McCain on gay adoption: a pander to a flip-flop to a half-waffle

McCain on gay adoption: no, yes, no-but-I-won’t-say-so.

BarbinMD at DailyKos catches John McCain being more-than-usually incoherent (which is saying a lot) on gay adoption:

So he was first against it, then for it, now pretty much against it but won’t come out and say so, even when confronted with the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care with no one to adopt them and some number of same-sex couples eager to adopt. Stephanopoulos doesn’t call him on it, but McCain’s relentless insistence on “two-parent families” precisely misses the point; individuals can already adopt. The question here is whether a two-parent family in which the two parents are both men or both women is as good as a one-parent family, or (the actual choice) no family at all.

In gymnastics, this maneuver is called “a pander to a flip-flop to a half-waffle.” It has Degree of Difficulty 2.8; don’t try it at home. Alas, in this case McCain stumbled three times and collapsed on the dismount, so his scores were 3.4, 4.2, 3.8. If the media rules didn’t specify that McCain gets unlimited “do-overs,” that would knock him out of the competition.

Honest to God, I could make a better President than this out of papier-mâché.

Transcript at the jump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your position on gay adoption? You told the “New York Times” you were against it, even in cases where the children couldn’t find another home. But then your staff backtracked a bit.

What is your position?

MCCAIN: My position is, it’s not the reason why I’m running for president of the United States. And I think that two parent families are best for America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what do you mean by that, it’s not the reason you’re running for president of the United States?

MCCAIN: Because I think &#8212 well, I think that it’s &#8212 it is important for us to emphasize family values. But I think it’s very important that we understand that we have other challenges, too.

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, uhhhh …, families that are of parents that are the traditional family.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several hundred thousand children in the country who don’t have a home. And if a gay couple wants to adopt them, what’s wrong with that?

MCCAIN: I am for the values that two parent families, the traditional family represents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re against gay adoption.

MCCAIN: I am for the values and principles that two parent families represent. And I also do point out that many of these decisions are made by the states, as we all know. And I will do everything I can to encourage adoption, to encourage all of the things that keeps families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job creation.

And I’m running for president, because I want to help families in America. And one of my positions is that I believe that family values and family traditions are preserved.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: