Gay marriage and the election of Bush

Much “wordage”: (and “here”: has been spoken about what the Democrats should do now that they realize that the gay marriage issue was a poison pill to get the “Jesusistan”: nuts to the polls in droves. I don’t presume to know what the Democrats should do, because I’m not a Democrat. However, I do have a few things that I’ve observed about the Republican Party that might help:

# The Republicans are a fractured party. In the same way that the left wingnuts have driven the Democrat Party to the left at times, the fundamentalist right has driven the Republican Party to the right. It works a little like this: the FR (fundamentalist right) members reach a critical mass in the party and make certain inflexible demands. Moderates, in the interest of party unity, move to the right. However, the FR doesn’t completely own the Republicans, as other groups, such as moderates, small government conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and neocons, or “compassionate conservatives,” all have a significant enough presence to bring issues to the forefront. Witness Jim Jeffords’s defection in 2001. (Of course, his gambit didn’t pay off as he became irrelevant in 2002.)
# Bush has pissed off a lot of non neo-con members. His No Child Left Behind and subsequent boosting of funding to the Dept. of Education angered a lot of the fiscal conservatives. His stated willingness to sign an extension to the assault weapons ban of 2004 made the gun-nuts nervous (fortunately for him, Congress simply didn’t act). The travesties in Iraq and Afghanistan pissed off the people who elected him on the basis of our military being overextended and weak (remember he promised not to extend our military any more when he campaigned in 2000). Small-government conservatives are “really angry at him over Medicare.”: And the FR was pissed at Bush over lack of “progress” on abortion, gays, moral fabric, and faith-based initiatives.
# Cheney’s comments about “vote Bush or die” weren’t directed at liberals; they were directed at moderate Republicans thinking about breaking for Kerry. These moderate Republicans realized that Kerry’s healthcare plan, while it would cost big bucks, made more sense than Bush’s. What’s more, they realized that in some cases Kerry was more _fiscally conservative_ than Bush. Pushing the war and raising the specter of another terrorist attack was the way to keep them in line.
# On the other end of the spectrum, fundamentalists probably wouldn’t break for Kerry, a _Massachussetts liberal_, but they might stay home. However, putting ballot initiatives about gay marriage was enough to get them to the polls and therefore throw in their vote for Bush.

All in all, Rove had a very clever plan for Bush’s re-election. However, that plan has some costs. Expect a Supreme Court justice who will want to strike down Roe v. Wade. The fundies have to be thrown their bone. Expect a halt in the progress of gay marriage at a national level. Also expect some fractures to get more apparent in the Republican party in years to come. If the Libertarians get their act together, fix their charter (by removing “cult of the State,” for starters), and become politically viable, the Republicans will get trouble from one end. Maybe on the other end someone can fund the Prohibition Party.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Time to move on to other things.

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