Political strategist Reed Galen, who was John McCain’s deputy campaign manager, writes at Real Clear Politics:
For those of us that grew up in an urban or suburban setting, friends of other ethnic or religious backgrounds were a given. The idea that a political party has steered itself (or allowed itself to be led) down a path that excludes, actively or passively, those who simply look different or lead dissimilar lives is ridiculous.
These positions also shine a klieg light on the GOP’s cognitive dissonance that’s been incubating for a generation. Republicans can’t be the party of smaller government, individual self-determination and self-reliance and also hold impenetrable positions on social issues ranging from abortion and gay marriage to assisted suicide and capital punishment.
More. Jim Geraghty writes at National Review that Republicans need to confront why their party is less popular than its conservative economic ideas (which a majority of Americans say they support, as long as they’re not attached to Republican candidates). Among his examples of how the party alienates voters it should seek to include:
It seems to be a knee-jerk, not-really-in-jest comparison when some conservatives discuss the issue of gay marriage: If two men or two women can get married, why not a man and an animal? … At a recent conservative gathering, one well-known pundit exclaimed, “Why can’t I marry my cat?”
Now, think about how this argument sounds to any gay or lesbian [person] or to anyone who loves them — to their mothers, fathers, brothers, and friends. It takes a consensual relationship that more and more Americans see practiced by their friends, neighbors, and relatives and equates it with criminal acts, among the most reviled in our society. Put another way, if some jerk in a bar came up and compared your relationship to your spouse to bestiality, you would probably be sorely tempted to knock his teeth out.
What’s significant is that this ran in National Review. It’s a sign of the times.