Thu
Jul 20 2006
04:50 pm

Davis says he was not serious:

Rep. Lincoln Davis was not being serious when he made comments on the House floor earlier this week suggesting that divorce and adultery should be against the law, his spokesman said today.

Tom Hayden, the spokesman, said Davis, a Democrat from Frentress County, made the over-the-top comments during a debate Tuesday on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that the issue was being brought up by Republicans as an election year ploy.

OK? I can't believe they had to explain the joke. How absurd has the debate become that anyone would think this was serious in the first place?

Hildegard's picture

It's surprising how few

It's surprising how few people have even the most elementary sense of irony, or even the spark of a concept of satire. I learned the hard way.

R. Neal's picture

That letter wasn't serious?

That letter wasn't serious?

Thomas Nephew's picture

Except why did he then vote

Except why did he then vote for the gay marriage ban?  It's not a ploy if you go along with it.  This is just too cute by half of Davis, trying to have it every which way.

Of course it's an absurd debate. It's an absurd amendment, based on absurd premises, which this absurd Congressman buys into.

R. Neal's picture

I think he voted for it

I think he voted for it because he knows it won't go anywhere but it plays well back at home with people who are afraid they'll be forced to marry a gay terrorist. His joke was for the rest of them.

WhitesCreek's picture

Here's Lincoln's

Here's Lincoln's spokesman: 

"While Congressman Davis does support the idea that marriage is between a man and a women, the intent of his speech was not to say he intends to introduce legislation making divorce, adultery, and child and spousal abuse a felony. Rather, the intent was to point out the purely partisan nature and timing of the amendment. As he rhetorically pointed out, if the Congress' true intent is to protect families and marriage, why limit the scope of this amendment? Should we not look at factors that have more of an impact on families such as child and spousal abuse, adultery, and divorce?"

 If you read the entire text of his speech it should be obvious he was sarcastic. But folks sure were ready to buy into the snipped version, weren't they?

Andy Axel's picture

Again, sloppy reporting

OK? I can't believe they had to explain the joke. How absurd has the debate become that anyone would think this was serious in the first place?

Neither can I, but the even bigger problem here is that ThinkProgress and Salon were reporting this as though it wasn't a joke... that he was completely serious.

I wrote a pretty stern email to Salon, something along the lines of, "Has any reporter here bothered to call Lincoln Davis' office for comment? His DC number is blah blah blah. His chief of staff is Beecher Frasier. His press secretary is Tom Hayden. Call and get one of them to go on the record, but I'm sure they're pretty sick by now of explaining IRONY to otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people."

Same deal to ThinkProgress, who listed the Davis speech under "RADICAL RIGHT WING AGENDA."

Except why did he then vote for the gay marriage ban? It's not a ploy if you go along with it. This is just too cute by half of Davis, trying to have it every which way.

As far as Linc voting for the amendment, so did Ford. So did Gordon. So did Cooper. Every Democrat in the TN delegation. Not saying they're right, but Lincoln Davis ain't alone here. Hell, Bredesen has waved the white flag on this and is promising to sign any constitutional amendment passed to him by the TN legislature relating to gay marriage ban. And may I remind the skeptics out there that Bill Clinton himself started much of this mess by caving on DOMA in the first place.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Thomas Nephew's picture

Well, it looks like I made

Well, it looks like I made the mistake of taking a Congressman's remarks on the House floor more seriously than he did himself.  (Reading that, I have to wonder what got into me.)  I agree with Steve Benes -- the arguments he made are precisely on point to why he should himself oppose a Constitutional amendment preventing gay marriage.  Either that, or go the distance and make divorce illegal. 

He may think he's being clever, but he's demonstrating that he's a hypocrite.  I'd respect him more if he hadn't been joking.

Andy Axel's picture

Argh

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of these events.

Let's look at the whole picture here: Davis casts a meaningless vote (even if it passes the House, it's dead, because the Senate has already voted it down) to amend the constitution but takes the opportunity to chastise everyone on the House floor -- and in C-SPAN land -- to get with the program.

If his vote meant something, I would be more upset about all of this.

Note, also, that the entire Tennessee Democratic delegation (Ford Jr, Cooper, Gordon) also voted in favor of this measure.

Man, I've heard Democrats whining that there aren't enough hardball playing Democrats like Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman, and when one shows up, everyone trashes him. "Oh, we just don't play hard enough. Wish we had some Democrats who could beat the Republicans at their own game..."

Well?

As a party, what should Democrats do? Is it possible to run as an ideological liberal in Dunlap and Dover? How about statewide? If not, then what compromises are acceptable, and which aren't?

Or should we feel free just to cede the 4th District back over to a Hilleary clone like Adam Pedigo? Oh, and while we're at it, let's make sure that the GOP keeps control of the Senate by ceding the open seat because Harold Ford Jr was on the wrong side of this issue.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Thomas Nephew's picture

fine, let's look at the whole picture

If it was a meaningless vote, why not vote the way your own arguments inexorably lead?  If, on the other hand, you don't actually believe those arguments, then don't waste everyone's time making them.

Put it this way: imagine there was an amendment calling for the enslavement of black people, and for whatever reason it was really popular in Davis' district.  He basically agrees, but really thinks the whole thing is a trivial issue; there's health care and meth labs and whatever else that's "really important".  So to make that point he says "let's not stop there, let's allow for white people to be enslaved too, it's only fair."  Then he says "ha ha, kidding." Then he votes for the Black People Enslavement Amendment.  What is your opinion of Davis then? 

Mine is that he's kind of a cross between a coward and a moron.  He is one of a handful of people with the privilege of being a Representative in Congress, his own mind leads him right up to the brink of a principled realization, but he shies away from that for political expediency.

 

 

Andy Axel's picture

The Political Expediency

The expediency to which you refer just may be the control of the House and/or the Senate.

Actually, what this little exercise in the vacuum of cyberspace inexorably leads to in 3D reality is the possibility of a bitter negative campaign, one in which the GOP uses the issue of gay marriage to bash its Democratic opponents. Note that gay marriage is on the ballot as a statewide referendum in 2006. Now, if the GOP wins back TN-4 as a result of these negative ads, how have you advanced the cause of gay rights?

Davis just took this issue off the table for the GOP in this cycle, and in so doing, just may have helped the DP work towards a majority.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Thomas Nephew's picture

No he didn't

As you said, it was going down to defeat anyway.  He had the chance to speak to his district about this true thing he just figured out, and he made a joke and a lie out of it. 

There's point A of the bitter campaigns you fear, and there's point B of this stupid issue not being one you can use as a wedge.  Getting from A to B might just take some honest leaders talking honestly with constituents, telling them to look around them and figure out what's actually harming marriages, whether they actually care about that, and if so whether they really think Constitutional amendments are the right way to solve the problem.

Lincoln Davis is not such a leader.  OK, fine.  Let's just not pretend he's thinking about Democrats or principles, though, he's just thinking about his own re-election.  And to turn your question around: how have you advanced the cause of gay rights by re-electing him

I get all the political arithmetic of it; I just don't get the political point of it.  Democrats could be about fighting against marginalization of Americans wherever they see it.  Instead, they aren't.  I don't think we here in the vacuum of cyberspace serve ourselves well by applauding that or thinking stunts like Davis's are particularly clever or worthy.

Andy Axel's picture

Getting from A to B might

Getting from A to B might just take some honest leaders talking honestly with constituents, telling them to look around them and figure out what's actually harming marriages, whether they actually care about that, and if so whether they really think Constitutional amendments are the right way to solve the problem.

Honestly, do you think that most people in Dunlap, TN spend more time listening to Lincoln Davis, or to what their preachers say about Lincoln Davis?

When it comes to this gay marriage thing, most of the organizing is happening on Sundays all around this fair state of mine. There isn't a visible opposition force for the proposed TN Gay Marriage Amendment. The GOP is going to make it an issue, and candidates need to be ready to deal.

So if you're really concerned about the fate of gay marriage in Tennessee, better find some way to help defeat the referendum this cycle (and probably the next and the next and the next...).

Davis is in a 5-way race right now.

Yes, asking for honest self-analysis and introspection and coming to consensus all are well and good. All of that (well, 90% of it) will fall to the local advocate of Leviticus.

Davis just found a manner in which he could discuss gay marriage in the context of being a man of faith. That, and he went on the record as both (1) for an amendment which was doomed to fail, which may convince people that he's a "family values" guy, and (2) against a process which was turning religion into a political football, and managed to work in digs at half a dozen failed GOP policies.

Sure, it's ugly. What's that saying about politics and sausage? If you enjoy them, you don't want to see either of them being made.

It may be worth squat. My feeling is that this argument is too nuanced to be much of a help or a hurt. Right now, everyone is keying in on the vote as being the only thing that matters. I remain convinced of a bigger picture, and I have become so inured to politics-as-usual in Tennessee that this outburst on Davis' part, well, intrigues me. I think he's on to something.

If I'm wrong, I owe you the standard wager. ($1, in case you didn't get the Mortimer/Randolph reference.)

And to turn your question around: how have you advanced the cause of gay rights by re-electing him?

By keeping the seat out of Adam Pedigo's hands. That'd be a start.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Sean Braisted's picture

Just Kidding

BTW, Was Lincoln Davis just kidding when he co-sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment? The problem with Davis' speech wasn't that people can't take a joke, its the joke teller that confuses me. Davis is one of the most socially conservative members of the House, and he co-sponsored and voted for the amendment. So its kind of hard for him to point out the "hypocracy" of the agenda, when he is an active and willing participant.

Andy Axel's picture

Hm

Was Bill Clinton just kidding when he signed the federal DOMA into law?

Were Ford Jr., Cooper, Davis, and Gordon all kidding when they cast votes in favor of the FMA?

Was Bredesen kidding when he said that he'd sign the TN equivalent of the FMA into law if it passes in November?

Was Howard Dean kidding when he said that the Democratic Party platform had a definition of "one-man-one-woman" as a plank?

Was John Kerry kidding when he said that he believes that marriage should be subject to the "one-man-one-woman" definition during his 2004 campaign?

its kind of hard for him to point out the "hypocracy" of the agenda, when he is an active and willing participant.

Why is this so hard to grasp? This whole thing is and continues to be a charade. They shouldn't have even been discussing this amendment *at all.* The Senate already shot it down, not having gained the necessary 2/3 vote to move it forward. The House shouldn't have even had this on the schedule, but since you have a GOP majority pulling all of the strings, they have every member of the House pinned into the position of having to take a stand. And the cameras are always rolling.

What would you have him do? "Come out" on this issue just two or three weeks before a primary so that the GOP attack dogs can cast him as a queen? Because I tell ya, that's EXACTLY the sort of thing that they would pounce on, and anyone here with an ounce of sense knows that.

Here we have a Democratic politician playing the sort of hardball that everyone is saying we need in order to win more elections (esp. in the South), but all I hear is everyone on the Democratic side tearing him to shreds over something so far over the top that (I thought anyway) it was impossible to take him literally. Form the circular firing squad. Let's all devour Lincoln Davis so we can s**t a Republican in his place.

Do people just automatically assume every Southern official is a retard? Even Southerners? Maybe that's the biggest joke of all here.

Frankly, I expected better.

Whatever. Move to McMinnville so you can cast a vote for Alan Pedigo. Elect more Republicans. Then see how far that the cause of gay rights is advanced.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Sean Braisted's picture

Woah there buddy

Before we go all out here, I'm simply pointing out that he Co-Sponsered the legislation...if he didn't think it needed to be brought up, he could have simply voted for it, but co-sponsoring it goes the extra measure to say "I like and Want this bill". All Tennessee Congressmen voted for the legislation, but Davis was the only Democrat to Co-Sponsor it.

If Davis was truly serious about truly dealing with serious issues, than he wouldn't have co-sponsored it in the first place. Vote for Davis, I'm not saying don't, but I just don't see how he can stand on his high horse, when he sponsors the same agenda he decries.

Andy Axel's picture

Co-Sponsorship

You want to know how many co-sponsors there were to HRes 88?

134. 31% of the House membership.

How very meaningful.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Sean Braisted's picture

Meaningful

Only 5 out of 134 were Democrats...thats less than 4%...pretty meaningful.

Lincolnd Davis - TN
Sanford Bishop - GA
Jim Marshall - GA
Mike McIntyre - NC
Collin Peterson - MN

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