A lot of pundits think that the Supreme Court's decision to allow gay marriage to proceed in several states presents a risk for Republicans, primarily because Ted Cruz won't let it go. Here's The Washington Post's Greg Sargent:
Republicans eying the 2016 presidential race appear to hope that this will hasten the fading of the issue from the national agenda. Ted Cruz has other ideas....Sargent's right-wing Post colleague Jennifer Rubin worries that something like this actually going to happen:
Senator Cruz has released a statement railing against the Supreme Court's refusal to interfere as lower courts trample on state legislatures' rights to define marriage in a way that excludes gay and lesbian couples. This is only the latest sign that Cruz intends to mount a rearguard action against the cultural change sweeping the nation for as long as he is able, or at least through the 2016 GOP presidential primary. He has very clearly telegraphed this intention.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is fast becoming the king of useless fights and empty gestures.... now Cruz is pushing a constitutional amendment to prevent federal courts from vindicating the rights of individuals who challenge state bans on gay marriage. (Consider how he would holler if the left came up with an amendment to prevent Second Amendment claims against gun bans from being heard.) And where would the states come from to pass such an amendment? Wouldn't state courts still overturn anti-gay marriage bans -- or is he running roughshod over those as well? Never mind -- it is all about fighting.Bloomberg's Jonathan Martin and Annie Linskey think the anger of zealots like Cruz "means gay marriage may become an issue in the midterms -- and maybe 2016." Danny Vinik of The New Republic thinks it's certainly a 2016 problem for the GOP:
Don't expect Cruz to back down, though. As we've seen with Obamacare and immigration, when Cruz finds himself on the wrong end of public opinion, he doubles down on that position. That's because conservative voters -- the ones that will have an outsized impact on the GOP's 2016 presidential candidate -- are heavily opposed to Obamacare, to immigration reform, and, yes, to same-sex marriage. Cruz has reasoned that his best chance of winning the Republican nomination is to stake out positions as far to the right as possible. Whether or not he's right, he will pull the entire Republican field to the right and make it even harder for his party to retake the White House.And at The Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore writes about how this could play in Iowa in 2016:
... the Iowa problem is real for Republicans: it became, because of a relatively early state judicial ruling allowing same-sex marriage, Ground Zero for conservative resistance to marriage equality. As recently as two years ago, I attended an Iowa political event, along with four or five former (and possibly future) presidential candidates, that was heavily focused on removing the judges responsible. I don’t think the majordomo of that event, Bob Vander Plaats (often called a "kingmaker" thanks to his timely support for the last two Iowa Caucus winners), is about to cave anytime soon. And so long as there is an opportunist or two in the presidential field who’s frantic for right-wing support (I’m looking at you, Bobby Jindal!), the odds of this issue being "off the table" in Iowa are very low.But Jindal, for all his presidential hopes, isn't going full-metal wingnut on this:
Jindal reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage but added, "Look, the ball is certainly in the courts. The ball is the court's court."And, yes, Vander Plaats backed the last two GOP winners of the Iowa caucus, but don't forget, they were Mike Huckabee in '08 and Rick Santorum in '12. Even Republicans have a learning curve, and I think they know that Iowa is no longer a bellwether for their party.
Yeah, but won't Ted Cruz still be stirring up the rubes on this subject? Maybe, maybe not.
Cruz is angry about this now because this is in the headlines now. As the voting approaches in Iowa, what's he going to be angry about? Whatever's on the front page of Breitbart.com at the moment, that's what. It could be ISIS or Ebola or Putin or immigration or taxes or the IRS or, God help us, still Benghazi. It could be something that's not even on our radar right now. That's because Cruz and the base he represents have rage attention deficit disorder. They'll get angry about anything, then get angry two days later about something else, then something else a week after that, then circle back to an earlier subject of rage, then work ten or eleven more rage items into the mix over the course of three weeks or so, then circle back to a few of those, in a mystifying pattern. They could be fixated on gay marriage in January 2016, but they could just as easily be downplaying it in favor of President Obama playing golf at some moment he shouldn't be, or Vice President Biden mispronouncing a word, or Hillary Clinton having said some previously unreported left-wing thing in 1970.
In his final, unpublished Village Voice column, Roy Edroso (hire him, somebody!) explains how right-wing media types keep the base crazy and unable to maintain focus:
You have to remember that rightbloggers have a lot of chips on the table at all times, from Benghazi to Umbrellagate. If, for example, outrage over Bowe Bergdahl (remember him?) doesn't play out for them, then there's still ISIS; and if that doesn't play out, there's Obama the Tyrant, and if that doesn't, there's Obama the Weakling, etc.In 2016, Cruz will go with whatever's working at the time. That will change -- perhaps daily.
They can do this all day, and if one or two stick with the voters, or at least are remembered by them as negative events, that's good enough....