In 2004 the foul Karl Rove and Chimperator George W. Bush used anti-gay animus to turn out conservative voters to reelected Bush's worthless ass and plunge the nation into another four years of misrule. Now, a mere ten years later, outside of the swamp fever ridden Christofacist/Tea Party base of the GOP, anti-gay propaganda plays less well. In fact, the issue of gay marriage now favors Democrats and Republicans increasingly find their anti-gay message of hate finding less and less favor. The challenge for the Republicans over the long will be finding a way to silence the Christofascists who refuse to see the reality that they are on the wrong side of history and that a majority of American now view them as toxic. A piece at NBC News 29 looks at this about turn. Here are highlights:
It wasn't all that long ago that Republicans used gay marriage as a tool to drive Election Day turnout. But as public opinion on the issue has turned and courts strike down same-sex marriage bans, gay rights is evolving into a wedge issue for Democrats to wield.
Consider Pennsylvania, where Democrats have lambasted Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for comparing gay marriage to incest. Facing a tough re-election campaign, Corbett decided this week not to appeal a federal court ruling striking down the state's ban of gay marriage.
Or Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is hitting his Republican challenger for casting votes that denied gay people protection from discrimination. In Arizona, Democrats plan to hammer Republican legislators who passed a law allowing businesses to refuse to serve gays for religious reasons.
"We're just beginning to see this, and we will see a lot more in the midterms," said Richard Socarides, an activist who was President Bill Clinton's adviser on gay rights. "It will be an incredible shift by the time we get to the (presidential) election in 2016."
Republican activists put anti-gay marriage initiatives on the ballot in 11 states in 2004, helping President George W. Bush win re-election with the support of conservative religious voters motivated to turn out to support the bans.
Connie Mackey, head of the conservative Family Research Council's Political Action Committee, said that's still a solid strategy. Voters still oppose gay marriage, she argued, and Republicans should not let themselves get faked out by overconfident Democrats.
"The people in the states think one way and the establishment and the courts are showing a different face," Mackey said.
But gay marriage, supported by less than one-third of Americans in 2004, is now supported by a solid majority in recent polls, with approval highest among younger voters. Some Republicans believe that mounting public support represents a danger to their party, and they are scrambling to prevent Democrats from using the issue of gay rights in the same way some in their own party did for years.
"They want to bait Republicans into talking about the issue in a way that ties them to a negative, national Republican brand," said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who hasn't taken a position on gay marriage. "They need to stir up their base and create outrage."
"This is something that really drives a wedge through their party and motivates turnout in ours, and it's the right thing to do," said D.J. Quinlan, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party.
"A lot of these moderate, independent voters want people who are not haters," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist and chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
Seeking re-election this year against GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, Udall has highlighted his opponent's support as a state lawmaker for laws barring adoption by gay parents and opposition to adding protections for gay people to nondiscrimination clauses. "This is a key difference between Rep. Gardner and me," Udall said in an interview.
I have always viewed the Christofascists to be a threat to the GOP even as far back as 20 years ago. They are untethered from reality and have a mindset akin to their fellow religious extremists in the Taliban. Thankfully, more and more Americans are rejecting their message of hate and fear and seeing them for the selfish, unkind, hypocritical people that they are. I for one hope the trend accelerates and forces the GOP to jettison them entirely.