August 05, 2004

Andrea Zinga

Today at 1, the Republican candidate for the 17th Congressional district of Illinois came to speak at the gazebo downtown. Perhaps fifteen people came, including a few members of the press. I was hoping to get her to talk about NAFTA, but her remarks were restricted to two burning issues of the day: abortion rights and marriage rights (she's against both).

Speaking on abortion, she pulls in a clever rhetorical device: she compared the common pro-life/pro-choice stance to an argument on slavery. Apparently, in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen Douglas said he was "personally opposed to slavery" but didn't want to impose his views on others. Meanwhile, Lincoln took a stand, etc, etc. She then riffed for a while on humanity and life; her closing statement was, "I stand strongly for this most fundamental of American principles---life." This, of course, is one of the great rhetorical devices of all time, adopted by the anti-choice movement, to state that they are for life, and by implication that their opponents are against it. The whole thing was so vague and fluffy, and failed to state any concrete positions on any specific thing, that it was pretty hard to argue against.

I did at least ask one question, which was: settting aside the legality of the thing, it's certainly good to make abortion rare, and to that end, what was her stance on reproductive education? She said she was for it, but what she actually meant by reproductive education was (I'm not even kidding) programs that put an emphasis on girls' self-worth, thus encouraging them not to get pregnant. She also commented that the teen pregnancy rate was down slightly, and that she thought abstinence was more popular among teens these days.

The second half of her remarks was about same-sex marriage; she took as given that it was bad, of course, so her remarks mostly addressed so-called "judicial activism". She spent quite a bit of time explaining how rarely she thought the Constitution should be amended (which is good), so her way of addressing this issue is to pass one amendment (huh?) which prevents the judicial branch from doing anything unpopular. She calls it the "Checks and Balances Restoration Amendment"; I've posted the whole thing in the 'continue reading' part below, but the gist is that a 3/5 vote of the Senate can overturn any ruling made by the Supreme Court (or any ruling appealed to the SC but denied certiorari).

She claims that she's the first to come up with it, although I could've sworn this isn't the first place I heard of it; in any case, it seems to be carefully crafted to the marriage rights question. She points out that it could not have overturned Dred Scott, or Roe v Wade, or a hypothetical judgement of unconstitutionality of McCain-Feingold, because of lack of consensus. It would (she claims) enable the Senate to overturn the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that marriage can not constitutionally be restricted to mixed-sex couples. If that's even true, it's due to careful crafting---that's why they'd use 3/5, because I'm fairly sure 3/4 or even 2/3 would not be attainable on this issue.

I really wanted to ask her opinion on the role of the judicial branch in protecting minorities from the tyranny of the majority, but I couldn't formulate the question fast enough. I think she and her handlers realised that the only questions were coming from opponents (one from me, two from the county Democratic Party chair), and they'd better close up shop before they got a really hard one.

Oh, and in related news, the Washington State DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional, pending further review by the state Supreme Court. It's not in the mainstream press yet (I only heard about it when Zinga mentioned it!), but it should be there by tonight, I think.

"With a track record like that you'd think conservatives would be lying low, hoping no one would notice them. But no. They're still out and about, making a lot of noise and telling the rest of us how to live our lives. That's what makes us a free country, I guess, the freedom not merely to make a mistake but to repeat it, endlessly." --Donald Kaul

Full text of the "Checks and Balances Restoration Amendment":

Upon application by a simple majority of the House of Representatives to the Senate, the upper chamber must review any decision by the Supreme Court or any other federal court where appeal has been made to the Supreme Court and denied or given no response within six months after such appeal was filed, or by any state or local court when such decision would bind the whole nation. Once such application has been properly made by the House of Representatives and duly recorded with the Senate, the Senate must schedule the review no later than in the next session in which they sit. If three-fifths of the Senate votes to overturn the ruling, then the ruling is immediately rescinded and the Senate's decision is final. If less than three-fifths of the Senate votes to overturn, the Court's ruling is upheld.
Posted by blahedo at 2:47pm on 5 Aug 2004
As liberals, I thought you were the party of tolerance. Apparently that's only for those who believe the same as you do. You might as well face the fact that millions of Americans believe in the right to life of the unborn baby. If people practiced abstinence before marriage, there would be far fewer unwanted pregnancies and a sharp decline in sexually transmitted diseases and aids. If gays want to enter into a civl union, that's one thing. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and woman. If liberals want to start changing the definition of terms and centuries old institutions, what's to stop them from approving marriage between family members, adults and children, multiple spouses, or humans and animals. There are certain traditions and moral guidlines that society has come to acknowledge, respect, and live by. If the liberals are the party of tolerance, you will respect these standards within our society. If you wish to establish a culture of debauchery, feel free to move to a country where morality is not an issue. In addition, look at the emotional hardship single mothers face, as do their children born without a father as part of the immediate family. These children face many more hardships than those children born into a family with a mother and a father. Children born to single parent households also contribute to a heavy tax burden on working families, which is unfair and selfish. However, this is a much better alternative than to have the unborn baby killed. With all of the opportunities for adoption, there is almost no excuse for having an abortion. Before you speak or criticize, do your research instead of regurgitating your liberal talking points. You might be surprised at what you learn. Posted by S.R. Houck at 9:13pm on 30 Apr 2006
I'm the one regurgitating talking points? Classic. Posted by blahedo at 12:03am on 1 May 2006
If people practiced abstinence before marriage, there would be far fewer unwanted pregnancies and a sharp decline in sexually transmitted diseases and aids.

And if 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, then oh! what a beautiful Christmas! Posted by Michael at 9:21am on 1 May 2006
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