LaShawn Barber argues that the Federal Marriage Amendment is just a bad idea. She thinks it will never be ratified, and while I think it is quite possible that it could get through the ratification process, I agree that Bush is pandering to his base at the least opportune time.
So long as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) holds, there’s no need for a Constitutional amendment that would directly interfere in the affairs of the states. It does appear as though the DOMA will hold, and if it doesn’t, only then is it time to consider the possibility of amending the Constitution. To create a preemptive amendment to deal with a potential court case seems to be overkill to me.
Bush is clearly pandering to his social conservative base, despite the fact that his losses are mainly due to the immigration issue. Only a small percentage of voters really care about this as a political issue, and Bush doesn’t gain much by kowtowing to him. There are far better ways of protecting the sanctity of marriage than by creating a federal definition for it. The definition of marriage is by rights an issue for the states, and should remain as such.
Bush may get some of his base back, but it won’t be enough to make much of a difference. The FMA has only the slightest chance of ratification, and why Bush would waste his miniscule political capital on such an issue makes little sense to me.