Bush and the FMA

BUSH AND THE FMA….I know the White House is anxious to impress the frustrated GOP base, but I’m not sure if the Bush gang has thought this one through.

President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers. […]

“The president firmly believes that marriage is an enduring and sacred institution between men and women and has supported measures to protect the sanctity of marriage,” White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said.

Putting aside the merit of the amendment (or lack thereof), there’s little strategic upside to the president’s new-found interest in the anti-gay amendment.

If you’re Bush, and your agenda isn’t exactly sweeping through the Hill, why intentionally tie yourself to a measure that’s going to fail? The amendment isn’t going to pass; it won’t even be close. But instead of a predictable, pro-forma defeat for the far-right on the Senate floor, the president will connect himself to a sinking ship on purpose. The post-vote spin will now be, “Bush suffers another defeat on the Hill; lawmakers reject president’s demands on amendment.”

Maybe the religious right will give Bush credit for trying? It’s unlikely. Dobson, Falwell, Robertson & Co. have asked the White House to take this amendment seriously for months. For the president to speak out, literally at the 11th hour, will probably be seen as too-little, too-late.

There’s also the consistency question. In January 2005, Bush said, in no uncertain terms, that he would not aggressively lobby the Senate to pass the constitutional amendment during his second term. By flip-flopping now, the president only reminds everyone what a weak position he’s in — and how much he needs to suck up to angry religious right activists before midterms.

If Bush said nothing, the base would be angry, but it’s angry anyway. The amendment would lose, but it’s going to lose anyway. So why bother?