The GOP Needs to Change; Is now More/Less Likely to Do So

by Stephen H. Miller on November 9, 2012

The Advocate reports that marriage equality resonated strongly with women and younger voters (as was well known), but also with Hispanic voters, while blacks were evenly divided on the issue. These, of course, are groups that Republicans would need to attract if they hope to win elections, as noted in an election analysis in the conservative journal Commentary, GOP Can’t Be the Party of Old White Men.

That imperative, as noted below, will be at odds with the defeat of gay-supportive GOP social moderates, which leaves the Republican party in Congress more anti-gay than before. What that portends for the future remains to be seen.

More. From the Washington Blade: “Balance of power will likely prevent action on LGBT bills.” How’s that one-party strategy working out? Thank goodness LGBT activists helped prevent openly gay Republican Richard Tisei from winning a House seat and being part of the caucus conversation–I mean, how would that have served the one true party?

{ 22 comments }

Doug November 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

It is not Democrats that are driving gay supportive Republicans from the GOP. It’s the evangelical Tea Party types, Stephen. Quit trying to blame Democrats for all the faults of the GOP.

Thom Watson November 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Steven, have you looked at the comments to the “Commentary” post? I don’t think any of them agreed with the author’s position that conservatives should support marriage equality, and in fact I’d estimate that more than 75% of all the comments focused on saying that Republicans and conservative must never support marriage equality, heedless of the author’s arguments that that is one reason the demographic shift will continue to move people away from the party. The overwhelming position in the comment section seems to be that opposition to marriage equality is a fundamental, defining and non-negotiable conservative position.

Thom Watson November 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Sorry, I should have typed “Stephen,” not “Steven.”

Houndentenor November 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

LOL. Yeah, because failing to get an HRC endorsement is why Tisei lost? And what would he do or say that the other so-called pro-gay Republicans haven’t or can’t say to the Republican Congressional delegation?

Gay people are not part of the conversation within the GOP. That’s still not the fault of Democrats or liberals, no matter how many times you keep saying it is. Wake up and smell the homophobia.

clayton November 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I don’t think Tisei was hurt by the lack of an HRC endorsement any more than Mitt Romney was helped by receiving an LCR endorsement. About 95% of the electorate is straight, and they aren’t waiting to see who HRC and LCR endorse.

Lori Heine November 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Republicans are going to spend four more years doing nothing but bellyaching about Obama. I didn’t vote for Obama this time, but I’m already sick of it. They’re telling themselves the convenient things about Mittens’ loss, and though those things are for the most part untrue, they make them feel better about themselves — which is, evidently, all that really matters.

The GOP has become a party of spoiled, self-indulgent, narcissistic children. Every accusation they level at Democrats is equally true of themselves. Their behavior has been so disgusting that I, for one, have no enthusiasm about joining it.

We’ll see how that demographic shift in the country works out for them. So far, it doesn’t look promising for their survival as a party anyone can take seriously.

Jorge November 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I don’t think the reason the Republicans failed to get the black vote is because they oppose gay marriage. I might be persuaded that their complete lack of a record for supporting gay rights might be part of the picture (not a statement I agree with, but neither Romney or Ryan did anything worth challenging it during the general election).

More broadly, I think any successful candidate needs to demonstrate a willingness to govern for the best interests of all Americans. This Mitt Romney made several missteps on, as has been well-documented. His campaign was not one of compassionate conservatism, but one of white blue-collar workers and their wives rushing up to him asking for help getting jobs. It’s a base that is shrinking. Worse candidates than Romney understood the need say directly that conservative principles benefited African Americans (Cain, Santorum); to take a hard-line on gay marriage while also evolving a few inches toward respecting gays instead of a few inches away (Bachman); to oppose amnesty while at the same time reaching for the best interests of the law-abiding illegal alien community already in this country (Gingrich). At least he set the right tone in understanding and striving toward the progressive goal of eliminating gender disparities in the workplace through conservative means (i.e., ignoring the discrimination angle and speaking to the need for change at the private level in order for businesses to remain competitive); of course Lily Ledbetter and her ilk knew their enemy when they saw it and made a shrill hysterical attack on that.

Carl November 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I’m sorry, but HOW would Richard Tisei have made any difference in any GOP decisions on anti-gay legislation? Jim Kolbe was an out member of Congress for a decade. He’d served for a decade before that time, and presumably a number of his colleagues knew he was gay. His presence made little to no difference.

All we have to do is look at the reaction from Hannity and friends. They aren’t talking about being less anti-gay. They’re talking about immigration, and rallying around Marco Rubio, a man who has spent his entire political career fighting against same-sex relationships and families.

The GOP is not going to change their view on gay rights. They can’t. This isn’t a political decision for them. Many of those in power are genuinely homophobic and are extremely proud to be so. They will just try to go back to 2004, when they expanded their base of anti-gay voters.

TomjeffersoIII November 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Frankly, I doubt very much that the Human Rights Campaign endorsement (or lack their) had much impact on voter behavior unless they actively involved with the campaign to support or oppose gay rights.

The GOP elite is not going to really change its position on gay rights as long as its got a significant “moral majority” voter base that has much more to do with the outcome (and is certainly better funded ) of an election then say the HRC or the LCR.

Personally, I suspect that many elected GOP members and party elite really do not care much who is gay or not. I remember reading a bit on Mary Cheney coming out to her father; he did not care, but he told her that he a constituency to worry about.

Simply out, the GOP does not want to say “NO” to the “moral majority” bigots that have helped get them into power under a code word campaign about ‘family values’ ‘pro-family’ and against ‘special rights’.

Does this mean we should not try ? No. Does this mean that gay Republicans should be excluded from the conversation? No. Does this mean that everything the HRC does is wonderful? No.

However, the HRC does not have much say over what the GOP elite and politicians think or say or do about gay rights. Either do gay Republicans.

If ‘we’ are going to change GOP attitudes, then gay Republicans will have to do it by first focusing on GOP VOTERS, especially primary/conventions and actually getting more “out” candidates to run.

Once enough Republicans, rank and file members actually change their attitudes, and better “out” candidates start appearing, then the GOP elite/leadership will have to support gay rights.

Houndentenor November 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm

If all the Republicans who tell me they aren’t anti-gay would tell the party to drop the homophobia or they’d stop voting for them, that might make a difference. Do any of them? None that I know of. Either they’re lying or it really doesn’t bother them unless a gay person is giving them grief for voting for anti-gay politicians.

Jorge November 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

All we have to do is look at the reaction from Hannity and friends. They aren’t talking about being less anti-gay. They’re talking about immigration, and rallying around Marco Rubio, a man who has spent his entire political career fighting against same-sex relationships and families.

Hey, there are winners and losers in politics.

Gays got a fair enough victory nationally days before the Republicans took control of the House. Now another reform movement is becoming national, and for now I’d rather look locally.

I find it a little distressing that a reform movement that lost and came under control of the right several years ago (immigration reform) seems to be swinging back. I’ve had doubts about whether the right thing to do when one loses is to respect the majority and try to get something done, or to stick to where one stands and bide one’s time. I want to see how this turns out so that I can better know what I want my goals to be.

Carl November 11, 2012 at 12:52 am

“Hey, there are winners and losers in politics.”

When it comes to the GOP, gay rights always seems to be the loser. There hasn’t been a peep out of any major or even minor GOP operative that they should change their views on gay rights (which go far beyond marriage). Yet instead of acknowledging this, Stephen Miller is still just talking about HRC and how if HRC was nicer to Republicans, things would be happy.

Jorge November 11, 2012 at 1:14 am

When it comes to the GOP, gay rights always seems to be the loser. There hasn’t been a peep out of any major or even minor GOP operative that they should change their views on gay rights (which go far beyond marriage).

Uhhhh, Dick Cheney? The whole neutrality toward civil unions thing that started about four years or so ago? Always must mean different things to different people! How long have you been politically aware that the days in which egregious firebrands from the religious right ran rampant are beyond your memory?

As for things that go far beyond marriage, Republicans have always had problems with anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, and I can’t imagine they were much better about women in the military, either. And like everything else, once they pass, they keep their trappers shut.

Houndentenor November 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

When I read gay Republicans talking about GOP support for gay rights, they are almost always talking about Republicans who do not currently hold office and aren’t running for office. Yes, Cheney is now for gay marriage now that he’s not running for office. What impact does that have? What did he say when he was vice president when it would have mattered what he did or said. I don’t see any movement in the platform or in the comments I regularly hear from Republicans I talk to. None.

I’ll repeat my assessment of much of what I read on this site. Many gay Republicans live in blue or purple areas where the conservatives they meet are more fiscal conservatives and less social conservatives. I urge them to visit Mississippi and Alabama and see how well the idea of gay rights goes over. That’s the base of the party and until they change there will be no shift in the national party.

Jorge November 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

When I read gay Republicans talking about GOP support for gay rights, they are almost always talking about Republicans who do not currently hold office and aren’t running for office.

Well, I didn’t do that, so I need you to dispense with the red herrings. Dick Cheney. And the whole neutrality toward civil unions that started about four years or so ago–President Bush got into that act. I usually cite people who are either in office or running from office.

I’ll repeat my assessment of much of what I read on this site. Many gay Republicans live in blue or purple areas where the conservatives they meet are more fiscal conservatives and less social conservatives.

Well that’s not me, either. The only conservatives I encounter on a regular basis are religious conservatives.

Carl November 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm

“Uhhhh, Dick Cheney?”

I was talking about comments after the election. Cheney has made a few comments over the years, but not now.

“As for things that go far beyond marriage, Republicans have always had problems with anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, and I can’t imagine they were much better about women in the military, either. And like everything else, once they pass, they keep their trappers shut.”

They have worked against gays in the military, contracts between gay couples, gay foster care and adoption, gay teachers, and I don’t see that changing. The most we seem to get is maybe they won’t go back to sodomy laws.

Thom Watson November 11, 2012 at 5:55 am

At http://dgmyers.blogspot.com/2012/11/statement-on-my-firing.html D. G. Myers, the author of the Commentary piece cited by the OP, now reports that he was fired from the magazine by John Podhoretz a little more than an hour after posting a piece entitled “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.”

Writes Myers, ” Was I fired for writing in defense of gay marriage? Well, I think it’s equally naïve to think that I would have been sacked if I had used any other political topic as an occasion for literary and philosophical reflections—the topic of illegal immigration, for example. I’m the last one who could say for sure.”

Thom Watson November 11, 2012 at 6:14 am

Ah, I only saw after I’d posted Myers’s statement that Podhoretz in fact specifically has refuted the claim that the topic of marriage equality was in any wise the reason for separating Myers from Commentary and note that he himself is in favor.

Aubrey Haltom November 13, 2012 at 8:48 am

I live in Massachusetts, though not in the Tierney/Tisei district.

But Tisei ‘s loss was not because gay rights orgs did nor did not support him.

If there’s a single factor to Tisei’s loss, it was Romney running at the top of the ticket.

Mitt is not a favorite here in Massachusetts. And both Scott Brown and Richard Tisei probably suffered because Romney was running at the top of the Republican ticket.

Both Tierney (the longtime pro-lgbt Democratic House Rep) and Elizabeth Warren were able to press the fact that additional Republicans in the Congress would mean additional votes for the Republican Party platform.

Stephen Miller – if you were here in Massachusetts, I’d think you would find that Tisei actually benefited from his openly gay ‘status’. If it was any factor at all, it was in all probability a positive one for Tisei.

But Tisei couldn’t define himself as separate enough from the Republican Party platform to entice enough voters in his district.
The results had NOTHING to do with HRC, etc…

(And let’s remember Brown’s slogan – Vote People, Not Party – as he attempted to portray himself as Obama’s best bud in the Senate. People weren’t buying that, and women especially knew that Brown’s choice of Scalia as his SCOTUS justice exemplar spelled trouble for them come SCOTUS Senate vote time.)

So – does Stephen Miller continually write these anti-left, anti- gay rights organization articles just to provoke a reaction?

Or is he simply a one-trick pony?

And with that one trick showing why the Republicans can’t make any pro-lgbt civil rights traction within their party.

Always blaming the ‘other guys’ rather then applying those same efforts and standards to their own party…

Mary November 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Houndentenor, many pro-gay Republicans (some of whom are themselves straight people) are somewhat confused about how to make the party less anti-gay. Confronting people directly on this issue often leads to hostility. And the pro-gay faction of the party is not strong enough numerically to prevail at this time. Some of us operate somewhat quietly – signing “freedom to marry” petitions, contributing to pro-gay organizations, and trying to neutralize homophobia if given the right situation to do so. I joined the Log Cabin Republicans this May in order to further the cause of making the GOP more inclusive. If groups like Log Cabin grow in strength, this might convince party leaders that things should change. You have to start somewhere.

Houndentenor November 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I applaud your efforts to effect change from within the party, but I have no optimism for your success. Your efforts to effect change “quietly” against the larger numbers shouting shrilly means you are unlikely to be heard. Quietly isn’t going to cut it. It never did.

And in the meantime, did you go ahead and vote for anti-gay candidates? Or are you withholding your support until they moderate their stance on gay rights? If you are going to vote for candidates one way or the other, your opinion doesn’t mean anything. Candidates in our current system understand two things: money and votes. If you are continuing to vote for a candidate while feeling bad about it you might as well be supporting their agenda 100%. They read a vote as a “mandate”, especially if they win.

TomJeffersonIII November 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

An openly gay man ran in the GOP Presidential primary. He was a serious candidate who actually had some good ideas, beyond gay rights.

Yes, he had about as much chance of actually winning the nomination as, say, Ron Paul. However, Ron Paul got lots and lots of money, good polling numbers and, thus, more press coverage for his views.

Had gay Republicans and moderate Republicans been supportive of this openly gay Republican Presidential candidate, they could have create something like the Ron Paul movement within their own party.

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