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.