Reince Priebus: Rob Portman's gay marriage position won't limit the RNC's support for him at all

Via NRO, he’s careful not to endorse gay marriage himself but he sure does seem chipper at the beginning about the “inroads” Portman’s allegedly made with gay voters. Meanwhile, back in Ohio

“I think [the RNC] should pretty much ignore [Portman],” says Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime conservative activist, in an interview with National Review Online. “I think he has made a mistake, and he probably won’t get reelected.”…

A source familiar with Ohioans’ response to Portman’s decision tells NRO that 60 percent of the calls the office received were against Portman’s shift and 40 percent of calls received were in support

[National Organization for Marriage President Brian] Brown believes the RNC should withhold financial support from Portman and any other senators who change their views to support gay marriage.“The grassroots of the party are 100 percent committed to protecting marriage, to protecting life, the whole platform,” he says, “and you can’t just kick them to the curb.”…

“What we shouldn’t do is say to the electorate, ‘Just tell us what you want us to be! We’ll change for you! Just tell us what you want us to do, we’ll do it!’” [Gary Bauer] adds. “That’s not a political party, that’s just a bunch of pandering idiots.”

Are the grassroots of the party “100 percent committed to protecting marriage,” as Brown insists? Here’s the breakdown from today’s WaPo/ABC poll:


There’s now a nine-point majority in favor of gay marriage among Republicans and Republican-leaners age 49 and under. Whole other ballgame among those older than that, with even the 50-64 crowd still opposed by net 15 points. How’s Priebus (not to mention the next nominee) going to square the circle? Watch Scott Walker below from yesterday’s “Meet the Press” for one approach, dismissing the issue when pressed on it as being a lesser priority than fiscal issues. That won’t satisfy all social conservatives but it’s probably better than crowing about the inroads you’re making with gays by abandoning the social-con position. Expect Priebus to fall back soon on the argument that Ohio’s a purple state in a country that’s been turning blue and we simply can’t afford to abandon a GOP incumbent who’s proved he can win there, no matter how much one might disagree with him.

One other note from that poll data: The number of Democrats aged 50-64 who support gay marriage is equal to the number age 49 or younger who support it? No generational gap at all? Wowza.

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