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Perry and Bachmann Pave the Way for GOP Defeat in 2012

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With her recent signing of the religiously extreme Family Leader pledge and with his involvement in a huge upcoming prayer meeting sponsored by the hatemongering American Family Association, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have taken the lead among Republican candidates who are apparently determined to keep Obama in the White House for another 4 years.

At a time when their party has a potential easy win in 2012 by just focusing on jobs, the economy and governmental reform, Perry and Bachmann are taking the lead in focusing their campaigns on divisive social issues which are guaranteed to lose them the general election by a wide margin. With both of them polling in the top three, their poor decisions may hurt the party as a whole when it comes to winning in 2012.

What Bachmann’s pledge and Perry’s friends at the American Family Association have in common is a rabid hatred of homosexuality and a desire to make opposition to gay marriage the top agenda item for the Republican Party.  Perry and Bachmann have decided to play to a hardcore religious voter base who at most make up a quarter of the population, while at the same time alienating the independent voters they need to win over if they want to run a successful campaign for the presidency.  They aren’t alone in this.  Pawlenty and Santorum also pander to the religious right, but they are no longer significan players in this primary.

Right now marriage equality is at its highest level of popularity ever, with a series of recent polls suggesting a rapid trend towards higher acceptance. In fact, a projection indicates that by the time of the November election in 2012 the general voting population will likely favor gay marriage by a margin of 56% to 40%, creating a difficult situation for any candidate closely associated with anti-gay groups and beliefs.  In the latest CNN poll independents already support gay marriage at 55% and the general belief is that Republicans cannot win a national election without a substantial share of the independent voters.

Perhaps even more significant is the trend towards support for civil unions, which is a good indicator of how much of the population generally opposes an aggressive anti-gay agenda. Recent polls show that over 70% of the population supports civil unions or gay marriage, while even 63% of Republican voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples.  In that kind of environment making anti-gay activism a front burner issue in the presidential campaign seems extraordinarily unwise.

The problem with having two potential major contenders in the Republican primary field taking this positiojn in the primary is that it will be remembered by voters as a dominant party position when it comes to the general election and hurt whoever the eventual nominee is, or at least force them to deal with the issue, putting them in a difficult situation which is bound to hurt their election chances.  The fallout will ultimately be fewer votes for the Republican candidates in November of 2012.

You can try to dismiss this as primary season pandering designed to get hardcore religious right voters on board to win nomination, but the truth is that the connections between both Bachmann and Perry and anti-gay groups and activities go back for years.  Bachmann’s husband makes his living running a “clinic” which basically tries to pray the gay out of people and Perry has been in bed with Eagle Forum and other extreme anti-gay groups since he was elected Governor, carrying on a personal crusade to “purify” the boy scouts and recriminalize sodomy in Texas.

Make no mistake, the issue here is not religion or faith or their role in our personal lives. The issue is bigotry. The American Family Association spends most of its time boycotting companies for offering same-sex couples health benefits or attacking media companies for showing alternatie lifestyles in a positive light. Similarly, the defining characteristic of the pledge signed by Bachmann is that more time is spent in it condemning homosexuality than addressing any other issue.

Catering to religious extremists is so obviously unwise in this kind of a campaign year that it clearly represents the personal beliefs of these candidates, because their advisers have to be telling them what a bad idea this is.  Other candidates seem to understand this.  Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were both openly critical of the Family Leader pledge and went beyond just not signing it to condemning the content and the idea of it. None of the other candidates have joined Perry in supporting the American Family Association’s bizarre event in Houston.

For the good of the nation the Republican Party needs to win the White House in 2012.  It ought to be easy to do by just running on restoring the economy and getting government off peoples backs.  But if the leading candidates go down a bizarre religious side road it may be time to look for wiser candidates who will run  on more relevant issues and not throw the election away on an unpopular personal crusade.

 

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    It always troubles me when I find myself agreeing with you, Dave. When you state, “The issue is bigotry,” and connect it to these candidates seeking the presidency, I find your argument impressive. It also answers a question being begged about the GOP national platform: is the party as politically ill-defined as it appears? I thought that the RNC getting a replacement for Michael Steele and eschewing Sarah Palin maverickiness would have helped, but it hasn’t.

    As to “restoring the economy and getting government off peoples (sic) backs,” there are questions as well. If the restore point is when the Bush Administration came into office, that is a winner. Government on people’s backs is a dud because government isn’t, bureaucracies are in the way. That being said, however, your analysis is right on.

    Tommy

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful


    In the latest CNN poll independents already support gay marriage at 55% and the general belief is that Republicans cannot win a national election without a substantial share of the independent voters.”

    True, Dave, but set against that is the unlikelihood that many independent voters will decide which candidate to support based just on that one issue.

    I think that Bachmann and Perry are motivated largely by religion but are also basing their campaigns on a misreading of the public mood based on the opinions of those they surround themselves and associate with, rather than on an assessment of the general public mood.

    Which is an error you’re frequently guilty of yourself, Dave, by the way.

  • http://www.dailyplunge.com mdhenshaw

    You might want to stick to designing fonts because this article is nonsense. Gay rights isn’t going to be a major issue in the 2012 election. President Obama is already on record saying he opposes gay marriage. Where else is there to go on this issue?

    The left might obsess over the GOP nominee’s religious views, but the campaign is going to be about the economy. If Perry is nominated he’s not going to run a Pat Robertson campaign, but if you get your news from MSNBC you might believe it.

    Connecting politicians to groups isn’t easy. President Obama went to a crazy church for 20 years and no one cared. Perry’s loose connections “anti-gay” groups is far less strong that Obama’s relationship with Wright.

    If you really think Perry is going base his campaign on this one issue you’re living in denial.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Remember that Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee won the Iowa GOP caucuses in 1988 and 2008 by motivating evangelical voters. Robertson [like Bachmann] was never a likely nominee, but Perry [like Huckabee] could be. However, it’s not hard to imagine those attack ads that would inevitably come from the Democratic National Committee.

    [Some very knowledgeable pundits think Perry won’t actually run anyway.]

    But while I, like Tommy, uncomfortably agree with much in Dave’s article, I believe Dave is still in some denial about how much of the GOP base, including Tea Party supporters, are just as, or nearly as, extreme as Bachmann and Perry on abortion, gay rights and other social issues. True libertarians like Dave are still the exception among conservative/GOP voters, not the rule.

    Even if Romney or Huntsman or Pawlenty is the nominee, these social issues will be part of the platform and part of the campaign. Pawlenty in particular, also an evangelical, will follow the harsh AFA line on abortion and gay rights — he just won’t deliver it as loudly and shrilly as Bachmann and Perry.

  • Baronius

    The Republican nominee will talk about abortion three times during the race, gay marriage once. If he becomes president, 50% of his judicial nominations will be strict constructionists, and he’ll do nothing about gay rights.

    The Democratic nominee will talk about “women’s issues” in every stump speech, and will sometimes say that the Republican nominee is “anti-science”. He’ll never talk about gay marriage. If he is elected, he’ll promote abortion and gay marriage.

  • http://www.thewashingtoncurrent.com Scott Nance

    Dave,

    The funny thing is we are so in agreement on this that *I* could have written this piece. Of course, at the end of the day, I’m a Democrat so I’ll actually be rooting for Bachmann to get the nomination because she can be so easily beaten in the general.

    That said, Dave, my honest question to you is this: Why do you think they are pursuing such losing anti-gay agendas? Especially Bachmann, who could have pivoted more in favor of a fiscal tea-party campaign?

    She’s crazy but she’s not stupid, after all.

    Good piece, Dave.

  • zingzing

    scott, i think that they aren’t really “pursuing such losing anti-gay agendas” so much as they are trying to win iowa. they’re convinced they have to sign that pledge in order to get its author’s endorsement. they’re right. because that’s what he said it would take. apparently, the guy rules republican iowa with a milk-fed corn fist or something.

  • zingzing

    milk-fed corn fist is incredibly sexual now that i look at it.

  • Baronius

    I don’t think either of them are positioning themselves on the issue. It’s who they’ve been.

    BTW, why are social liberals surprised that a social liberal wrote an article they agree with?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    While I more or less agree with Dave regarding the core of his article, there are two lines that I obviously take exception to:

    “At a time when their party has a potential easy win in 2012 by just focusing on jobs…”

    and:

    “For the good of the nation the Republican Party needs to win the White House in 2012.”

    As to the first line, I don’t believe that to be a given at all. First, it is always difficult to unseat an incumbant. Second, Obama is actually holding his own in various polls. Some better than others, but one must believe that the economy will likely improve over the next several months, which will doubtless increase those poll #s in favor of Obama.

    Third, the notion that big #s of Independents who voted for Obama in 2008 will swing to the Reps is also hardly a foregone conclusion. The fact that Republicans across the country have jumped with both feet into the abyss of social legislation including anti-gay issues and beyond, union busting, and complicated, even draconian voter restrictions, none of which has played well with their constituents.

    While many voters may be somewhat disillusioned with Obama’s performance on many fronts during the 2+ years of his term, most will not easily opt for any Republican. And frankly, there is no one on the horizon amongst either declared or undeclared candidates who a significant cross section of Reps can get excited about. Actually, Bachmann and Palin are the only ones who excite anyone. Huntsman is perhaps the most capable and intelligent of the bunch, and who could perhaps provide a significant challenge to Obama, it is highly unlikely that he will get the nomination. A lot of people believe that NJ’s Governor Christy could unseat Obama, but he, like Perry in Texas, is very unpopular in his state and remains adamant about not running.

    As to Dave’s second statement: There are at least about 50% of the voting public who would disagree with it, obviously, including me. I feel that if Reps gain the WH in 2012, and the Senate as well, the entire country will be sold down the toilet at the behest of the Koch brothers and others of their ilk. The middle class is disappearing from this country. Ultimately, if the Reps and their leaders get their way, there will only be the very rich and the very poor. How long after will come our “Bastille Day?”

    B

  • cainandtoddbenson

    “Uncle Obama” is still going to need some help. My thoughts are better expressed visually in a digital piece of art I did.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “I don’t think either of them are positioning themselves on the issue. It’s who they’ve been.”

    well, they’re certainly letting it dominate the headlines about their campaigns, and that may not be the brightest move they could make. winning this primary is obviously the first goal (and this might help in that), but it may come back to bite them in the ass come the national election. obviously, i hope it does. no nation should have a bigot at the helm.

    “BTW, why are social liberals surprised that a social liberal wrote an article they agree with?”

    it’s a side of dave that has been infrequent lately, and it’s a side of dave’s politics that doesn’t seem to influence his voting that much (at least when it comes down to reps vs dems).

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That said, Dave, my honest question to you is this: Why do you think they are pursuing such losing anti-gay agendas? Especially Bachmann, who could have pivoted more in favor of a fiscal tea-party campaign?

    I assume that both are operating in the belief that once they get past the social conservatives in Iowa they can start to talk more reasonably and people will forget. They may be at least partially correct, but it’s not the safe bet it once was.

    it’s a side of dave that has been infrequent lately, and it’s a side of dave’s politics that doesn’t seem to influence his voting that much (at least when it comes down to reps vs dems).

    Without economic liberty there really can’t be social liberty, so one has to vote accordingly.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    well dave, one person’s “economic liberty” is another person’s “my kid’s school just got its funding cut in half and i just lost my union job and now i’ve got no health insurance and my wife’s preggers again and they’re trying to shut down her best option for cheap prenatal care, etc, etc, etc…”

    but i don’t really see how one dictates the other. as an example (i know you’re all for gay rights), but nations of many diverse economic systems have better gay rights than we do, and how much does their economic system matter to that? not much.

    it’s not that economic liberty must proceed social liberty, as you put it, but that economic issues trump social issues in your voting. that’s fine. a person can vote for any reason he or she wants to. but just because one thing trumps another in your book doesn’t mean one thing must happen before the other.

    we could very easily be more socially accepting and more economically socialistic. many nations are already. so don’t try and pull that. you knowingly retard social progress in order to pad your wallet. one could call it self-reliance. one could call it greed. one could call it “individual labor got me here.” one could call it “not giving a shit about the society that allowed you to prosper.”

    every time you vote for a republican, know that you will harm someone’s right to be who they want to be. every time i vote for a dem, i know that a rich person will grow richer at a slightly slower rate. i’m sure you could put it another way.

  • Clavos

    As to the first line, I don’t believe that to be a given at all.

    Dave didn’t say it was; in fact, the word he used was “potential.”

    but one must believe that the economy will likely improve over the next several months, which will doubtless increase those poll #s in favor of Obama.

    Given that the economy is still slipping, and jobs are still disappearing faster than they’re recovering, it doesn’t seem likely. The peak of the election season will be next summer– barely a year from now, and the economy is still going down,not up; to say that it “likely will improve” and that that “will doubtless increase those poll #s in favor of Obama,” falls into the realm of wishful thinking in light of the present situation, both as to the condition of the economy, which is showing increasing signs of an approaching double dip, and as to Obama’s abysmal poll numbers, which continue their slide under the impetus of the faltering economy.

    I do agree with you, however, as to the lackluster field of GOP candidates — they are an unimpressive lot, including Huntsman, IMO.

    I don’t think as many as 50% of likely voters would disagree with Dave’s second statement. Obama has so mishandled both the economy and our foreign relations, that he has poisoned the well not only for himself, but for the Democratic party.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Do you honestly believe that if we were enduring a John McCain [or Hillary Clinton, or even/especially Ron Paul] presidency right now, the economy would be mended [or on the mend]?

    If so, you give presidents too much credit for having magical economic powers.

  • zingzing

    what is the international opinion of obama? beyond libya, and maybe his slow retreat from iraq and afghanistan, i’m not sure that that’s the route you should go, clavos. we’ve certainly not pulled anything as stupid as attacking iraq or torturing people left and right (well, hopefully). i guess the chinese gov’t got pissed about him meeting with the dalai lama, but fuck them on that count. he may have fucked up in conservative eyes, but i wonder where he’s fucked up in international eyes. your opinion of his foreign policy doesn’t really matter. it’s non-american opinions that matter.

    as for the economy, the gov’t can certainly play a role in fucking it up, but can it fix it on its own? i think that’s up to us to a large degree.

    do you even think the gov’t can fix the economy? i doubt it. they only have gov’t tools, which are only somewhat effective. and you don’t even want them to use those. it’s no wonder the gov’t hasn’t produced results when your side ties its hands behind its back. then you blame it for not fixing the problem. yay, conservative logic…

  • OBRon

    Um, Dave?

    I am an independent, non-Christian who could care less about gay marriage. This is about Big Government & the economy, Dave.

    Until 2010, I had not voted since 1972. I will vote in 2012 again, Dave. And I will crawl on my hands and knees to vote for a squirrel before I would vote for Obama.

    If you think that being an independent means one is moderate across all values, think again. I may not care about gay marriage, legalizing pot, and I may want us out of all foreign military adventures, but the ONE reason I will be voting has NOTHING to do with any of those issues.

    I will vote for ANYONE who supports cutting Big Government (and its Big Labor/Big Bank cronies) down to size.

    Rick Perry sounds great to me. Herman Cain sounds great, too. And I would gladly support either Bachmann or Palin, and even Romney.

    ABO: A-n-y-o-n-e But Obama.

    Write it down, Dave. Obama goes down in 2012 – whoever the opponent is.

    Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    OBRon, if you really wanted to cut big government you would have listed Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, not the party hacks you apparently prefer.

    Zing: every time you vote for a republican, know that you will harm someone’s right to be who they want to be. every time i vote for a dem, i know that a rich person will grow richer at a slightly slower rate. i’m sure you could put it another way.

    Most people want to be able to enjoy life and that requires less government interference in their lives and having some money to spend. These things are more important than some of the social issues because they effect everyone, not just some people. If gay folks are deprived of the right to marry that sucks and it is wrong, but it still only effects that particular group. When the nation is overtaxed and jobs are put at risk by foolish economic policies that effects everyone gay and straight. It even puts their marriages in jeopardy.

    So yes, fixing the economy and protecting people from the monopolies and exploitative programs the Democrats promote is the first priority. Everyone is equally entitled to a life worth living, and that has to come first.

    Dave

  • Jordan Richardson

    I will vote for ANYONE who supports cutting Big Government (and its Big Labor/Big Bank cronies) down to size.

    So…..nobody?

  • Baronius

    “well, they’re certainly letting it dominate the headlines about their campaigns, and that may not be the brightest move they could make.”

    I don’t think it is dominating the headlines about the Perry campaign. First of all, there’s no campaign; second of all, there are no headlines. OK, there’s some will-he-won’t-he, but not much more than that. Commentary from social liberals has focused on gay marriage for both campaigns, but not elsewhere as far as I know.

    It’s the same thing that’s happened with Santorum. NOBODY on the conservative side, or in the Republican Party, was talking about him, but there was a flood of articles wondering what his campaign meant for the future of the conservative movement / Republican Party.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    The AFA’s big prayer hootenanny may or may not have much to do with presidential politics, but when you look at the list of speakers/participants and see how wacky/extremist many of them are, it’s surprising for any public figure, and certainly for a governor and potential presidential candidate, to choose to be a very visible attendee and speaker.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “I don’t think it is dominating the headlines about the Perry campaign.”

    that’s true. because of what you said. i was mostly talking about bachmann. she’s a true nutter.

    dave: “Most people want to be able to enjoy life and that requires less government interference in their lives and having some money to spend. These things are more important than some of the social issues because they effect everyone, not just some people.”

    that may be true. and that may be why you vote for those things above others. but don’t pretend that your tax return must be to your liking before we can even hope to address gay rights and the like. you gave me one sentence to work with (in #13), and that sentence was wrong, if stated as fact. as your opinion, or a description of why you vote the way you do, it’s fine. but it’s not a fact. (even if that is taking into consideration that i don’t agree with you that the dems would really want to restrict your “economic liberty” in any real way… just in ways you don’t personally like. but i don’t care about that when i vote.)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    The Libertarian Right is pretty much all about an unfettered journey toward accumulating and maintaining wealth. Wealth is NOT necessary to a good life. Prosperity does NOT necessarily mean having 7 or 8 figure yearly incomes and multiple lavish homes scattered about the world. It does not even mean having all the latest toys.

    At a basic level “prosperity” should mean that the great majority of, if not all, people live in a safe, healthy environment; that they have an adequate roof over their heads and decent food on their table. It should mean that they have the opportunity to receive an education equal to that of anyone else. It should mean that we all are afforded the opportunity to live full, healthy lives with whom we choose, unfettered by someone else’s idea of morality.

    That Dave and others would forego all that simply for the sake of being able to make a ton of money is mindless.

    B

  • Maurice

    Great article, Dave. The issue of the economy and jobs in particular should be hammered over and over.

    It’s the economy, stupid, James Carville

  • Arch Conservative

    I DON’T LIKE NECONS!!!!!!!!

    Perry is another New World Order, war mongering, globalist freak just like the other stooge from Texas before him.

    Bachmann, while not a neocon, has a bible stuck up her ass and I can’t abide that either.

    “Gay rights isn’t going to be a major issue in the 2012 election.”

    You’re damn right it’s not. Not when we’re adding trillions to the debt like it was candy and unemployment is over 9%.

    In the end if the GOP beats Obama it will most likely be with one of those aforementioned neocon freaks, put in office by the same delusional jackasses that saw enough of a glimmer of sanity in McCain in 2008 to vote for him.

    If anything I will be able to find consolation in watching that narcissistic douchebag known as “the one we have been waiting for” suffer greatly as a fatal blow is dealt to that most perplexing and ridiculous ego.

    On a side note I did see a poll that had Ron Paul in a dead heat with Barry Sotero in the general but I’m sure American stupidity, ignorance and apathy will prevail as it always does.

    You suck. I hate you all!

  • Clavos

    Maurice, good to hear your voice on these pages again; hope you’ll hang around for a while.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I second for the man from Savannah.

  • Maurice

    It is good to be back. I got laid off from Micron. After 16 years of working in R&D I was shown the door. I collected 4 unemployment checks and then decided I needed to get out of the house. I started a handyman business with my brother in law. Did that for a year and a half and then got hired back at Micron as a design engineer again. What a ride this life is!