Marc Ambinder on Rush and the GOP and gay marriage:
Rush Limbaugh calls these conservatives, particularly younger ones, “Manhattan bar scene conservatives.” (And honey, I’ve met some interesting Republicans at Manhattan gay bars, although I don’t think he and I mean the same thing.) On his show today, he had nothing original to say about the topic other than this: Freedom is not a license for hedonism. And darn it, younger conservatives had better realize it. That’s silly. But then Rush pointed this out:
The second thing is, homosexual marriage. If the party makes that something official that they support, they’re not gonna pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration. Now, whether they like it or not, the Republican Party’s base is sufficiently large that they cannot do without them. And their problem is they don’t like ‘em. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.
Rush is right. The GOP’s problem is that its primary and caucus voting base is older than its new ideological entrepreneurs. The young Turks need to take over the party. But it is hard to figure out how they’ll fashion a political coalition that allows for this until the old generation just dies off. The traditionalists still vote in the primaries and caucuses. Tea Partiers overlap more with libertarians on some issues than your generic non-Tea Party conservative might, but they’re still social conservatives. Some conservatives understand this more than others. CPAC is not representative of the GOP or its base. Wish it were! But it’s not.
First, that’s the best “And honey…” I’ve read in a long time.
But the important thing here is that no matter whether the GOP embraces gay marriage or not in the next couple of election cycles, its position will be a reactive one. They either reject a position being embraced by Democrats young and old (and by young Republicans), or they flip-flop and embrace it. In the first case they look like old farts (not that there’s anything wrong with that; unless you want to win national elections). And in the second case they appear unprincipled.
This is why the GOP should take a pro-active, liberty-enhancing stance like the one I outlined last week. The GOP needs to get out in front on something. Someday. Eventually. Yes?
Privatizing might not be the perfect place to start, but it would at least be something.