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Archive for July 28th, 2006

close reading

Ron Rosenbaum’s upset that the NY senators have failed to lead on gay marriage. (Behind the NY Observer’s paywall, unfortunately). Check out the mot juste triangulation that he sniffs out here:

So let’s look at little more closely at why New York’s liberal Senators are not taking a leadership position on this. Hillary Clinton’s extremely guarded statement on the subject can only be called classic Clintonism: She has limited herself to the somewhat cryptic formulation that “I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been: between a man and a woman.”

Cryptic because it could be taken as merely descriptive. As if, 100 years ago, someone had said that “voting is as voting has always been: something done by men” – not necessarily an endorsement of one-sex voting. Or is it meant to sound prescriptive, a dog whistle to potential red-state Presidential voters: Marriage should continue to be as it “has always been: between a man and a woman.”

It’s remarkable, isn’t it – with the Clintons, everything always seems to come down to the ambiguity of what “is” is. Here, is “is” an observation or an affirmation.

For another post, but not without relevance here: I cringe every time I come across a left / liberal blog with a snippet like “Proud member of the reality-based community” stapled beneath their title. For me, Clinton’s delphic talking point is a perverse or not so perverse instantiation of “reality-based” politics. But that’s for another day…

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July 28, 2006 at 10:02 pm