The Divide

by Stephen H. Miller on June 22, 2014

A revealing article about politics today (hat tip: Walter Olson):

Fisher says he has friends who usually vote Democratic but are thinking about switching sides because “they’re really unhappy about the situation they’re in,” with too much of their paycheck going to the government.

He, too, chafes at high taxes. He sticks with the Democrats mainly because of their liberal social agenda — mindful of his aunt, a lesbian, who has “come out of her shell more” as states have legalized same-sex marriage. He would consider crossing the aisle if Maryland Republicans took a more libertarian approach to social issues, taking the government out of people’s personal lives.

“It would be very cool to see a Republican who says, ‘I’m for gay marriage,’” Fisher says. “If the Republicans got on board with that, it would be a really difficult decision for me.”

Which is what frightens LGBT Democratic partisans. They much prefer their Republicans like this.

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The Long-Delayed Executive Order

by Stephen H. Miller on June 17, 2014

I’d welcome an executive order prohibiting LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. Those who contract with the government (and are paid with taxpayers’ dollars) agree to abide by its rules, or they shouldn’t take the work. This is different from private companies in general, including individual proprietorships, who should have an expectation of greater freedom in how they choose to conduct their business, including the hiring, promotion, firing, and payment of their employees and the jobs they chose to accept or reject (rights greatly curtailed by the regulatory state, and which progressives would virtually eliminate*). As government expands and its prohibitions and dictates mount, liberty within civil society recedes.

It’s also worth noting that after news of an upcoming executive order was announced, as MSNBC notes, “Obama effectively painted a bull’s eye, inviting Republican apoplexy. And yet, crickets.”

The order’s timing was intended to galvanize the base before November’s congressional elections by inciting reaction from GOP office seekers. But the times are changing.

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*Pay equity theorists on the left, for instance, advocate legislation to limit allowable private-sector pay determination to nonsubjective factors such as education levels, job descriptions and years of service (restrictions that currently apply when determining compensation for public school teachers and often for other unionized government employees), since taking into consideration job performance as a pay factor is always, in their view, subject to bias. (Some of this thinking has made its way into the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.)

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San Francisco Shame

by Stephen H. Miller on June 15, 2014

National Guard Not Welcome at San Francisco LGBT Pride Weekend:

Organizers of San Francisco’s pride weekend festivities have yanked the welcome mat away from the National Guard, voting to ban the Guard from setting up a booth at the festival. … Last year, the National Guard had a booth at Pride Weekend for the first time – staffed by gay soldiers – following the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

They’re showing the Texas GOP that they don’t have a monopoly on exclusionary booth denial!

And there’s icing on the politically correct cake:

The decision comes at the same time Pride organizers are allowing a controversial Army private who leaked military secrets to be honorary grand marshal.

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The GOP’s Cultural Contradictions

by Stephen H. Miller on June 15, 2014

Karen Tumulty and Dan Balz of the Washington Post report:

Another new, unpredictable element is the increasing influence of the libertarian movement, say many senior Republicans. It has infused the party with energy and has genuine appeal for many young people but has also interjected into the dialogue propositions that many traditional Republican activists reject, such as drug legalization.

“There is a loud libertarian faction,” agreed South Carolina [GOP] strategist Katon Dawson. “Libertarianism has moved into the Republican Party and is trying to hijack it.”

But David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, insisted that social issues aside, there is far more common ground than conflict in the GOP.

“I think the Republican Party is more uniformly anti-big-government than it was before, and that is not the same thing as conservative,” Boaz said. “It is more anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-Washington, which in a sense is where conservatism and libertarian views overlap.”

One source of confusion is that many in the GOP (including some, not all, in the tea party movement) who call themselves “libertarians” remain social conservatives. Whether genuine libertarians can convince them you can’t favor liberty from government on economic matters and then champion government to restrict liberty by blocking the right to marry or enforcing drug prohibition is another matter.

Jonathan Rauch touches on some similar themes at the liberal Daily Beast site, writing:

Evangelicals are, and will remain, a large and critical element of the Republican base. Three-quarters of them supported Romney in 2012. No wonder the GOP is having so much trouble with gay marriage: opposing it alienates younger voters, but supporting it angers evangelicals. Until that equation tips, individual Republicans may break ranks on gay rights, but the party remains a countercultural [anti-gay rights] bastion.

I disagree, however, on the “shrewdness” of the Human Rights Campaign’s initiative to foster dialogue in the South aimed at “changing hearts and minds in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, three of the country’s reddest states,” given HRC’s primary role fundraising for progressive Democrats and its opposition to electing openly gay conservative Republicans (such as Carl DeMaio). You can’t have it both ways (i.e., “we’re from the leftwing of the Democratic party, and we’d like to talk to you about gay equality”).

I’d also argue that, although some of the state initiatives on religious exemptions were poorly worded and supported by anti-gay evangelicals, allowing faith-based exemptions so that small business owners aren’t forced to perform artistic services celebrating same-sex weddings is the pro-liberty position.

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Hillary’s Pique

by Stephen H. Miller on June 13, 2014

Obviously, Hillary Clinton will run on a strong gay rights/marriage equality platform, but it’s interesting to note how her views changed with the shifting political winds (a phenom that’s ubiquitous in politics). Of course, the rolling disaster of the Obama administration’s foreign policy might be more pertinent to her campaign.

More. Yes, ubiquitous. Wisconsin’s GOP governor (and presidential wannabe) Scott Walker puts his finger to the wind.

Furthermore. Andrew Sullivan observes about Clinton, “the idea that she has ever risked an iota of her own power to back the equality of gays and lesbians is preposterous.”

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Milking Victimhood for Fun and Profit

by Stephen H. Miller on June 13, 2014

This is certainly not Lambda Legal’s finest hour, and it reveals a corrupt mindset that puts creating controversy for self-promotion—and perpetuating victimhood—above all else. Money quotes:

Even after being told how the restaurant handled the situation, Lambda isn’t backing down from the campaign. Instead the organization has dug in its heels. … Lambda is urging their followers to damage the reputation of a company that is recognized as an LGBT-friendly spot and hasn’t been proven guilty of any wrongdoing. …

“Lambda Legal has no obligation to investigate the allegations before doing media work or filling a case. That’s up to the [human rights] commission to decide,” said Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Project Director. “The business’ reputation is not our concern.”

More. Mark Lees asks in the Washington Blade, “Can a business undo damage done by gay zealots?”

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Brat’s Win and GOP Factionalism

by Stephen H. Miller on June 11, 2014

There’s one point of interest, even with the limited information we have, regarding David Brat and his Virginia congressional primary win over GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. What we do know about Brat and gays is that he’s not a foamer. The New York Times says that in a paper Brat authored a few years back:

Mr. Brat attacked the conservative right for championing individual liberty but campaigning against abortion rights, gambling and homosexuality. He criticized the left too, for being too coercive with social programs. “What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty),” he wrote.

That passage was curious, since Mr. Brat ran on an unswerving anti-abortion position. I’m not sure how he feels now about gambling, and we’re looking for his position on gay marriage.

Brat has not used anti-gay bombast in his campaign, following the pattern of many other Republicans who might have been expected to do so. The tea party isn’t the religious right, although the religious right is represented among tea party activists. There’s a libertarian strain in the tea party that could be helpful in redirecting the GOP away from its dominance by the religious right, a fact obscured in by the media’s equation of the two in the service of progressivism.

Still, there’s no doubt that anti-immigration positions dominated Brat’s attacks on Cantor and are common among tea party activists. Many are saying (with some justification) that illegal immigrants have now replaced gays as the boogiepeople for the Republican right.

Except in Texas, of course, where gays remain as big or bigger a scapegoat as immigrants crossing the border without documentation. [And then there's Gov. Rick Perry.] But as James Kirchick writes (in an article quoting former Log Cabin Republican leader Rich Tafel):

The longer Texas Republicans keep acting like Neanderthals, the greater the chances that the politically unthinkable might happen. “As state after state embraces marriage equality, the Texas GOP resembles the George Wallace Democrats’ response to racial equality in the 1960s, grabbing harder onto their bigotry based in the fear of America’s growing inclusion,” Tafel says. “Their right-wing bigotry is single-handedly doing what Democrats have been unable to do—move Texas from a red state to a blue state.”

More. David Boaz on Big Business Vs. Libertarians in the GOP, and why tea party candidates’ critique of crony capitalism is resonating with voters.

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Calls to Ban ‘Hate Speech’ Spiral On

by Stephen H. Miller on June 6, 2014

The LGBT campus ultra PC left versus the LGBT left, as a University of Chicago speech by Dan Savage is denounced as transphobic “hate speech” that should be banned.

Leftism continually mutates into more extreme forms, which then attack the previous standard as insufficiently purist.

More. Savage, it goes without saying, has nothing but contempt for gay Republicans. Elsewhere, he’s called them “house faggots.” That’s his real hate speech, not that it should be banned.

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The Nail in ENDA’s Coffin

by Stephen H. Miller on June 6, 2014

Progressive groups say they’d rather have no Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) then one that doesn’t force those with faith-based objections to provide creative services for same-sex weddings.

In the past, I’ve been neutral on ENDA—aware of its potential for misuse, along with other anti-discrimination statutes, but mindful of its positive symbolic value. With the advance of marriage equality, the need for such a symbolic statement of inclusion by the federal government no longer seems necessary. And it is now crystal clear that ENDA will be abused, as state anti-discrimination statutes have been, to limit individual liberty and punish those who don’t bend knee to the progressive authority. Good riddance, ENDA.

More. I recently addressed (again) the appropriateness of religious exemptions and so won’t repeat myself, but see No Faith-Based Exemptions from the Dictates of the State?

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GOP Shift Is Slow but Inevitably

by Stephen H. Miller on May 31, 2014

An optimistic viewpoint on the GOP and gay issues, via BuzzFeed: “While Republicans aren’t likely to join the fight for marriage equality en masse, the past week has shown that a growing core of the party is done fighting.”

Challenging the religious right so that Republicans again become the liberty party—as they were, historically, in the fight against slavery—is the way forward (and, let’s recall, southern Democrats were the party of Jim Crow, until Nixon’s “southern strategy” brought the “Dixiecrats” into the GOP). This will be a long effort, occurring throughout the states, as the fight in Texas shows. But generational change is coming.

More. A choice in California, via the WSJ (firewalled, though). In the GOP gubernatorial primary:

Republicans are presented with starkly contrasting candidates in former Bush Treasury official Neel Kashkari, a son of Indian immigrants, and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who led the Minuteman campaign to patrol California’s southern border and has likened illegal migrants to jihadists. … Like a majority of Californians, [Kashkari] is also a cultural liberal. Yet this makes him more attractive to a large swath of voters who would never consider a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. That includes many young people and Silicon Valley techies.

Mr. Kashkari is also focusing on economic opportunity, especially for the poor. The political rookie has reached out to voters in the rural Central Valley and inner-cities where he is making the case that broad-based economic growth and education reform can redress California’s inequality and poverty.

More, unfirewalled, via Businessweek.

Kashkari may not win Tuesday’s primary, but his views on gay marriage are the GOP’s only viable future And this isn’t.

Update: Kashkari wins the primary. The Washington Post suggests, “Kashkari won’t win this fall but he may well be the building block/new face that California Republicans badly need to begin the long climb back to relevance in the state.”

Added: The Wall Street Journal editorialized: “Most local Republican parties had endorsed Mr. Donnelly for his cultural conservatism and firebrand opposition to immigration. Mr. Kashkari, a son of Indian immigrants with a libertarian cultural bent, ran an insurgent campaign on jobs and education. He hopscotched from soup kitchens to Rotary Clubs promoting the GOP as a party of economic opportunity for all.”

And more good news from California, sure to leave LGBT lockstep Democrats fuming.

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