Is the clout of social conservatives collapsing? The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi attended Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition ‘Road to Majority’ Conference and Thursday’s the March for Marriage — saw signs that the all the usual words and political riffs may be there, but there’s a feeling that the wind is going out of the movement.
On Reed’s demonizationathon:
The event brought none of the electricity of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington’s premier right-of-center confab. But, perhaps that’s not much of a surprise at all, considering that unlike CPAC—which markets itself to conservatives of all different varieties—the Faith and Freedom Coalition markets itself only to extreme social conservatives.
And on the March, which is meant to celebrate the bond between a woman and a man. No other marriage incarnations need apply:
Not only was it sparsely attended (compared to the expected turnout of tens of thousands); it was also just sort of sad. The general mood in the crowd seemed less excited about the future of the movement than it did confused, angry, and hateful about what they were fighting. As J. Bryan Lowder at Slate described it: four of the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, and depression—were on full display today at the March for Marriage…” Attendees screamed at bystanders, and offered up bad science about gay sex—all in all, the event was not exactly welcoming to prospective members of the ‘traditional marriage’ movement.
Maybe Republican celebrities addressing half-empty ballrooms and a thin crowd of angry protesters scaring off observers is [what] it looks like when you’re losing the battles and you’re losing the war.
Not just that: but the sad fact about today’s Republican Party — which Barry Goldwater conservatives and the detested, hunted and largely exterminated RINOS (moderate Republicans who were once respected within a party that now seems to be fleeing Teddy Roosevelt more than anyone else) — is that it’s all about a)opposing, b)halting, c)hating, d)marginaling. The once basic tenet of politics that you passionately advocated and outlined YOUR policies is a thing of the past to many in today’s Republican Party. MORE:
Same sex marriage is legal in 19 states and in the District of Columbia. This year, states like Pennsylvania and Oregon have seen judges throw out their bans.
And public opinion polls are even worse for ‘traditional marriage’ supporters. According to Pew Research Polling, in “just five years, the percentage of adults who say they oppose same-sex marriage has fallen from a majority (54%) to a minority. Today, roughly four-in-ten Americans (39%) say they oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed.”
This has made some social conservatives rather, um, dyspeptic. A few readers of my report on Thursday’s March for Marriage seemed to think that I was being unfair to attendees. One lovely, presumably God-loving, reader emailed me to say, “I tried to think of the right word to describe you. The ‘C’ word came to mind. Yes, I believe you to fit the definition of a cunt.” (To which the obvious retort was: the Christ-like thing to do would be to forgive me).
Well, Ms. Nuzzi, let me share you a few things that I’ve been told in emails from readers of TMV, my contributions to The Week, and my weekly nationally syndicated Cagle column:
–-“Your liberal Jewish mother should have known better.” (My 93 year old mother is apolitical and in later years usually voted however my father voted — which more often than not was Republican).
—TMV is a right wing site masking as a moderate site because it runs a Newsmax widget and this reader (who I learned writes a decided left diary on a liberal website) will never e-v-e-r visit again. FYI, you can see the same widget on this excellent liberal site, this excellent political news site and this superb centrist site written by a skillful blogger who cross posts here at time. But when TMV runs it, it’s not moderate, it’s right wing. (We STILL have not recovered from his loss but we now pass on reading his diaries, particularly because his email was passing himself off as a moderate which he isn’t).
—“You’re part of Jewish World Domination.” (I admittedly do have to finish this post ASAP to give the New York Times, Hot Air, Fox News, Hollywood Studios, and Chinese restaurants everywhere my orders. Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jeb Bush better start doing a better job of reading the speeches I write for them. My order for the restaurant will be hot sour soup and sweet and sour chicken.)
—“Go back to Africa.” (I’m not black.)
People haven’t used the c-word on me but, hey, 2014 is still young.
But the reason why my report made it seem like every person I encountered at the March for Marriage was hateful, uninformed, and just generally very, very, sad, is because that was who attended the event.
Organizers of the march say that it is a march for traditional marriage, not against same-sex marriage—and that very well could have been the intention. However, it seems that the only people interested in exerting energy to support such a cause are the very people who will walk up to you and, before asking your name or where you’re from, tell you that anal and oral sex reduce the lifespans of gay men by 25 years. (Yes, that really happened.)
But they know the enemy: those who think differently.
Yet they don’t know their biggest political enemy — which they can see by looking here.
building photo via shutterstock.com
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.