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GOP Death Watch

GOP Leaders No Longer Care About Bashing Marriage Equality? Not!

Politico is the Bible of of political  journalists. So when the website reported that the GOP is steering clear of gay marriage, you just know it has to be true.

There’s the requisite notice of some Republicans working in favor of marriage equality, and the tea-leaf readings of the relative silence of the Romney campaign.

There’s that quote from  respected analyst Dan Schnur: “Most Republican Party leaders seem to have lost the stomach for this fight.”

There’s even the false equivalence, suggesting that Democrats and Republican diehards are equally motivated by the issue.

So why don’t we believe any of it?

It’s true that the GOP has kept a lower profile on marriage equality than might otherwise be expected at this point in the campaign, particularly when compared to the extent to which the party used gay rights as a wedge issue to drive right-wing evangelicals to the polls in 2004.

Yet Politico neglects to mention a few important factors in its counterintuitive analysis:

  • When the timing suits him, Romney has no problem going after marriage equality. Just look at his track record in the primaries: Remember how he boasted about keeping out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts? Remember how he called for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality? Remember the speed with which he signed NOM’s anti-marriage equality pledge? Apparently Politico doesn’t.
  • In 2004, the GOP’s goal was to make the election about something other than the incumbent. This time, the goal is exactly the opposite: Any issue that distracts from Obama’s performance on the economy diminishes Romney’s strongest argument for election. It’s not in Romney’s interest to talk about anything other than the economy.
  • Romney’s campaign essentially forced out Ric Grenell, its openly gay advisor on national security issues, after the right wing suggested Grenell was suspect because he favored marriage equality. Romney quickly caved on that one, showing how willingly he does the right’s bidding, especially on gay equality.
  • The Romney campaign is clearly uncomfortable making the candidate’s religion a topic for discussion. Taking on marriage equality would be the perfect opportunity for Democrats to revisit the Mormon Church’s role as a backer of Prop 8.
  • Talking about marriage equality also is a chance to highlight yet another in the endless line of Romney flip-flops.

It would also be worth noting that Schnur, who has taken a fairly reasonable stand on marriage equality, has deep GOP roots himself. (He served as communications director for California GOP governor Pete Wilson, who enraged the gay community by vetoing a nondiscrimination bill.)

Schnur is quoted as saying that the party has lost its stomach for the marriage equality fight: “Some of that results [from] the number of large-scale donors who support same-sex marriage, some of it’s a result in an increasing number of party leaders who support same-sex marriage, and a lot of it is public opinion polling which shows a shift in the way voters feel about same-sex marriage.”

We would certainly like to see the extensive list of party leaders who support marriage equality at the national level, because we didn’t see any of them running to embrace Obama’s position when it “evolved.”

Moreover, the GOP base is getting older and older, as even Pat Buchanan admits, which may spell demographic doom in the long run. But, in the short run, politics dictates that candidates run further and further to the right. If anything, the party is more dependent than ever on a shrinking religious base. For a candidate like Romney who is desperate to shore up his conservative credentials, this isn’t the place to take a contrary stand.

Now, this isn’t to say that the party hasn’t been as fire-breathing as one might expect. But we’re only at the beginning of August. A lot can come up between now and November: If Romney continues to get little traction on economic issues, he may try a Hail Mary on social values.

And don’t forget the ballot measures in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. The GOP leaders didn’t put them there, but they will be happy to take advantage of them to generate turnout. (You think Democrats are as motivated to vote in favor of marriage equality as evangelicals are against it? Think again.)

Of course, we might be the only ones paying attention to how those campaigns play out, because the conventional wisdom story is apparently already written well in advance of results.

Photo: Gage Skidmore


On:           Aug 8, 2012
Tagged: , , , , , ,
    • hassia

      marriage equality video http://youtu.be/CTayljq4jw0

      Aug 8, 2012 at 6:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez

      You do realize how politics on the right work don’t you? In order to get the nomination you have to appeal to your base. According to recent surveys only 25% of Republicans believe in marriage equality. So, in order for you to reach 75% of your base you need to go head on with marriage equality.

      Now, once you get the nomination you need to try to appeal to the middle because they make the actual decisions about who becomes president. Since they are the middle they are much more likely to be just a little more liberal than those that identify as Republicans, so more than likely at least half of them support gay marriage. It is committing political suicide to use a wedge issue that half of your target audience does not agree with.

      TL;DR: Primary — “Christian” NUT Case; Election — Hope to hell people forget you were a “Christian” NUT Case two weeks ago!

      Aug 8, 2012 at 8:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez

      Also, the latest polls in the swing states show that people are starting to believe that Obama is better for the economy than Romney is. That would make sense since the only experience that Romney claims is Bain (sp?) Capital.

      Unless Romney plans on taking over the United States government, outsourcing its jobs, selling off the parts that make money and then filing bankruptcy, I do not see how he has any experience working with the economy. I wonder if congressional seats can be outsourced to China!?!

      Aug 8, 2012 at 8:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Logic

      In case anyone missed it, Obama is the biggest flip-flopper in history, with his “evolution” on the issue of gay marriage. It wasn’t an evolution, it was a change of strategy to appease his base and lure gay voters to his side.

      You gotta love how Queerty takes Romney apart line by line, but never ever looks at Obama in the same light. Not that they’re biased or anything.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scobar

      Q: How can Obama be better for the economy when all he does is recklessly spend our money?
      A: Far as I can tell, you must be among the 50% of the country who takes from the government, rather than contributing to it, which would explain your position.
      Sorry, but when someone’s re-election is based on welfare handouts at my expense—and not on any kind of national policy—I’m going with the other guy, gay issues be damned.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 9:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erick

      I’ll be voting for Romney in November. American society can’t take 4 more years of Obama.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 9:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe37

      So let me get this right you GOP proud members: You care more about a tax break than marrying the man of your dreams? You would rather vote for a man who is against same-sex marriage and wants to add the band to the constitution, than a leader who has moved on the issue? Don’t your want your partner to decide your end of life issues? Don’t you want the security of knowing none of your family members can step in and steal your property from your man when you are gone? Pension? Social Security? Filing joint taxes? Is giving up all these rights worth a few pieces of gold?

      Aug 8, 2012 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scobar

      @Scribe37: All of the issues you listed can be addressed with a simple legal document—it doesn’t take marriage to dictate your health and estate wishes. And since when is it a “right” to be married? Funny, I didn’t see it anywhere in the Bill of Rights. And yes, I care more about a tax break than the ability to marry, since I pay taxes out the ass annually, and have no desire to see my boyfriend get rich off me if we ever break up. Yeah, you’re fuckin’-A right I care more about taxes.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UsualPlayers

      well first its funny Obama is a right winger

      He has shrunk the govt to the size it was in terms of employees in 1968

      Not to mention his healthcare plan is Romneycare from MA

      His foreign policy is identitical to ROmney

      He has proposed tax cuts for anyone making less than 250k a year

      I doubt anyone posting here makes above that number

      therefore I conclude some of you are either delusional or paid trolls

      Frankly the only reason to vote for Obama is the social policies. Everything else would be the same as romney

      You are debating two guys who are right centrist candidates

      Only the delusional t hink otherwsie

      Look at their proposed economic policies for god sake

      The only difference being that if you make over a million you may get a better deal under Romney

      Although rumor are out there that he will sign off on what Obama is proposing right now if he got into office next year because no one sane believes that you can deal with “austerity” as both right parties define it without both taxes and cuts.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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