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The Daily Brew © February 24, 2004 The Sanctity of Marriage

Perhaps sensing that the Bob Jones University crowd might not be as motivated towards electoral politics as they would like, the Bush administration has come out of the closet supporting a Constitutional amendment to cement the status of gay and lesbian Americans as second-class citizens. Casting the amendment as necessary to protect the "sanctity of marriage," Bush has found the perfect issue to move the debate towards more comfortable ground than the war in Iraq, the economy, and his Vietnam era service record. But with each passing day, the spectacle of the ongoing celebration of love and devotion by monogamous gay couples in San Francisco is convincing more and more heterosexual Americans that married gays pose no real threat to them, or to the sanctity of their marriages. So, to avoid the perception that this amendment is really a political stunt designed by Karl Rove to mobilize Bush's base, Bush needs to go further, get out in front of the curve, and really push for getting the amendment passed. I have a few suggestions for the Bush team.

First, Bush should appoint his brother Neil to act as his point man in promoting the Constitutional amendment. On an important issue like amending the Constitution, Bush needs someone he can trust to coordinate the massive lobbying effort that will be required to secure supermajorities in the House, Senate, and state legislatures. Only someone inside the Bush family should be trusted with such an important job. Besides, who better to promote the sanctity of marriage than a man who admitted during his divorce trial he contracted herpes while cheating on his wife with prostitutes in Thailand?

To stoke the base, Neil could ask Rush Limbaugh to give the issue daily attention on his radio program. Having been married three times, Rush has significantly more experience with the sanctity of marriage than your average American. Rush could also compare his own marriage with the gays lining up to get married in San Francisco. Homosexuals obviously require years to figure out if a person is right for them, as many of these couples have been together in monogamous relationships for decades. In contrast, Limbaugh met his current wife on the internet. With talent on loan from God, Limbaugh can obviously smell out sanctity sight unseen.

For some star power with younger voters, Rush could invite Britney Spears on the program. Unlike most of the Hollywood elite, Britney has been outspoken in her support for the President, so the Bush administration can trust her not to embarrass them on this important issue. Raised in bible-belt "Bush Country" Britney recently married her childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas. These traditional kids practically wrote the book on the sanctity of marriage. As told by Alexander, "It was just crazy, man?we were just looking at each other and said, 'Let's do something wild, crazy. Let's go get married, just for the hell of it." Spears high-powered visibility with younger Americans, her outspoken support for the President, and the fact that she managed to stay married for a stunning 55 hours before getting it annulled, all combine to make her the perfect spokesperson for the White House.

For the more erudite set, columnist George Will should be brought on board. Syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the country, Will has spoken with enormous authority on cultural issues for decades. Like Limbaugh, Will first hand experience with the "sanctity of marriage." While still married to another women, Will was romantically linked to Lally Weymouth, daughter of Washington Post owner Katharine Graham. When Will moved out on his wife and children, he found his office furniture dumped on his front lawn with a note reading, "Take it somewhere else, buster." It is this kind of first hand experience with the sanctity of marriage that allows Will to sit in judgment of others and to convince them to amend the Constitution.

Finally, for the cable television assault, the obvious go-to-guy is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The leader of the Republican revolution that captured the House of Representatives in 1994, Gingrich has the proven political skills to move a constitutional amendment to ratification. Already a Fox News regular, Gingrich has years of practice in the kinds of rhetoric that is crucial to win this battlefront in the larger cultural war. After he married his first wife Jackie Battley to avoid service Vietnam, Newt enlisting Jackie to write a letter attacking his opponent for planning to leave her family in the district: ''When elected, Newt will keep his family together,'' declared one campaign ad. Gingrich ended his 19-year marriage shortly after his victory, visiting Jackie in the hospital where she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer to discuss details of the divorce. He then failed to pay alimony and child support for his two daughters, causing a church to take up a collection, and then left the congregation in response to the pastor's criticism of his divorce. Gingrich then married Marianne Ginther. He called her ''the woman I love'' and ''my best friend and closest adviser'' in his first speech as House speaker, in January 1995. At the time, Newt was having an affair with wife number three, Castilla Bisek. In his political testament, Newt criticized sex outside of marriage, promoted traditional family life and opined that ''any male who doesn't support his children is a bum.'' In May 1999, eight months after she told him she had a neurological condition that could lead to multiple sclerosis, Gingrich called Marianne at her mother's home. After wishing the 84-year-old matriarch happy birthday, he told Marianne that he wanted a divorce. Newt then wed Callista Bisek, the ex-congressional aide 20 years his junior with whom he had an affair while still married to Marianne.

All in all, the President has a deep bench of family members, celebrities, and seasoned political operatives who are perfectly positioned to take his message of sanctimony to the masses. Let us all hope he uses them.

This edition of The Daily Brew was sent to you at your request.

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