No sooner did Fred Barnes say he thought McCain should use the issues of gay marriage and gays in the military to prevent social conservative voters from staying home, then readers either via e-mail or in a comment asked me in the words of this post, whether gay Republicans would tolerate the Barnes Option.
Given the stakes in this campaign, particularly Obama’s inconstancy, especially on matters of national security and his preference for federal profligacy, I would pinch my nose and vote for John McCain (as I voted for W four years ago) if he took Barnes’ advice.
That said, I highly doubt McCain will do anything more than he has already done, signal his opposition to lifting the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy and his support for the traditional definition of marriage. It would be counterproductive for McCain to make it a staple of his stump speech to highlight these positions.
While such rhetoric might galvanize social conservatives, it would do so at the expense of independent voters who have long held a favorable opinion of John McCain. Indeed, it would also upset most rank-and-file Republicans who would rather our party’s presumptive nominee focus on national security, the economy and the importance of appointing conservative judges.Â They would see it as a distraction from the real issues at stake in this election.
The judicial issue should appeal to social conservatives without upsetting independent voters. Most people would rather have legislatures than judges resolve controversial social issues.
But, if John McCain dwells on gay issues, many voters would wonder why he’s so obsessed with one group. They might see this obsession as disqualifying him from leading a nation which includes such people.Â As I’ve said before, I think most Americans are neither pro-gay, nor anti-gay, but are “anti-anti-gay [and] would rather that . . . politicians didn’t talk too much about gay issues.”
So, Senator, we know where you stand on these issues. I wish you had taken a different position on gays in the military, but so be it. Your record of service and your position on most issues clearly qualifies you to lead this nation, far more so than your opponent’s record qualifies him.Â Focus on that record and your policy proposals on national security, the economy, health care, the judiciary and other key issues. And leave us gays alone.
But, I kind of think you had planned to do that anyway.