Culture War 3.0 and the Charge of the Light Brigade

 

So, today I had the dubious pleasure of having Rush Limbaugh take a shot at me over a quote I gave Politico’s Alex Burns. And yes, if you’re in the GOP consulting world, you’ll get phone calls and emails when you get dissed by the Big Man.

Here’s where the accusations of apostasy to the cause come from: I’m one of a non-trivial number of members of the hated consultant class who think digging in for Culture War 3.0 on gay marriage is politically foolish, culturally stupid and boneheaded electorally.

It has nothing to do with my beliefs on the matter in the slightest. I’m not even going to discuss how I feel about it, because it simply isn’t relevant. It’s not an argument about religion, or Federalism, or equal protection, or Western Civilization. Nor am I dismissing the enormous complexities, social uncertainties, and religious liberty issues of integrating gay marriage into society.

This is about political counsel, based on experience and reality. I’ve worked in 38 states, not in a radio studio. I’ve helped candidates win races in deep blue states like Vermont and New York and Washington, where the GOP fears to tread. We didn’t win by living in the world we wanted, but in the world as it is.

You go to an oncologist and hear, “You’ve got cancer. Want to keep it, or we can try something else?” You know the answer.

You go to people like us…people who read and understand surveys, who study electoral data, who swim in a sea of demographic and sociological data, who test and retest and tweak the tools and messages of politics and the honest actors are going to tell you that this issue is a stinker, and it’s not going to get any easier. Cultures change, and ours has. Ignoring reality isn’t principled: it’s pigheaded.

Here’s what Limbaugh obsessed about:

“It removes the issue from the Democratic playbook of fundraising scare tactics and political demagoguery and breaks their usual messaging dynamic of, ‘You’re a beleaguered minority; let us protect you from the evil GOP — oh, and here’s your absentee ballot,’” said Florida-based Republican consultant Rick Wilson.

I don’t want Democrats to turn gay Americans into a part of their permanent dependency-class vote plantation. I don’t want gay Americans to feel like my party is relentlessly hostile and unwelcoming. Barack Obama kicked our ass down the street twice by growing the Democrat coalition. It’s a zero-sum game, and every gain for them is a loss for us. It’s a cliché, but you grow by addition, always and only.

As importantly, signifiers matter. Voters we need – Republican leaners in affluent suburbs, for instance – are with us on a range of issues, but against us on tone and presentation. Younger voters who are suffering from 25% unemployment and are about to reap the whirlwind of the Obama economy are ripe for the picking…if we understand their social reality (whether you like it, or not) is overwhelmingly opposed to our position on this matter. Bill Clinton dragged the Democratic Party out of the ditch by walking back party policies that had been bypassed by time.

Before my evangelical friends get too far into the “we’ll take a walk” political blackmail, here’s a bit of tough love: you took a walk last time, and Mitt Romney was 100% right on abortion and gay marriage and damn near everything else. You might want to spend some time changing hearts and minds in society at large before you bolt. You might want to keep this fight where you can win it, rather than trusting in the Federal government to deliver your desired endstates…that’s the other team’s strategy.

What was a bit dishonest of Limbaugh was that he falsely mangled the second, and frankly more important quote in the story:

“Democrats won’t be as happy explaining to gay business owners why Obamacare is crushing them; why the regulatory behemoth in D.C. is burying them in red tape; and why the American economy is still faltering. Republicans take an issue out of the federal domain and let states, churches and society handle it, and let’s stick to a message of growth and opportunity for every American.”

I want to fight for every vote. I want to win in places we shouldn’t be able to, and to disrupt their coalition, break their certitudes and wreck their preconceptions. I want to crush the Democratic party and make it politically radioactive. There are lots of ways to get there, but this isn’t one.

It’s not “giving up an issue” to put this fight in the rear view mirror…it’s picking advantageous battlefields, dictating the tempo of the debate, and focusing on the issues that move voters to us, rather than against us.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was romantic and dashing, but most everyone in it died.  They deployed based on bad intelligence, stuck to a stubborn approach, and were slaughtered wholesale. 

 Let’s keep that in mind before fighting Culture War 3.0.

There are 98 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    The current GOP consultant class would have a lot more credibility if its rise had led to better results and if its facts were a bit more in order (saying “you took a walk last time” was a howler Rick): 

    • Barack Obama is the first Democrat since FDR to win back-to-back popular vote majorities. 
    • The Romney campaign’s failures had little to do with policy positions, but those of nuts-and-bolts campaigning: no response to the Bain attacks, poor GOTV and technology execution, and ill-timed gaffes.
    • The GOP has only one Presidential popular vote majority since 1988 and the Senate is going the wrong way again.
    • The House majority and the vaunted strength at the state level are artifacts of one well-timed off-year election and districts that insulate the GOP from non-white, non-Christian voters.  They are solid, but brittle.

    As Bill Parcells once said, you are what your record says you are. 

    • #61
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    Tom Meyer

    All this whining about him being foisted on us is completely specious.  If SoCons — or libertarian Republicans, for that matter — are unhappy with how things turned out, let’s blame ourselves for failing to find a better candidate.

    My take: Republican primary voters had so little to choose from, mostly because the pool of better candidates chose not to run.

    • Paul Ryan thought it was too soon; he wasn’t ready to lead the ticket, so accepting the VP slot was, at worst, a chance to go through a national campaign – so that he’ll know what to do later.
    • Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour both dropped out, most likely because they felt that the reward wasn’t worth the cost (quite sanely for them, but sadly for us).

    Other candidates, I’m convinced, were intimidated by the money. Look what Romney did – the moment any rival got popular, he spent them into oblivion with negative ads. Obama used his billion smartly.

    I think we need to examine the role that money played in 2012 – and plays now.

    • #62
  3. Profile Photo Contributor
    @tommeyer
    KC Mulville

    My take: Republican primary voters had so little to choose from, mostly because the pool of better candidates chose not to run…

    Other candidates, I’m convinced, were intimidated by the money. Look what Romney did – the moment any rival got popular, he spent them into oblivion with negative ads. Obama used his billion smartly.

    I think we need to examine the role that money played in 2012 – and plays now.

    Look, Mitch Daniels was my first choice, too, and I think he would have been an excellent president (for the record, I can’t tell you how many times I heard SoCons tell me that his “truce” comment was a deal-breaker for them).

    I agree that we didn’t run the varsity team, but it’s hardly as if Romney’s competition was a bunch of nobodies: heck, they included four — four!* — two-term Republican governors.  These are hardly pee-wee players and Romney beat them all (as, BTW, did poorly-funded Santorum).

    Speaking of which, I don’t really get the money thing: it’s cheaper than ever to get your message out and to organize grass-roots campaigns.

    * Johnson, Pawlenty, Perry, and Huntsman.

    • #63
  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @tommeyer

    Oh, one quick thing that needs to be said in praise of SoCons:

    Early on in 2012, there was a lot of talk about how the Republicans were walking into disaster because many SoCons — particularly Evangelicals — would never vote for a Mormon.  You know the arguments.

    All I want to say is that 1) this turned out to be completely false and 2) SoCons got absolutely no credit for it whatsoever.  I’ve a number of evangelical friends who posted essays on Facebook describing how — as much as they disagreed with Romney’s theology and worried about the effects of having him in office — we couldn’t use a religious litmus test on our candidates.

    • #64
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    Tom Meyer:

    then it behooves them either to make that opposition more palatable to other voters, or find some way to counterbalance its negative effect on the rest of the electorate

    Whoa! What do we pay these consultants for?

    You pay consultants to represent your interests. They’re supposed to advocate for what you want, or what you believe. A lawyer is just a legal advocate. A political consultant is a political advocate.

    If a divorce lawyer told me that we could “win” if I agreed to give away more money and have less time with my children, I’d fire him. The “win” comes at the expense of my interests. And if the lawyer replies that the other side doesn’t agree with me … yes, I know they don’t, and that’s why I hired you!

    In the same way, these political consultants are telling conservatives that conservatism makes their job of advocating harder … as if the whole purpose of this thing is to make consultants’ jobs easier … so they want us to throttle back the conservatism.

    • #65
  6. Profile Photo Contributor
    @tommeyer
    KC Mulville

    If a divorce lawyer told me that we could “win” if I agreed to give away more money and have less time with my children, I’d fire him. The “win” comes at the expense of my interests. And if the lawyer replies that the other side doesn’t agree with me … yes, I know they don’t, and that’s why I hired you!

    KC, I’m saying that if we’re going to keep opposition to SSM as part of the platform, then we need to come up with a way to win with that.  If we decide we’re going to hold that hill at all costs — not my preference, but whatever — then we need to find a way to make up the losses elsewhere.

    I am so not on the side of the consultants here, but we can’t tell them everything’s non-negotiable and then complain when we fail to get anything.

    • #66
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67
    James Delingpole: I think you’re right. I’m personally against Gay Marriage – because I think the state has no business involving itself in the affairs of institutions like the church. But it’s not an issue I would go to the wall on.

    Not when our economy’s burning and we’re on the precipice of Armageddon. · 1 hour ago

    James that is a fair point. Unfortunately republicans don’t go to the wall for the economy either. I hope this thread reveals exactly what republicans go to the wall for besides self-perpetuation, but I am not optimistic.

    • #67
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    Tom Meyer: All I want to say is that 1) this turned out to be completely false and 2) SoCons got absolutely no credit for it whatsoever.  

    Yes, it is a very unreported story that Evangelicals turned out in the numbers that they did. 

    There were some holdouts, of course, but remarkable nonetheless given the historical animosity of the two groups. 

    • #68
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Palaeologus

    I’m gonna make some likely unpopular points:

    Rick isn’t the enemy.

    He’s wrong on this. Completely. 100%. Wrong. IMHO.

    This is largely (not only) because he is more or less trying to push a rope. But if you have read his many excellent posts it’s clear that it is not standard operating procedure for him to poke SoCons in the eye for fun.

    Rick didn’t choose Mitt for the GOP electorate. Maybe he backed Mitt in the primary. I honestly don’t know, or care.

    GOP primary voters picked Mitt, and they won’t pick a pro-choice or pro-SSM candidate anytime in the near future. Deal with it.

    • #69
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67
    Larry3435: In 2010 the GOP ran on Tea Party principles – small government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility.  We crushed the Dems.

    Telling this truth to republicans is like shining sunlight on vampires.

    Outside of the usual people: Cruz, Paul, Lee, etc. no republican dare mention or acknowledge this lest they be thrown from their committees and sent to wander in the desert by Speaker Boehner.

    • #70
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67
    mask

    Palaeologus: I’m gonna make some likely unpopular points:

    Rick isn’t the enemy.

    He’s wrong on this. Completely. 100%. Wrong. IMHO.

    This is largely (not only) because he is more or less trying to push a rope. But if you have read his many excellent posts it’s clear that it is not standard operating procedure for him to poke SoCons in the eye for fun.

    Rick didn’t choose Mitt for the GOP electorate. Maybe he backed Mitt in the primary. I honestly don’t know, or care.

    GOP primary voters picked Mitt, and they won’t pick a pro-choice or pro-SSM candidate anytime in the near future. Deal with it. · 9 hours ago

    Edited 9 hours ago

    I agree.

    Though a lot of things can be laid at the feet of crummy political consultants primary voters picked Mitt Romney.  Some consultants can be blamed for a miserable campaign but ultimately it comes down to the candidate and their own decisions. · 2 hours ago

    A candidate can’t cover every base and needs to get reliable information from consultants. “Just don’t make anyone mad” and “Not Obama” is not sound advice.

    • #71
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    Tom Meyer

    KC, I’m saying that ifwe’re going to keep opposition to SSM as part of the platform, thenwe need to come up with a way to win with that.

    Understood.

    But remember, the conservative objection to same-sex marriage is grounded, not so much in believing that SSM is a problem in isolation, but that it’s just another manifestation of constant, unrelenting relativism that we oppose in general.

    It’s the relativism that drives all these issues, and our opposition. (Mine anyway.)

    Individuals don’t get to create their own morality and then expect everyone else in society to abide by their definition. That’s at the heart of all these controversies. Abortionists want the right to define human life, gays want to define marriage, and they want the rest of us to support their definition. We social conservatives reply that when the social institution involves others, individuals don’t have the right to make those definitions.

    • #72
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    mask

    How is DOMA expansionist?  It simply says that states are free to determine what marriage is in their own domains and that the federal government is free to define what marriage is for federal benefits.  I’d agree with you that the federal government is too large and has too many entitlements but as far as I can see DOMA preserves the  rights of states to determine the issue for themselves and not for federal benefits.  A particular states definition of marriage should not impact federal laws/entitlements based on another understanding of marriage. · 3 hours ago

    DOMA is expansionist.  Like I said before, it’s strange to see this particular fallacious argument used by a conservative.  The purpose of DOMA was to limit the ability of states to experiment with marriage law; the name “Defense of Marriage Act” itself alludes to this.

    • #73
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    BrentB67

    Larry3435: In 2010 the GOP ran on Tea Party principles – small government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility.  We crushed the Dems.

    Telling this truth to republicans is like shining sunlight on vampires.

    Outside of the usual people: Cruz, Paul, Lee, etc. no republican dare mention or acknowledge this lest they be thrown from their committees and sent to wander in the desert by Speaker Boehner. · 1 hour ago

    Come on, you don’t believe that BrentB67.  We won in 2010 because the electorate in midterm elections is very different from the electorate in presidential elections.

    • #74
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Polyphemus
    Crow’s Nest: (cont)

    …Republican consultants (and candidates, and the base) need to learn to do this: to drive wedges into that same voting bloc and among Dem voters themselves. We’re failingmiserably at that. Obama’s coalition is one of the strangest patchworks that’s been assembled in US politics in the last couple generations–but it is dangerous, because it is young and its demographics are growing.

    We have to fragment it, and some governors (Scott, Daniels, Snyder, Martinez, Jindal, Walker) have gotten that message and implemented it. · 7 hours ago

    Edited 7 hours ago

    YOU NAILED IT!!!    This is the ticket right here.  Our problem is we are playing defense. The democrats don’t worry about their many internal contradictions.  They just attack and demonize the republicans. And it delights them to no end that we don’t ever seem to learn how to punch back.

    We don’t have to worry about how to change in such a way as to lose the fewest people.  That is already conceding defeat. Let’s learn how to attack and attack well. Let’s demonize the progressive democrats dammit. They’re easy targets.

    • #75
  16. Profile Photo Inactive
    @mask

    I agree with Rick Wilson about winning hearts and minds but it’s an incomplete solution. If we simply capitulate politically and therefor legally while winning over hearts and minds the left will have enshrined their policy in law, as part of a massive bureaucracy, and perhaps as settled constitutional law. It will be Roe v Wade all over again except worse in terms of being able to fight back politically.

    • #76
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67
    Joseph Eagar

    BrentB67

    Larry3435: In 2010 the GOP ran on Tea Party principles – small government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility.  We crushed the Dems.

    Telling this truth to republicans is like shining sunlight on vampires.

    Outside of the usual people: Cruz, Paul, Lee, etc. no republican dare mention or acknowledge this lest they be thrown from their committees and sent to wander in the desert by Speaker Boehner. · 1 hour ago

    Come on, you don’t believe that BrentB67.  We won in 2010 because the electorate in midterm elections is very different from the electorate in presidential elections. · 31 minutes ago

    I believe it like the sun coming up in the morning. The local candidate platforms were heavy on a Constitutional limited government and rebellion against Obamacare.

    You are correct that Obama’s core supporters stayed home, but the enthusiasm for smaller government on was the primary reason for swinging the house.

    Enthusiasm rules the day in our hyper partisan politics. Conservatives had it in 2010.

    • #77
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    Rick Wilson: Here’s where the accusations of apostasy to the cause come from: I’m one of a non-trivial number of members of the hated consultant class who think digging in for Culture War 3.0 on gay marriage is politically foolish, culturally stupid and boneheaded electorally.

    Rick: First off, thanks for posting your argument. We’re going to keep having this battle on the right and we need people making both sides of it intelligently. 

    Secondly, thanks for not drive-by posting. It irks us when contributors parachute in, drop a thread, and run. Thanks for being willing to fight it out here in the trenches of the comments section among some of the people you’re going to have to convince on your own side. I hope you’ll continue that practice.

    • #78
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    BrentB67

    I believe it like the sun coming up in the morning. The local candidate platforms were heavy on a Constitutional limited government and rebellion against Obamacare.

    You are correct that Obama’s core supporters stayed home, but the enthusiasm for smaller government on was the primary reason for swinging the house.

    Enthusiasm rules the day in our hyper partisan politics. Conservatives had it in 2010. · 2 minutes ago

    Our base isn’t big enough anymore to win presidential elections on “enthusiasm” alone, though, mostly because conservative politicians are so loud and annoying that even people who agree with their positions are put off.

    • #79
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Blitter

    I want to dismantle the Democratic party too. Your numbers argument makes a lot of sense, but if I’m running for election and someone asks if I’m for gay “marriage”, do I 1) dodge the question, 2) lie and say yes but vote against it later, 3) change my position and be in favor of it, or 4) tell the truth and say no?

    Sounds like you’re excluding #4. I can’t do #3. #1 & #2 don’t seem long term viable but maybe I’m wrong about that. What other options do I have here?

    There’s no point in winning elections if we can’t use the victory to implement our prefered policies.

    • #80
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    Rick Wilson: As importantly, signifiers matter. Voters we need – Republican leaners in affluent suburbs, for instance – are with us on a range of issues, but against us on tone and presentation.

    I agree with you that signifiers matter, and I agree with you that these younger voters often vote on those same signifiers. We certainly have had our fair share of candidates unable to extract their feet from their mouths.

    Here’s where I disagree: I challenge this whole notion that these swing_voters have overwhelming trust in the GOP on fiscal issues, but vote against us solely because of a perceived animus against gays or women, or a perception that our social policies are antediluvian. The truth is that I don’t think they trust us on the fiscal issues either, and the culture war signifier is just one more nail in the coffin.

    Democratic strategists aren’t idiots: the reason that Obama makes the ‘2008 was Bush’s fault’ argument (implicitly, explicitly, and metaphorically) isn’t that it’s red meat for the Democratic base–it’s that it appeals to a certain latent sense that moderate voters who watch the news and think themselves informed have_on_this_question, and_on entitlements.

    • #81
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Yeah, I get that — and it does feel like a weird fatwa. But I worry that the GOP is just completely clueless and cowardly about how one approach — deciding that sexual orientationis the basis of marriage — over the time-honored, logical and universal affirmation that sexual complementarity is the basis for marriage — will produce losses of the most dramatic variety (politically, culturally, etc.). · 10 hours ago

    So basically, the GOP isn’t spending enough time talking about how men and women complement each other? 

    • #82
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest

    (cont)

    Until we dispel that distrust on the economic issues–until we address what some of their anxieties about their own communities, their own children, their_retirement_etc, are in a way that they can relate to (not just one that big corporate America or Wall Street can relate to)–winning these swing voters is going to continue to be a problem.

    Again, the Democratic strategists aren’t idiots. The ‘War on Women’ rhetoric isn’t designed to motivate hard line feminists–they already overwhelmingly vote Progressive. It is designed to drive a wedge into moderate/independent/swing voters and pry them away from voting Republican by convincing them that the Republican party is ‘extreme’.

    Republican consultants (and candidates, and the base) need to learn to do this: to drive wedges into that same voting bloc and among Dem voters themselves. We’re failing miserably at that. Obama’s coalition is one of the strangest patchworks that’s been assembled in US politics in the last couple generations–but it is dangerous, because it is young and its demographics are growing.

    We have to fragment it, and some governors (Scott, Daniels, Snyder, Martinez, Jindal, Walker) have gotten that message and implemented it.

    • #83
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Dave Carter

    “Papa Fed,” didn’t step on states’ rights at all with this act.  Rather, the feds preserved the traditional definition of marriage for federal purposes only, i.e., tax code, federal benefits, etc.  The states remain free, under DOMA to do as they wish, so assigning expansive government motives to conservatives doesn’t ring particularly true. 

    That argument doesn’t fly when the federal government has so much power and gives out so many benefits (many of them through the tax code).  I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a conservative use that particular argument.

    On it’s face, DOMA is definitely expansionist.  If it were passed to prevent SCOTUS from forcibly legalizing gay marriage in the 90s, then perhaps the net effect would be zero.  I don’t know if that’s true, though.

    • #84
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Crow’s Nest

    Democratic strategists aren’t idiots: the reason that Obama makes the ‘2008 was Bush’s fault’ argument (implicitly, explicitly, and metaphorically) isn’t that it’s red meat for the Democratic base–it’s that it appeals to a certain latent sense that moderate voters who watch the news and think themselves informed have_on_this_question, and_on entitlements. · 22 minutes ago

    Right.  Republican governing elites, starting with Reagan, have practiced a particularly viscous, damaging form of Keynesian economics.  Both Bush and Reagan refused to run surpluses during good times, which in large part caused the recent housing bubble.  In many ways, the damage George W. Bush did to our country is not unlike what we often accuse left-wing Democrats of doing.

    One of the GOP’s biggest problems is the disconnect between what GOP elites tell the base on fiscal issues, and what they actually believe, and practice, themselves.

    [edit: Of course, I don’t know what the aforementioned elites think now; for all I know, they’ve “learned their lesson” and won’t do it again. Hopefully.]

    • #85
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Smokedaddy

    I think the disconnect between our consultant class and our grassroots is due to a few factors:

    a) our consultants unwillingness to actually engage and explain fundamental issues and principles, as opposed to worrying about what some reporter is going to say or think about them and their candidate. I think it was Raul Labrador who said we need to be conservative in our content but moderate in our style.

    b) our consultant’s preference for the Dems practice of coalition building, whereby voters are assigned identifiable ethnicity, gender, occupation, age group, etc, and then targeted. The Dems are good at this, tho its ultimately destructive to both the nation and their coalitions. The GOP is bad at this and shouldn’t even try.

    c) when using the grassroots for an effective groundgame, as opposed to an expensive airwar, consultants tend not to get the credit for messaging, and certainly don’t get a percentage on the ads they place.

    • #86
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    RushBabe49:  I agree that our side needs real leaders… I’m thinking that one reason those leaders don’t appear is that being in politics these days is excruciatingly difficult for conservatives, especially with the popular culture and the mainstream press so dead set against us.

    RushBabe brings up an important point here. I think this sense of persecution (though mild at this point) is present, and is growing in the conservative imagination–and not without some reason.

    But when faced with a time of persecution, there are a variety of courses one might choose. To name but two:

    One might choose the path of the martyr–to be flayed open and slaughtered in the public square, valiantly fighting for one’s faith in the hope of life everlasting and that one’s example might inspire multitudes in some unwritten future.

    Or one might choose the path of guile and adjust one’s rhetoric and one’s face, without yielding for a moment one’s true convictions, to the necessity of the moment. This course remembers that politics is the art of persuasion, and that persuasion is in no small part seduction.  

    • #87
  28. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    I’m not sure that most people pick consultants they way they pick lawyers, but more often because:

    • You know them, you trust them.
    • You want a choice that can’t be second-guessed (the old “no one will get fired for selecting IBM” chestnut).
    • You have no idea what you’re doing and you’re relying on them for specific expertise.
    • You want someone to provide a post hoc rationalization for a decision you’ve already made.
    • You want someone to make the decisions for you.
    • You want someone to take the blame if things don’t work out. 

    Why do you think Romney hired Stu Stevens?

    KC Mulville: Whoa! What do we pay these consultants for?

    You pay consultants to represent your interests. They’re supposed to advocate for what you want, or what you believe. A lawyer is just a legal advocate. A political consultant is a political advocate.

    • #88
  29. Profile Photo Contributor
    @ArthurHerman

    I can’tbelieve we’re just supposed to drift with the cultural tide, and  I hope that’s not what Rick Wilson is arguing.   Libertarianism as well as conservatism rest on never letting mass opinion, which is constantly changing and clings to a belief only as long as it believes everyone else believes the same thing, determine what issues are worth fighting for, and which aren’t.  

    Otherwise you’re just giving in to what Mill warned about with the “tyranny of the majority,”the tendency of society to impose, by means other than civil penalties, its own rules and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them…and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own”–and that’s what seems to be happening with SSM. 

    Leadership is framing the issues, not being framed by them. 

    • #89
  30. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @DaveCarter
    Joseph Eagar   … On it’s face, DOMA is definitely expansionist.  If it were passed to prevent SCOTUS from forcibly legalizing gay marriage in the 90s, then perhaps the net effect would be zero.  I don’t know if that’s true, though. · 15 hours ago

    Joseph, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back with you.  Work called.  If we’re at an impasse on this, so be it, but I want to make sure we’re arguing from the same data.  So, if I may:

    DOMA specifically, “…confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage…”  Unlike Roe, which invalidated all state abortion laws in one ruling, DOMA leaves state laws untouched.   Is that also your understanding of the law?  If so, I’m at a loss as to how it constitutes federal expansionism.  Was that contention made at the time of its passing? 

    I too lament federal expansion, and I regularly inveigh against it.   But a law that maintains, for federal purposes only, the definition of marriage as it has been known for thousands of years, doesn’t strike me as heresy or even novelty.  

    • #90
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.