Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R)

No relation, I swear...

No relation, I swear…

I was tempted to headline this “Unethical Marshall of the Month.” No, there is no relationship that I know of, but on the off chance that I share a gene or two with Delegate Marshall, I am happier than ever that my son is adopted.

Marshall is running for the open Congressional seat in the Virginia District next to mine. To say that he is an embarrassment is an insult to embarrassments. Among his statements, which, he is clear about pointing out, are not gaffes, but his sincerely held opinions:

  • Disabled children are God’s vengeance against women who have had abortions. “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” he has said.
  • Since incest is sometimes consensual, those pregnancies should have the option of abortion.
  • Justice Kennedy’s  U.S. Supreme Court opinion supporting same sex marriage suggests that he is  gay. “Clearly, some of the people who are making these decisions must be rationalizing their own bad behavior,” Marshall said just lasts week.

He isn’t apologizing for any of these statements, mind you, nor any other nonsense he will doubtlessly spout in the future. “I don’t care. I mean, if I say something in public, I say it in public,” he has told the press. Translation: “Yes, I’m an idiot, and damn proud of it.”

The damage done to the state, the nation, political discourse, the Republican Party, conservatism and the health of democracy and representative government by having an unapologetic fool like Mr. Marshall engaged in public service and electoral politics is incalculable. Because he is the living, breathing embodiment of the  most grotesque and hateful  characterizations of conservative politicians that a only a mind-meld of Bill Maher, Martin Bashir and Debbie Wasserman Schultz could conceive, and only then after too many boilermakers, Marshall gives plausible credibility to outrageous stereotypes employed to marginalize legitimate public servants. Yet sufficient numbers of Virginians vote for him to keep him involved in government. When pundits wonder why Virginia is turning from Red to Blue, they need look no further than the continued existence of Bob Marshall, and the blame falls squarely on the irresponsible Virginians that either support or tolerate him.

Is there a Democratic equivalent of Marshall and wackos like him on the opposite end of the political spectrum?  Who would it be, and what expressed beliefs could strike the same chords of universal revulsion in citizens of normal temperment and intelligence regardless of  partisan affiliation? The candidate would have to be something like an advocate for post-birth euthanasia as an extension of abortion rights, perhaps argue for the banning of opposite sex marriage as inherently hostile to the self-esteem of gays, and fervently believe the Antonin Scalia was the false identity of an undead Chief Justice Taney.  Whatever the relative virtues of the Right and the Left, I am pretty sure that the Right has the clear edge in virulent wackos.

ADDENDUM: Meanwhile, Slate suggests that I am merely the tool of a biased liberal media, which buries the stories of embarrassing local Democrats. My response: that’s a separate issue. Any party that has officeholders like Marshall deserves to be embarrassed, and so does he.

______________________

Pointer: John Niles

Facts and Graphic: Washington Times

56 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R)

  1. Jack,
    “…on the off chance that I share a gene or two with Delegate Marshall, I am happier than ever that my son is adopted” is a remark of Churchillian awesomeness. I always knew you could deliver a burn with the best of them, but you’ve surpassed yourself this time. Kudos to you.
    Melissa Harris Perry of “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents…and recognize that kids belong to whole communities” fame comes to mind as a leftist figure who managed to alienate almost everone in the center. Although, thank God, she’s not an elected official.

      • I think you nailed the difference between right and left here, and why people like Marshall aren’t an unfair characterization of what the Republican party has turned into. Republican wackos get voted into office. Not only do they beat out their Democratic party opponents, but they also beat out their Republican party opponents in the primaries. If most of the Republicans in a district back someone, then they aren’t a characterization. They’re a representation.

        (Yes, I know there are some crazy legislators that are Democrats, but it’s a considerably rarer phenomena than crazy Republican legislators. And, if you want a tangent to go off on, the crazy Democrats that I’m familiar with tend to be blacks that know how to play the game with inner city constituencies.)

        • I think that’s right, though many will blanch to accept it. The worst wackos on the Left are pretty regularly rejected even by progressives. I was at a dinner (a long time ago) at the US Chamber and witnessed this actual dialogue (approximately) between two U.S. Senators.

          Democrat: Don’t complain to me about your wackos—we’ve got plenty of wackos of our own.
          Republican: We’ll trade our wackos for your wackos!
          Democrat: Uh, no. Nice try, though.

          • Another comparison: left wing media makes fun of wacko Democrats (see Slate or The Daily Show); right wing media defends wacko Republicans (see World Net Daily or Breitbart).

            • Although I’d use The Daily Kos or Truthout as better comps for World Net Daily or Breitbart. If one of the former ever criticizes a wacko progressive I’ve missed it, because they ARE wacko progressives. Mother Jones or The Nation? Seldom.

              Slate’s Center-Left: Salon isn’t so balanced. I don’t normally go near World Net Daily or Breitbart. Do The Daily Caller and the Blaze flag wacko right-wingers? They do. I honestly mean this: I don’t understand why media sources on all ends of the spectrum fail to flag and criticize wackos, no matter what their orientation is. I don’t mean debatable wackos, like Rand Paul, I mean the tin foil hat wackos, like Marshall.

              I am especially chagrined to learn that he is the brother of actress Paula Marshall, who played the cute college reporter who thought George and Jerry were gay in the famous “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode, and who I now will probably never look at that same again, and I used to really like looking…Bob Marshall's sister

              • Im going to plead partial editting error on a phone. At some point i was pairing Limbaugh and O’Reilly with Stewart and Slate. The comparisons I wrote are clearly off, but I think the general point holds. Mainstream right wing doesn’t generally call out crazy on the right. Mainstream left does call out crazy on the left.

                The Blaze is interesting, as they often debunk things that Glenn Beck later says are true. They’re a clear data point against my idea, but Beck’s insanity tempers it a bit.

        • I love how your last paragraph essentially refutes your first. Oh, but your clarification “rarer phenomenon” makes it ok.

          What a joke. That’s called confirmation bias. You just don’t want to see it.

          Oh, it also doesn’t help, that mainstream Leftist ideas (the kind you salivate over), that involve crushing autonomy, confiscating private property for the so-called “common good”, invasions of privacy, and grotesque intrusion on huge sectors of the Free Market, were once considered “wacko ideas” also. Just because people have forgotten the wackiness of those notion’s doesn’t change that they are wacko ideas.

          • Relative crazies:
            I don’t follow. I dont see the contradiction. I believe Jack agrees that there are considerably less batshit left-wing politicians than right-wing ones, and he’s no left-winger. That there are a few left-wingers that have exploited racial politics on the left in no way lessons the fact that significantly more right-wingers eat up the crazy with a spoon.

            Confirmation bias:
            This argument applies equally to you. You’re better than that.

            Traditional wacko ideas that I supposedly support:

            This is a bit of a Gish Gallop, but I’m definitely for autonomy generally, absolutely against seizing of private property (Kelo was a horrible decision and not at all left-wing), and pro-4th amendment.

            You might have a valid point about the free market but its too vague to respond to. I’m definitely not a communist, but I don’t worship the free market. It has pluses and minuses, and we’d have to talk about each individually.

            This paragraph is a general attempt to disgrace me by labeling me a partisan. It fails pretty clearly. Yes, I’m towards the left end of the scale, but not by any means the strawman you’re portraying.

            • Appeal to authority, much?

              Also, not sure why racial politics is what you’ve cherry picked to be exemplar of leftist wackery.

              Confirmation Bias

              I’ve allowed for it. I don’t claim more wackos on the left then on the right.

              To expound however, I will emphasize a salient point that Ablative expounds on very well: our system *was* designed so that the relatively wackier notions any one politician holds WOULDN’T MATTER, because it wouldn’t be in the government’s power to enact laws based on such notions. The left however, being the primary pushers of increasing governmental power and intrusion, creates the conditions for us to worry about so-called “wacko” ideas.

              Gish Gallop

              Poisoning the well may be a favored tactic of yours, but it doesn’t fly. Not a practice of ‘gish gallop’.

              Sorry tiger, without going into the myriad of Leftist policies you support that do all of the things I’ve listed, I’ll merely mention your Dogmatic and Religious love of the Affordable Care Act, as crushing autonomy, confiscating private property for the so-called “common good”, invasion of privacy, and grotesque intrusions on huge sectors of the free market. Refuted again.

              • Appeal to Authority

                It wasn’t. It was an attack on your “confirmation bias” statement. Jack’s on the other side of the aisle, so his confirmation bias should be that there are many more wackos on the left. You can’t wave my position away with confirmation bias.

                Allowed for Confirmation Bias

                I’m assuming you mean wacko politicians, as that’s the topic here. In that case, not taking a side is either ignorant or stupid. It’s roughly akin to not taking a side on if there is more racism on the far right than the far left. It’s like not saying whether more of my comments are to the right or to the left.

                AM’s thought
                The left however, being the primary pushers of increasing governmental power and intrusion, creates the conditions for us to worry about so-called “wacko” ideas.

                Uhh…What? It’s the left that wants homosexuality criminalized, and refuses to repeal laws that are unconstitutional? It’s the left that wants the government to ignore the American Medical Association’s recommendations about out-patient procedures to try to drive certain doctor’s out of business. It was the left that tried to pass a post facto law applying to one specific person (Terri Schiavo). During Bush’s presidency, it was the left that expanded executive power to never before seen levels, and it was the left that said that criticizing the patriot act (possibly the greatest intrusion ever) or the president was unpatriotic. Your comment is simply bullshit. Even where the right wants less government, it would be to allow wackos more ability to do bad things (like repeals anti-harassment laws).

                Both the right and left attempt to create more power for them, and more of what they want. The left thinks more regulation better protects individuals from wackos. The right thinks less government does so. I believe the left is correct, but that’s what makes me on the left end of the spectrum.

                Bullshit. When the right’s in power, the idea of small government goes out the window. The right is for small government only when they don’t like the specific increased government and/or when they aren’t in power.

                The left also tries to cut bad government and improve government. Like, for instance, getting rid of unconstitutional sodomy laws, and improve programs like the consumer products safety commission. The right fights against that.

                I’m not saying that the left is better than the right here, just that the idea that the right doesn’t enable abuses like the left does is silly.

                Gish Gallop
                Maybe. I think that throwing multiple things at the wall is what a gish gallop is, and you’re accusing the left of having all these ideas. I guess you might think they’re examples. It’s a grey area. It’s not the traditional Gish Gallop. I’ll pull back my attack on that front.

                Poisoning the well
                Your previous statement:
                … mainstream Leftist ideas (the kind you salivate over) [horrible ideas that you think are specific to the left] were once considered “wacko ideas” also

                You say lefties believe this horrible stuff and lump me in with them. There’s no reason to lump me in with them other than to try to say that I’m a leftist. It’s classic poisoning the well.

                Me being a crazy leftist / the ACA
                Sorry tiger, without going into the myriad of Leftist policies you support that do all of the things I’ve listed, I’ll merely mention your Dogmatic and Religious love of the Affordable Care Act, as crushing autonomy, confiscating private property for the so-called “common good”, invasion of privacy, and grotesque intrusions on huge sectors of the free market. Refuted again.

                I support the ACA over what we had before. I believe the benefits outweigh the very minor costs. That said, I don’t support it dogmatically or religiously. It has flaws, and I would prefer a single payer, universal system.

                Now, about the ACA itself:
                * Crushing autonomy? Autonomy is no more crushed than it’s crushed when taxes are paid and or car insurance is required.
                * Confiscating private property? Do you consider taxes “confiscating private property for the so-called ‘common-good’?” Is that still a bad thing? What about all the surcharges that have been added to get around maximum traffic fine limits that go to support police departments and fire departments?
                * Invasion of privacy? What privacy does the ACA invade?
                * You say “grotesque intrusions on huge sectors of the free market,” I say “seeing a market that wasn’t working as a free market, and following the appropriate steps to help it long term.” There’s a reason the Insurance companies and doctors groups didn’t fight the ACA. This is win-win-win. Heck, it’s essentially the Republican plan from the mid-90s. They weren’t to be accused of grotesque intrusions on huge sectors of the free market. If I didn’t know you were serious, I’d call Poe on this point. It’s that crazy.

  2. In my never-to-be-humble opinion, stupidity is not a conservative or liberal condition,. There are many, many statements made by idiots across the ideological and political spectrum to narrow it to Southern Republicans or Northeast Democrats. In the Great State of Texas, we have the pleasure of having the learned, right honorable Sheila Jackson-Lee (Dem.- 18th District) routinely make mockery of the English language, language, diction, and a whole host of other embarrassments too numerous to include here ( but a short list: she is of the opinion that the Constitution is a mere 400 years old; that we planted at flag on Mars; there are two Vietnams living side-by-side, north and south; that amendment of the ACA would lead to the death of her daughter; that Congress should draft executive orders of the President to sign, and so on and so on).

    When I see idiots like this, I wonder if the opposing party selects a particularly repugnant person as the standard bearer as the candidate of choice to make that party look really crazy. For instance, did the Democrats get together and say, “Hmmm . . . there is an open seat in Virginia. Let’s get that whack-job as the Republican candidate because his lunacy can be spread across the entire conservative side.”

    • It’s an interesting theory.
      Lee was on my list, and probably as bad a Democrat as one could find. She’s outrageous, ignorant and arrogant about it, but total historical and geopolitical ignorance, while not a good sign, doesn’t necessarily speak of wretched judgement and warped values, like saying that God punishes women who had abortions by giving them deformed babies. But that may just be my own biases showing—the fact that she’s in Congress—Marshall will never get elected to Congress—is certainly more disturbing than an idiot Virginia state delegate.

      • A point of clarification – in the quote you put up, at least, he makes zero attribution of God punishing women for abortions. He attributes it to nature, which is NOT God. Is there an alternate quote out there somewhere?

        • What is the personification of Nature as a sentient and powerful being able to deform children but an evocation of a deity (god) by a different name? If he thinks Mother Nature did this, then she’s God. I don’t see this as a substantive problem.

          • I do see that as a material distinction, in that only pantheism or similar conflates God and nature. I can see his statement as consistent with intending to set up a factual basis, trying to present a cause and effect scenario that he (mistakenly) thinks applies, and not (yet) making any moral argument.

            Likewise, I think you are reading in too much by inferring that he thinks judges are homosexual when he ascribes their support for homosexual issues to their own bad behaviour. On its own, that would equally fit (say) a politician who starts agitating about police brutality to distract public attention away from political corruption; it doesn’t have to be politicians’ brutality that gives him an ulterior motive.

            • It’s based on ignorance, pure and simple. You don’t say something like that without understanding the judicial and legal philosophy of the jurist involved. Kennedy is a libertarian; anyone familiar at all with his decisions could predict where he’d come out on gay marriage. Either Marshall was lying, or he was using his presumed authority to mislead the public by making an assertion that the minimum level of research would have shown to be absurd.

              Your nature theory is especially silly, because it projects your own sophistication on an individual obviously operating at a rudimentary religious, philosophical and intellectual level. What do you think is accomplished by deliberately applying abstract arguments to real situations where they can’t possibly apply? What does it accomplish, other than making analysis more confusing to readers, and making yourself feel clever? I don’t get it. I really don’t. Marshall is a conservative Catholic. Catholics do not ascribe intelligence to nature, but only God, who commands nature. Marshall’s previous blathering on this topic was this:

              “ The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children… In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

              Is that consistent with your interpretation, or mine?

              • “Nature” does not factor into Catholic theology as an entity, but as the inherent traits or duties of someone or something. Delegate Marshall appears to be making an awkward metaphor of the idea that abortion is inherently damaging, and that the *natural* consequence would be subsequent children with disabilities. He appears to have some exposure to Natural Law theology (as anyone in the Pro-Life movement would be exposed to), but to have seriously garbled the details.

                According to Natural Law theology, as formally taught by the Church, his metaphor would be irrelevant. Abortion is inherently evil, because it destroys an innocent human life who’s parents, by nature, are meant to protect and nurture. The consequences of abortion, positive or negative, do not directly impact its morality.

                What Marshall is sharing is instead a falsifiable hypothesis, that abortion contributes to subsequent birth defects, and wrapping it in the theological language of the church, to no one’s benefit. If the science were on his side, then he would have a duty to share it clearly (and properly documented), because it is NOT a theological issue. If the facts were proven false, then he undermines his own church by using bad science to support a non-falsifiable teaching.

                • I think your premises lead to the conclusion that Marshall was talking about God, just screwed up. Jack’s quotes of Marshall using God in the role previously backs this up.

                  • I don’t really deny that Delegate Marshall is conflating alleged natural consequences with God’s punishment. My point is that the consequences of an action do not dictate its morality; nor does the Catholic Church formally teach that something is immoral because it incurs God’s wrath. Marshall’s statements do not conform to this teaching. His comments reflect his own beliefs, and using theological language misrepresents these beliefs as those of his church. His comments are irresponsible from any point of view.

                    • Um, pretty much nobody represents Catholic theology accurately to the public. Heck, different branches of the Catholic hierarchy have completely different views about certain sections of Catholic theology. Put a Jesuit in a room with a priest from pretty much any other order, and there’ll be more disagreement than agreement. How many times have the council of bishops been on the opposite side of an issue as U.S. nuns?

                      For crying out loud, the current pope has had his speeches repeatedly “reinterpreted” by the hierarchy due to their non-adherence to Catholic theology. Are you really setting a higher standard for Marshall, than the freaking pope?

                    • I am uncertain of the context under which Delegate Marshall made the claim that women are “punished” for abortion by having an increased risk of a birth defects in future children. However, this is a scientific issue inappropriately wrapped in theological language.

                      The claim’s veracity is irrelevant to the claim being outrageous when presented in such a manner. If the underlying claim that abortion increased the risk of future defects were demonstrably true, then the claim would not be offensive (except to those ideologically biased). If demonstrably false, then it should be acknowledged as a discredited theory and not used to support public policy against abortion. By presenting it as a theological issue and presenting it without evidence, it becomes mere ideological propaganda.

                      It is perhaps a distracting secondary issue that he misrepresents the Catholic Church’s position. There are issues where scientific evidence is used to support the church’s theologically-based position on matters of public policy. I would hold the Pope and other officials to at least a similar standard of keeping the theology appropriately separated from the science.

                    • To address some of your other points, there can be debates of theology, and debates of science. Each debate has different parameters. The bishops can argue with the pope all they want, but there is no definitive answer possible (unless you accept the premise of the Church’s infallibility), because theological arguments are not falsifiable.

                    • To address some of your other points, there can be debates of theology, and debates of science. The bishops can argue with the pope all they want, but there is no definitive answer possible (unless you accept the premise of the Church’s infallibility), because theological arguments are not falsifiable

                      Infallibility IS church doctrine. It’s not a premise. Officially, it applies when the pope said it applies. Nice, right?

                      I didn’t say the bishops argued with the pope. Pope Francis has repeatedly said things that, construed in any realistic way, contradict church dogma. Expecting Rep Marshall to speak in accordance with the ins and outs of Natural Law doctrine is ridiculous when even the pope doesn’t speak in accordance with something as prominent as whether you can only reach heaven by being saved by Jesus.

                      Your standard is ridiculous.

                      Also, once you note that there can be theological differences about dogma (and there very definitely are about Natural Law doctrine), you’ve invalidated your complaint.

                    • ” Expecting Rep Marshall to speak in accordance with the ins and outs of Natural Law doctrine is ridiculous when even the pope doesn’t speak in accordance with something as prominent as whether you can only reach heaven by being saved by Jesus. ”

                      In my original response (“Nature…”), I stated that Marshall made (an outrageous) metaphor based on misunderstanding Natural Law philosophy. I don’t really expect him him to understand the ins and out of Natural Law, but to keep his mouth shut if he doesn’t. He used theological language of divine punishment to describe the alleged side effects of abortion; his course of action should have instead been to describe the medical evidence supporting the alleged side effects. It does not take a doctorate of theology to understand that this is unacceptable.

                      ” Infallibility IS church doctrine. It’s not a premise. Officially, it applies when the pope said it applies. Nice, right? ”

                      Yes, infallibility, when properly invoked, is church dogma. I call it a “premise” only because there are many non-religious folks here. Appealing to infallibility is meaningless to an atheist.

                      I have carefully read the Pope’s words. The most striking thing is that the media is quick to air a soundbite without the full context. How he chooses to present the faith is not an ethical issue; it is fully within his discretion.

                    • (A logical extension of the proper being to give the medical evidence is to not make the argument if there is no medical evidence)

                    • Rich,

                      Being right or keeping quiet

                      In general, I’d agree with you, but there isn’t so much right and wrong when dealing with the church. There’s official doctrine, but what that doctrine actually means is constantly being argued and mistaken, including by the pope. Also, when it comes to faith, it doesn’t matter what an organization says, it just matters what the individual believes the organization says.

                      The Rep’s thoughts about what the church says are enough to damn him (though not the church, they’ve done fine damning themselves).

                      Infallibility as premise
                      When we’re talking about catholic doctrine, we’re already in fantasy land, no need to call it out again. Calling infallibility a premise suggested that it is something that is not necessarily doctrine.

                      Pope speaks

                      I haven’t seen the media being quick to misinterpret him. What I have seen is the bishops being quick to backtrack. That said, if the pope isn’t responsible to be accurate, what’s the point in church doctrine?

                • ” The Rep’s thoughts about what the church says are enough to damn him (though not the church, they’ve done fine damning themselves). ”

                  I do agree that Marshall is individually responsible for his comments, regardless of his church’s actual beliefs. I also agree that the church should be held accountable for its beliefs.

                  ” I haven’t seen the media being quick to misinterpret him. Pope Francis has repeatedly said things that, construed in any realistic way, contradict church dogma. ”

                  The media has chosen to frame Francis a certain way. If one looks at the writings of Benedict and Francis regarding many controversial issues, such as the role of women, you’d see substantial agreement. Yet, Benedict is routinely portrayed as a staunch conservative, and Francis a bleeding-heart liberal.

                  When NARAL (National Abortion Action League) publicly “thanked” Francis for his position on abortion, the media gave this substantial coverage, possibly leading people to assume he was changing the doctrine. Yet Francis (assuming he concerned himself with US advocacy groups) would have seen this as a slap in the face. Francis has publicly praised the US bishop’s for their work ending abortion, particularly its balance with other social justice issues the conference addresses. He really has not backed down on abortion (or contraception, or priestly ordination of women, etc). His positions on many issues are simply framed to appear radically different than his predecessors, making him appear more open to changes than the totality of his public statements substantiates.

                  Now, I also concede he has made some substantial statements regarding church discipline. He has, for instance, opened a conversation about whether civil unions could be tolerated in certain instances for homosexual couples. He has also indicated less need to purge the church of celibate priests who identify as homosexual. However, he has not advocated sacramentally recognizing homosexual unions, nor is there a doctrinal reason that homosexual persons cannot be ordained. He has deliberately skirted dogmatic issues.

                  • The media has misrepresented Francis over many issues. He is still pretty abhorrent, and you are right in that they have mischaracterized him as much more progressive than he actually is. That said, his comments about non religious people were not taken out of context by the media, and he was directly against dogma there.

  3. “■Since incest is sometimes consensual, those pregnancies should have the option of abortion.”

    Is this a typo, or am I missing something- should it be “Since incest is sometimes NONconsensual those pregnancies should have the option of abortion” or possibly “…sometimes consensual…should NOT have the option of abortion”?

  4. Between the incoherent right and the insane left there isn’t much to choose from. Why do these people get elected? Are the incoherent and the insane the only people who’ll still put up with the down side of politics? The down side is getting pretty bad.
    The closest I can come to a mirror image to Marshall on the left is Alan Grayson.

    • I don’t see that Marshall is incoherent. His statements are clear, just some combination of horribly ignorant, horribly stupid, horribly illogical, and horribly cynical. Out of 10 points in each category, I’d give him 7, 3, 8, 10. He’s a 28 on my horrible scale. I need to remember this comment for reference later.

  5. I agree that R. Marshall said something odd, something untrustworthy, about “vengeance” on subsequent children born of women who previously had an abortion. What *are* the stats, really? How could he know? How could anyone know? Oh! (slapping forehead) God, of course.

    On the other bullet points, though…cognitive dissonance: Incest is absolutely never consensual? Ever? But, Franklin Roosevelt and…oh (slapping forehead), never mind, he was a Democrat. Right now, I might be letting my imagination go where I should not dare let it go. But I suspect R. Marshall means to restrict abortion so that, for example, the fact that a couple is a married brother and sister does not qualify them for a get-of-your-pregnancy-free card, any more than the fact that that couple is in solidarity in wanting an abortion. That example of protection of fetal life stemming from incest would be in contrast to making an exception to allow for abortion in cases of pregnancies resulting from incestuous abuse (which, I must admit, is nigh impossible for me to imagine constituting anything but rape). If that is what R. Marshall means, then I am not categorically opposed to what he wants. But, it is not clear from how you write [and re-write] at your bullet precisely where R. Marshall *does* stand on abortion in cases of incest. So, I have to give BOTH of you the benefit of doubt on this point.

    I am willing to believe that R. Marshall’s statement of Justice Kennedy – “Clearly, some of the people who are making these decisions must be rationalizing their own bad behavior” – is a tongue-in-cheek poke at rhetoric used by who he considers “the other side.” Said in that vein, it pokes fun at the ridiculous, childishly cruel teasing that homophobes and non-homophobes alike are expected to put up with, whenever they dare say something that the Inquisitors Of Queer disagree with: “Oh, you’re just hiding yourself; you’re one of us, but in the closet. You can come out; it’s OK now.” What arrogance. So, I’ve had great fun countering IOQs with, “Oh, you’re just being willfully obtuse and over-compensating; you’re trying to keep your heterosexuality a secret. Give it up.” Sometimes, their hatred and bigotry are so obvious, it’s laughable; many simply refuse to accept that ANY heterosexual would DARE think differently than themselves.

    I do not expect R. Marshall to get elected. But if he does win election, I am confident that he won’t do any more harm than a Democrat in the same office would certainly do. (Disclaimer: I am not trying to rationalize.)

    • Yes, and my neighbor’s Belgian Shepherd would be no worse a Congressman than my district’s Jim Moran, but is that an endorsement? This is “It’s not the worst thing” in bright lights.

      Marshall’s slur on Kennedy ( on his objectivity, not his sexuality) was NOT tongue in cheek…there’s nothing to suggest that he has the wit or inclination for humor or irony. This is pure “he likes them fags, so he must be one” stuff, the equivalent of calling the Brown court “nigger-lovers.” And his point with incest—of course some incest is consensual–was that abortion should be withheld as a punishment, which is outrageous.

      This guy is irredeemable, and I don’t get why you would even try to redeem him.

      • I’d like add that his point about abortion was also illogical. Even if punishing people for consensual incest was okay, punishment for nonconsensual incest would still not be okay.

        Also, the christian prohibition on incest is due to the reproductive costs, not the power issues. Consensuality (damn it, that should be a word) is clearly irrelevant in traditional christian culture.

    • I agree that R. Marshall said something odd, something untrustworthy, about “vengeance” on subsequent children born of women who previously had an abortion. What *are* the stats, really? How could he know? How could anyone know? Oh! (slapping forehead) God, of course.

      Umm…studies? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2225607

      “In conclusion, except for the association between pregnancies following dilatation and evacuation procedures and premature delivery and low birthweight, no significantly increased risk of adverse reproductive health has been observed following induced abortion”

      So… no, birth defects have not been observed to increase. Marshall is flat out wrong.

      Also note that somewhere around half of all pregnancies abort, most before the pregnancy is even known to the prospective mother, so this limited increase may also apply to these situations as well.

      cognitive dissonance: Incest is absolutely never consensual? Ever? But, Franklin Roosevelt and…oh (slapping forehead), never mind, he was a Democrat.

      They were fifth cousins once removed. That’s 1/4096 shared genome. That’s not what anyone means by incest. Ugh.

      That should be plenty of evidence against the relationship being incestuous, but I feel like doing math today. I have 113 second cousins with once removals (and closer)… on my fathers side of the family, and 108 of them are to one grandparents’ side (Hello Italian Catholics!) I don’t have a handy reference of my mothers side, but first cousins gets me 22 related, and my mother’s mother was one of 12 and her father was one of something like 15. Both sides Irish Catholic. A death on my mother’s side routinely draws a hundred people, so lets underestimate with 200 second cousins there with once removals (and closer). That’s 300 second cousins with once removals total. To find the next level of cousin (e.g.->second to third), we need to multiply the current number of cousins * number of kids per child group one way * number of kids per child group the other way + some factor for the extra once removals. If I average 5 kids per Catholic family in the old country (crazy understimate), and completely ignore the extra once removals for being difficult, that gets me 117 million cousins, or 1/60 of the population of earth. Focused in Ireland, Italy, and US. Yea, If a random person has well over a random chance of being related at that level, that’s not incest. If we go back a thousand years, assuming there were no 5th cousin intermarriages, everyone on earth was related by at least 5th cousins. I think we have to actually make people disappear off the earth to keep them from being fifth cousin related. That would be a fun college level combinatorics problem. In any case, that’s not incest.

      One more: my family trees only go back to my great grandparents in 3 out of 4 cases, and only grandparent in the fourth, so it’s impossible for me to know if someone is a fourth or fifth cousin, or, in a quarter of cases, even a third cousin. That’s not incest.

  6. I don’t think either party has a monopoly on wackos. I’m currently reading *The Forgotten Man* by Amity Shlaes about FDR’s attempts to remedy the Great Depression. He had a hatchery of wackos including Rexford Guy Tugwell and David Lilienthal who booked passage to Europe and to the Soviet Union where they learned what a great place the Soviet Union was. It continues today of course.

  7. He’s not exactly Robinson Crusoe…

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-louisiana-house-votes-to-keep-same-sex-relations-illegal/politics/2014/04/15/85857

    WBRZ reports that Republican Rep. Valarie Hodges opposed revoking the anti-sodomy laws “saying the law protects children and upholds morality.”

    Meanhile, the Blog of New Orleans reports that GOP Rep. Valarie Hodges voted against revoking the anti-sodomy law because “yesterday was Passover and Friday is Good Friday.”

    “This has been on the Louisiana law books for nearly 200 years,” she said. “Just because we decriminalize something doesn’t make it right. … We’re not here to rubber stamp the Supreme Court. … We’re here to uphold the law of what’s right and wrong.”

    10 Democrats voted to keep the bill, 27 against. The bill failed by a wide margin on a vote of 27-67, with 11 members not voting.

    Law Enforcement agencies wanted the bill scrapped as they are compelled to arrest people who cannot be convicted of any crime.

  8. I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I double checked the first name to make sure this wasn’t you leading a secret double life. And considering that you can’t seem to ever find a free lunch/dinner time, I’m glad your kid isn’t related to you, too!

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