I'd like to think that people on the religious and cultural right KNOW (in the intuitive sense, if not explicitly) that they're being toyed with, baited, and otherwise used. I'd like to think they're smart enough to figure that out. I really would.
But here in reality, I know they're not. They're nowhere near smart enough to figure out that amendments require 67 votes in the Senate, 295 votes in the House, and 38 states for approval. They don't understand that NONE of those hurdles (let alone all of them) can be overcome given the current Congressional majorities. They don't realize that this is just vacuous pandering – an empty gesture, a waste of Congressional time, a bill dead on arrival.
Really, we as a nation have no pressing concerns and we can therefore afford to blow a week or two debating an amendment that hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of passing. How's that war working out? Everything get resolved over there? It must have.
Oh, by the way. While the "marriage protection" amendment is occupying the talk shows 24-7 for the next few days, Congress will be approving (likely by voice vote) another $92 billion in supplemental appropriations for Iraq. See, that's how Bush operates. He makes a budget with ridiculously low and unrealistic estimates of the costs of war. The conservative lapdogs in the media laud his fiscal restraint. Then he pays for it by adding a supplemental "emergency" appropriation every 6 weeks, hiding such measures by debating some meaningless and divisive cultural issue to distract the pinheaded public (or tying the supplemental war funds to something like Katrina relief, thereby making it politically impossible to oppose).
I'd like to think the Fred Phelps crowd is starting to wake up to how blatantly and crassly they're being used. But that's wishful thinking. They're all perfectly content to claim once again that gay marriage is somehow more important than the war (now celebrating 4 straight massacre-free days!), the economy, and the fact that they're mortgaging the fuck out of their children's futures. "Well Johnny, mom and dad have taken political steps to ensure that no gays will bother you by getting married during the upcoming depression. If you ever find a job, figure out how to pay back the $500 billion we deficit-spent, or manage to avoid getting drafted, I'm sure you'll thank us."
They're nowhere near smart enough to realize that NOTHING will ever be done about gay marriage or abortion – why would the GOP shoot itself in the foot by taking away the carrot it can dangle in front of the Dobson drones every time they need to cover up some new ineptitude? I mean, that's why superheroes never kill their arch-enemies. If there were no villains in the world then Superman would become sort of irrelevant, wouldn't he?