The Note: Political S.A.T.

During yesterday's meeting with conservative black leaders and pastors, President Bush was asked about marriage, the New York Times reports, and he responded that his position on the issue was clear. LINK

But Note the wholly different take in the Washington Post account:

"The issue of Bush's support for a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage was raised by several participants at yesterday's meeting, but Bush demurred, explaining that the issue is a non-starter in Congress -- at least for now. 'He was noncommittal on it because he's got other priorities,' (Robert) Woodson said."

PBS, a bunny, lesbians, Vermont, and Margaret Spelling's ire. LINK

We do not think conservatives will like this New York Times Public Lives profile of Christie Whitman. LINK

It's Mehlman v. Schwarznegger on redistricting in California. LINK

Dems regroup:

Paul Starr's New York Times op-ed urges liberal Democrats to accept their place as "one of several influences in an ideologically varied party that can win at the polls." LINK

"Rebuilding a national political majority will mean distinguishing between positions that contribute to a majority and those that detract from it. As last year's disastrous crusade for gay marriage illustrated, Democrats cannot allow their constituencies to draw them into political terrain that can't be defended at election time. Dissatisfied with compromise legislation on civil unions and partner benefits, gay organizations thought they could get from judges, beginning with those on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, what the electorate was not yet ready to give. The result: bans on same-sex marriage passing in 11 states and an energized conservative voting base."

"In the long run, Democrats will benefit from their strength among younger voters and the growing Hispanic population. But the last thing the Democrats need is a revived interest group or identity politics. As the response to Senator Barack Obama's convention speech showed, the party's own members are looking for an expansive statement of American character and national purpose."

True, the willingness of many Democrats to speak about finding compromise language and positions on the issue is an amazing sea change for the party (Roemer's troubles in the chair race notwithstanding). Same with Democrats permitting without a peep Harry Reid to ascend to majority leader.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's comments reflect what we've heard from many staunchly pro-choice women: that abortion IS a moral dilemma, it IS a sad choice, and it's not simply an unencumbered "right" that women should celebrate and revere. (Starr gives Sen. Clinton an "attagirl.")

(And/but, writing in the New York Daily News, Michael Goodwin believes Sen. Clinton's comments were based on her desire to showcase her acceptability to moderate swing voters in Red States. LINK )

Many believe there has got to be some way of acknowledging the legitimacy of the pro-life point of view without opening the door to a ban on abortion. (We call it the Will Saletan Project. See: LINK )

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