At the national level there is a smoldering civil war going on within the GOP between the Christofascist/Tea Party element (which is basically a single group) and the Wall Street and big business element which views the Christofascists/Tea Party with much deserved scorn and sees it as a force driving the GOP to a permanent minority party status within a generation or less. The Virginia GOP to date has been less divided and much more inclined to slavishly follow the dictates of the hate merchants and theocrats at The Family Foundation and its equally heinous smaller affiliates within the state. There are signs that this may be changing, especially now that Virginia's urban areas cannot vote the knuckle dragging, spittle flecked rural areas where the Christofascists/Tea Party have the most power. What The Family Foundation wants and demands is simply becoming more and more toxic to urban voters and the business community. This was exemplified in last November's election when the Republican mayor of Virginia Beach and many business leaders switched and backed Terry McAuliffe. A piece in Blue Virginia looks at the splintering elements in the Virginia GOP. Here are excerpts:
[H]ere in Virginia, we may now be seeing a Republican schism, if not a splintering, over a key "social issue" - namely, gay marriage (and LGBT equality, more broadly). What brought this to the surface in recent days was Attorney General Mark Herring's announcement that Virginia would no longer defend the anti-gay-marriage ("Marshall-Newman") amendment in court. On the Democratic side, this announcement was greeted overwhelmingly with praise and celebration. . . . On the Republican side, though, the reaction has been all over the place, from foaming-at-the-mouth rage to pro-forma condemnation to "meh" to actual support for what Mark Herring did. A few examples.
1. Foaming-at-the-Mouth Rage: Predictably, raging homophobe and theocrat Del. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall went NUTS, talking about "a Pearl Harbor attack on the people of Virginia" and ranting that "the advocates for this are the gay, lesbian, BISEXUAL and transgendered...well the bisexuals have to have at least one of each to be satisfied." Marshall was joined by 30 fellow GOP delegates in condemning what Mark Herring said (although interestingly, there are 36 other GOP delegates who did NOT join "Sideshow Bob"). In addition, "Sideshow Bob" was joined by the even-more-extreme-if-that's-humanly-possible Sen. Dick Black, who ranted, "I don't know what the difference between a dictatorship and this is." Finally, Marshall and Black were joined by...let's just say, some of the more excitable, less moderate voices in the Virginia right-wing blogosphere, . . .
2. Pro-Forma Condemnation: I'd put Mark Obenshain in this category, along with RPV Chair Pat Mullins, both of whom basically stomped their feet a bit, talked about how they were "disappointed" at Herring's announcement, about how it has "the potential to deprive Virginians on both sides of this important issue of the legal scrutiny the matter clearly merits," blah blah blah. . . . politically, they had to throw SOME red meat to their far-right-wing, theocratic base. And they did...sort of.
3. "Meh": In this category, I'd put the 36 GOP delegates who did NOT sign "Sideshow Bob" Marshall's letter, along with mainstream Republicans like Brian Schoeneman (who basically argued that Herring was within his rights to do this, whatever one thinks about the issue being debated) and Bill Bolling (who stayed out of it completely, as far as I can determine). Note that you also didn't hear anything on this from the Chambers of Commerce, the NOVA Technology Council folks, and other non-theocratic, pro-business Republicans.
4. Outright Support for What Herring Did: Here, we've got conservative and libertarian-inclined bloggers like Mason Conservative, who explained why "Mark Herring Is Right," and how he's even "glad Herring is forcing us to deal with this." Wow - actual sanity and reason from the right! :) In this same category, we've also got Republican blogger D.J. McGuire, who argued strongly that "Mark Herring was well within his mandate to do what he did, that Herring clearly "has an obligation to both the Federal and the state constitutions," and that on the merits, "adjusting and expanding marriage (for that is what same-sex-marriage advocates wish) would be beneficial."
Let's just hope that this continues, that the GOP jettisons its theocrats, bigots, and other extremists, and that the once-great Party of Lincoln (and Eisenhower, etc.) recovers its past sanity.
The Christofascists need to become both political and social outcasts who respectable politicians and decent people give wide berth to and avoid whenever and wherever possible.