There have been some who wondered out loud just how W’s governance would look in his second term; would it mirror the way he ran or would he (no longer needing to drum up the votes of the the evangelicals and Christian right) move to the center?
Well, on Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove made it clear that divisive hate legislation like the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is still in the President’s crosshairs.
Take a look at this excerpt from Rove’s sitdown with Chris Wallace. It’s interesting to note that when Wallace moved the discussion to the topic of the second term, his first question was on gay marriage – not Iraq, not terrorism, not jobs:
Wallace: All right. Let’s talk about the president’s second term and what he needs to do to satisfy and to build on the coalition of voters that gave him victory on Tuesday. First of all, the social conservatives, the values voters, I know one of their top concerns is the definition of marriage. Given the fact that bans on gay marriage were on the ballot in 11 states and passed in all 11, aren’t the states handling this? Do you still need an amendment to the federal constitution?
Rove: Yes, because without the protection of that amendment, we are at the mercy of activist federal judges or activist state judges who could, without the involvement of the people, determine, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court did, that marriage no longer consists of a union between a man and a woman.
Wallace: So the president intends to go ahead and push for the constitutional amendment?
Wallace: What about civil unions? Because near the end of the campaign, he indicated that in fact he supported some legal recognition of these relationships.
Rove: Well, he believes that there are ways that states can deal with some of the issues that have been raised, for example, visitation rights in hospitals or the right to inherit or benefit rights, property rights. But these can all be dealt with at the state level…
Wallace: But explain to me. Why can…
Rove: … without overturning the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Wallace: Explain to me why civil unions can be handled at the state level but marriage can’t.
Rove: Well, marriage is a very important part of our culture and our society. If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be and should be a union of a man and a woman.
And we cannot allow activist judges to overturn that. We cannot allow activist local elected officials to thumb their nose at 5,000 years of human history and determine that marriage is something else.
And the people have a right to be involved. And since this was forced upon the political process by activist judges, we need to do everything we can to keep it from being decided by activist judges.
Look at some of those quotes and how Rove (and Wallace for that matter) continues to frame the issues. Understand it or you can forget 2008 right now.
Did the Mass. Supreme Court rule that that marriage no longer consists of a union between a man and a woman? I missed that part of their finding.
Pay attention to labels. They do matter. Those who want desperately to shift the focus away from the causes that bind us all (terrorism, figuring out Iraq, healthcare, jobs, social security) and towards those issues that divide us though attacks on the rights of certain demonized segments of society are called Values Voters. Those who believe in equal rights over faux morals are called Activist Judges and they are bad.
And the fact that this was the first topic discussed when the conversation moved to W’s second term was the biggest frame of all.