The Data Matter: Does John McCain Hate Kids dept.

Trying even harder on the keep-it-short imperative, just a quick hit on McCain’s fumbling anti-gay adoption stance as expressed yesterday to George Stephanopolous on ABC.

Three rapid thoughts:

1. What else did anyone expect him to say? If he comes out embracing, or even tolerating gay adoption, he loses the election in July, IMHO — given what such a stand would do to his support, such as it is, among the 20% or so of the GOP base made up of social and religious conservatives.

2. Just to make the absurdity of his fumbling explanation a little more obvious, someone in the media should ask him, pressing him for a specific answer: would he prefer unmarried, single parent adoptions as long as the man or woman were straight, to placing children in two-parent, same-sex couples?

3. Most seriously: this is another case of McCain being either ignorant — unaware of the scientific data on the question he addresses — or else being simply expedient (what a polite word!), willing to sacrifice children in order to win an election. McCain said

I’m running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent — families that are of parents that are the traditional family.

The rest of his answer is similarly incoherent, but the point he seems to be trying to make is that there is a moral and social benefit that accrues when only male-female couples raise children. Unfortunately, as a matter of empirical investigation, this is wrong. Consider:

A study released in May 2007 by the Department of Justice (Canada), Children’s Development of Social Competence Across Family Types, points out that “A few studies suggest that children with two lesbian mothers may have marginally better social competence than children in ‘traditional nuclear’ families, even fewer studies show the opposite, and most studies fail to find any differences.”[32]

There are a host of other studies confirming and broadening this conclusion. There are a few that challenge it. Strangely, they all seem to derive from groups that have a polemical interest in that outcome.

The inference becomes more clear when you consider the question McCain was actually asked: is it better for children to linger in foster care or to be raised in two parent, same gender families? To him, no. In the real world, where children without parents actually live — not just moral feeling, but the data suggest (strongly) otherwise.

Explore posts in the same categories: bad ideas, gender follies, McCain, Politics, Republican follies, Sexuality, Stupidity

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7 Comments on “The Data Matter: Does John McCain Hate Kids dept.”

  1. Mike O Says:

    Yes, it’s pretty apparent from their private lives, just how much the McCains hate kids:
    http://datatroll.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/walking-vs-talking/

  2. Tom Says:

    Fair enough, Mike — but the point I’m making, beyond the admittedly polemical headline that aroused your ire — is that however wonderful McCain may be in his private life, as a father, husband (at least the second time around) or a guy to have a beer with, he’s adopted a policy stance here that on the evidence will hurt kids.

    He is in a bit of a political bind, as I think I said above — but surely he could simply have stopped with the line “this isn’t why I’m running for President” and a little head fake to move on from there, rather than making the false claim that same-sex parents cannot provide as good a home for their kids as male/female couples can.

    I have a lot of direct experience of adoption, as it happens, and I admire John and Cindy McCain’s private willingness to take part in this experience. But it doesn’t change the fact and the impact of McCain’s public choices on this subject.

  3. Tom Says:

    There is a general rule of blogging not to feed the trolls, but I’ll bite. I thought about deleting the comment as off-topic, which it is, but I thought I’d leave it up out of a generalize speech is basically free view. However — just for the record — if the distinctions between gay marriage and incest are not obvious to you, then there isn’t a whole lot of point in continuing this discussion.

  4. Mike O Says:

    Simple then: present the arguments. Especially against gay vs. polygamous marriages. You see, I am the great-grandson of a polygymous marriage, so I have a historical precedent that is now illegal.

    Understand, the incestuous consideration I make ONLY in the case of non-blood relation. I am fully aware of the dangers of multiple generations of inbreeding (the hemophilia of the European royal families being the classic case study.)

    If it’s all consenting adults, what are the differences? This is not trolling; this is a request for the arguments used to justify the distinctions.

  5. Tom Says:

    Mike: last time, then I just delete posts that don’t connect in some coherent way to the matter at hand.
    1) Polygamy, as far as I can tell, has nothing to say in arguments for or against, on the question argued in the post above — whether or not gay adoption is a net benefit for children otherwise consigned to foster care.

    2)The problem most often raised in recent accounts fo polygamous marriage is, as I am sure you know, the problem of coercion of young women and girls by older men. Your comment elides over this by asserting a claim contradicted by the evidence — that these multi-generational marriages are formed by consenting adults. Some may be — but the argument and a great deal of evidence suggests that many are not.

    You know this, I am sure. Your personal experience and your interest in the topic could hardly keep you innocent of the testimony on this. Hence, your comment is trolling, and more along this line will be dealt with accordingly.

  6. Mike O Says:

    Delete away, if you can’t keep your cool. Or come over and actually try to use a cool head and discuss it on my side from a logical side. The young girl, old man thing- hardly unique to polygamy- is the same type of false flag used against gay marriages and kids for years.
    BTW: my family has not been LDS for two generations.


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