That Swooshing Noise? Oh, That’s the GOP Sliding to the Left

A GOP pollster who served George W. Bush in the 2004 election, Jan van Lohuizen, fired out a confidential memo telling Republican operatives it’s time to run like hell from the anti-gay-marriage rhetoric.

Support for same sex marriage has been growing and in the last few years support has grown at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down.   A review of public polling shows that up to 2009 support for gay marriage increased at a rate of 1% a year.  Starting in 2010 the change in the level of support  accelerated to 5% a year.  The most recent public polling shows supporters of gay marriage outnumber opponents by a margin of roughly 10% (for instance: NBC / WSJ poll in February / March: support 49%, oppose 40%).

Even among Republicans, there is majority support for recognizing basic legal protections for gays and lesbians.  As the memo says, this includes majority Republican support for the right to visit partners in hospitals, protections against bullying, harassment, job threats, etc. , but also protection for gay couples in the form of same sex marriage or domestic partnerships.

I love the stuff at the end. Van Lohuizen suggests ways to smooth-talk interview questions. Conservative fundamentalists are urged to reply:

As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone.  This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government. 

Suddenly being gay is a family value. A freedom.

Blind pigs. Acorns. Eventually.


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  • Luna_the_cat

    This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government.

    Huh, so does this mean they’ll get the hell out of women’s reproductive decisions?

    ….Nah. Too much to hope for.

  • Trebuchet

    While van Lohuizen is unquestionably correct about the trend, the problem is this year. Nationwide support for gay marriage is barely over 50%. I think the Republicans this year will run on this issue almost to the exclusion of all others, and probably do all to well with it.

    • Nathair

      Support constitutes a very narrow majority but you have to consider the sizable chunk (around 10%) who just don’t care one way or the other. So it isn’t “50% support“, it’s “50% support while only 40% oppose” and that 10% lead is pretty much a mandate. (Which, quite obviously, Obama and now Jan van Lohuizen has recognized.)

  • ‘Tis Himself

    As has been true for the past 30 years, this year’s election isn’t about social issues. As Bill Clinton put it so well: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    • Reginald Selkirk

      And do Republicans have better ideas on the economy? austerity is taking a beating in Europe, and most Americans over 40 know that “trickle-down” is a sham.

      • F

        No, but plenty of people think they do. And that includes conservatives who vote Republican because, to them, it is the lesser evil.

        The point is that some people are still going to vote R on economic issues even if they strongly disagree with the R platform on social issues.

  • left0ver1under

    If this happens, then criticism of the GOP for their stance cannot be used much longer, but it also means its more useful right now. It’s very easy to hammer and hang them with their own words, and people should do it.

  • Trebuchet

    @ ‘Tis:

    As has been true for the past 30 years, this year’s election isn’t about social issues. As Bill Clinton put it so well: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    But the Republicans mostly know they can’t legitimately run on the economy. Especially with “I like to fire people” Mitt at the helm. They’ll run on gay rights to cover that up.

  • Markita Lynda—damn climate change!

    And since they peppered their legislatures with bills on abortion, gun rights, taxes, budget cuts, health care cuts, poor relief cuts, etc. ad nauseam and voted down the Jobs Act, they can’t say much about it now.

    If only they’d accord the same respect to women’s right to bodily autonomy and decision-making!

    Hi, Hank! I read your article in American Atheist Magazine. Good one.

    • Hank Fox

      Re: American Atheist

      Thank you! I finally got my copy of the magazine today! No matter how many times you get published, you always want to see the words actually in print to see what they look like, see how they sound. This one worked out pretty good — I was really happy with it.

  • Crudely Wrott

    There is no honor is acknowledging the obvious. Unless you are a conservative Republican doing an about face under the pressure of public opinion.

    Get ready for the fun, kids. Just watch how this is spun into redefining the entire right wing message.

    Just like magic! (which, as we all are aware, is simple illusion)

  • Bruce Gorton

    The Republicans don’t generally play to the centre, they know the value of an energised base. This is why they obstruct so readily in Congress and the Senate, they know that centrists might be put off – but what matters at the vote isn’t the will of the majority, it is the will of the majority who bothered to show up.

    So I think they will stick with the anti-gay crap for another cycle.

    This is most definitely not an election to get complacent about, Americans with some common sense need to go the polls here, because the rest of us need an America we can look up to.

  • comfychair

    Countdown to Ms. van Lohuizen being excommunicated (and buried under a mountain of death threats) in 3… 2… 1…

    • comfychair

      Oops, Mr. van Lohuizen. Thanks, google.

  • sumdum

    we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing

    Gee, ya think ? We’ve only been saying that since forever, but it’s nice you finally come around to recognize that.

    • ed

      But libs are the one who are “intolerant”…JFC

  • Rick Schauer

    Reminds me of the game Jinga, you know, where you remove piece of wood until the little tower falls over.

    I can’t wait to yell – TIMBER fukkers!

    • Brownian

      Sorry to be a pedant, but the game is “Jenga”, from the Swahili word kujenga, which means “to build”.

  • d cwilson

    Just think, in 30 years, republicans will be able to claim that they were always the party of civil rights for gays.

    • Your Dogma is Showing

      You are correct, no doubt. After all, the religious right is a constant force for good, taking the side of the oppressed; viz. slavery, the civil rights movement, women’s rights, gay rights, etc. Their ideology is a beacon to those of us yearning to know the proper way to deal with our fellow man.

  • Greg Laden

    There is also that sound of the Republican Party falling apart into little bits, helped along by the Libertarian-Teaparty hybrids who have taken over the delegate process.

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