October 9, 2004


Holt campaigns on single issue: gay marriage (JAMES JEFFERSON, 10/09/04, Associated Press)

Republican Jim Holt brushes past the "other" issues to get to the central focus of his campaign to unseat Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln in the U.S. Senate race.

"Every person in America has come together on this issue of same-sex marriage," the freshman state senator from Springdale declared during a recent campaign thrust to cultivate support in Lincoln's soil-rich but cash-poor home base in the eastern Arkansas Delta.

"We have the issue. That is, we must defend our traditional values," Holt told supporters, hammering Lincoln's opposition to a proposed federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one woman and one man.

He added, "If my own mother voted against the federal marriage amendment, I'd be campaigning against her."

Holt's message was not lost on small groups of locals he greeted a handful at a time, some of whom declared everlasting affection for Lincoln and several generations of a family whose roots run deep here, but who also said they'd consider dropping past allegiances to support Holt in the Nov. 2 general election.

"I was a good friend of her dad. I know her mother well. I know all of her brothers and sisters. I know them well," retired utility engineer W.R. Thompson said at a Barton Baptist Church fellowship hall where a couple of dozen locals gathered to hear Holt speak over lunch.

But Thompson said he was "acutely" aware of Lincoln's vote against the federal marriage amendment. He said he would give Holt a real strong listen. "The Lord established marriage," he added.

Holt is counting on issue to generate support that transcends party loyalties and stirs interest in his campaign among Christian conservatives among Democrats and Republicans.

But even so, would it be enough to dislodge a firmly entrenched incumbent who has raised more than $5 million for a campaign against an unknown opponent who is running his race on a shoestring?

"I don't think there's anything as entrenched as marriage," Holt said. "I don't feel like this is the only issue that we're talking about, but it is the most important issue, I believe, in America."

"It's not just about same-sex marriage, but that is the main issue for this next election.

"The security of our country not only comes from protecting ourselves against terrorists, it also comes from protecting ourselves from within, protecting marriage. If that fails, then our nation is lost."

That one issue and a big enough boost from the President can get you close.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2004 7:00 PM

In Arkansas

Posted by: Vince at October 9, 2004 7:39 PM

If Lincoln opposed the Marriage Amendment in Arkansas, then she is simply too stupid to be a Senator, or too dependent upon gay donations.

Evangelical Christianity has a significant presence there and the notion of letting two men marry each other is repellent to them.

Posted by: Bart at October 9, 2004 9:13 PM

I guess Lincoln isn't any more stupid than a Libertarian campaigning to legalize drugs even though the vast majority of people vehemently opposes the idea.

Posted by: Vince at October 9, 2004 10:36 PM

Except in California, Arizona, Alaska, and Canada, where voters legalized or decriminalized marijuana, and in Nevada, where only a slim majority mildly oppose it, but don't let facts get in the way of a cathartic screed.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 10, 2004 1:18 AM


Voters have not legalized marijuana anywhere. Wherever marijuana has been decriminalized, its use has gone up. In Nevada, more than a slim majority oppose it; close to two-thirds oppose it actually. Libertarian candidates advocate full drug legalization, not just for marijuana. Don't let those facts get in the way of an ideology.

Posted by: Vince at October 10, 2004 1:50 AM

Voters have legalized marijuana in California and Arizona, and it's been decriminalized in Alaska and Canada.
If one wished to appear educated about this issue, I'd suggest trying Google or Dogpile, and reading a few articles.

Whether more or fewer people blaze up seems irrelevant to determining whether voters have, or have not, legalized or decriminalized marijuana.

I'm not the one with a Libertarian fetish.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 10, 2004 5:41 AM


I'm not running for office, and my views on drugs are merely part of a general world view that we should leave each other alone and that government exists to protect us from outsiders and the predations of each other, not to be a substitute parent.

Posted by: Bart at October 10, 2004 6:28 AM


It has not been decriminalized in Canada. Yet.

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2004 8:20 AM

Peter B:

Too funny !!

Before I looked at your link, I had planned to refer you to the exact same article in defense of my postion.

Would you agree that marijuana in Canada is partially decriminalized, and also partially legal, given the legality of medical marijuana, the overwhelming majority in favor of decriminalization, the court and legislative decisions, and the B.C. gov't's decision to ignore possession of small amounts of grass ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 10, 2004 9:06 AM


You could argue that possession of small amounts isn't much of a worry, especially given the lack of interest by the police. But as importing, cultivating and trading are still prosecuted diligently and you can't buy it legally, except by prescription (Haven't you heard about our national glaucoma plague?, it seems a stretch to say that it has been decriminalized.

It's funny. This issue has been before Parliament several times since the 70's. It starts with a big forward-thinking study by sundry experts, which leads to much popular advocacy in favour among the chattering classes, opinion polls in favour and announcements by the government that it is coming, but then it never does. Something always derails it. My theory is that M.P.'s hear very different views from their constituents, especially in rural areas, and get cold feet, and also that they come face to face with the fact that they are talking about something more far-reaching than just letting good citizens enjoy a quiet toke at home. It doesn't seem to be an issue many of them want to fight for.

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2004 10:42 AM


Voters have not legalized marijuana in California and Arizona unless you are talking medicinally. Don't spin!

In Alaska and Canada the activist judges have reformed those areas' marijuana policies--not the voters.

Posted by: Vince at October 10, 2004 2:31 PM

Mike Gabbard is running that way in my district.

It will be interesting to see how many votes he gets, because he's offering no other reason to vote for him

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 10, 2004 4:11 PM


I see.
That a substance is legal doesn't mean that it's "legal".
How very Orwellian.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 11, 2004 3:42 AM


In Hawai'i ?

Anti-gay marriage doesn't seem as though it'd be enough as a single issue, there.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 11, 2004 3:45 AM


If you can not state your arguement without spinning, then I don't see how you have any credibility.

Posted by: Vince at October 11, 2004 2:57 PM

Very conservative religious state, Hawaii, despite its leftist politcal voting habits, which are a residue of a bitter capitalist-union struggle won by the unions 50 years ago.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 11, 2004 3:52 PM


Haven't the hippies done a lot of damage to the state too?

Posted by: Vince at October 11, 2004 4:20 PM

Only to themselves. They have, for example, one member on our 9-member council. No political significance

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 12, 2004 1:21 PM