9 June 2006

Stewart and Bennett

What was amazing about Jon Stewart's argument with Bill Bennett was not so much Stewart's re-framing of the issue right under Bennett's feet (Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women. Stewart: I disagree, I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.) but what happened a little later. As Stewart brought up Cheney's position on a gay marriage ban (surprisingly con) and we all winced at Stewart's misstep, Bennett echoed our thoughts and warned him to avoid specific examples because examples in the opposite direction could just as easily be found. Anecdotal evidence is not absolute.

With this warning, it became obvious that Bill Bennett doesn't actually believe what he's saying, only that he knows how to frame limited facts to support his beliefs. Earlier in the argument, Bennett tried to say that allowing gay marriage was a slippery slope that would eventually allow polygamy. Both Stewart and the viewers were frustrated that Bennett willfully ignored the difference between a social choice such as polygamy and a biological assignment such as homosexuality. Does he doubt the scientific evidence? I suspect it's more that he's willfully ignoring it. He's smart enough to see through all poor arguments except his own.

[ posted by sstrader on 9 June 2006 at 12:45:31 PM in Politics ]