glossed over

The Mysterious Disappearance of Republican Attacks on Gay Marriage

Sure, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have issued requisite soundbites following Prop 8’s extermination. But how come much of the GOP has been MIA on attacking this week’s brilliant same-sex marriage ruling?

Rachel Maddow was among many in the peanut gallery, including this website, expecting Vaughn Walker’s ruling to be met with disgust and outrage from conservative Republicans. Instead we only have the same sad arguments from groups like the Family Research Council and National Organization for Marriage.

But perhaps more surprising is how nobody from the GOP is stepping up to pull on this ripe, low-hanging fruit to go on the attack against Obama for his convoluted and, some might say, contradictory stance on same-sex marriage, which he does not support but does not want constitutionally banned.

And here’s where we’ve got to fault Maddow. From what we can tell in last night’s segment, neither she nor producers actually asked any Republicans why they’re hiding out. Not Mitch McConnell. Not John McCain or Lindsey Graham. Not Jon Kyl or Tim Pawlenty. Not even Jeff Sessions or Michele Bachmann. Speculate all you want — and that’s what we and cable news shows do! — but maybe there’s a more simple way of finding out why GOP leadership hasn’t issued a set of talking points to blanket Fox News’ primetime block. Instead, Bill O’Reilly isn’t speaking to conservative lawmakers; he’s talking to lawyer pundits.

There’s more to this story than what Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter, who is a wise fella, says about how conservative experts are suddenly realizing arguments against same-sex marriage are bunk. If this group bothered looking at the evidence five years ago they would’ve known this. No, the GOP’s broad silence looks like evidence they’re abandoning the position because it’s bad politics. (To be fair, Alter mentions how the Tea Party hasn’t made gay marriage a big issue, and the GOP could be reacting to that.)

No politician has ever had a problem with ignoring scientific research in favor of beating the fear drum. But every politician knows what’s unfavorable among their constituency is unfavorable when it comes to re-election. And yet, even this conclusion remains speculative.

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  • bluenosedive

    Mmmmh…this video makes me hungry for some chicken…mmmhhh?? ^_^

  • christopher di spirito

    The right thinks they have a winning strategy against Pelosi, Reid, et al, if they focus on jobs and the economy.

    With 15 million Americans unemployed and unemployment at 9.5%, I think they’re correct. Some of us said throughout Obama’s first year in office that it was a mistake to squander the whole year on national healthcare at the expense of jobs creation. Every poll I read said jobs were the number one concern for Americans but, Obama decided to go another direction.

    Let’s see how this plays out in November and beyond.

  • randy

    It could be that Maddow asked the Rs for their opinion and they declined to be interviewed.

    Outside of a small group of anti-gay fanatics, most people don’t really care about SSM. Sure, if at the ballot box, there is a question, they will vote no if they are against it. But they aren’t going out of their way to oppose it.

    And this is a lesson the Dems should learn, but they won’t. They are too terrific of being vilified on Fox News as a ‘gay lover’ and ‘destroyer of western civilization’ to take a stand.

    Now would be an excellent time for Obama to come out swinging and force the Rs to take the opposite stand. That would cement the R party as a minority party for the next generation. But that would require an actual strategy, something this White House just doesn’t ‘do.’

  • Midgey

    “Isn’t it awful what happened to Scandinavia?”. Hahaha, Rachel is awesome.

  • reason

    @christopher di spirito: True, but the GOP also knows that GBLT are angry at the Dem’s. Why attack gays when they might just slip over to your side or better yet stay home? If you attack they will turn out for the democrats. If the gays were happy with Obama the GOP would be screaming to the heavens right now about prop8. The economy and anti-incumbent fever helps them becuase their base is distracted from social issues allowing them to take advantage of their base and the gay community. The people for the GOP to go after are the Democrats safe votes like the supporters of people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, African Americans (make hay with the two house-members on trail)surreptitiously bring up us much negative race based stuff as possible. That is how I would be playing my hand if I was a GOP strategist.

    Obama wanted to be a transformational President, everyone knows if Health Care was not done the first year it would not be done so he went for it. The economy is going to recover at some point, but after it does with out health care what would have changed from any other decent administration, and how would that be transformational? In short the president has sort of thrown his party under the bus this election cycle, but is aware that in the long term there could be a large benefits for the party. The economy is going to recover and with the GOP gains it is going to be in their own interest as far as congress to see the economy recover. This will line up Obama for 2012 and likely a republican take over in the house or senate.

    What may block the GOP from taking the house right now is the thing that gave them a voice during the Obama Administration. The Tea Party. They are unpredictable and more often than not off message. The Dems will try to tie the entire GOP to them making them look unfit to lead, throw in some reminders of W. and some independents may feel some pain in there stomachs. Throw in McCain and other mainstream GOPers, in battle with the Tea Party, saying crazy things like illegals in cars are purposely causing accidents on the freeway. It makes the entire party seem unhinged. McCain’s desperation to save his own tail is also drudging up immigration which could be a poison pill for the GOP. All in All I think the GOP will gain some seats becuase the economy trumps most but with a couple of stumbles from them and this is going to be an interesting election cycle. Hispanics could change everything for the Democrats.

  • reason

    @randy: Strongly embracing gays this election cycle may indeed be good for the democratic party, but I think they are going to wait and see. With the polling data closer to the election cycle they will have a better idea of the themes and what needs to be done. There ace in the hole is the Defense Appropriations bill which would allow them to make a huge stand for gays and make a big stink about it. McCain seems to be trying to block the bill from coming up which would curtail the democrats maneuverability. The GOP knows that come January they will be able to pass a Defense Appropriations bill tailored to their liking, but can the military wait that long? That will be the big question granted that a large sector of their party is invested in the Afghan War. A lot of things can and will happen before election day, should be an entertaining ride.

  • Cam

    Even the FOX news poll had around 60% supporting the ruling. So EVEN if a bunch of gays had voted in that poll skewing the numbers and say…reversing them. Fox STILL doesn’t want to piss off 40% of their audience.

  • Gus

    @reason: Add to you explanation, the any party in power with both executive and the legislature, historically gets its ears clipped in a midterm.

  • Gus

    @Cam: that poll was freeped.

  • B

    Maybe they realize that the electorate is getting tired of their anti-gay rhetoric, which just reinforces the idea that the Republicans are the “party of no” with no ideas to contribute.

  • truthteller

    The ruling is sound. Besides the Republicans already have their season’s target; Latinos.

    Having two groups destroying western civilization at the same time waters down the message. So it’s hunting season on Latinos.

    If the Gay leadership has any sense, they will support Latinos and bond strong ties with that community for the next time Gay lives are under attack.

  • Reason

    @truthteller: The gay community definitely needs to bond with the Hispanic community and do its best to make more inroads into the African American community. A powerful coalition like that would not only put democrats in power for a generation or beyond but it would also be a driver in remaking the democratic parties priorities. A long run of Democratic control would force the GOP to become more inclusive and work for minority advancement, which is the only hope for America maintaining it dominance in this century.

  • B

    No. 12 · Reason wrote, “@truthteller: The gay community definitely needs to bond with the Hispanic community and do its best to make more inroads into the African American community.”

    One thing to try is to work towards changing the initiative process so that you cannot change the state constitution to deny civil rights by a simple majority vote. That benefits all minorities.

    The analysis of the Prop 8 vote ( ) showed that the relatively high African American and Hispanic votes in Prop 8’s favor was due not to race/ethnicity per se but to more frequent attendance at religious services than the U.S. average. We might be able to increase the African American vote in our favor via an outreach program concentrating on leaders of predominantly black churches – they may have fallen for some of the propaganda claiming that they would be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and thus preached in favor of Proposition Eight. Because protestant denominations dominate in this group, there is no centralized control giving individual preachers more authority to decide what to emphasize, so one-on-one discussions might do some good. I’m not sure what approach would work with hispanics due to Catholicism being that group’s dominant religion – its centrally controlled from the Vatican.

  • Hyhybt

    “True, but the GOP also knows that GBLT are angry at the Dem’s. Why attack gays when they might just slip over to your side or better yet stay home?”

    Half a moment: why would it be *better* for Republicans for gays to stay home than for us to vote Republican?

  • truthteller


    The Latino vote on prop 8 was equally divided and it has been proven that catholics as a whole do not follow the dictates of the vatican.

    What would work with the Latino community is to come their aid when they are being attacked by the right wing lunatics. The Republicans want to change the 14th amendment so that children of undocumented immigrants will be denied citizenship. They have been called beheaders, smugglers, and they’re pretty much trying to define them as perpetual criminals who are stealing America’s resources.

    The GOP claims they’re targeting undocumented immigrants but I assure you they are not, and US citizens of Latino heritage feels the sting of injustice and hatred of these attacks.

    Has the GLBT community not been compared to pedophiles, destroyers of the family and the American way? These are the same tactics. Demonize, dehumanize, divide and conquer.

    This is a great opportunity, as Reason pointed out, for all communities that are disfranchised to unite and to change the country for the better. The Latino community will not forget who stood with them. The good will of the GLBT community will go a long way the next time the LGBT community is attacked at the ballot box.

    We should not repeat the mistakes of the past.

  • wompman

    Reason and Truthseeker (how appropriate) make great points. One of the biggest failures before and after the prop h8 vote was how gay inc. made absolutely no inroads in minority communities or gave any voice to gays of color. In fact, the idiotic jumping of the gun and blaming black people for passing prop 8 was a PR disaster for same-sex marriage.

    I’m taking a wait and see approach, but so far I think it is refreshing that outside of the usual anti-gay fanatics most repubs have remained blissfully silent on the subject. Of course it is August and only politicos who are campaigning will bother to speak about anything, but even Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman (neither fans of gays) have been almost tepid about the ruling.

    I’ll be thrilled if the wind has gone out of the gay-hating sails, but I guess we’ll all see as we get closer to November.

  • wompman

    Reason and Truthteller (sorry!)

  • peteNsfo

    What a lot of talk w/ nothing substantive. I love R, but seriously.

    As said above, Tea Baggers want to be fiscal conservatives not social conservatives… at least that’s the PR memo.

    There may be truth to Repugs thinking that gays disenchanted by Obama may protest vote for their party.

    And… after reading Judge Walker’s ruling, perhaps they’ve determined they don’t want to be assoc w/ MagGag & the like for mid-terms. As more & more people see a civil rights issue it gets more & more difficult to align w/ discrimination.

    That said, I’ll be over here waiting for a shoe to drop!

  • WillBFair

    The Rs have a great target in Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility. He promosed us fiscally responsible Clintonomics, which he could have used to stimulate the economy. Instead, he gave us a Keynesian hogfest, which pissed away a ton of political capital just when we need it most.
    On the other hand, there’s still plenty of time to use gay marraige. It might even work better as a shock attack at the last minute.
    Thanks y’all for demanding something the polls say the public don’t want, instead of domestic partnership, which they support, and which we could have passed quick and easy.
    And thanks for screwing over your allies yet again.

  • Tackle

    @WOMPMAN: Very good points.
    And one way the larger LGBT White community can make inroads into the Black community is by first patching-up the divide they widen with the smaller LGBT Black community by blaming Blacks for the passage of prop-8.It was proven that the 70% number was acatually 58% and the acatual electrol vote of blacks was 6%. They had NO impact whatsoever in the passage. The larger LGBT need to admit they were wrong and apoligies.

  • Tackle

    Correction: Apologize.

  • B

    No. 15 · truthteller wrote, “@B: The Latino vote on prop 8 was equally divided and it has been proven that catholics as a whole do not follow the dictates of the vatican.”

    Read the report I cited ( ). It showed that the marginal black and hispanic votes (the portion beyond 50%) was due primarily to attendance at religious services. Additional data showed that a very high percentage of those who attend church services weekly voted in favor of Proposition Eight. So it is not Catholics as a whole, but rather those who go to church regularly that resulted in the excess vote.

    One effect of weekly church attendance is that you hear the preacher/priest/minister spout off during a sermon. If you convince the preachers, you get useful free advertising over a channel that the listeners afford a high level of credibility.
    Preachers in predominantly black churches, due to being in protestant denominations for the most part, are much more able to make their own decisions as to what to say, which means you have a chance to convince them to either support you or at least to not oppose you. Since catholicism is the dominant religion for latinos, you are faced with the problem that the priests are controlled by the Vatican and could not speak out against Proposition Eight if they wanted to keep their jobs (one priest did, and he was quickly fired, putting his efforts to an untimely end).

  • ewe

    It is harder for straight white men to fight with far more intelligent straight white male attorneys Olson and Boies. There is the reason for republican silence. This is about demonizing gay people not demonizing the straight white male savior complex.

Comments are closed.