Bill Clinton Explains Why He Now Supports Same Sex Marriage

Andrew Sullivan has the transcript of an interview between Anderson Cooper and Bill Clinton explains why he now supports marriage equality:

AC: You said you recently changed your mind on same-sex marriage. I’m wondering what you mean by that. Do you now believe that gay people should have full rights to civil marriage nationwide?

Clinton: I do. I think that, well let me get back to the last point, the last word. I believe historically, for two hundred and something years, marriage has been a question left to the states and the religious institutions. I still think that’s where it belongs. That is, I was against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide, and I still think that the American people should be able to play this side in debates. But me, Bill Clinton personally, I changed my position. I am no longer opposed to that. I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it. I have long favored the right of gay couples to adopt children.

AC: What made you change your mind? Was there one thing?

Clinton: I think, what made me change my mind, I looked up and said look at all of this stuff you’re for. I’ve always believed that—I’ve never supported all the moves of a few years ago to ban gay couples from adoption. Because they’re all these kids out there looking for a home. And the standard on all adoption cases is, what is the best interest of the child? And there are plenty of cases where the best interest of the child is to let the gay couple take them and give them a loving home. So I said, you know, I realized that I was over 60 years old, I grew up at a different time, and I was hung up about the word. I had all these gay friends, I had all these gay couple friends, and I was hung up about it. And I decided I was wrong.

That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties, then if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees, and several have now, or a religious body will sanction it, and I don’t think a state should be able to stop a religious body from saying it, I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of it.  I think it’s a good thing not a bad thing. And I just realized that, I was, probably for, maybe just because of my age and the way I’ve grown up, I was wrong about that. I just had too many gay friends. I saw their relationships. I just decided I couldn’t, I had an untenable position.

It is good to see he accepts same sex marriage to this degree but he still seems to leave it up to the states, writing “if a state agrees.” From a legal point of view this makes sense as this is a state matter. However, if talking about the principle of marriage equality I would push for it nation wide and object to any states continuing such discrimination.

False Conservative Claims Regarding Czars Appointed by Obama

Conservatives have been making a lot of noise about czars recently as a threat to the Constitution. The first clue that their argument is based upon a number of factual errors is that, as points out, this charge is being led by the idiotic and irresponsible Fox anchor Glenn Beck:

There’s been a certain fascination with calling Obama’s advisers and appointees “czars.” Fox News host Glenn Beck has identified 32 Obama czars on his Web site, whom he has characterized as a collective “iceberg” threatening to capsize the Constitution. Beck and other television hosts aren’t the only ones crying czar, either. Six Republican senators recently sent a letter to the White House saying that the creation of czar posts “circumvents the constitutionally established process of ‘advise and consent.’ ” Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah issued a press release saying that czars “undermine the constitution.” And Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison wrote an opinion column in the Washington Post complaining about the czar menace, including the factually inaccurate claim that only “a few of them have formal titles.”

While Beck claims that Obama has appointed 32 czars, Factcheck shows that the number is actually only eight:

  • Nine were confirmed by the Senate, including the director of national intelligence (“intelligence czar“), the chief performance officer (“government performance czar“) and the deputy interior secretary (“California water czar“).
  • Eight more were not appointed by the president – the special advisor to the EPA overseeing its Great Lakes restoration plan (“Great Lakes czar“) is EPA-appointed, for instance, and the assistant secretary for international affairs and special representative for border affairs (“border czar“) is appointed by the secretary of homeland security.
  • Fifteen of the “czarships” Beck lists, including seven that are in neither of the above categories, were created by previous administrations. (In some cases, as with the “economic czar,” the actual title – in this case, chairman of the president’s economic recovery advisory board – is new, but there has been an official overseeing the area in past administrations. In others, as with the special envoy to Sudan, the position is old but the “czar” appellation is new.)
  • In all, of the 32 positions in Beck’s list, only eight are Obama-appointed, unconfirmed, brand new czars.

I’ve previously noted that many right wingers who are engaged in a smear campaign against Cass Sunstein, including Glenn Beck, are falsely claiming he is a czar despite the fact that he requires Senate confirmation for his position.

The actual czars are generally in positions where there is no permanent post which is subject to Senate confirmation. Often czars deal with managing new areas of interest for a current administration, holding positions which are often temporary and which did not exist in the past.

Putting this number in perspective Factcheck notes that the Democratic National Committee counts 47 czars appointed by George W. Bush. Factcheck also disagrees with the characterization of some of them as czars and reduces the number to 35. This included the “faith-based czar” and the “cybersecurity czar.” Once again, the right wing has suddenly discovered a problem under Barack Obama which they were never concerned about under Republican administrations.