Twixt Left and Right

by Stephen H. Miller on November 14, 2012

Those who are libertarian-minded can take heart from this election analysis by the head of the highly regarded Pew Research Center, who writes:

…on balance, Americans remain moderate—holding a mix of liberal and conservative views. They generally believe that small government is better and that ObamaCare is bad. But the exit poll shows that 59% believe abortion should be legal, 65% support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a surprising plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states. Threading the ideological needle with this electorate is vital for the Republicans in the future—and for the Democrats, too.

Democrats run the risk of over-reaching (again) if they think the election was a vindication for bigger and bigger “progressive” government.

More. A similar analysis, via the L.A. Times, “Has America gone from center-right to center libertarian?“:

the majority of the country remains slightly right of center when it comes to supporting lower spending, decreased debt and smaller government. But America appears to have shifted left of center in allowing more liberal policies on drugs and the institution of marriage. So, left on social issues and right on economics.

But that’s not the message being heard by the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and progressive activists, nor by many Republican officeholders and social conservative activists.

Furthermore. Waltor Olson has further analysis of how, in Maryland, GOP support was crucial for victory in the marriage referendum:

Republicans voted for Question 6 [in favor of marriage equality] in serious numbers around all the state’s major centers of population: in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and in Frederick. And while the trend showed itself everywhere from small farm towns to blue-collar suburbs, it appears to have been strongest in the best-educated and most economically successful Republican communities. …

This spring, President Obama famously announced that his views on same-sex marriage had evolved. Faster than almost anyone seems to have predicted, views appear to be evolving among educated Republican voters in states like Maryland, as well. When will the leadership of the GOP get around to evolving, too?

More still. David Lampo writes, “Stop damning Republicans and start talking to them”:

It is time for gay rights leaders and supporters to embrace pro-gay Republicans and work with them to develop a long-term strategy that brings the message of freedom and social tolerance to every Republican leader and candidate and does not allow the religious right to frame these issues to their fellow Republicans through the lens of bigotry and intolerance. Only then can a strong, truly bipartisan movement for gay rights blossom.

Well, LGBT movement leaders could start by not working overtime to defeat leading gay-supportive Republican officeholders, like soon-to-be former Sen. Scott Brown. Alas, a “strong, truly bipartisan movement for gay rights” is the last thing these party hacks want.

{ 40 comments }

Doug November 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

The Democrats MAY run the risk of over-reaching on big government issues but the Republicans has already in fact VASTLY over-reached on abortion, gay rights, immigration and women’s issues.

Instead of complaining about the Democrats, as you consistently do, why don’t you get your own Republican party in order before you complain about the other side?

Mario November 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

The “war on women” as you alluded to is a media myth. Before you suggest what others should do, I suggest you stop allowing TV to shape your views.

Tom Scharbach November 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Democrats run the risk of over-reaching …

Of course they do. But don’t count on it.

President Obama is center-left, despite all the horse manure spewed by Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Faux News for the last four years, and that’s not going to change.

Shit, President Obama hasn’t even imposed Sharia law yet.

TomJeffersonIII November 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

1. Holding various “liberal” and “conservative” viewpoints is hardly libertarian (or the right or left variety). But then again, if you think that Ron Paul or Ryan were libertarians, then you probably do not really care much about definitions.

2. Most Americans actually FAVOR “ObamaCare” when asked about specific policies. Very few of the specific policies are actually unpopular with most Americans. Opposition is largely based on the right-wing lie and spin machine.

Don November 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

you’ve nailed it, Tom. Even hardcore liberals want tax cuts. We’re a 90% center right country in that regard. But ask them if they want a $100 tax cut and eliminate welfare. Ask O’Reilly’s viewers how they would feel about a $100/month voucher premium today in lieu of Medicare to save the future of America.

I keep saying this. The Tea Party only wants politicians to cut their taxes and your programs. I have heard absolutely no discussion from any of them regarding what they would give up today to save on expenditures. I know somebody’s up on this. Please send me a link where they want to cut anything serious (not all that damn foreign aid that would save $1/taxpayer)

Sam November 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

the US is 90% center right? This is part of the problem with the left wing. It still views the US as a white trash nation filled with NASCAR loving rednecks. When will you people on the left quit thinking of yourselves as anti-establishment when you’ve been the establishment for decades.

Sam November 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Most Americans also oppose hate speech laws and gun control when asked about specifics, regardless of party affiliation.

DCBuck November 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This isn’t that surprising to me, as I’ve believed and seen plenty of other polls that clearly show that the vast majority of this country is center-right. If the Republicans can jettison the toxic Talibangelicals and teabaggers and stick to the core message of conservatism – less government INSIDE as well as outside peoples’ homes – they will be well on the road to recovery. The problem is, these wacko fringes are in firm grasp of the party, and they will not cede control easily. As far as illegal immigration, this is an issue they should have handled 20+ years ago. They must accept the fact that while illegal should mean illegal, there simply is no longer much public support to uphold the law on this issue. I think they still have a golden opportunity to outflank Obama by coming up with a concrete plan that addresses illegals already in the country, and those contemplating jumping the borders. But, again, from what I’ve seen so far, the wacko fringe is still busy chatting in their echo chamber, and they simply refuse to see reality.

And as far as Obamacare, Tom, we’ll see just how popular it will be when small businesses start jettisoning their health plans in favor of paying the much smaller penalty . . .

Don November 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I have a small business that provided health insurance before Obamacare. I didn’t need Obamacare to see that it attracts talent and is more affordable than what they can purchase themselves on the free market. Now that Obamacare is here, I can’t imagine why I would drop that insurance. It was more expensive than the $0 in penalties I was paying before. So I’m guessing I am completely missing the logic here. Why would a business that provided insurance with $0 in penalties for not providing it suddenly opt to pay a small penalty and drop the insurance they had? I’m just not getting it.

DCBuck November 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

“I didn’t need Obamacare to see that it attracts talent and is more affordable than what they can purchase themselves on the free market. Now that Obamacare is here, I can’t imagine why I would drop that insurance.”

Because businesses don’t care about whether or not employees have access to health care through other means, be they more expensive or not. And, as the economy is in the toilet and jobs are barely keeping pace, it’s a buyer’s market for talent. Health care costs are consistently rated as the #1 cost for employers, and this cost – which Obamacare basically doesn’t address – is continuing to escalate. You may be a kind-hearted businessperson who, if your business was struggling (or you perceived it to be struggling), would be willing to ride out the bad times while continuing to provide employee health coverage. But, plenty of business owners will make the relatively easy decision to jettison health coverage any pay the relatively paltry penalty. Think it won’t happen? It’s already easy for companies to dump their stifling pension obligations onto the PBGC, as numerous companies have done. Sorry, but the Obamacare “cure” is like taking hemlock to cure the flu.

Acoolerclimate November 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

If health care costs are the number 1 cost for employers, and they will drop the coverage for a chance to pay a lower penalty fee, then why haven’t employers been lobbying all these years for universal health care so that they don’t have to pay for the coverage at all?

I’ve always been curious about this. I figured that employers use employer based health care as a means of keeping their employees working for them. It’s so much harder to quit a job with health care, and then have to try and find coverage on the open market. But if employers started dropping health coverage, then they will be losing this hold?

DCBuck November 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

On the surface, this sounds like a logical argument. But, scratch the surface, and you’ll see that Obamacare is going to radically change the playing field while doing virtually NOTHING to address the real problem – continuing, escalating costs. So, between continuing rising costs, a moribund economy and job market (which means it’s an employer’s market), and massive new regulation, if a business is struggling (or, probably, what will happen more, a business that thinks/rationalizes it is struggling), do you really think they will start channeling Mother Teresa and continuing to offer benefits, or do you think they will take the easy, cost-effective route of jettisoning their health care obligations onto the backs of their employees? If you really believe the former, I have a fabulous beach house in Kansas I know you’ll love to buy.

Houndentenor November 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I have a number of friends who have their own businesses and they all talk like you do. Unfortunately there are others who have businesses who think of their employees as ungrateful leeches stealing from them with every penny they have to pay out.

This week we’ve hears stories both from Papa John’s Pizza and Denny’s about steps they are taking because they will be expected to provide health insurance options for full time employees. But the media is typically missing the real story here. The majority of workers who handle your food in restaurants have neither health insurance nor benefits. How likely are they to take a day off when they are coming down with something that might be contagious when missing a shift or two means not making rent? How long will they wait to see a doctor when they have to pay the full price for a visit to a clinic? Think about that next time you go out to eat. Like Papa John’s and Denny’s were already unappetizing enough!

Jorge November 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I didn’t need Obamacare to see that it attracts talent and is more affordable than what they can purchase themselves on the free market.

Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

DCBuck November 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

This isn’t that surprising to me, as I’ve believed and seen plenty of other polls that clearly show that the vast majority of this country is center-right. If the Republicans can jettison the toxic Talibangelicals and teabaggers and stick to the core message of conservatism – less government INSIDE as well as outside peoples’ homes – they will be well on the road to recovery. The problem is, these wacko fringes are in firm grasp of the party, and they will not cede control easily. As far as illegal immigration, this is an issue they should have handled 20+ years ago. They must accept the fact that while illegal should mean illegal, there simply is no longer much public support to uphold the law on this issue. I think they still have a golden opportunity to outflank Obama by coming up with a concrete plan that addresses illegals already in the country, and those contemplating jumping the borders. But, again, from what I’ve seen so far, the wacko fringe is still busy chatting in their echo chamber, and they simply refuse to see reality.

And as far as Obamacare, “Tom,” we’ll see just how popular it will be when small businesses start jettisoning their health plans in favor of paying the much smaller penalty . . .

Houndentenor November 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

The businesses who are going to jettison employee healthcare would have done so, ACA or not. The issue seems to be companies that don’t provide healthcare to begin with taking actions to keep from having to offer some sort of plan for employees. The assumption made by the political and chattering classes is that most Americans get health care through their job. While many do, an very large number do not and this is never addressed.

Also, if employers are stupid enough to dump health care plans and leave employees with even more expensive options on their own (I know I pay for my own, it’s not as good and a lot more expensive than what I might get through an employer) and insurance companies continue to raise premium rates while paying their CEOs billion (with a b) dollar bonuses, then the public option or even single payer will start to look more and more attractive to more and more Americans. Are business people really that stupid and short sighted? I guess we’re about to find out.

Houndentenor November 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

There’s little chance of Democrats overreaching since thanks to gerrymandering the GOP will maintain control of the House at least until 2022.

If your only hope for your party is to pray that the other side screws up, that’s not really much of a plan. Democrats will make mistakes. We are humans after all. But will Republicans be able to convince a majority of voters that they wouldn’t be even worse. Look at last week’s election results for an answer to that question.

Don November 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

Respectfully, there is absolutely no logic in a company that has provided health insurance for years before Obamacare to drop it and pay a tax penalty. Why were they providing it before Obamacare? There had to be a reason. It didn’t magically disappear the moment Obamacare was passed. I’m trying hard here not to scream. I can see big companies that never had it before yelling like hell. But Obamacare has zero impact on those that already provided it. The lack of basic logic here is astounding. Why not argue that because gay marriage became legal in Maryland that incarceration rates are expected to rise in Myanmar? There is absolutely no incentive to drop health insurance for employees because this law.

If you think its better because they can drop the expense they voluntarily undertook beforeand incur a penalty that did not exist before, then why not simply announce to all your employees “for no good reason, we’re going to give you a 10-15% paycut except to piss you off. if it makes you feel better, i have to pay a penalty for being such a nutjob. have a nice day.” But if that is how you think, I don’t even want you in charge of purchasing the pencils in my office. You can’t be trusted with sharp objects.

another steve November 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Respectfully, there is absolutely no logic in a company that has provided health insurance for years before Obamacare to drop it and pay a tax penalty. Why were they providing it before Obamacare?

The difference is Obamacare comes with volumes of new regulations. Going forward, you can’t just keep offering the kind of health benefits that you could afford or that made sense for your workforce.

Obamacare spells out that policies must now include a host of specific services — i.e., 100% preventive care, broadly defined, with no deductible or co-pay; same for a host of women’s health services and other deemed essential health benefits. It forbids health plans that limited coverage to a certain dollar amount (mini-meds) or covered only “catastrophic” costs (very high deductible plans). Many of these fit the bill for smaller businesses, but the Obamacare coverage mandates are unaffordable for them.

So, no, just because they offered a plan that made sense before Obamacare does not mean they will continue to offer much more expensive, and restrictive, policies that are the only plans authorized by Obamacare.

Don November 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

at least that is an explanation that makes sense. i find it speculative and highly dubious, but plausible.

look, there are only 4 people working in my law office. we should be “dying” out here as we are the tiny backbone of the universe or something that Obamacare should be destroying. but we’re doing just fine. nobody’s getting rich, but there’s more than enough. and our insurance rates increased by half as much as the last 5 years. (first time it wasn’t above 13%/annually)

for me, a 42 year old male in miami we pay $200/month for very good coverage. the same coverage outside a “group” for me is $800/month. Tell me how this is a good plan and Obamacare is worse?

Don November 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

i’m sorry to be so vitriolic. it’s just that the criticism of the law is so insane to me.

1. it was designed by the Heritage Foundation
2. Romney WAS proud of it when he did it.
3. Massachusetts hasn’t imploded or had any of these desperate outcomes predicted.
4. Our system is the most expensive in the world and is ranked low on outcomes.
5. People go bankrupt over relatively minor accidents
6. I hear absolutely no alternatives that are better.

This is a conservative solution. It is private insurance. This is not socialism or the end of the world. And yet the rhetoric seems to sound like NOM, if we get gay marriage, the world will end, people will stop having babies, and no one will ever be happy again.

Have a complaint. Fine. But offer an alternative or admit that doing nothing is worse than the new law for the country as a whole. That is irrefutable.

DCBuck November 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm

“That is irrefutable.”

Hardly. I believe the Republicans missed yet another golden opportunity to take the lead on this issue by offering a packaged alternative that addresses cost. While yes, MA has not slid into the sea, neither have the costs gone down. And as another points out, in addition to the continuing escalation of costs – which, again, Obamacare does virtually NOTHING to address – there is the flood of regulation which up until now, employers have not had to contend with.

I don’t think anyone is saying the current system is sustainable. But, your argument that Obamacare is the only solution reeks of intellectual laziness worthy of Capitol Hill and the White House.

You want an alternative? Here are some starters:

- Make as much of the health care system as you can nonprofit. I’m all for the capitalist system, but shareholder value should not be anywhere in the health care universe. And there are plenty of world-class nonprofit institutions that are thriving, so the argument that nonprofit = substandard just doesn’t ring true.

- Immediately reinstate the ban on medical/pharma marketing. There is absolutely NO reason why anyone in the healthcare sphere needs to be spending the MAJORITY of their profits on running television ads telling people why they need to run to their doctor for Viagra.

- Place strict caps on punitive damage awards. So much of medicine these days is due to the greedy trial lawyers like Johnnie Boy Edwards, who leech, manipulate and abuse the system and force providers into “CYA medicine.”

As you see, even from these few examples, enacting real, lasting reform that addresses the cost elephant in the room would require BOTH failed political parties to gut some of their fatted calves, and we both know they neither have the integrity nor the desire to put the good of the country ahead of kowtowing to their special interests to make this happen. Nevertheless, the point still remains that it is most definitely NOT a sole choice between Obamacare and the status quo.

Houndentenor November 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I think the problem is in treating health care like any other commodity. I bought a new tv earlier this year. I had moved and needed one. But I was willing to wait and just watch tv on my computer (hulu and netflix) until I found what I wanted for a reasonable price. I could not, however, wait to have a broken bone set while I shopped around for a price. For that matter, it seems to me when listening to health care costs debated, that no one doing the talking has ever tried to call around and find out what various services would cost at a doctor’s office before making an appointment. The information is not available. Nor, for that matter, can any medical professional estimate what it will cost without first knowing what needs to be done. It’s just not the same as the supply and demand markets of many goods and services and it was rather repugnant listening to Republicans (most of whom are on some sort of government-provided healthcare I might add) talk about it as if it were.

another steve November 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Not that I’d every want to defend the Heritage Foundation, but it is ludicrous to say they designed Obamacare. For a time, they supported the concept of an individual mandate. Obamacare is a 2400 page long monstrosity. (In comparison, Romneycare is all of 70 pages long).

Also, Obamacare’s coverage mandates are for more extensive, and expensive than Romneycare. I’ve talked to business people in MA who said they could live with Romneycare, but Obamacare is far, far worse in terms of red tape and expense.

Jorge November 19, 2012 at 9:17 am

Obamacare is a 2400 page long monstrosity. (In comparison, Romneycare is all of 70 pages long).

This cannot possibly be true. If it were, Romney would have said it and he’d have won the election.

Sheesh! The stuff I keep finding out about his campaign keeps pissing me off.

acoolerclimate November 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I’m still trying to figure out why businesses are lobbying to stop having to pay health care at all. Why not go for universal/single payer so that no business has to shoulder the cost?

acoolerclimate November 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I meant: I’m still trying to figure out why businesses are NOT lobbying to stop having to pay health care.

Tom Scharbach November 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

Faster than almost anyone seems to have predicted, views appear to be evolving among educated Republican voters in states like Maryland, as well. When will the leadership of the GOP get around to evolving, too?

Ah, the $64,000 question. And with no certain answer.

The leadership of the GOP will get around to evolving when the Tea Party (90+ opposed to marriage equality per WP/Kaiser July breakdown) and the Evangelicals (80+ opposed to marriage equality per WP/Kaiser July breakdown) no longer determine the outcome of GOP primaries.

I don’t know when that day will come.

Houndentenor November 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Okay now that’s interesting. So Tea Partiers are even more anti-gay than Evangelicals. Where that pretty much puts an end to any speculation that the tea party would put an end to social issues dominating the agenda.

Also, evolve? Republicans? Didn’t you all watch the Republican debates? Hardly any Republican politicians believe in evolution. ;-)

Tom Scharbach November 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Okay now that’s interesting. So Tea Partiers are even more anti-gay than Evangelicals.

It appears so. To see the poll I’m referring to, go to this link, then use the dropdown menu to the right of “Show results by” to open “Show results by political party cluster”.

The poll might be an outlier, but I don’t think so. It is consistent with a number of other polls I’ve seen since 2010. The results have been consistent.

Houndentenor November 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

It would be consistent with polling that shows that younger Evangelicals are less likely to be anti-gay and are more likely to be concerned about the environment. That might be the shift we are looking for, but it will take a good while for that generation to be in the positions of leadership.

Tom Scharbach November 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Also, evolve? Republicans? Hardly any Republican politicians believe in evolution.

Actually, looking at the available evidence, Houdentenor, I’m not sure I believe in human evolution, either. By my calculations, it took 5,708 years (5773-65) to make it from Adam to Mitt. If that is all we have to show for 5,708 years, bringing the Republicans around might take a while. Be patient.

Houndentenor November 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm

“Well, LGBT movement leaders could start by not working overtime to defeat leading gay-supportive Republican officeholders, like soon-to-be former Sen. Scott Brown. Alas, a “strong, truly bipartisan movement for gay rights” is the last thing these party hacks want.”

Hilarious. The writer assumes that 1) we all live in some gay ghetto where we never talk to Republicans. He really should get out more. 2) That it’s Democrats who make Republicans take anti-gay positions. 3) That the majority of Republicans support pro-gay legislation and policies like ENDA but somehow the party leadership is the opposite. (Could it be that a significant number of Republicans just don’t like to say they are against workplace nondiscrimination to a pollster?) 4) that the reason Brown lost is because of gay leaders “working overtime”? Really? That’s why? Again, hilarious. You ought to write for The Onion.

Tom Scharbach November 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

Stephen, stuck as he is in his resentment against “left/liberal advocacy groups like GLAAD and HRC”, misses the point of Lampo’s article completely.

Lampo asserts that (a) Republican voters are currently more supportive of equality than Republican elected officials, and (b) Republican voters, like the country as a whole, “are already changing very quickly”, and presumably will continue to do so.

I think that both arguments are true.

The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans, centered on a strategy of “coming out” and becoming visible to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors (a strategy, I might add, which was pushed hard by HRC), has been going on for decades, and has been successful.

Support for equality has grown steadily, year by year. The only downward blip in the trend was in 2004-2005, the result of the Rove-Bush strategy to use the anti-marriage amendments as a wedge issue. We’ve regained what we lost, and then some, since 2004. We won the war.

Having made the hearts and minds argument, tacitly acknowledging that the “coming out” strategy has been successful in the face of virulent opposition from religious and social conservatives, Lampo then turns his attention to the battles yet to be fought, noting that the road ahead will be long and hard.

Again, I think that’s true. I’ve repeated said that the road to marriage equality, absent a SCOTUS ruling (which I expect in 2022-2025) will be a 20-30 year battle.

And, finally, Lampo argues — implicitly, anyway — that the Republican leadership (the Republican “leaders in Congress and the state legislatures”, as Lampo puts it) remains the roadblock.

He’s right there, too.

The Republican primary system, as currently established, gives hard core religious and social conservatives the power to control the Republican nominating process, and so long as it remains in force unaltered, the Republican Party will continue to put up candidates like Todd Akin and look to half-a-loafs like Scott Brown as “equality champions”, when, in fact, their views lag far behind the views of the electorate. Republicans, and Republicans alone, can change that dynamic.

I don’t doubt that Stephen probably agrees with Lampo, as I do, to this point in the argument.

But then Stephen goes off the cliff, missing Lampo’s point entirely.

Lampo argues: “It is time for gay rights leaders and supporters to embrace pro-gay Republicans and work with them to develop a long-term strategy that brings the message of freedom and social tolerance to every Republican leader and candidate and does not allow the religious right to frame these issues to their fellow Republicans through the lens of bigotry and intolerance.

Lampo has it exactly right.

Democrats and gay and lesbian advocacy groups need to work with “them” (pro-gay Republicans) to “develop a long-term strategy that brings the message of freedom and social tolerance to every Republican leader and candidate and does not allow the religious right to frame these issues to their fellow Republicans through the lens of bigotry and intolerance“.

Lampo does not suggest, as Stephen seems to be doing, that LGBT Democrats and gay and lesbian advocacy groups should engage in a mind-warping, ass-backwards “affirmative action” program for Republicans. Lampo does not suggest that we should throw strong, pro-equality candidates like Elizabeth Warren under the bus and instead support equality weak sisters like Scott Brown.

Instead, Lampo suggests that we should work with gay-supportive Republicans, leaders and laity alike, to “develop a strategy” that “does not allow the religious right to frame these issues to their fellow Republicans through the lens of bigotry and intolerance”.

I think that’s right.

I think, in fact, that pro-equality groups are already doing part of what Lampo suggests, expanding the message of equality from “civil rights” (which appeals to those who think that our struggle is a struggle for civil rights, but falls on deaf ears to those who don’t) to “committed, loving families” (which leverages the “coming out” strategy and appeals to anyone who knows and cares about a gay or lesbian). I think that the results show in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington the success of that tactical shift.

So advocacy groups are already crafting our message to supportive and potentially supportive Republican voters, and it seems to be working. I don’t see why that won’t continue.

And, of course, “left/liberal” gays and lesbians talk with Republicans, supportive or not, all the time. Maybe not in the insular, urban gay ghettos, but in the rest of America, for sure. So the conversation is ongoing, and it seems to be working.

Lampo’s other suggestion is that pro-equality groups and Democrats, in particular, should work with supportive Republican elected officials in Congress and state legislatures.

The potential supporters among “Republican leaders” are few and far between at present — how many Republicans voted for DADT repeal, after all — but as Lampo tacitly points out, gay advocacy groups have already had successes along that score, using a combination of carrot and stick. Advocacy groups used the carrot by supporting the “New York Four” and used the stick in New Hampshire, mobilizing gays and lesbians to talk with their Republican legislators, making the case for marriage equality affirmatively but also letting the Republican legislators know that gays and lesbians would not put up with retrenchment.

Will all that result in a strategy better designed to appeal to Republican voters and “does not allow the religious right to frame these issues to their fellow Republicans through the lens of bigotry and intolerance”. I suspect so.

What gays and lesbians should not, do, though, is what Stephen advocates — changing our strategy of supporting pro-equality politicians and creating a political affirmative action program for Republican politicians, where Republican politicians get a pass on equality so long as they aren’t actively anti-gay. Politicians like Scott Brown, who is not supportive on marriage equality or most other issues, and who get reluctantly dragged into a semblance of support for equality by the political realities of their constituencies, should not get our support when there is a better alternative.

We need to hold every politician, Democrat or Republican alike, accountable. We should not retreat, and we should not wimp out. We are winning the war.

Tom L. November 20, 2012 at 4:11 am

You, sir, have nailed it.

Tom Scharbach November 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm

LGBT movement leaders could start by not working overtime to defeat leading gay-supportive Republican officeholders, like soon-to-be former Sen. Scott Brown. Alas, a “strong, truly bipartisan movement for gay rights” is the last thing these party hacks want.

Bitter, bitter.

Decry it as much as you want, Stephen, but Democrats are going to run candidates. Every race, every election cycle. That’s what a two-party system is all about. We’d do that even if the Republicans ran Jesus.

And Scott Brown is no Jesus when it comes to equality issues, at least by Democratic standards. If he ran against a typical Democrat in a primary election, you can bet gay and lesbian Democrats would work to defeat him and put a strong pro-equality candidate in his place.

HRC thinks Brown falls short of the mark, too, apparently. Brown has a 55% HRC rating in the 112th Congress, and had a 33% rating in the 111th Congress. I looked through the Senate scorecard for the 112th Congress, and I didn’t see a single Democratic Senator with ratings that low. Is it any wonder that HRC doesn’t think Brown walks on water?

Elizabeth Warren, by all objective standards, had a much stronger record than Brown on equality issues. LGBT Democrats in Massachusetts supported her, and so did the HRC. Both for good reason. So get over it.

Doug November 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

Stephen still believes that if he puts enough lipstick on the pig, GOP, that it will win the election. Ain’t gonna happen, Stephen.

Tom Scharbach November 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I don’t know about lipstick, but Stephen (and, it seems, quite a number of Republicans of a libertarian bent) continue to look to Democrats and LGBT advocacy groups to change the Republican Party, rather than take the responsibility themselves, as we did in the Democratic Party.

I acknowledge that Stephen picks the people he quotes on IGF to support his personal views, and therefore my views of libertarian-minded Republicans may be accordingly skewed, but “Let the Democrats do it for us …” seems to be the message.

At least some Republicans don’t buy that cop out and are working to reduce the power of the religious and social conservative wing nuts in the Republican primary process.

If Stephen thinks that LGBT Democrats and LGBT advocacy groups with more than half a brain are going to toss Democratic pro-equality champions like Tammy Baldwin under the bus and support old anti-gay trolls like GOProud-endorsed Tommy Thompson, he’s a slice short of a sandwich. And that’s a fact.

TomJeffersonIII November 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Well, well well. It has turned into a bit of a cat fight here. I almost expect someone to give someone else the snap. ;0)

Seriously, through Democrats are probably going to run candidates for office. Same as Republicans. Same as Libertarians. Same as Greens. Same as the Monster Raving Looney Party. etc. Members of each respective party will probably help to elect its party nominees.

Maybe their does need to be a new, bi or tri-partisan lobbyist group for gay rights in America. But, its not going to be the Log Cabin Republicans, GOP Proud, or the NGLTF.

The challenge with the HRC is that it has always been (at least from what I hear) a bi-partisan organization with a Neo Liberal/Center Left slant to it.

If the Republican Party nominee is quite a bit worse on gay rights issues then the Democratic Party nominee, why should a bi-partisan gay rights group support the Republican? Or if things were reversed (and the Democrat was worse on gay rights issues then the Republican), would Stephen and Co really be asking for more endorsements of Democrats? I doubt it. They also generally refuse to endorse any third party candidates.

This is why I am shocked that the openly gay Republican running for office did not get as much support from gay Republicans. That would have been a perfect chance to create a supportive movement within the party, i.e. Ron Paul, but less crazy.

I am also surprised that few openly gay Republicans are actually running for office and support gay rights. Yes, they have not win primaries, initially, but it seems to me that it key to actually changing the party from the inside.

So, how about it; how many of the gay Republicans here are ready and eager to run for partisan public office as a openly gay, “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” candidate?

Mario November 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

The gay movement hasn’t been about “rights” for as long as I was a teenager in the 1980s. It’s about left wing party politics, scoring big for your “team.” Even if the politician goes against their own convictions, the gay establishment will defend him or her to a hilt, as long as they are democrat. The gay left is setting up the same system that shuffled them off into the gulags, mental institutions, and concentration camps a mere 50 years ago.

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