I thought Scott Walker was a pretty cool guy when I saw him pull up on a Harley at Joni Ernst’s Roast & Ride a few weeks ago in Boone, Iowa. But he just did something that wasn’t so cool in reacting to the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage — that is if you care about the Republicans winning the 2016 general election. Walker called for a Constitutional amendment to let states define marriage.
Now I’m sure the Wisconsin governor has strong feelings about traditional marriage and, although I’m on the other side on this one, I completely respect his views, as I do everybody’s religious beliefs… well, just about everybody’s. I don’t respect the beliefs of those who were prowling the beaches of Tunisia yesterday…. The problem is Walker’s beliefs on this issue — and the Constitutionality of the Supreme Court decision — are now running counter to a solid, and clearly growing, number of Americans by a considerable amount (63% in a recent poll say gays have a Constitutional right to marry, up from 49% in 2010).
Calling for such a Constitutional amendment, long shot though it certainly is, might help him gin up support in the Republican primary, even possibly win it for him in a crowded field, but it would be a disaster in the general. It would be like handing the enemy an ax and telling him (or most likely her) to go for it. You’re a bigot, you’re a sexist, you’re a homophobe, just like we always knew all Republicans were, blablabla. Sure it’s lie, but what else is new?
Not only that, it would damage the playing field for all the Republican candidates because Walker has now opened the door as never before on the gay marriage issue in the debates. Forget Iran and its nukes, forget the ISIS beheadings, forget border security, forget the moribund economy and stratospheric deficit, forget a catastrophic educational system… if the Democrats and their media buddies have anything to say about it, it will be Gay Marriage All The Time. It’s their favorite issue because it’s the only one they can really win on with the public. Now they’re going to make all the Republican candidates say whether they’re in favor of a Constitutional amendment that will never happen. It’s this year’s condom question — but much more potent and not so easy to dismiss with the wave of a hand.
The truth is the Supreme Court did the Republicans a favor by taking gay marriage off the table. (Before you go crazy, I’m talking purely strategy here, not the legal fine points.) Walker has put it back on. I hope he did it for moral or “Constitutional” reasons, rather than competitive ones, because I wouldn’t like to think he is grandstanding here. This election is too important. Take another look at that “beaches of Tunisia” link if, for some reason, you’re wondering why. Or maybe this article on the most self-destructive agreement in the history of our country that is about to be signed. You don’t have to know the rules of bridge to know that nuclear war trumps gay marriage any time. In fact, it trumps just about everything. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.