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Gays, the GOP and 2012 Election (Part One)

On Thursday, Tina Korbe helped lay the ground work for  series of posts as I have been planning on gays, the GOP and the current presidential election.  In a post where she took issue with former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean’s mean-spirited anti-Republican rant, which I excerpted and linked here, she articulated a preference for the Republican appeal to the “whole person” over the Democrats’ pandering to the differences which divide us.

And so it is, in some ways, for gay Republicans.  We may not like that our party has yet to embrace even state recognition of same-sex civil unions, but we are put off by the Democrats’ patronizing approach.  We recognize that there are larger issues at stake than same-sex unions, particularly a president unwilling to address a federal debt than has increased by a greater amount in the past three years and two months than it had in the preceding eight.

Now, expect to hear increasingly harsh rhetoric attacking the GOP not just for the Democrat-declared war on women, but also for its hostility to people like us who differ from the societal norm.  Democrats aren’t doing this just to keep gays voting Democratic, but they’re also seeking to appeal to straight suburban voters who have gay friends — or who are just uncomfortable with anti-gay rhetoric; such suburban voters may not be pro-gay per se, but do tend to be anti-anti-gay.

I endorsed Jon Huntsman for President in part because of his, as I put it three months ago, “solid statement on civil unions” in the ABC News /Yahoo!/WMUR-TV New Hampshire Republican primary debate.  Although he thought marriage should be “saved for one man and one woman,” he also advocated “reciprocal beneficiary rights [as] part of civil unions”, encouraging states “to talk about this.”

His answer was much better than that of Mitt Romney, now the likely Republican nominee.  Still, that former Massachusetts governor did offer a most decent reply which, for the purpose of this post and my intended series, I quote in full.  He recognizes the capacity of gay people to form loving and lasting couples and even parent children.  He shows no animus against people like us.  He, like the man he seeks to replace, just believes marriage to be a union between individuals of different sexes.

In response to Diane Sawyer’s question how he would respond to a gay couple sitting down in his living room and asking about the right “to form loving, committed, long-term relationships”, he began by praising couples:

Well, the answer is, is that’s a wonderful thing to do, and that there’s every right for people in this country to form long- term committed relationships with one another. That doesn’t mean that they have to call it marriage or they have to receive the — the approval of the state and a marriage license and so forth for that to occur. (more…)

Mr. President, You’re No Bill Clinton

Mr. President, I observed the presidency of Bill Clinton. I marveled at his ability to co-opt partisan adversaries’ ideas and spin them as his own. Bill Clinton was a political genius. Mr. President, you are no Bill Clinton.

Perhaps the most brilliant aspect of Bill Clinton’s reelection campaign, was the series of TV ads the Democratic National Committee ran in media markets outside the nation’s three big markets tying then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (who would emerge as his Republican opponent) to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich who already then had high negatives.  The then-president left it to his ad-makers to attack Republicans while he himself offered a much more upbeat message.

It didn’t hurt that the economy was much stronger during his fourth year in the White House than it is at the same point in the term of the next Democrat to have his old job, the current incumbent.

One wonders why Mr. Obama hasn’t followed the tack of his Democratic predecessor, why the incumbent feels it incumbent upon himself to attack.  Peggy Noonan, a conservative pundit once impressed by the Democrat’s charm and optimistic about his ability to unite us, has, on listening to his speeches, shed any illusions she may once have had.  She found his Tuesday speech to be

. . . an unusual and unleavened assault on the Republican Party. (more…)

Well, Mr. President, the budget Mr. Romney calls “marvelous” got 228 more votes* than the budget you presented

Seems that the incumbent President of the United States thinks he can win reelection only by attacking his likely adversary:

When President Barack Obama criticized Mitt Romney by name this week for embracing a controversial Republican budget proposal, he worded his attack carefully and with bite.

“(Romney) said that he’s ‘very supportive’ of this new budget, and he even called it ‘marvelous’ — which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget,” Obama said during a speech on Tuesday. . . .

He may mock the Republican’s word choice, but can he defend an alternative to the budget Mr. Romney praised?  It doesn’t seem any member of his party’s congressional caucus can, given that not one U.S. Representative, not even a single Democrat, voted for his budget blueprint.

And the budget Mr. Obama presented won’t reduce the deficit below the “astounding” figure he, in 2008, equated to “living beyond our means” even ten years after the date of that statement.

As soon as the contest for the Republican nomination is settled, the focus will return to Mr. Obama and the job he’s been doing.  And then attacks on a man who supports a plan that can at least secure a majority of his party’s House caucus (well 94.2% to be exact) will resonate less than will an accounting of his record in office, including the fact that precisely 0% of his party’s caucus in the U.S. House voted for his budget.

*in the U.S. House of Representatives.