Monday, October 06, 2008

Inventing Liberals

Perhaps because liberals generally hold fairly reasonable positions (with which the majority agrees when not cowed by fear-mongering and distortion from the right), and probably because Republicans can never find enough enemies to satiate the appetite of their political maw, nor allies for that matter, they have invented the "anti-gay liberal." This takes "creating our own reality" into new and unexplored territory. The Republicans' "own reality" is now populated not only by satanic gay communist Muslims who hate America, but also liberals who look and sound just like rightwing conservatives. I suppose this was finally needed in that alternate reality so that a specious position could come with the endorsement of someone ostensibly endowed with common sense. Salon:
"I'm a liberal Democrat." So began a widely circulated opinion piece by David Blankenhorn appearing in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 19 in support of Proposition 8, an initiative on California's November 4 ballot that would eliminate the marriage rights of same-sex couples recently recognized by the California Supreme Court. The piece is entitled "Protecting Marriage to Protect Children." Blankenhorn's theme is: "It's perfectly natural to be a liberal Democrat but against gay marriage, because I am." Thus, he stakes the credibility of his position -- that marriage by same-sex couples is bad for children -- on his purported status as a "liberal Democrat."

Conservatives applauded Blankenhorn vigorously. A press release sent out Sept. 22 from Christian News Wire emphasized, "What is noteworthy is the source: the author of the Op-Ed piece is a Liberal Democrat, which underscores the broad support for Proposition 8 in order to protect marriage for society, our institutions, and for children in California." Gushed one blogger: "Frankly it's astonishing that a liberal could hold the kind of morality, honesty and insight displayed in this article and still call himself a liberal, but okay....

During the 15 years preceding 2006, IAV received nearly $4.5 million in funding from a coterie of ultra-conservative Republican foundations, including the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundation, and the Randolph Foundation. These foundations supply funds for a network of right-wing Republican think tanks that promote a variety of causes such as the elimination of gay marriage, abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research; prayer in public schools; creationism and deregulatory free-market economics...

The appearance of Blankenhorn's op-ed in the peak of campaign season (it also ran in the San Jose Mercury News on Monday) plays into a larger Republican strategy. In recent election cycles, Republicans have used anti-gay marriage ballot measures nationwide as a wedge issue and to rally their conservative base voters to the polls. Eleven states put anti-gay marriage propositions on the ballot during the 2004 presidential election; this year, in addition to California, there are propositions up for a vote in Florida and Arizona. While gay marriage may be less of a wedge issue this campaign season, John McCain arguably needs all the help he can get -- including Blankenhorn's -- to rally a conservative Republican base known to dislike him.

1 comment:

MT said...

Biggotry, It's What's For Dinner.

Of course, given the existence of Log Cabin Republicans, there's probably a grain of (ugly) truth to the campaign