Stanley, a journalism professor
friend is fond of telling the story from a few years ago about how a
Democratic Party pal fairly high up said that the Dems were terrified of the
gay marriage issue. At the top of the party, most of the leadership had no
problem with gay marriage. But they knew that it was a big problem for a
substantial number of voters. The problem: how to see that gay marriage
happens without seeming to be advocates for it, and thus paying a political
price at the polls? My guess is that a number of newspaper editorial boards,
whether they’re conscious of it or not, are thinking along the same lines.
And what they’ve come up with is a strategy to let the courts do the heavy
lifting, and take the brunt of the blame for doing what the ed boards in
truth want to see happen, but don’t want to take the heat for.
I think the Dems are going to follow the same strategy — indeed, it’s the
only strategy that makes a lick of sense from their perspective. If they
keep mouthing the mantra We shouldn’t amend the constitution, then they get
to look like principled conservatives, even though we have reached the point
where we are either going to have national gay marriage by judicial fiat, or
we’re going to have a constitutional amendment to put a brake on activist
judges. My belief is that thoughtful liberals figure that the best thing
they can do is lay low and stay out of the way of the courts — and after
the courts speak, start talking about “accepting the wisdom” of the judicial
branch, and “healing” and “moving on” — thereby making those who object to
the judicial usurpation of politics to foment an unprecedented social
revolution look like rabble-rousing malcontents.
If I were a liberal Democrat member of an editorial board or politician,
that’s exactly the strategy I’d follow.