Obama and Civil Unions

Obama Truth Squad’s newest bit is out, but not posted yet.

They take on Obama’s position on gay marriage, but misrepresent the questions being dealt with.

Oak Park, IL ? In a letter to the editor of the ?Windy City Times? on February 11, 2004 US Sen. candidate State Sen. Barack Obama wrote:

?For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.?

They then cite the Annenberg Poll that shows that 61% of people oppose gay marriage.

But that is a different question. Barack supports civil unions, not gay marriage and he opposes the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

How does the public feel about civil unions?

In a CBS/New York Times poll

Support Gay marriage 28
Support Civil Unions 31
Oppose Both 38
Undecided 3

Oppose both stays right around 40% in several polls. A majority of people think there should be some sort of legal recognition available for gay couples. What exactly that entails is a good question as many people don’t seem to have firm understanding of all the issues.

To the other part of the critique, DOMA is significant because it forbids gay marriages where they may be legal from conveying the rights of married couples. So in Massachusetts one can legally have a same sex marriage, but cannot receive federal benefits that go with marriage. Repealing DOMA would allow the federal government to recognize a state’s choice as to what a marriage is.

Further muddying the issues in the post is the reference to Missouri’s State Constitutional Amendment. That amendment defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. But if you change the wording to a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, support drops significantly–how the question is asked frames the question.

When phrased the following way:

“Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman, thus barring marriages between gay or lesbian couples?” Form B (N=506, MoE ? 5)

7/19-21/04 Yes 48 No 46 D/K 6

But when asked this way:

“Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that no state can allow two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other?”

Favor/Oppose Amendment
6/16-30/04 43 48
5/2-16/04 42 50
2/14-23/04 41 48

And finally when asked this way (most similar to Missouri’s language)

“Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage ONLY between a man and a woman?” N=1,113 adults, MoE ? 3 (for all adults)

Favor 60 Oppose 37 D/K 3

Given the effect of the above is the same as a ban, the public views the issue different depending on how it is framed.

The public is squishy on the issue and if you delve deeper the public generally supports things like visitation rights and rights upon death, but the word marriage is a big sticking point. Barack’s views are close to the middle on this issue.

Proft checks Into the Leader Looper Boards


Just so everyone is clear as they needlessly and erroneously (surpise) criticize ex-Ryan staffers about doing the Keyes race for the money, there is no monetary reason to do the Keyes race because we (me and other ex-Ryan people) make the same either way.

For the nabobs of nonsense out there, you will recall Jack agreed to pay staff to November or until they found other gainful employment, whichever came first. Thus, the actual incentive for those concerned was to have a three month vacation and let the ILGOP do what it wanted to do. Several of us chose not to do that in the interests of not giving up this important fight at this critical time in IL’s history and really our nation’s history as control of the US Senate hangs in the balance.

Criticize me all you want but the blanket critiques of ex-Jack Ryan staffers are preposterous and unfair…and coming from those, I suspect, who know not of what they speak.

I am always wary of interjecting facts in response to some of the posts made because I so hate to dampen the zeal with which some offer their delightful albeit baseless rants.

Ah well…which is more improbable I wonder: U.S. Senator Alan Keyes or an end to certain conservatives cursing the darkness and engaging in the very hypocrisy they relish pointing out when the targets are liberals? Perhaps the latter is key to begetting the former? Just a thought…


dan proft

Leader Looper Fun

From a hysterical thread on Keyes

Well I?ll just state the events of yesterday dampen my enthusiasm for a variety of reasons, not least of which is there is no mention of reparations for those who had their ?property? seized by the state without just compensation. So where are the reparations for the descendents of slave holders?

Yes, this man apparently wants reparations for slave holders who lost their ‘property’.

Rhodes Wonders What Syverson is Thinking

Via Join Cross who has a staff a bit perplexed by this one

Syverson doesn’t think voters are worried about social issues.

They note that Obama, who won his party’s spring primary, has a significant head start in campaigning and fund-raising. And state Sen. Dave Syverson, the Rockford Republican credited with luring Keyes into the race, argues that many voters aren’t even using social issues as the deciding factor.

The big issues are “jobs, the economy and national security,” he said. “Social issues are way down the level of priority in this election. In Illinois, right now people are going to be voting their pocketbooks much more than in other election years.”

This only brings up the question than, why did Syverson engineer Keyes’ candidacy even though Keyes sees Homeland Security as affected by abortion policy.

On a Serious Airport Note

Chuck Sweeney takes on Obama’s silence in regards to Rockford’s airport. To be fair, no one asked, but I think any serious discussion of the O’Hare and Peotone have to consider Rockford’s role as well as a potential regional airport in Central Illinois. Rockford is especially well suited to deal with cargo and increased traffic as the region sprawls. Peotone has the ability to take some of the regional weight and perhaps cargo off the shoulders of O’Hare.

A central Illinois regional airport is another element of the solution as well, though perhaps an intractable one. Bloomington, Peoria, Champaign and Springfield (does Decatur have commercial service?) all closely guard having service directly to their community when a more efficient system would be an airport around Lincoln that served all five communities and would be within 40 minutes of each city (not even as long as the commute to O’Hare). This sort of airport would reduce the stress on O’Hare in serving as the primary airport for that region as well. Adding that to St. Louis high capacity right now, much of that traffic could be rerouted keeping O’Hare more viable over time as the premeire cross country stop while serving other needs.

The problem? Too many Congressman representing the different cities want to protect the individual airports in each downstate city.

Kadner Is Getting a Good Laugh at Least

I predicted the GOP meltdown would occur yesterday. Two reasons it may not have happened include:
1) The party faithful are shellshocked
2) The party faithful can’t get a word in edge wise
3) The party faithful are biting their tongues until the press gets so bad that they have to say something.

Kadner offers up another missive against Keyes that will break down that restraint:

“I have also made it clear that while I believe that the descendants of slaves would be helped by this period of tax relief, my firm goal and ultimate objective is to replace the income tax, and thereby free all Americans from this insidious form of tax slavery.”

In other words, “Hey, you idiots, I wasn’t really going to give those descendants of slaves a thing, and you should have known that.”

If Keyes had his way, blacks would be exempt from paying a federal income tax that no longer existed.

Some people might call such a reparations plan deceptive and dishonest.

I simply find it laughable.

The conservative wing of the Republican Party brought Keyes to Illinois from Maryland to run for the Senate because they thought he was clever enough to debate Obama.

Yet the first time he tries to do something clever, the conservatives get so riled up that he has to explain himself.

Chances are that many white Republican voters will never get the message that Keyes was merely trying to play black voters.

And blacks probably never believed a word the guy was saying, given his reputation.

So maybe the guy isn’t as clever as some people thought.

But when I read the news release from Keyes, I laughed out loud.

That doesn’t happen very often in this game.

Maybe if conservatives explained their jokes more often liberals wouldn’t act as if the end of the world was always approaching.

From Comments: Defining Negative Campaign

Keyes was interviewed on a local radio station this morning (he’ll be in town for Republican Day at the state fair). The final question of the interview was basically: “You talk about changing the tone of campaigning. Do you have anything positive to say about your opponent, Barack Obama, in this race?” His reply: “Based on accounts I’ve read about his book on his childhood, he’s a great fiction writer.”

Talk about a toad.


Negative campaigning works when you are trying to tear down your opponent, but first, you have to have a positive view of you in the public’s mind. Being from Maryland and saying bombastic things never establishes that identity. It isn’t just that Keyes is that far right, it’s that he is also a horrible campaigner.

Blankenship in Comments on Reimportation

Greg Blankenship of the Illinois Policy Institute and publisher of A New Can of Worms leaves the following in comments.

The pharmaceuticals have seen the writing on the wall in DC. As I hear things, they will simply seek language that insures they won’t be held liable (I spoke to a trusted friend who attended a briefing recently).

Look for that to be a sticking point. ATLA won’t stand for it and democrats may be smoked out. Afterall, if the imported drugs are safe the liability language shouldn’t be that big of a deal…

Also look for the FDA to offer Congress absolutely no cover on the issue. In the past, Congress has given the FDA the right to declare drugs safe and allow importation. Since FDA can’t guaranttee the supply chain’s safety and they won’t be left holding the bag for massive government pay outs, Congress will have to force the issue. That means — don’t hold your breath — Congress will have to step up and take responsibility and accountability. That’ll be fun to watch.

Thanks to Greg for what sounds like a fast evolving issue–the President is considering, ummm…dare I say evolving his position.

The Keyes Mistake

The larger problem the Illinois GOP is not facing is that Keyes hurts them downballot. While he might turnout some hardcore conservatives, he’s absolutely toxic to moderate Republicans. While voters who always turnout will show up at the polls, with the top of the ticket hobbled in Illinois with an unpopular President in the State of Illinois and now a loon in the Senate race, many occasional voters who lean Republican won’t show up. First they won’t be able to stomach the man and voting for Obama may not be in the cards for them. Second, people like to vote for a winner and it will be abundantly clear that he will be tanking by the day of the election, perhaps in a historic sized defeat.

Madigan sums it up nicely

House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, said the Keyes campaign will be “a big benefit to Democrats because every time he opens his mouth, he says something that will drive people away from him and to the Democrats.”

Less Than Two Weeks and The Act is Wearing Thin

Eric Krol’s story suggests where the campaign is headed–into satire as the press tires of a loon:

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Alan Keyes used his first major public speech Wednesday to say gay people are sinners, those who would allow women to have abortions in cases of rape or incest lack integrity and his opponent is like a socialist for supporting big government.

In other words, just another day on the campaign trail for Keyes, whom the state GOP brought in from Maryland 10 days ago to take on Democratic Senate nominee Barack Obama of Hyde Park.

You’ll notice some are trying to blame the media treatment of Keyes on some sort of magical effect the Obama folks have on the media. This ignores the more logical conclusion that the press tires of loons pretty quickly. That people expect Keyes to be taken seriously is a cynical joke on the people of Illinois. He isn’t doing anything different than he has done in all of his public pronouncements in four other campaigns and in his role as a commentator. He makes obnoxious and offensive pronouncements and then calls anyone who disagrees with him stupid, evil or a name caller while he is claiming to have taken the high road. The only difficult part to figure out about Alan Keyes is whether he is aware of his act or if he is so self-deluded that he thinks he is a serious person.