There’s been a lot of news recently about gays, gay marriage, and how they fit into the Republican party. Recently, we saw the first active major american sport athlete come out as gay, Jason Collins. We also saw Rhode Island make marriage equality the law of the state, which makes all of New England partners in marriage equality. And to top if all off, last month the GOP felt the need to reaffirm their opposition to gay marriage (as if anyone thought they were ACTUALLY going to change).
A bit of advice to the Republicans: just freaking accept it. Marriage equality is going to happen. You will not be able to stop it. You can slow it down, but at this point you wont be able to reverse the ten states that have approved it, and the numerous others that have it on the table in their legislatures. It’s also very unlikely that the Supreme Court is going to rule in favor of Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
MLK may have put it best: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
So then why won’t the Republicans just accept it? Well, my guess is that Republicans are still too afraid to go against the social right wing of the party, even if recent data shows Republicans in general are getting more liberal on the issue.
59% of Republicans now oppose gay marriage. Still pretty shitty, but hey, its a far cry from the 74% that opposed it in 2004 (source: Washington Post). So clearly, the arc is shifting toward equality, especially when we have very prominent Republicans coming out in support of gay marriage like Senator Rob Portman (even if it took his son coming out for him to support it. Not, ya know, because it’s the right thing to do or anything).
So even though Republican voters are clearly moving on the issue, the GOP felt the need to reaffirm their opposition.
I recently listened to an Intelligence Squared debate on NPR that delved a bit into the GOP psyche. The motion being debated was “The GOP must seize the center or die.” It’s about an hour long and is a great listen. I’d give it a shot if you have the time.
Laura Ingraham was on the side for the GOP and basically said that being a moderate doesn’t win you elections. She started spouting off why didn’t Obama seize the center while he was in college and continued to be a radical liberal.
And here’s my issue; conservatives have completely lost all touch with what is ACTUALLY liberal and what is moderate. If we were to chart the political spectrum in America, it would look something like this:
The other day I was at a networking event here in DC at one of the Senate office buildings, and I met this girl who seemed nice, totally normal, intelligent, etc. etc. We got to talking about politics and she drops the “Obama is the most liberal president we have ever had” line on me.
I nearly shit a brick, and gave her one of these:
I had heard this before, but never from anyone who seemed intelligent and normal. Pretty much only from Fox News hosts and people who watched Fox in Bumblefuck, Alabama.
Obama is closer to Nixon (a republican) than he is to FDR or LBJ on the political spectrum of presidents. Nixon attempted health care reform that was actually more liberal than the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). FDR helped ensure that every soldier who returned from war was given a completely free education, among other things; easily one of the most liberal policies ever enacted. LBJ created the great society. Again, super liberal.
What has Obama done? Countless drone attacks on members of Al Qaeda, killing numerous civilians. I mean, its better than the full on war Bush started, but still a pretty ‘conservative’ policy.
Noam Chomsky said Obama would have been “a moderate republican several decades ago.” I’d have to agree with him (and not only because he’s unbelievably smarter than just about any of us, but also because I’ve researched presidents more than most people).
So that brings me back to where the current Republican party is on many issues. They are so far to the right of where they used to be that guys like Rick Santorum are winning presidential primaries.
The Republican demigod named Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be able to make it out of the primaries if he were able to run for president nowadays. And we can see that it is hurting their party.
When you’re agenda is ‘obstruct until the next election,’ and ‘SCANDAL! ATTACK!!!‘ you’re not going to be a very successful party (hence why Mitt Romney lost in a year that any other year a Republican should have won by double digits).
If the Republican party doesn’t start seizing the center, as the NPR debate suggests, they won’t necessarily die, but they will become irrelevant. That means having to swallow some things they maybe don’t like completely, such as gay marriage, but face the reality that the country is shifting on social issues and are a very serious reason to or not to vote for someone.
I think if the Republicans can get back to focusing on the fiscal issues, where they almost always win the PR debate against Democrats (‘More money in your pocket instead of taxes and less money for those welfare abusing blacks!’ has been working for them for like…30 years now?), then the Republicans may still have a chance to win some elections.