Reality Check: Republicans and Same-Sex Marriage
I have ofttimes been impressed with Sen. John McCain (particularly on campaign finance, military, and church & state issues), and doubtless will be again...but as the attempt to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage fails (for now) on a procedural vote, let's not lose sight of why you're hearing about McCain calling the effort un-Republican (just as you heard last weekend about Lynne Cheney coming out against it).
This effort was supposed to be a Big Win for the administration and Republicans generally, for two reasons: (1) shores up the crucial Christian-fanatic base, while (2) not stirring up too much resistance from everyone else -- both mainstream folks, and the liberty-leaning right -- since polling shows that most of same have serious reservations about same-sex marriage.
Last week, Republican strategists began privately admitting that (as so often with this administration) they had a major disaster on their hands.
Turns out that (1) the Christian-fanatic base is now furious, because they didn't get what they wanted, and didn't see enough fighting on the administration's part to try to get it for them; (2) a big majority of the mainstream and the liberty-leaning right would prefer that the Party work on something they see as more important -- and also has problems with frivolously amending the Constitution -- but maybe most of all:
(3) Turns out that there are one hell of a lot of people in this country, and the Republican party, who are either gay, or sympathize with those who are. When you are consistently running about five points down of your opponent, it is probably unwise to risk pissing off upwards of 10% of the population, even if many of 'em were already voting for the other guy.
So, Now Hear This: the purpose of the publicity for the Lynne Cheney and John McCain positions is to frantically try to get back some of the gay Republican vote, which is a whole lot bigger than you, or the Republicans, thought. This isn't an instance of bravely breaking with the party -- this is damage control, pure and simple. And unless you think it only occurred to Cheney and McCain how they felt about this measure in the past week, you oughtta be prepared to admit that's pretty obvious. A cynical and vicious strategy failed; now the Republicans have to find ways to distance themselves from it. What might possibly have been brave opposition last week is now just old-fashioned CYA.
Ain't politics grand? :P
(Oh, wow! A chance for Cath to finally see my Grumpy mood-theme!)
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