The GOP is not going to win the 2016 election and they know it. 

I admit it, I’m a political tragic. I watch, I read, I talk politics 24/7 often to the frustration of my friends and family. I love (that’s L-O-V-E) the American political system and its tendency to maneuver effortlessly between political animal, theatrical event and circus performance. I don’t admire the American political system…but it’s like a drug that I can’t get enough of.

I picked Barrack Obama to win in 2008 over a year out, and again in 2012 in fact I’ve been pretty good at predicting US results, and terrible with our own, maybe this is testament to how much I love watching the insanity that Jon Stewart calls ‘Democalypse 2012/2016″ etc…

I am in the middle of watching the two GOP debates on FoxNews and I wanted to state publicly that all the posturing that the candidates are doing is not going to make one jot of difference. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States and the Republicans know it.

Since 2007 the Republican Party has lost the votes of women, minorities and the youth. There has been nothing done to redress this issue, in fact since the 2008 election they have lost even more support from that segment of society. If all things were equal, and a political party was actively trying to attracted a demographic and doing a great job at it, it would take longer that one election cycle to achieve this. The current GOP front runners are not only not doing a good job at attracting back those votes, in many cases they are harming their chances of getting them even more putting at risk the ability to win in 2020 and 2024 as well.

The Republican Party know this as in evident in their attacks on Hilary Clinton already, 16 months out from the election they are already painting here as evil incarnate and blaming her for every negative position they are also throwing at President Obama linking the two as one.

Here is an example from the official GOP twitter account from yesterday.

ScaredofhilaryI think we all accept that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, but as she isn’t officially selected yet, it’s fascinating that the Republicans are attacking her and are scaring their base into action for 2016. Just watch how many of those kinds of tweets become talking points for ‘Joe the plumber‘ types in news interviews next year.

As ironic as it sounds, and maybe you’ll think me a little naive, but I believe that the only way that the GOP has any chance of taking down the Democrats and getting into the Whitehouse is if the nominee ends up being Donald Trump. The rationale behind this is a little unusual, as a wee bit disrespectful to Mr. Trump, but here goes.

The absolute ridiculous nature or having Donald Trump as POTUS will be so enticing to a sector of the American voting public that he might get the bump he needs. Think the ‘Bill and Ben Party‘ or ‘McGillicuddy Serious Party there is a protest vote that goes with that parody of a party that attracts disenfranchised and young voters. The problem is, Mr. Trump is not a parody, he is very much a real and active part of the American political landscape. I still don’t think that will be enough to get the GOP over the line…but my goodness that would be the best television political tragics like me, would have ever seen.

If the political gods are listening right now please, oh please, oh please let Donald Trump get the Republican nomination

 

An open letter to the Church in NZ on Same-Sex Marriage

Dear fellow Church members,

This is an open letter about the Same-Sex Marriage debate to the Christians of New Zealand.

I have been a supporter of Marriage Equality for the LGBTI community in New Zealand for several years. To me it’s very simple, every person should have the right to be married to the person they love regardless of their sexual orientation. I believe marriage is a government institution; the church does not own it. Whether religious or not, we all have the same marriage certificates. A person’s faith or religious affiliation makes no difference to the legality or substance of their marriage. So if marriage is a government institution, there can be no discrimination.

I have had countless conversations around this topic in my role as a broadcaster working mostly in current affairs and talk radio. Something that has become blatantly obvious to me is that the position held by many opponents of Same-Sex Marriage, whether they are aware of it or not, has more to do with their opinion on homosexuality itself than with marriage equality. Many opponents of marriage equality come from a religious background, and they default to what they have been taught in churches about homosexuality as the basis for their position.

There seem to be three main lines of thought amongst Church members when it comes to Same-Sex Marriage.

  1. Homosexuality is natural and normal for a small portion of the population, therefore we are discriminating against this people group by not allowing them to marry.
  2. Homosexuality is not natural, and it’s a choice. Therefore there is nothing wrong with keeping a sector of society from marrying as you cannot discriminate against a ‘choice’.
  3. Whether we like it or not, there is already legislation that doesn’t allow discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, so matter what we believe about homosexuality we must make marriage available to the LBGTI community.

For me I find myself firmly in third camp. For me the conversation about the legalisation of ‘gay marriage’ has not one jot to do with religion, religious beliefs or the church. It’s a legal certificate that is issued by the Government, not by the Church, and as a ‘Government institution’ all should be able to benefit from it. In my support of Same-Sex Marriage I don’t even need to go to the first or second point above as they are irrelevant to the question at hand.

I’d like the conversation to be as simple as that…but there has been so much mistruth and exaggeration in the media surrounding this conversation, that I think we need to address it. These are what I believe are the key misconceptions relating to this issue.

But if we give the gays marriage next people will want multiple wives

No country in the world that has legalised Same-Sex Marriage has gone onto legalise Polygamy, and in the countries where polygamy is legal you probably don’t want to be gay as you may literally lose your head for it. However there is a libertarian view where some would say that if three or four consenting adults want to live in that kind of union, then does it really matter? I find it ironic that many who would reject the government’s over-involvement in their lives, and fight for the freedoms they see as important to them, are happy for the government to be involved in other people’s lives and legislate their freedoms away from them, when they disagree with those freedoms.

If we let the gays get married next they’ll want to adopt

I am of the firm opinion that the best place for a child to be is in a loving family with their biological parents under the same roof. In fact I believe that research has shown that when that couple is married it is even better for said child. But to then assert as some are that ‘gay adoption’ would be the worst thing possible for the child, on that point I will depart from many. I think that a loving, stable same-sex couple is going to provide a far better environment for a child than some of the tragic cases that have unfortunately become all too common in the news here in New Zealand. We only have to mention a few names, such as Decelia Witika, James Whakaruru and Nia Glassie to remind ourselves that many of our tragic and deplorable child abuse cases have occurred at the hands of straight parents, step-parents or caregivers. Would a loving and stable same-sex couple have provided a safer home for those children? Absolutely.

The bible is clear, ‘No’ to Gay Marriage

This is where the debate gets heated, as there are many theologians who believe emphatically that the bible teaches against homosexuality and homosexuals. That is not my personal view, and neither is it the theological view of an increasing number of bible scholars. One point that many of my theologian friends agree on, even those who are very conservative on this issue, is that if anything the bible talks about a sexual act, not a sexual orientation. This can be interpreted as the bible saying nothing about homosexuality or same-sex attraction at all, only about specific sexual acts.  Where then does that leave the heterosexual couples who engage in those particular acts? This is a complicated and much fought over area of biblical scholarship, and deserves a post of its own another day. But if, like me, you see marriage as a government institution and therefore as a right for all, then biblical interpretation regarding homosexuality is irrelevant in this conversation.

How dare this PC Government ride rough shot over the voice of New Zealanders!

The majority of polls that have been taken regarding marriage equality have indicated that in 2013 New Zealanders are affirming the move towards Same-Sex Marriage. However there is an old adage that if you live by the poll, you die by the poll. So if you bank your argument on the fact that most New Zealanders support your position this time, what about when they don’t? People tend to use polls when those polls support their argument, and then deride polls and pollsters when they don’t. For the Same-Sex Marriage conversation in my opinion it’s an easy one. Human rights should never be based on mob rule. The government needs to do what is right for that sector of society irrespective of what anyone, even a majority, may think.

The Gays will force ministers to marry even though it’s against their religious beliefs

This was an ill-conceived tactic by the opponents of Same-Sex Marriage. We have been assured since the beginning stages of this legislation that the law would be amended so no one had to perform a ceremony that differed with their religious beliefs. But even more than that, what LBGTI couple, on their special day, would want to force a minister to marry them? As promised, the new draft of the law allowed ministers and marriage celebrants associated with a church to decline to perform Same-Sex ceremonies based on religious beliefs. Non-religious marriage celebrants will not be able to turn couples away because of their sexual orientation, much like they can’t turn a couple away based on their age, their ethnicity or any other discriminatory issue where their ‘personal religious belief’ is not a factor and I think that’s fair enough.

Churches will be forced to hire out their premises.

Now this one is true but in my opinion very misleading and yet another red herring. The reason it’s misleading is that this is current law. If a church hires out its premises to the public, they cannot turn away a gay person or couple who want to hold an event there. Yes obviously there are no marriages happening right now between two men or two women in a church so that would be a new addition to a current law. But if a gay couple came to a church who hired their hall out to the public, and that couple wanted to hold a civil ceremony to declare their love to one another and be legally joined, right now under current law, that church could not discriminate against a gay couple.

One of the unfortunate by-products of these public conversations is that many outside the church now see those inside the church as being the reason their LBGTI brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, or children cannot marry. They see the church, supposed to be the representative of Jesus on earth, as rejecting their family and friends. They often conclude, not unreasonably, that this means Jesus rejects the gay community.

The recurring catch-cry of those in the church in response to the above accusation is, “but you don’t understand Pat, we love the sinner, but we are called to hate the sin.” I am sure most of those in the church have heard that phrase before and I think it is time to set the record straight. The concept of ‘loving the sinner and hating the sin’ is unbiblical, in fact it is the opposite of what we are called to do. Dr. Tony Campolo points out that what we are actually called to do is “love the sinner and hate your own sin, and after you get rid of the sin in your own life then you can begin talking about the sin in your brother or sister’s life.” I think he is right. Jesus said of the men who were, by law, allowed to stone the woman caught in adultery to go ahead…so long as none of them had sinned. We are told to not worry about the speck of dust in our neighbour’s eye when we have a plank of wood sticking out of our own.  Just think about that for a second, imagine if that was the filter we ran our lives through. Imagine if we truly loved people around us, end of story, and saved our judging for ourselves.

Finally, I want to encourage my fellow church members not to worry. The concern and near- hysteria that has erupted in response to the Marriage Equality Bill, which looks set to be passed this week, is simply unjustified. If you do not support the LBGTI community’s right to marry that’s your business, but please don’t believe any of the ‘slippery slope’ arguments that have been thrown around. This is not the beginning of the end of civilization and it’s not attack on marriage, not on your marriage nor mine. It’s a bill that redresses an inequality by giving all people the right to marry, a right which should already be guaranteed under current law. In other words it’s a ‘wrong’ that needs to be ‘righted’.

Pat Brittenden is a broadcaster, blogger and commentator and the executive producer and host of elephantTV

NZ Celebrities engage in the Marriage Equality debate

A list of pretty high profile New Zealanders have lent their names, faces and opinions to a campaign supporting marriage equality.

In the 90 seconds you see…
Tamati Coffey (TV Presenter) and his partner Tim Smith
Anika Moa, Hollie Smith, Boh Runga (Musicians)
Rachel Hunter (NZ’s Got Talent Judge/Supermodel)
Brooke Howard Smith (TV Presenter) his partner Amber Peebles (Radio DJ)
Nigel Latta (Psychologist)
Danyon Loader (Olympian)
Jason Kerrison (Musician)
Jason Fa’afoi (TV Presenter) and his partner Anna and their son Charlie
Pearl McGlashan (Actress)
Ali Campbell (Musician)
Alison Mau (TV Presenter)
Orene Ai’I (Rugby Player)
Dame Cath Tizard (Former Governor General)
Mike King (Talkback host/Comedian)
Oliver Driver (Actor/Presenter)
Richie Hardcore (DJ)
Turumakina Duley (Tattoo Artist)
Amy Usherwood (Actress)
Nick Dwyer (Radio DJ)

But the person I want to mention is Nigel Latta, this is what he says near the beginning of the video.

“See I thought we lived in a free country, I thought my kids were growing up in a place where everyone has the same rights.”

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, please feel free to respectfully engage in this conversation in the comments below.

Ideology versus intelligent debate

It’s been fascinating to watch the small (let’s be honest…very small) ripple of the Cameron Slater/Helen Kelly post I wrote yesterday and I’ve be really interested in how people have pigeon holed me and cast aspersions on my character and decided what kind of person I am.

I think it’s a case of ideology versus intelligent debate.

If you are an ideologue, I think the chances of reasoned debate is diminished as all you can see is the conversation from your side…now that makes sense but any intelligent person will tell you that ‘your side’ is not always going to be right…logic dictates that sometimes it will be in the wrong. Therefore if you support ‘your side’ 100%, you are sometimes supporting the side who is wrong.

Let me take a step backwards.

I have written several posts about Union issues in the past couple of years, sometimes supporting them as in the NZEI case for National Standards (so much so that the NZEI put my post on their website for others to read) and sometimes not supportive of them as in the Ports dispute right now. After the NZEI post I was called a ‘Socialist’, ‘a leftie loon’ and ‘the mouth piece of Helen Clarke’, after the Ports piece I have been called a…well lets have a look at that.

On Kiwiblog in and amongst the comments here are some thoughts…apparently I am “not the brightest light on the Xmas tree” or thoughts that maybe I was “dishonest”. I also started my last post with a statement of not being anti-union, that has been compared to someone saying “I am not racist…but I hate Maori”

So far my favourite response has come from one time colleague Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury. You see I am a microscopic fish in the world of blogging so sometimes when I write a post I also send an email to some ‘colleagues’ to let them know what I have just posted about. It’s kind of like prostituting myself looking for more hits as a pay off. I did this last night after my most recent post and got these responses from Martyn via email.

actually after reading this, I defriended you from Facebook, having an opinion is one thing Pat, being cameron slaters bitch is another thing. What a load of anti-union hysterical bullshit. You are well on your way to being a rednecked talkback host. Congratulations.

Followed 60 seconds later by this one.

when you do evil Pat, people tend to notice. Giving slater time after he’s being paid by PoA is pretty dirty though isn’t it?

I email him to wish him well for the future seeing as we were no longer ‘friends’ and may have just mentioned that it was a shame that the week before when we asked him to come on and put his perspective to one of these issues he wouldn’t respond to us to which he again responded.

I would have zero interest in being on right wing christian radio Patty and my advice to the Union movement would be to bypass it as well.

Again followed 60 seconds later by this one.

Oh and btw – stop sending me this unsolicited right wing Christian crap.

When I supported Martyn over his fallout with Radio NZ he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when I wrote the piece about the NZEI he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when he saw me on TVNZ talking politics he was happy to send me ‘crap’ congratulating me on the show and when he heard me on ZB and facebooked me congratulating me on my content one can only assume he was happy to allow my ‘crap’ to flow in his ears…but not now. Not now that my latest ‘crap’ doesn’t all of a sudden fit with his ideological narrative…now we cannot be FB friends

I don’t mean to pick on Bomber in this, I like him, always have, still do and probably always will, my wife knows him a little bit from University days and she likes him too but it’s a good example of how ideology gets in the way of intelligent debate, I am not anti-union…I am anti how this union is handling this one industrial action, period.

Today on my talkback show I stood up for the PSA…wait for it…a union. I back them in their claims that John Key has broken his promise about job losses. I agree, he is in the wrong and I support them in that. I support the Rest Home Workers Union…you guys should be getting paid ten times what you are for the work you do.

But an ideologue cannot see the wood for the trees, an ideologue cannot reason that an intelligent person can look at an issue and make an independent assessment of that issue…which may, or may not be parallel to whom they supported last time and I think this is what gets debate de-railed 90% of the time in NZ as it’s the ideologues who write the blogs, who comment on the radio, who write the speeches, who tell you what to think.

I like ’em all, I have no beef with anyone of them, it just saddens me that those of us that you could justifiably call centrist are not the ones pulling the big audiences on air, in print, or on telly as we are not controversial enough…until we disagree with an ideologue.

UPDATE: A response from WhaleOil to Bombers emails

Pat, a point of clarification. I know you didn’t say it but Bomber has done so.

I am not, nor have ever been paid by POAL or anyone associated with them in any manner, either in kind or in cash for my posts about the Ports dispute.

I have simply verified and reported facts as they came to light. I in no way hold you responsible for Martyn Bradbury’s defamation. I certainly do not wish you to take it down.

I want people to see it, together with my outright rejection of his lies.

My apologies to Cameron to not have already putting some kind of disclaimer in amongst Bombers email