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Dispatches The Buzz

Deal breakers

J.P. Carter ( has a simple solution that goes to the heart of the "gay marriage" problem: Constrain judges who think that they are the second coming of Nathaniel Webster, able to define words as they see fit. Mr. Carter writes, "Instead of a 'Defense of Marriage Act' we should have a 'Defense of Common Definitions Act.' Then whenever a judge attempts to usurp common sense by switching the generally accepted meaning of a term, we can simply hand them a dictionary and point to Amendment XXVIII."

Others are trying to find old-fashioned solutions-political deals-to the issue of how minor parties can make an impact without causing the election of candidates on the other side of the spectrum (as Ralph Nader may have done for George W. Bush in 2000). David Bernstein proposed a compromise on the libertarian-leaning Volokh Conspiracy ( "What if the Republicans actually offered something tangible for Libertarian support, and the Libertarians accepted it? And what if that something tangible was influence over a discrete number of appointments to the federal appellate bench? Libertarians can't expect the Republicans to nominate hard-core Libertarian activists, but they can, in return for support in close races, ask the Republicans to nominate libertarian-minded Republicans ... Janice Brown rather than Charles Pickering."

Of course, a deal of that sort would provoke a conservative Christian backlash against President Bush that would cost him more votes than he would gain from libertarians.

Down the Dean drain

Jonathan Chait's Diary of a Deanophobe ( mhtml) argues that a Dean nomination would mean Democratic disaster: "Polls consistently show that 40 percent of American voters consider themselves conservative, 40 percent moderate, and just 20 percent liberal.... To win, Democrats need to go beyond liberals and carry moderates decisively. There's almost no reason to think Dean is capable of doing so." But gay conservative-of-sorts Andrew Sullivan endorsed Dr. Dean even though "on the issues-going soft on terror, raising taxes, neo-protectionism, paleo-liberalism on race-I have a hard time even considering Howard Dean as a potential president." Mr. Sullivan thinks it would be healthy for Democrats to be able to express fully their anger-and it also seems that his gay interests trump his conservatism.

Mr. Sullivan thinks Dr. Dean has a shot at winning, and so does &c, blog of The New Republic, a liberal beacon. &c has no problem with President Bush sweeping the South (except for Florida), because it argues that Democrats will win easily "East and West coast states like California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Connecticut, and Maine." Therefore, the logic goes, while Mr. Bush will be able to take Southern states for granted and use his sizable war chest in key swing states, Democrats will be able to win easily in others and then spend several hundred million "at least if his name rhymes with Boward Bean ... in the Midwest and Florida and go blow for blow with Bush."

A hard day's blog

Blogging is hard work. Daniel Drezner ( had a busy week, guest-blogging on as well as providing "behind-the-blog" commentary on his own site. Think his wife noticed? In a special guest posting, she wrote, "The scene in our house on an average day: Our son is yelling for something, dinner is on the stove ... the dog is throwing up on the carpet. I look for my husband as some sort of help and he is tethered to the computer. I am thoroughly convinced that he will blog through the birth of any future children. I think I may have to ask Andrew Sullivan to coach me through my next delivery." this past week noted that there's hope for Andrew Sullivan to assist at the delivery of his own child. The big mantra among gay-rights advocates has been that homosexuality is genetic, not a choice, but one Washington Post headline, "For Some Teen Girls, Sexual Preference Is A Shifting Concept," might lead to a future one about adults shifting as well. The predestinationist view of inevitably gay, once gay, always gay, may get all shook up.