Saturday, June 09, 2012


Frank Bruni thinks the Republican Party will inevitably support gay marriage in the near future. His main piece of evidence: one (1) right-leaning billionaire is starting a pro-gay-marriage super PAC.

... Paul E. Singer, 67, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is among the most important Republican donors nationwide ... also steadfastly supports gay rights in general and marriage equality in particular....

Now, Singer says, he's providing $1 million to start a new "super PAC" with several Republican compatriots. Named American Unity PAC, its sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it....

Big deal. Sooner or later, every right-leaning billionaire in America will have a super PAC, and the vast majority of them will support candidates who meet all the wingnut litmus tests.

I know, I know: young people support marriage equality, o legalized gay marriage is inevitable. Well, a lot of progressive changes seem inevitable in America, and even win some Republican support -- and then the hard-liners in the party dig in their heels, and the next thing you know, the OIverton window has been dragged miles to the right.

Support for the Equal Rights Amendment was in the Republican Party platform from 1940 through 1976; it was removed from the platform in 1980.

Back in the 1970s, Republican First Lady Betty Ford was pro-ERA and pro-choice -- and, in fact, back in 1990, long after her husband had left office, Betty Ford started a pro-choice PAC. Now, however, the handful of pro-choice Republicans are mostly either retired or retiring (Colin Powell, Tom Ridge, Condi Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Olympia Snowe).

Belief in the need to combat climate change used to be common in the Republican Party -- and even as late as 2008 the GOP ticket -- yes the one that had Sarah Palin on it -- supported a cap-and-trade plan for combating global warming.

And not that long ago, a Republican governor in Massachusetts championed a universe health-care plan. Now, the notion is unalterably opposed by the party's presidential nominee, who is himself a former Republican governor from Massachusetts. (Oh, wait...)

Shall I go on? or instance, should we talk about Mitt Romney's immigration policies being to the right of George W. Bush's and Ronald Reagan's?

This is how the Republican Party operates. It's for one simple reason: the Republican Party maintains support by sustaining a culture war. A culture war means the GOP defines anything progressive as what "the elites" want ("the elites" being us liberals, of course).

I think they'll keep this up. I think they'll keep fighting gay marriage, and keep trying to make conservatives angry about it, including young conservatives. Dragging the discussion to the right is what they do.


Anonymous said...

This is an attempt at co-opting another group. And I don't mean big tent type co-opting. They are trying to pick off enough of Dem's groups to make a difference in a close election.

Something like this would possible turn my current Dem co-worker into a Republican -- because even though he is gay, he can't understand why ethnic minortities have clubs at school -- he feels he is excluded -- no matter how many times I tell him that is not the case.

This is chiseling.

Victor said...

For all his faults, Frank Rich was a terrific writer, who seemed to often have his fingers on the pulse of this country. And before getting his Op-ed column, he was a great, though often deadly, Theatre Critic.

And I cheered when the NY Times picked Bruni to follow him. He was the first "openly gay" major newspaper columnist. I'm not gay, but I thought the world would be a better place for giving a gay person a regular column in the best paper in the county.
The cheering died after just a couple of insipid columns. He's an attention whore, and proved it when covering W's campaign in 2000 - "Oh, I LIKE HIM - he gave me a nickname!"
He was a former Food Critic, and I wonder if the bad reviews that he gave were because because the staff didn't hover over him enough and give him the attention he craves.
And the most unforgivable thing is that he's a boring and completely unoriginal writer.

The NY Times Op-ed Editors need to clean house. Get rid of everyone except Krugman, Nocera, Blow, and Kristoff. 'Wanna keep Douthat? Ok - he, at least, like a blind squirrel, finds an acorn once in awhile - when he's not preaching to the rest of us about sex. Let him be the Conservative voice of the paper - or find a better one to replace him.

The rest of the writers there are either always wrong (Brooks), usually wrong and out of touch (Freidman/Douthat), weird (MoDo/Douthat), or insipid - ALL of the rest of them, except for the ones I listed in the paragraph above.

During his 52 years in this country, my late father almost never missed a Sunday NY Times - and the only times I can remember were during snow storms or hurricanes.
And, since the age of about 10, when my 5th Grade teacher turned me onto the GREAT Russell Baker, neither did I.
And, for most of my adult life, I either bought the paper every day, or, over the last decade plus, checked it out on the internet daily.
Now that my father's gone, I no longer go and get the Sunday NY Times. The "Book Review" is now mostly awful, and if not awful, lame - as is, with rare exceptions, the "Y Times Magazine."

I still read Krugman, and, occasionally an Editorial. But that's becoming more and more rare - except for Krugman. I HAVE to read him on Mondays and Fridays - but I wait for a link from a website, so I don't have to pay for him. I paid for the stupid feckin' Op-ed page back in the mid-00's, when they threw it behind a pay-wall, until they came to their senses. Now, I'm not doing it again - doing it for one widely quoted Liberal columnist makes NO sense. Add some more - maybe.

And finally, frankly, the only reason to buy the NY Times on Sunday left when Frank Rich did.

And how sad a statement is THAT?

Anonymous said...

Sullivan meanwhile pushes the line that if the Republicans dropped their culture wars they would pick up so much additional support from essentially libertarian feminists, gays, secularists, and others they would leave the Democrats a hollow shell trying to sell affirmative action and free college for illegals to the white working class they have already lost and whose power – union power – they have already allowed to be destroyed.

He does not believe the conservative Christians would jump back to the Democratic Party, where they were at home until profoundly alienated by the liberal sexual revolution starting in the mid-20th Century, even though – and perhaps even because – he supposes that of the two major parties the Democrats would remain the more well-disposed, or less ill-disposed, to the distinctly economic progressive achievements and ideals of that same century.

After close to five decades of working at it, the pastors have got all those Protestant hoi polloi pretty much brainwashed that Jesus was a free-marketeer and the social gospel was the work of Satan.

And that might be how the mostly white Republican Party tries to face its impending “demographic deficit” as the non-white percentage of the population and electorate continues to rise.

Essentially, go for a bigger chunk of the white electorate by pushing the Christian right off the front bench and onto another way, way in the rear.

What Sullivan and those who agree with him overlook is that the Catholic clergy have not tried to sell bare-knuckle capitalism to their flocks, nor have they bought it themselves.

In their case, anyway, it’s pretty clear they are with the Republicans solely because of that party’s commitment to the culture wars.

It seems reasonable to suppose that if the Republicans abandoned that agenda and became essentially indistinguishable from the Democrats on such things as abortion, gay rights, etc., the Catholic bishops would abandon the Republicans.

They might at first go strangely quiet on politics but then, after getting over the shock and perhaps after a generation of bishops retired, they would likely swing back to the Democrats out of sympathy for the economic side of progressivism, leaving the Republicans worse off in net as a result of bailing out on the culture wars.

And, personally, I think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are well aware of their need for the loyalty of the Catholic bishops.

So I don’t foresee them going all sociolib any time soon.