A Profile in Everyday Courage

Here’s a moving story from Sports Illustrated. It’s a reminder that partisan political struggles may be the backdrop, but individual lives, family commitments, and the support of communities are where change is made manifest.

Changing Times

David Lampo writes in an op-ed in The Hill:

In short, there is not a shred of evidence that the Republican sweep was motivated in any significant way by the recent court decisions that have made same-sex marriage legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The response to these developments on the part of most voters, including Republicans, has been a collective yawn.

And in those blue states where Republican candidates won unexpectedly, it was their support for gay rights that made them acceptable to enough Democrat voters to win their races.

Another political sign: Republican Congressman replacing Michele Bachmann names gay marriage supporter his chief-of-staff . (The post is from a conservative, anti-gay-marriage website, which obviously disapproves.)

Young Voters: Socially Liberal, Less Democratic

“The GOP gained young voters, but only because it lost the culture war,” is the call-out quote (print edition) summing up this New York Times op-ed by Mark Bauerlein, senior editor of the conservative religious journal First Things. He writes:

Exit poll data show that young voters backed House Democrats 54 percent to 43 percent, half the advantage of 2006 and two percentage points lower than in 2010. …

It’s not that [young voters] have become less socially liberal; it’s that social conservatism is a paper tiger. Liberalism has won so handily in the culture and courts that it no longer serves as a rallying cry. …

When it comes to young voters, liberal politicians are victims of their culture-war success. They have pressed a laissez-faire posture in moral and private matters, and have won. But millennials have adopted not the posture of their liberal elders that fostered group identity (be it “union member,” “disenfranchised minority” or “F.D.R. Democrat”), but a soft libertarianism that makes individual preference king. …Once social conservatism was defeated, the set allegiance to Democratic campaigns was bound to erode.

I’ve said before that the victory (or, at least, clearly approaching victory) for the freedom to marry would save Republicans from themselves. And that appears to be playing out.

More. From The Atlantic: Republicans Are Driving the Momentum for Gay Marriage.

Furthermore. It’s not inconsequential that the favorability of the Democratic Party is at a 20-year low, having sunk below Republican Party numbers. “The GOP currently has an image advantage over the Democratic Party,” according to Gallup, although “neither party is held in particularly high regard.”

More again. Another reason for the shifting political tides: Democrat Voters Confused: “I Didn’t Realize I Would Be The One Who Was Going to Pay For It Personally”

The Once and Future Clintons

This New York Post op-ed on gays and the Clintons is a few weeks old, but it’s solid:

As author and academic Nathaniel Frank explains, “Clinton will go down in history as the only president who signed … federal laws mandating discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.” Yet this Saturday in Washington, DC, the same Bill Clinton will be welcomed as keynote speaker at the 18th annual national dinner of the Human Rights Campaign—America’s largest LGBT rights group.

Calling him a “transformational leader for our nation and the world,” HRC president Chad Griffin has said he’s “thrilled” Clinton will once again appear at the sold-out black-tie event.

Griffin and HRC take hackery to new levels. And please, spare us all the “yeah, well Republicans are worse” meme that some commenters think is just oh so clever, as if that were an all-purpose redemption card for vile Democrats.

The Sixth Circuit

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati ruled 2 to 1 against the freedom to marry (full decision here).

The decision overturns lower court rulings favoring marriage equality in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, and makes the 6th Circuit the first appeals court to uphold state bans since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

With a split among the circuits, a practical question is whether the cert petitions/responses will be filed quickly enough for the Supreme Court to consider the matter this term, or whether it’s pushed to next fall (meaning ruling June 2016, which would be right in time for the presidential election). Many expect the latter, which could be unfortunate. The slow spread of marriage equality through the circuits has proceeded without any real backlash to speak of, with even conservative GOP governors accepting the verdicts. In fact, many took note of a significant GOP shift during the midterm election campaigns.

Another possibility: for marriage-equality proponents is to seek en banc review by the entire circuit. If that were successful, the move through the circuits could continue without risking a bad Supreme Court ruling, or even the backlash engendered by a good one.

More. Dale Carpenter analyzes what’s wrong with the Sixth Circuit decision (with links to earlier posts in his series of critiques).

Midterm Election Reflection

As I suggested in my last post, below, the Republicans win big when Democrats are seen as incompetent at managing baseline federal responsibilities and favoring intrusive (and, yes, bullying) big government that, among other things, puts a regulatory stranglehold on business and stymies robust economic growth. Democrats win big when Republicans are seen as incompetent at managing baseline federal responsibilities and favoring intrusive (and, yes, bullying) big government that, among other things, violates individual rights to personal autonomy and equality before the law.

That is, of course, too simple. But voters, too, simplify very complex matters in such a way. In this round of midterms, the Democrats were blamed (rightly in my view) for government overreach and its consequences.

A big disappointment of the night was the defeat of openly gay GOP congressional candidate Richard Tisei in Massachusetts, but that was going to be an uphill battle after the scandal-mired Democratic incumbent was defeated in the primary by an Iraq War veteran. However, as of early Wednesday morning, in San Diego openly gay congressional candidate Carl DeMaio is leading by a thread, with 50.3% vs his opponent’s 49.7%. This one will probably go to a recount. Neither Tisei nor DeMaio were endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest and most influential LGBT political lobby.

DeMaio’s race was one of the ugliest, owing to the hatred unleashed against him by government union activists and the local LGBT establishment left. Whether the late-in-the-election charges of sexual harassment by volunteer staffers prove to have any substance or not (in a campaign where DeMaio’s opponents have resorted often to the ugliest of political tricks), we’ll have to see.

But the longer the LGBT establishment holds to its one-party strategy, the longer it will be until we have a country where gay equality before the law is firmly enshrined and safeguarded.

More. The openly gay Republican the left loves to hate.

Update. Dirty tricks, you say? NBC San Diego reports, “The man who accused Carl DeMaio of sexual harassment is the same person who provided confidential campaign documents to DeMaio’s opponent Scott Peters, according to newly unsealed court documents.”

Sadly, it’s being reported that Peters has won by a slim edge, having pulled ahead with absentee ballots. LGBT “progressives” and their new allies on the anti-gay right can have a joint celebration and share dirty trick secrets. Shame on them, and their enablers (but then, these folks have no shame. None whatsoever.)

When the Democrats Lose the Libertarian-Leaners, They Lose Elections

New numbers from Gallup show libertarian-leaning voters remain more than 20 percent of the electorate, David Boaz blogs:

The Gallup Poll has a new estimate of the number of libertarians in the American electorate. In their 2014 Gallup Governance Survey they find that 24 percent of respondents can be characterized as libertarians (as compared to 27 percent conservative, 21 percent liberal, and 18 percent populist).

Independent voters, a large swatch of whom are socially tolerant, fiscally conservative (that is, “libertarian,” whether they know the term or not) sway elections. If the GOP wins big next Tuesday, it will be in large measure because libertarian-leaners find the Democrats’ economically stifling regulatory overreach, reckless expansion of entitlements and general mismanagement of baseline federal responsibilities (at home and abroad) more threatening than the GOP’s social intolerance and perceived indifference to those who legitimately need assistance.

And I think the advancement of freedom to marry via the courts, despite GOP political opposition, has neutered this issue among independents/libertarians who support both marriage equality and economic growth that’s driven by the private sector (a view anathema to the Obama, Hillary and Warren Democrats).

Note: I am leaving aside here the relatively small group of self-identified libertarian faithful who vote for Libertarian Party candidates. They, too, can sway very close elections but pale in number compared to independent voters whose political loyalty isn’t tied to either major party and who, in a general sense, favor social and fiscal freedom from an overly intrusive government.

Populists, by the way, favor a bigger government footprint on the economy and are socially conservative—think Mike Huckabee. They’re the worst of all political possibilities.

Lest We Forget

An Interesting account in the New York Times discussing how the very liberal, very Democratic New York Times of the 1980s set a national press agenda of nonattention to AIDS. David Dunlap writes:

The Times was “setting the tone for noncoverage nationally,” Randy Shilts wrote in “And the Band Played On” (1987). “There was only one reason for the lack of media interest, and everybody in the [Centers for Disease Control] task force knew it: The victims were homosexuals.”

Oh, sorry, I forget – it was all Reagan’s fault.

Tim Cook’s Not-So-Surprising Announcement

Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged publicly he is gay for the first time. It’s a sign of the increasing acceptance of gay people—linked to the advancement of the freedom to marry, which has helped “mainstream” being gay for many people. Also, in the age of social media, nothing really can remain private, can it.

More. Arch social conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex) said this about Tim Cook’s coming out as gay: “Those are his personal choices. I’ll tell you, I love my iPhone.”

Does he want to marry his iPhone?

Strange Bedfellows

The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and LGBT progressives fight on the same side. For you see, they share the same nightmare: the election of a conservative, pro-marriage-equality, openly gay Republican.

DeMaio faces an uphill race, and if he’s defeated NOM and the LGBT left can hold a joint celebration, as both work to ensure that the GOP remains an anti-gay party.

More. NOM is also backing Democrat Seth Moulton against openly gay Republican Richard Tisei in his Massachusetts congressional race. Tisei, however, is much more soft-edged than DeMaio (no history of standing up to government employee unions), and hasn’t engendered the hatred of the LGBT progressive establishment the way DeMaio has.