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“Sheriff, when two events happen simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.” — Agent Cooper, TWIN PEAKS

Sometimes news just intersects.  The two events:

1) The New Jersey marriage bill, which was just approved by the Senate and Assembly, is now on the desk of Governor Chris Christie.  He’s said he will veto it swiftly. No bathroom breaks.  He’s said instead he will push for the legislature to allow a citizens’ vote (like Prop 8).  The legislature is Democrat-controlled, and this won’t be.  Cat’s Eye game!

“What a nice, boring tic-tac-toe that was,” mused Christie.

“Best out of five?” asked Senate Pres. Steve Sweeney.

Lawmakers, gay rights activists and the cast of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World now have until January 2014 to sway 3 Senate votes and 13 Assembly votes to override the veto.

Then something happy/sad happened.  Steve Goldstein, Head of Garden State Equality, the state’s leading gay marriage peddlers, sent out a message to Governor Christie and his subscribers.  Read the whole thing here, and the mind-graspiest bits are here (bolding and shortcutting is mine):

“…Many in Trenton know that Governor Christie and I have a good relationship.  …I like the Governor personally even though I agree with him on almost nothing.

I came of political age where leaders who disagree passionately on the issues, who even fight with one another like cats and dogs in the political arena, were able put the fights aside and see one another as people.

…[H]e is not some anti-LGBT nut.  He is no Rick Santorum.  Frankly, I don’t think Chris Christie has an anti-gay bone in his body, however much I cannot say the same about his impending veto.  His veto will be a brutally anti-gay act, pure and simple.

He won’t veto the bill because he’s anti-gay.  He’ll veto the bill because the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary electorate is anti-gay.  And if I get flooded with letters now from Charleston, so be it.

And that’s what hurts so badly.

Governor…if you’re game, we’ll continue that good relationship – Garden State Equality and I will continue to fight you on marriage equality with every bone in our bodies.  You would expect no less.”

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2) The second is today’s unceremonious firing of Pat Buchanan as an MSNBC conservative contributor.  He was let go because of various racist, homophobic and xenophobic statements made in his book Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?  MSNBC President Phil Griffin said that Patty Patty Buch Buch’s book shouldn’t be “part of the national dialogue, much less part of the dialogue at MSNBC.”

What was so bad about the book?  Well, there was a chapter called “The End of White America.”  Yes, this apparent end of White America was bemoaned by Saint Patrick of Buchananomics.

Very reprehensible stuff, and I don’t even want to get into his thoughts on gays.

This letting go has been widely seen by lefties and centries and lots of people as a good thing.  It’s been a natural transition, and all that’s left is for Buchanan to ride this wave of “no such thing as bad publicity” into a cushy gig at Fox News, where he will be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and become Borg.

But is MSNBC becoming (or rather solidifying itself as) the left version of Fox News, a propaganda machine?  Was the ranting crazy man right as he was thrown out of MSNBC by his coat tails onto the sidewalk?

Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast says “yes.”  Sullivan is a gay man, a libertarian, recently made popular again with his Newsweek article on why Obama should be re-elected, and he’s also, in my opinion, one of the most incisive political thinkers out there in BlogLand.  “Intellectually honest,” to use his favored term.

Today saw another gay man wishing a straight politico well following a liberal drumming, rightfully so or not, for an anti-gay act.  From Sullivan’s post:

“There is so much I disagree with Pat Buchanan on…But let me say something in his defense: however repellent some of his views, he is intellectually honest.

Yes, publicly bigoted, sometimes outrageous, a flame-thrower, a reactionary who flirted at times with what only can be called neo-fascism. But here’s another thing he has always been: true to his own ideas and a gifted writer. He truly believes what he says and has read and researched a huge amount and has thought carefully about his extreme out-of-the-mainstream views. He is a serious figure in that respect. Compared with Al Sharpton or Ed Schultz, he is a paragon of intellectual integrity. He is not a propagandist. He is a passionate writer who loves nothing more than a good argument with a worthy opponent – and he has a serious sense of humor to boot. That his ideas are often repelling should precisely be why he should stay on MSNBC and defend his views against the smartest critiques that can be found. We should stop silencing people and keep debating them.

Replacing him with Michael Steele – who makes Sarah Palin look like Susan Sontag – is to add insult to injury. In many ways, I admired MSNBC for keeping him on for so long. Fox has not a single liberal of his intelligence, experience and background. But they are pure propaganda. MSNBC is, in this move, now completely indistinguishable from Fox in that respect.”

I don’t agree that MSNBC is just as bad as Fox.  I’ve never seen Rachel Maddow or Thomas Roberts pull the kind of rage-fueled not-truths out of their asses that  Sean Hannity or Megyn Kelly do.

However, I am most intrigued by both of these stories’ idea of a “great and worthy opponent.”  I said yesterday that FRC’s hatemonger Tony Perkins should also be booted from MSNBC for his constant lies.  I still think they could get rid of Perkins and replace him with someone who is able to make the “other side” a little more genteel, like a Maggie Gallagher, odious as she may be.  However, I enjoy the idea that we should not be silencing people, but rather allow them to keep talking and sharpen our debaters.

Our problem is that we’re a sensitive lot who turn lily-white at the sound of fury coming from the Right.  We need to do less things like GLAAD forcing them to apologize and work in a PSA salt mine, and more things like get an expert debater like Dan Savage or Al Franken (when he one day stops rocking it as a Senator), who can persist, get the facts, and wallop our opponents with said facts.

That’s how we win.  Bitch slaps on air, not off air.  Your move.

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Written by Adam Sass

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Adam is a writer of gay-themed sci-fi thrillers. He lives in Los Angeles with his nurse fiancé and dachshund. Keep up with what he’s drinking on Twitter @TheAdamSass. Read more finger-wagging opinion & gay news with the new Stay on Fountain e-book: “A Look at the Great Gay Tipping Point”.

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