Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Hugh Hewitt Got Skillz

At the DNC he interviewed Kate Michelman, president of NARLA pro-choice America.

The man knows how to interview. It's incredible. I admit the possibility that maybe Michelman just isn't a very polished speaker, or that she was nervous or something. But it looks like Hewitt is just supremely skilled at getting people to say that which they least want to say: what they actually think. Let's check out some highlights.

"And the rights that we have taken decades to win, women’s rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, protecting the environment, are all at risk in the next presidential election, if George Bush is re-elected."

It looks like Katie has just admitted (and we will see this again) that these rights are not, in fact, in the Constitution. The right to free speech, for example, was never "won." It is expressly in the Constitution, and does not have to be won. Same thing with the right to keep and bear arms.

"Well, in my personal opinion, I believe that gay people should have the right to marry."

"Should have" means "don't have." Again, a tacit admission that the right does not, in fact, exist.

"I don’t think we should tamper with the constitution at all. "

Gotcha. No tampering. That which is there is there, and that which is not there, is not there. I'm with you so far. As Hugh points out, she didn't actually, technically, answer his question. She answered someone else's question, specifically, "Should we ratify a Federal Marriage Amendment."

"What I do believe is that gay people…um…people who are gay and lesbian, should not be prohibited from…you know…deciding that they are…uh…are…are interested in marrying, and shouldn’t be denied to right to do so."

Here we're getting some mixed messages. She starts out with arguing that gays shouldn't be prohibited from deciding they're interested in marriage. No problems. There's no reason to believe that anyone, government or otherwise, can prevent someone from deciding that they are interested in doing something. But that's such a watered-down sentence, I think what she was originally getting at is that gays shouldn't be prohibited from actually marrying, not just deciding to be interested in marriage. That is, government should not intervene to block the process of marriage.

If that's all this were, then I think we'd have a legitimate equal protection issue. We should all be equally protected from the government intervening in our affairs.

Then she ends her "sentence" by saying gays shouldn't be "denied the right" to [get married]. i substitute the words in brackets because again, I don't think she's really after a right to decide to be interested in something, but in a right to actually do that something.

And note that an affirmative right to marry is not the same thing as the negative right to have the government stay away while you're getting married. But since "marriage" as we're discussing it on the national level refers to the legal recognition by the state of a relationship, there's not really any such thing as that negative right. You can't say "Government, stay out of my business by marrying me to someone." Well, you can, as Michelman has just demonstrated, but you're being quite inconsistent when you do so.

But most interestingly, she arguing that gays should have the right to be married (to other gay people, of course). Therefore a) they don't have that right, b) but they should, and c) the Constitution should not actually be changed. I'm not quite sure how she's going to reconcile these three propositions.

"Well, I would welcome the rights of gay and lesbian people to…to carry out their own personal lives without…you know…intrusion by the courts or the government."

Here again we've got that same inconsistency. The rights in question do not exist (otherwise they would not need to be welcomed). And she's gotten back to this intrusion thing, even though it's logically inconsistent. "I don't want the government intruding in my life by not changing my legal status!"

Here's the key quote:

"I don’t think that’s a fair characterization of as you call it the left, if people who have fought for decades for rights that were not granted or recognized by the constitution, among them being women, African-Americans, other minorities, disabled people, now gay and lesbians, they have had to fight for constitutional protections, and that’s what our constitution is about. It should be protecting the rights of the individuals…"

Again, we're talking about rights that aren't there in the Constitution. They didn't exist. But now, of course, they do - if I discriminate against you because of your gender (and if I am a public entity) then you can sue me based on THE CONSTITUTION. But please note, the Constitution did not originally grant or recognize such a right (BTW, I don't think the Constitution "grants" rights, but merely delineates those areas where the government cannot take away pre-existing rights), and now it does, and therefore the Constitution has been changed. According to Michelman, that's a bad thing.

Hewitt later points out that blacks have equal protection because an Amendment was added. Women can vote because an Amendment was added. In other words, the Constitution didn't recognize a right, then it was amended, and now it does recognize a right. Michelman doesn't want an Amendment (is it a coincidence that the amendment she opposes doesn't jive with her personal politics?), but she does want to actually change the rights recognized by the Constitution. In other words, she wants to amend it. But without actually "amending" it. Do you see the distinction? Me neither.

Read the Hewitt interview, which is fantastic. If I could paint people into corners with their own words so effectively, I'd never stop interviewing people. Then, because I am a crocodile, I would eat them.