Just returned from the Republicans Against 8 meeting. Â While I can’t disclose everything that was discussed there, I can put forward an idea that came to me in the course of the meeting. If advocates of gay marriage are serious about defeating this initiative (now with the new wording, banning gay marriage), they would get a prominent conservative leader to cut radio and TV ads opposing it.
Back in 1978, the immediate past Governor of the Golden State, Ronald Reagan, spoke out against that year’s Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative which would have prevented gays from teaching in public schools. When the measure was defeated, its author then-State Senator John Briggs “was asked by reporters who was to blame for its ignominious defeat, and he simply replied: ‘Ronald Reagan.’”
Given that the current Republican Governor of California does not enjoy the same favor among conservatives that his predecessor enjoyed, his opposition to the initiative might not sway as many conservatives as did the Gipper’s opposition to Prop. 6 thirty years ago. So, we need find a conservative leader, respected on the right and who opposes the measure to do now what Reagan did then.
Ward Connerly who has come out strongly for domestic partnerships would be the ideal candidate to make the case to wary conservative voters. Â We love him for spearheading opposition to racial preferences in government programs.
Yes, this conservative leader is toxic to many on the left. Â But, I would dare say that the great majority of Californians who dislike the man are already predisposed to voting against Prop. 8. Â His opposition will not change their views. Â At the same time, many of those undecided on the proposition (as well as many in favor) hold this good man in high regard. By tapping Connerly as a spokesman, opponents of the measure could more effectively reach out to voters to whom they might otherwise have a hard time appealing.
If the leaders of “No on 8” really want to defeat this measure, they would ask Ward Connerly to speak out on their behalf. They might not like the man, but they do have common cause on this one issue. And shouldn’t their goal be its defeat?
This man who has been effective in passing one state ballot proposition in the Golden State could be most effective in defeating another.
Let’s see if the “No on 8” forces are more committed to defeating this measure than they are to sidelining a controversial conservative who shares their goal on this one issue.