I.e. reaffirming the party’s opposition to gay marriage. There’s been a whole lotta flippin’ lately, and not exclusively on the Democratic side. A dilemma for the RNC, then: Politely decline the request, lest it screw up their “rebranding” initiative, or hop to it to reassure social conservatives that the party still shares their concerns about “values”?
Result: Hop to it.
“We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support,” concludes the letter, which was obtained by and independently verified by NBC News in advance of the meeting this week.
The letter further asks GOP committeemen to pass a resolution at their meeting this week re-affirming the party’s 2012 national platform, which includes language calling for bans on abortion and same-sex marriage.
“Chairman Priebus agrees that we must stand up for our conservative principles while we work together to grow our party and win elections and has been traveling the country with that message,” said Kirsten Kukowski, an RNC spokeswoman. Furthermore, she said that a resolution re-affirming the platform was currently being drafted, and would likely win approval from the full RNC this Friday…
Much of the conservatives’ letter to Priebus stresses the issue of gay rights, and challenges the logic of the Growth and Opportunity Project’s advice to broaden the party’s appeal. Holding the line against same-sex marriage, the letter argues, would allow Republicans to make better inroads, for instance, into more traditionally-minded corners of the African American community.
Follow the link for a list of signatories. Oddly, Huckabee’s not among them even though he agrees with the sentiment.
I don’t know why the authors insisted on repeating the old CW that opposing gay marriage is a path to winning more black votes. If that were true, Republicans should have been seeing their share of the black electorate increase over the past 10 years as the battle over gay marriage raged. Hasn’t happened, for the obvious reason that very few people are single-issue voters — but then good luck explaining that to congressional Republicans vis-a-vis winning over Latinos with a new amnesty. Lay all that aside, though: According to various polls taken over the last year, it’s no longer even true that most blacks oppose gay marriage. That’s treated as a political fact of life because of the theory that blacks helped pass Proposition 8 in California, but ever since Obama announced he supported SSM, the numbers have changed. A WaPo poll taken last May, shortly after Obama’s flip, showed 59 percent support for gay marriage among blacks; an election exit poll taken six months later showed black support at 51/41, compared to just 47/49 for whites. This makes twice recently that a prominent social con has made an electoral case for supporting a socially conservative agenda that wasn’t backed up by the data. Huckabee, you’ll remember, claimed that some significant number of evangelicals stayed home last year because Romney was too moderate on “values.” (Never mind that Romney opposed abortion and gay marriage.) Not true.
I’m curious now to see what that the RNC’s resolution looks like, whether it’ll be a plain reaffirmation of the platform or whether it’ll carry some sort of caveat aimed at finessing the issue so that it squares with the Growth and Opportunity Project. Here’s what the latter said: “On messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters. In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.” And here’s what the platform said: “We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.” Will they rubber-stamp that already mild language or rewrite it somehow to make it milder?