I’m to the point where it’s impossible not to comment on this. When you see a politician do the kabuki dance of triangulation with positions, it’s hard to ignore. Less Fisher is the latest and we’ve seen this dance before.
You’ll remember the ’06 primary between our great buddy “Krazy” Ken Blackwell and Jim “I wanna be a decent guy but I’m a GOPer!” Petro. Their issue wasn’t the lightening rod of gay rights, but the one of abortion. Petro had a long history of support for abortion rights. Big problem. He was in a primary with the wingnuttiest of wingnuts. He was in a REPUBLICAN primary in OHIO running against the wingnuttiest of wingnuts.
Uh oh. Better get Maaco! Jim needed to do a little body work on his Republican bona fides and needed to do it quick! What does he do? He goes on a “listening tour” and does a complete 180 on his position by saying he watched Silent Scream, met with Jack Wilke, and suddenly realized he had it wrong for all these years!
Just screams political disingenuous, right? Of course it does.
Lee Fisher is in the same exact position in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio. The worst part is that we’ve seen this same exact behavior from Lee before. He’s made a career of it.
As a state legislator, Lee Fisher was a strong opponent of the death penalty. His deeply felt belief was that it was applied disproportionately to the poor and people of color. I don’t think most who read this site and hold similar beliefs as me and other bloggers here would find this objectionable at all. In fact, I think this is a very honorable position. It was also a very safe position to hold if you are from Shaker Heights like Lee.
Trouble was Lee then wanted to run for Attorney General. Ohio’s “top cop”. All of a sudden Lee needed some bodywork on that former safe position.
What does Lee do? He doesn’t just tweak his long held position. He abandons it all together. Completely. He embraced the death penalty and stuck it to long time friend Dick Celeste by challenging death sentences Celeste commuted as he was leaving the office of Governor. The NYT reported at the time:
?Mr. Celeste is a staunch opponent of the death penalty. Mr. Fisher has been close to him politically over the years and is regarded as a possible future candidate for Governor. He had opposed the death penalty before last year’s campaign for Attorney General, but reversed his position when the campaign started.?
Political calculation over conviction. The pattern repeats itself today.
As a state legislator, AG, candidate for Governor, and candidate for the Senate, Lee Fisher opposed gay marriage. It was a pretty safe position to have and it never got Lee in hot water. Less than two months ago Lee re-affirmed this position during an interview with the Gay People’s Chronicle:
“I am in favor of civil unions, but I have questions about marriage,” Fisher told the paper.
Being in favor of civil unions but having “questions about marriage” is the clearest kind of political triangulation in modern politics. President Obama is engaged in this particular type of language and I’ll go on record as opposing such weak kneed willy nilly positioning. Luckily, President Obama isn’t running for election. Lee Fisher is.
Now Lee wants to make us think he’s FOR gay marriage? Wonder why this is? Could it be that he’s now tangling with Jennifer Brunner, who has no such stomach for soft language:
“Brunner unequivocally believes that same-sex partners should have the right to marry. She does not put any qualifications on it, nor attempt any equivocation. It is a belief she has held publicly since 1989,”
The real question in all of this is whether or not Lee has a position on gay marriage and equality. Being for civil unions and having “questions about marriage” is NOT a position.
Maybe I should give Lee a call. I might remind him what happened to the last guy I called about gay rights.