their argument on its face is almost as stupid as bigotry itself. According to Mickey, with the assent of Reynolds, the fact that Bush’s base consists of a large number of rank homophobes means that mentioning the publicly acknowledged reality of someone’s sexuality should be out of bounds–indeed, “creepy”. The intolerance of the Republican base, therefore, is a reason to vote against Democrats. Wow, fake libertarianism doesn’t get any more fake than that!

Democrats certainly do not have a flawless record on gay rights. I’m thinking of the “hairdresser” commercial from the 2002 Montana race, or attacks on Andrew Sullivan about his personal life, or Clinton’s decision to sign the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (which Kerry voted against.) Every time I hear Kerry and Edwards stress that marriage is “between a man and a woman,” it takes a little bit of wind out of my sails.

Some of this is just realistic politics, but I can still look back and see an array of Democratic moments that should make gay-positive voters wince. I just don’t see how this is one of those moments.

Andrew Sullivan has a lot to say about this. Key quote:

The only way you can believe that citing Mary Cheney amounts to “victimization” is if you believe someone’s sexual orientation is something shameful. Well, it isn’t. What’s revealing is that this truly does expose the homophobia of so many – even in the mildest “we’ll-tolerate-you-but-shut-up-and-don’t-complain” form.

Motive and opportunity

by Ted on October 14, 2004

Re: the alleged voter fraud in Nevada

Is there any rational reason why new voters should be asked to declare their party when they register? Voter registration drives are the healthy by-products of political campaigns. The registrars are likely to be enthusiastic partisans, and the tempation to toss out new voters for the other guy will always be there.

Not every state makes new voters declare a party when they register. I know from experience that Washington and Texas don’t do it. In Texas, you effectively declare your party by voting in one primary or the other. Your party affiliation doesn’t appear on your registration form or your voter card. I’ve done some voter registration for MoveOn.org, and for all I know, I did nothing but register Republicans. I had no opportunity to throw out Republicans, because I didn’t know who they were. It seems like a good system.

Am I missing something obvious?

Anybody but Zarqawi

by John Quiggin on October 14, 2004

For once, there has been a little bit of encouraging news coming out of Iraq. I’ve also been encouraged by some of the reactions I’ve seen.

[click to continue…]

Statistical Methods

by Kieran Healy on October 14, 2004

Maria’s “post about required statistics courses”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002676.html reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story. I _think_ it concerns one of the very early British social surveys of urban poverty by Charles Booth, or Mackintosh or one of those guys. The results were resisted by many for political reasons, and one strategy was to discredit the new-fangled methods they relied on. Thus, one critic in (I believe) the House of Commons asserted that he could not find the results credible because the report “only relied on a sample of the population — and a mere _random_ sample, at that.”

If anyone knows the source of this (doubtless mangled) story, let me know in the comments.

Marrying Up

by Kieran Healy on October 14, 2004

Over at Volokh, recent addition “Jim Lindgren”:http://www.law.nwu.edu/faculty/fulltime/Lindgren/Lindgren.html is making me regret once more their loss of Jacob Levy. “Here he is”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_10_14.shtml#1097728719 complaining about the supposedly appalling moderator bias that caused Bush to lose last night’s debate (again):

bq. Given Theresa (“no blood for oil”) Heinz Kerry, the only hard question John Kerry got all night was “I’d like to ask each of you, what is the most important thing you’ve learned from these strong women?”–and Kerry got to listen to Bush’s answer first. UPDATE: — OK, so Kerry should have answered the question about what he learned from his strong wife in this way (I’m recylcing a joke I heard last spring): [What KERRY might have said]: I developed my economic plan for the country from interacting with both my wives. Now I just need to find a rich country for the US to marry.

Clearly, Jim feels that whereas marrying into money is unseemly, being born into it is evidence of one’s good judgment. Is the parallel lesson that the US can spend the next 40 years drinking, partying and wasting Dad’s money on incompetent schemes, but still have things work out great?