To George Bush: Obama and Gay People Thank You

While there is much to celebrate about yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling, there is always the possibility that the decision might mobilize an otherwise anti-McCain religious right base. While fear of change is a pathetic plank in the Republican party platform, it is important politically in getting conservative candidates elected. It really seems to bring the folks out.

Thankfully, Bush took advantage of the international stage he had at Israel’s celebration of its 60th anniversary yesterday to imply that Obama will likely want to have conversations with terrorist leaders. It was meant as a slam, but frankly, this is just the kind of ball Obama’s campaign takes off and runs with.

Here is how this helps progressives and hurts McCain:

1. Bush’s blunder (calculated though it may have been, this is what it was) turned out to be a bigger story than California’s same-sex marriage ruling, dangling a shiny object in front of the conservative right that may help keep the strengthening of gay families from being such a big deal for folks who are scared of change*.

2. Bush’s isolationist philosophy stands in stark contrast to Obama’s world-player approach. McCain is being cast as McBush with good reason. His continuance of Bush’s policies is his primary “selling point” for conservatives. But it is clear to the world that this administration’s present foreign policies are weak. Obama represents the hope for innovative ideas, and in a post-modern world, dialogue and conversation between people who can all pronounce the names of heads of state are de rigeur.

3. Bush may have stolen some of McCain’s thunder (and poor McCain has so little thunder). Bush stole the 2004 Republican nomination from him, now he’s wielding a weapon against Obama that McCain should be swinging.

Gary Kamiya at Salon sees the election emerging as a choice between a young and old America. I believe as Obama and McCain go head to head, these kinds of contrasts will become more apparent. Which America are we? The ever youthful, energetic one, ready to pull the U.S. back out of the crapper or the decrepit, doddering one, content to simply stir the mess in the clogged toilet around.

*At present, even McCain treats the same-sex marriage issue as a state’s rights issue. He’s not in favor of a federal constitutional amendment, which is the ONLY remedy that will satisfy the religious right. But the bigger question for the RR and gay marriage is who gets to appoint federal supreme court judges, since without an amendment this will eventually become a court issue. That is why this issue will remain important.

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