Friday, May 06, 2005

Kerry Already Preparing for 2008

Senator John Kerry came out today against the marriage equality plank that the Massachusetts Democrats plan to include in their platform at their convention next week. It seems clear to me that by inserting himself in this debate, he is seeking to distance himself from those here in Massachusetts who want to keep gay marriage legal -- perhaps to further his 2008 ambitions. As we all know, that strategy worked so well for him in 2004. From the Globe:

Kerry, who opposes same-sex marriage but supports civil unions, said in an interview with the Globe that he would prefer that the party not mention gay marriage in its platform, because Democrats continue to disagree on how to handle the issue.

"I'm opposed to it being in a platform. I think it's a mistake," Kerry said shortly after hosting a forum on his universal children's healthcare bill in Baton Rouge. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."
Now, I have not been in politics as long as Senator Kerry, but if there's one thing I know it's that Democrats disagree on how to handle just about every issue. That's one of the defining characteristics of Democrats, particularly if you believe Will Rogers. Seriously, though, he could have said the same thing about reproductive choice, about the death penalty, about the Iraq war, about taxes, and so on. And as for the broad view of Democrats in Massachusetts, well, the Senator has been playing to a national audience for so long now, that I'm not sure he's the best person to speak about how we feel here. Kerry, according to the article, is not even going to bother to show up at the convention where this decision is going to be finalized.

I am going to be a delegate at the platform convention next weekend, and I support the inclusion of the marriage rights plank for the following reasons.
  • Platform positions are non-binding. If someone wants to run as a Democrat on the other side of this issue (or any other in the platform) no one is going to stop them. Heck, Tom Reilly's running for governor on the opposite side of the death penalty plank. At least three Massachusetts Congressmen are pro-life, also in opposition to the party platform. The actual platform just not a big deal -- if more than a handful of people even read it I'd be surprised.
  • According to polls, a vast majority (71% in a March Globe poll) of Democrats support equal marriage rights. In other recent polls, a small majority or plurality of Massachusetts residents also supported these rights. I can only imagine that support for gay marriage will increase as time goes on and more marriages are performed.
  • This is the state party platform, not the national platform. Is a voter in Ohio really going to vote for Republicans because the Massachusetts Democrats support gay marriage, even if the Ohio Democrats do not? Is it really our responsibility to further the Party beyond the Commonwealth at the expense of the rights of some of our residents?
  • I, personally, believe that it's the right thing to do and I will vote my conscience rather than vote for something I think other people might be more comfortable with. If these hypothetical other Democrats cared so much about the party platform, they should have gone to their party caucuses and gotten elected to go to the convention. If I could do it, anyone could have.
I suppose what really burns me up is this:
[In 2004,] Kerry came out against the Bush-supported federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, saying that individual states should be allowed to settle the issue on their own.
Sure, but individual state parties? They should do whatever's best for the guy who wants to run for president again. I imagine that 90% of the people going to the convention in Lowell a week from now worked their tails off for Senator Kerry. For him to go out of his way to chastise them is a shame. It would have been just as easy for him to disagree with the position, but allow that if a majority of Democrats in Massachusetts want it, they're free to do so without it effecting his own stance whatsoever.

Kristen from The Fray has more.