Saturday, October 12, 2019


On Thursday, there was a forum for Democratic presidential candidates on LGBTQ issues. Elizabeth Warren fielded a question, and The Washington Post's Annie Linskey tells us what happened:
About 90 minutes into Thursday’s forum on LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, a gay rights leader posed a question to Sen. Elizabeth Warren: How would she respond if a voter approached her and said, “I’m old-fashioned, and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman?”

Warren (D-Mass.) responded with a theatrical seriousness. “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that,” she deadpanned, pausing a beat for the audience to catch the joke. Then she added, “And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman — I’m cool with that.’ ”

She finished with a zinger:

“‘Assuming you can find one.’”
The joke made a lot of ordinary people laugh, in the hall and afterward:
Warren’s campaign team, which rarely brags about such things, was crowing that the clip had garnered more than 12 million views on Twitter.
But to Linskey, it's important that history's greatest monsters -- a handful of actors -- also laughed.
The glitterati gushed. “The single greatest response to this question, in or outside politics,” wrote actress Minnie Driver. “Made my day,” added actress Alyssa Milano. Javier Muñoz, who recently played the title role in the smash musical “Hamilton,” posted seven emoji of clapping hands.
Republicans have been working the refs for more than thirty years in order to condition journalists to internalize this view of American politics. Liberal entertainers are America's real elitists! Linskey is well trained. ("Glitterati"? Really?)

Veteran Democratic strategists are also well conditioned.
But Republicans and some Democrats warned that the quip at the CNN-sponsored forum would play poorly among a big swath of voters.

“It’s about telling people who don’t agree with you that they are backward by definition,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s presidential reelection campaign. The line was a “stab” to those who don’t agree with her, he said, and “it is a battle cry for men to turn out against Elizabeth Warren.”
Really? All men should be insulted by this? Married men should be insulted? Why?
The 44-second exchange captured the promise and peril of Warren’s candidacy. She is quick-witted and sharp-tongued in a way that has played well in the Democratic primary and could prove effective against President Trump. But conservatives warn that she can come off as condescending and dismissive.
Yes, and we all know America would never elect a president who comes off as condescending or dismissive.

Warren is working hard to present herself as a scrappy fighter from Oklahoma, in other words, but to critics she can come off as the lecturing Harvard professor.
Right, because if there's one thing Harvard professors are generally known for, it's their zingy one-liners.

Linskey goes on to acknowledge that same-sex marriage is broadly popular in America:
More than 60 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Roughly three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters support it, the poll found. Among Republicans, about 44 percent of voters favor the policy.
Yes, and 57% of men support same-sex marriage. But Hank Sheinkopf thinks men will feel attacked by this joke.

(And here we see more of the way Republicans have conditioned Democrats and the media to be afraid of their own shadows. Democrats aren't supposed to be assertive even when they're solidly on the side of the majority. Meanwhile, Republicans are loud and proud when they're distinctly in the minority -- on support for NRA positions on gun control, for instance, or, for that matter, in their backing of Donald Trump.)

As jokes go, what Warren said is slightly more mean-spirited than what we're used to from Democrats. But this is Warren bringing a six-shooter (rather than the Democrats' usual butter knife) to a fight in which Trump deploys nuclear weapons on a daily basis, as do most of the blowhards in his amen corner.

I should note that Warren isn't the only Democratic candidate firing off well-honed wisecracks.

Two questions:

(1) The women in the Democratic race are setting a strong pace. Can any of the men keep up?

(2) How many more fainting couches will the political insiders need after this? Good thing Wayfair has free shipping.

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