Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Republican Party's Gay Addiction...

A key moment from Ang Lee's Oscar winning film "Brokeback Mountain" is when  the character of Jack Twist (played by Jake Gylllenhal ) expresses his frustration with the limitations of his secret relationship with Enis Del Mar (played by  the late Heath Ledger).  The tension boils over and he exclaims how he wishes he was able to end the relationship but can't. 

In the run up to the 2016 Presidential Election,  the Republican Party is deep in the throws of their own Brokeback  (Anti-Gay)  romance,  In this case, it is a deep rooted need to embrace homophobia and anti-gay politics that the GOP, despite  many in the party wanting to , just can seem to quit.

In the aftermath of their 2012 election defeats,  the GOP did some very  real soul searching.   In the. "autopsy" report issued by the Republican National Committee,  it seemed for a brief few days that Republicans had achieved  some clarity as to why they lost.    The report argued that the GOP needed to be a "big tent" and the politics of running against specific groups of Americans.  (Latinos,  Blacks,  LGBT, and poor people, etc..),  was not a recipe for future electoral success.  Well that clarity lasted about a week.

Soon  the GOP was soon back to claiming it was poor people and illegal immigrants wanting "free stuff" that propelled Democrats to victory.  Along with a clear Liberal agenda to "destroy the family" by supporting  not just Marriage Equality,  but  any sort of LGBT Rights.    

As the last two years have seen massive shifts in both public attitudes and actual laws regarding LGBT rights.  The GOP has flirted  with letting go of its almost pathological need to oppose civil rights for Gays and Lesbians.  Yet each time such experiments with  enlightenment  were short lived, when  howls of protest from the far right invariably would send Republicans scurrying back to the homophobic fold.

Just as the issues of abortion and tax cuts for the wealthy were litmus tests for Republicans in the 80's and 90;s. The issue of how much do you hate  the Gays,  and  want take away health care from poor people,  are the new standards  for differentiating  "true conservatives" from RINO's. (Republicans in Name Only).     Polling data,  US Population demographics,  and constitutional law all clearly indicate running against the. "Homo-facist Agenda" (as the far right lights to call equal rights for. LGBT Americans)  to be a losing issue outside  of  right wing the Republican base.  Yet like Enis Del Mar to Jack Twist,  the GOP just can't help themselves. 

The latest twist on this trend (no pun intended) comes from 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful,  Dr Ben Carson.    A qualified neurosurgeon,  Carson was being interviewed on CNN when the subject of Gay rights came up.    Carson clearly reading his "tea party wants to hear this___",  talking points,  responded that "absolutely"  being Gay or Lesbian was a choice.  He went on to cite prisons as proof of this.  Claiming that some people enter prison straight, and then are Gay when they get out.  Posing the question of what "happened" to them while in prison as proof that Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle,  rather than a innate orientation.

Well when the reality based world responded with howls of laughter at what was either Carson's professed ignorance, or blind  loyalty to a talking point designed to pander to GOP primary voters,  Carson did the unexpected.     He effectively ended his Presidential campaign before it ever began, by doing the unthinkable.  He apologised.

By expressing just  a hint of moderation on the issue of  Gay Rights,  even  the suggestion he supports a more libertarian view that States should be free to make their own decisions on marriage equality,  Carson has ended what slight hope he might had of lasting even halfway through the 2016 GOP primary process.   The predictable outrage on the Tea-Bagging right over Carson's apology began this morning, right on cue.

The conventional wisdom on the American political right,  is that the RNC 2012 autopsy was flawed, and the real reason they lost was they were not conservative enough.  Consequently,  the 2016 Republican primary process will be a race to far right.  Most significantly  on social issues, Health Care  and  immigration.    The more pragmatic elements of the GOP are indeed hopeful that an expected  US Supreme Court ruling in June,  will settle the  same sex marriage  issue  for the country as a whole.  Yet that particular  hope is a false one.   

Just as Roe v. Wade did nothing to remove women's reproductive rights as litmus test (for both parties) in American politics.   A SCOTUS ruling granting nation wide marriage equality will only stoke the fires on the Tea-Party right to "take the country back",  and homophobia will remain a core addiction of the GOP, that try as some  Republicans might,  the Party  just can't seem to quit.

1 comment:

biki said...

Until the GOP refuses to be bullied into moving ever further right, the party will continue to be the party of the elderly and the extremely religious. And due to the fact that most democrats only seem to vote during presidential election cycles, we are going to be a push me-pull you country with the right in charge of congress and the democrats in charge of the white house.