Saturday, June 03, 2006

Red Meat for Dumbo

It would have to be foreign news to report on such a story. The president in his weekly radio address spoke about gay marriage, calling for its ban in a Constitutional Amendment.

It is fitting for him to make such a plea—over the radio—since very little of the American public listen to his radio address. An amendment stands little chance of being passed but analysts say Republicans see the issue as a vote winner in November's mid-term polls. These analysts also say the president is seeking to switch the spotlight onto positive issues for his party in the wake of his slumping popularity - particularly over Iraq.

I question such strategy. If this “issue” is such a vote winner, then I wonder as to whom else besides social conservatives and card-carrying Republican’s, such a move will attract? Most poll-surveys of Americans list gasoline prices, wrapped in the dubious phrase of an energy crisis, immigration, health-care, social security and education as serious domestic issues. Add to this list the umbrella issue of national security and one can see where an amendment banning gay marriage ranks.

If, as it is said, that the spotlight is deliberately being switched to positive issues for the Republican party, I ask how is such a divisive and negative emotional issue, positive? And what are the other issues? Once, again, only social conservatives and rank-in-file Republicans, as of late, the two having blurred to the point that they exist as one cohesive group will only see this as a positive issue. This is not an issue that will attract moderates. This is not an issue that those undecided soldiers (if any ever existed) in a protracted culture war will finally see as reason to join the “right” side. The fact is that moderates have been marginalized into leaving the Republican Party. The few that remain are voiceless. The Log Cabin Republicans, the national gay and lesbian grass roots organization within the GOP have been ignored by the White House, the National Republican Committee, and blacklisted on most high-ranking Party lists.

Fiscal conservatives have seen the very principles that they and their forefathers subscribe to eradicate under Ronald Reagan and now particularly by George W. Bush.

So what can be the rationale, if any, of such a move? Is it just more red meat for the masses? Well, a segment of the masses will be appeased no doubt, and since those very citizens make up the majority of the Republican Party it is a tactical move, nothing more. What I mean to say is that such an issue helps only Republican candidates running in the fall elections. Making the announcement through the medium of his radio address, President Bush, was able to speak directly to his core supporters, thus circumventing any subversion and threat of backlash. A safe issue for social conservatives, a safe issue for the Party, and a safe choice for the president to be seen acting on.

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