Thursday, May 29, 2008

Did John Pitney Predict the VP? Let's Hope Not

Sarah Palin for Vice President! Because what this country needs is a Hot Mom VP.

The Weekly Standard got a tip that Arthur Culvahouse, the head of the VP search team, is in Alaska. Rumors are abuzz that he's up there to talk to Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska about becoming the next VP.

Claremont McKenna Professor John J. Pitney has long said that the Governor could make a great vice presidential candidate for the G.O.P.

Here's what Pitney said in USA Today about Governor Palin last December.

Nevertheless, John J. Pitney Jr., a political scientist with Claremont McKenna College in California and former analyst for congressional Republicans, said Palin could be an ideal presidential running mate next year.

"What separates her from others is that at a time when Republicans have suffered from the taint of corruption, she represents clean politics," Pitney said.

"The public stereotype of Republican is a wrinkled old guy taking cash under the table," he said. "One way for Republicans to break the stereotype is with a female reformer."

Party labels seem to mean very little to Palin. Her revenue commissioner is a Democrat. Her husband, Todd, a blue-collar worker on Alaska's oil-rich North Slope, is an independent.

The mother of four is often seen bounding down the Capitol stairwell, holding a pink backpack and rushing to get her 6-year-old daughter, Piper, off to school on time -- something that Pitney said could make Palin more appealing to a national audience.

Exit question: Can the Professor predict the future?

Let's hope not. I've been against her nomination for quite some time. We cannot very well make the claim that this election is about experience and then go and nominate someone who has less time as governor than Obama has as senator and hope that things will just work.

Sure, she's smart and a woman, but we don't want to play those kind of identity politics.

Or do we? For if women abandon Obama, we win. Who cares how few electoral votes Alaska brings to the table?

Gay Marriage: The Massachusettsification of California

Homer Supports It, You Know It Must Be Good

Claremont McKenna Professor John J. Pitney is quoted about gay marriage and the politics surrounding it in today's Press Democrat. New polling indicates that gay marriage is becoming more and more socially acceptable.

Pitney says,

Beyond California, Pitney said, same-sex marriage will have little traction in November because the issue has been settled. Gay marriage is banned by law in 41 states and by constitutional amendment in 27 states, where it cannot be overturned by legislative action.

Only California and Massachusetts allow gay marriage, and eight others -- Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii -- allow same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Conservatives are "victims of their own success," Pitney said, by taking gay marriage out of play in most of the nation. "It's done."

I do not believe this issue is "done" because I know that what progressives cannot achieve at the ballot box they often drag into the courts. That progressives feel that inclination to bring their social engineering into the court rooms should suggest to us that this issue will not be resolved until they are satisfied.

Recently, Governor Patterson of New York has attempted to take the issue out of either the judicial or legislative hands and decided to effectively do an end run around them to bring about what he calls "marriage equality," but which, more appropriately ought to be called imperial executive authority. The legislature makes the laws, not the executive, and that Mr. Patterson would act in such a manner ill-befits a governor.

Much of this debate centers around my home state of Massachusetts, whose Supreme Court in 2003 invented the constitutional right to gay marriage.

As a sort of resident of Massachusetts, I can say that I'm upset that the Court felt the need to intrude into what ought to be a political decision and that the Supreme Court of California has followed that path. I would have voted for gay marriage, but sadly, wherever I go, I'm never given that opportunity.

Of course we know well what happens when the State Supreme Court is activist on this issue.

As we saw with Massachusetts, dozens of states banned not only gay marriage, but civil unions as well, making this issue all the more protracted and less likely to be resolved save through the U.S. Supreme Court.

On principle, I don't particularly have any qualms about gay marriage. As a pro-life, non-religious Republican, I feel that if we are going to be the party of life, we must also be the party that allows adoptions for it must be so that having a parent is better than having no parent at all. Put simply, it must be better to be raised by a gay couple than to drown at the bottom of a Chinese well and any party that makes saving those children from certain death ought not exist.

And if we allow gays to adopt children, it is patently discriminatory to the children to tax their parents at the rates you would single people. Doing so is literally robbing those children of money that their parents rightfully earned.

There must be another way and fortunately there is.

I propose that we make a state proposition that allows any two people living under a roof to get tax benefits equivalent to a married couple and that we expand the child tax credit. This new proposition would have the added effect of ducking the issue of state recognition of homosexuality, while simultaneously forcing those who vote against it to weigh its costs and benefits in economic terms.

New groups would be added to the coalition because it would be in their economic self interest, even if they were against gays on a moral or philosophical level. At the same time, it would align the G.O.P. back with the average gay family. After all, it wasn't too long ago that many gays voted for the party of Reagan and Lincoln. Witness the existence of such groups as the Log Cabin Republicans and that President Bush won 23%+ of the gay and lesbian vote in 2004, even after he spoke out against gay marriage.

Take just a few of the new groups that would be established by addressing this issue from a tax perspective.
  • Many elderly people move in with one another after their spouses have died.
  • Many single people have roommates in order to afford costly housing in some of America's most expensive cities. Allowing them to jointly file would mean that they could keep more of their paychecks and save up to buy property.
  • Many business partners live together during those crucial years when their business is just getting started and cost cutting can guarantee their survival.
  • Many of us can imagine living with a girlfriend and not yet being able to afford that ring right out of college and yet still paying those high income taxes.

Of course, given how quickly the Left likes to make symbols of groups, I doubt that they would be inclined to do what is clearly a political compromise. They're all for gay marriage, but don't you dare suggest that we take away money for them to play around with. Because when it comes to taxes, the Democrats don't care if you are gay, straight, black, or white, rich or poor, they just want you to shut up and hand over your money. We all deserve better from our government.