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Posted at 5:04 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Gay rights no longer hot button issue for GOP?

By Greg Sargent

This response from John Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, to the Obama administration's announcement on the Defense of Marriage Act is a telling one:

"While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation."

Obviously, the House GOP's drive to roll back reproductive rights also constitutes the stirring up of "a controversial that sharply divides the nation." But that aside, what's interesting here is that this statement is really quite muted and restrained -- it focuses solely on jobs and spending, with nothing about the gay marriage issue -- when you compare it to the zeal House Republicans have shown on abortion. As John Aravosis notes today, Boeher is "criticizing Obama on jobs rather than criticizing Obama for loving the homos."

It's another sign that while the culture wars have reasserted themselves with a vengeance in the GOP's anti-abortion push, gay rights issues have lost virtually all their potency and bite. As many have observed already, the generational divide within the GOP is asserting itself on gay rights in a way that it simply hasn't on abortion. It'll be very interesting to see if any real support emerges from GOP leaders for the scattered calls we'll be hearing among conservatives to defund the repeal of don't ask don't tell. My bet is there won't be any to speak of -- another sign that on this issue at least, things are moving in the right direction.

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, gay rights  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

...the job killing repeal of DOMA...

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

He should be attacking Obama for talking about evolution.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I dunno...I think Boehner is about to find out how hot an issue this is for the GOPee.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"Gay rights no longer hot button issue for GOP?"

Can we thank the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud? Perhaps the GOP will win back some of the libertarians they've recently lost?

Posted by: sbj3 | February 23, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 ""Gay rights no longer hot button issue for GOP?"

Can we thank the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud? Perhaps the GOP will win back some of the libertarians they've recently lost?"

It's more a function of demographics and old people dying off. I'm interested to see how much racism dies off with the last of the baby boomers.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 23, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

...American officials avoid condemning Qaddafi by name...

This is a deal, no doubt about it. Don't know the parties and I don't know the terms, but it seems to be working.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Not defending DOMA frees up DOJ attorneys to pursue other matters, and thus saves the government money. Someone needs to ask Boehner why he has a problem with this. To the extent the less rationale members of his caucus want Congress to defend DOMA now, he should also be asked how taking time from the Congressional calendar to work it out is consistent with the supposed mandate they received in November.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 23, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to Mr Sargent to get this wrong.

The quote Mr Sargent shares simply criticizes Obama for his timing. I'm not reading anything in it that takes gay marriage off the table as an issue.

Let's think about Obama's recent messaging. This is from September, 2010:
"We also hoped for a chance to get beyond some of the old political divides – between Democrats and Republicans, Red states and Blue states – that had prevented us from making progress. Because although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans – and we believed that no single party has a monopoly on wisdom."

Boehner is chiding Obama, and rightly so, for bringing up a divisive issue in the middle of an already contentious debate about things that may actually matter more.

This seems to me to be one of three things:
(1) Obama seeks to change the subject and divert attention away from the debacle that is WI. The Republican majority in that state is a direct result of his shellacking.

(2) Obama hopes to make this move with minimal media attention. It isn't Friday, his normal day for releasing bad news but hey, the nation's attention is focused elsewhere.
(3) Obama hopes to sow seeds of dissention within the Republican/conservative ranks as a way of salvaging something from the state governments that are about to hammer his agenda.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 23, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@skipsailing28 "Boehner is chiding Obama, and rightly so, for bringing up a divisive issue in the middle of an already contentious debate about things that may actually matter more."

I think the timing was actually dictated by this:

"Administration officials said the review was triggered by a court-imposed filing deadline in two new legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, filed in federal courts in New York and Connecticut."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/23/AR2011022303428.html?hpid=topnews

I've never really gotten the impression that Obama wanted to get out in front on these issues.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 23, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"skipsailing28 | February 23, 2011 5:23 PM"

Definition of tone deaf. Or willfully ignorant.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 23, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@skipsailing28 "Boehner is chiding Obama, and rightly so, for bringing up a divisive issue in the middle of an already contentious debate about things that may actually matter more."

So which is it Skippy. It is either an important issue or it is not. It can not be both a contentious issue, and of little importance, at the same time. Did your shrinks change your prescription recently?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 23, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue"


Hmmm...let's see....nothing controversial about trying to redefine rape....or defund Planned Parenthood...is there?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

OT

"The man who pretended to be conservative bankroller David Koch on a prank phone call with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Wednesday that he originally planned to pose as exiled Egypt President Hosni Mubarak but couldn't perfect the voice.

Ian Murphy, the editor of the Buffalo Beast, told The Huffington Post in an interview that he was "shocked" at how easy it was to get Walker, currently the nation's most-talked-about governor, on the phone merely by pretending to be a billionaire donor.

"Fifteen minutes in, I wanted to almost stop it and say, 'Are you so dumb, I'm not David Koch. How can your staff be so incompetent and how could I get on the phone with you so easily,'" Murphy said, barely suppressing his glee. "But I didn't."

Instead, Murphy spent an additional five minutes talking to Walker about a host of outlandish proposals and takes on the protests that have erupted around the governor's anti-union budget legislation. Walker's office insists that he said nothing on the phone with Murphy that he wouldn't have said in public, but the governor pitched the Koch impersonator some bizarre plans."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/23/scott-walker-prank-caller_n_827148.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Sure would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the REAL David Koch's office today.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"The quote Mr Sargent shares simply criticizes Obama for his timing. I'm not reading anything in it that takes gay marriage off the table as an issue."

You're probably better at the reedings than I am, but I don't see where Sargent says this quote means anything is definitively taken off the table.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 23, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

From Future-Ex-Gov Walker's presser:

"For us I think it's real simple. First I want to say I take phone calls all the time," Walker said, before being interrupted by a reporter in the crowd who yelled, "Not mine!"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/walker-on-koch-phone-call-i-take-phone-calls-all-the-time.php

LMAO!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 23, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"Boehner is chiding Obama, and rightly so, for bringing up a divisive issue in the middle of an already contentious debate about things that may actually matter more."

LOL!!!

Yeah abortion isn't a divisive issue...

LOL! Wow... Talk about chutzpah.

I keep wondering when the Republicans are going to get to jobs! So far they just want to talk about moral issues and not jobs.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 23, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

R+R, I thought that was hilarious too.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 23, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Conservatives, O'Reilly and Hannity and Beck are coming on soon. Can you tell me what they tell you about the legality of what the prank caller did ie recording a phone call?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 23, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama refusing to enforce the law is becoming tiresome.

The Obama regime has, obviously, been taken hostage by the homosexuals. This is pretty disgusting but not all bad.

Pandering to homosexuals will help to make Barack H. Obama our next one-term president.

I am beginning to believe that Obama simply does not want a second term.

He seems to do everything in his power to make it so.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 23, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have no leaders, no platform, no program...

They have an organized political base and a messaging machine, but they do not have leaders.

In the past, they had chosen and organized people feeding the base their 'ideas' through the messaging machine, but now, no one on the right knows what to say other than the defaults (D bad, gov bad, R good...).

No one care what Mitt thinks, no one cares what Palin says, Republicans are wandering, looking for leaders.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That assistant DA in Indianna was fired over his statement about shooting the protesting teachers.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/23/use-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters-indiana-official-says/

Have we reached peak right-wingtopia?

Maybe this country is regaining it's senses.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 23, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"No one care what Mitt thinks, no one cares what Palin says, Republicans are wandering, looking for leaders. "

Hi shrink! Provacative as usua! I'm sure some R's are looking for a Leader, but, it could be argued, they've returned from being a "rump, regional party" without one. You've often posited that there is no interst from the party in repealing Obamacare, and from a FP/DOD standpoint there's not alot of difference between Bush and Barry, so the desire for a Leader may not be so urgent. I wonder though if you're projecting a little? Seems the Democrats sure could use a leader. ;-)

Really great stuff today from all commentors! It's been, and I'm sure will continue to be, absolutely fascinating!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 23, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Boehner-
/fail-

Explain to me how the DOJ has anthing to with jobs. Unless its hiring more attorneys to fight the rollback of civil rights law...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 23, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

@ Boehner-

"Oooh, that mean old prwesident wants to pwotect teh g*ys, so we have to stick it to the unempwoyed".

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 23, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"You've often posited that there is no interst from the party in repealing Obamacare, and from a FP/DOD standpoint there's not alot of difference between Bush and Barry, so the desire for a Leader may not be so urgent. I wonder though if you're projecting a little? Seems the Democrats sure could use a leader."

Ouch that was supposed to really hurt. You even used a psych word against me. But I'll recover, so don't worry about me. There, I did.

So where were we, oh yeah, laughing at the leadership of the two drifting parties. Will they become asymptotic, will they have any disagreements about anything that matters? Some people can brook no criticism of Obama, no hint, not a word...others are buying ammo and proud to be packing heat and baseball bats...it seems like both sides are spoiling for a fight, yet the leaders know: money does not like fighting.

As Obama will not criticize Gaddafi by name and as the King of Oil rains money down on the erstwhile doomed protesters of Bahrain and as Israel watches smiling, we are not in need of better leaders, we are all going to be ok.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

mike: "Maybe this country is regaining it's senses."

Well...between firing this DAG and tabling their version of the union busting bill, some sense was come to in Indiana today. I think that has more to do with Mitch Daniels potential run for POTUS than anything else.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"I think that has more to do with Mitch Daniels potential run for POTUS than anything else."

Poor Governor Walker, what a sucker punch. Just two days ago, I bet he thought he was going to be somebody.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

OT, Dick Snot rightfully getting pounded in FL:

-Corrections workers applaud question to Scott about pay cuts-

You said to hold you accountable. State employees have seen, since the Bush Administration, a reduction in state employees. I have been with this agency for many years. And I've seen where our staff has been significantly cut. We are required to do more with less. State employees haven't received a raise in five or six years. You're asking us to contribute to our pension plan and contribute more to our insurance. My question is simple: What have you required for the wealthiest Floridians to contribution to the state deficit?

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/corrections-workers-applaud-question-scott-about-pay-cuts

-Scott compares Florida pension fund to Social Security crisis-

"Do you fully realize the gross unfairness of that proposal?" one worker asked Scott.

Scott said a change was needed and that, "You never know exactly what's fair."

"Right now your plan in underfunded, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not," Scott said. "So whoever the youngest is, everyone else should thank them because there might not be a pension plan, just like we're worried about Social Security."

Scott didn't mention the pension fund is about 88 percent funded - among the best in the country...

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/scott-compares-florida-pension-fund-social-security-crisis

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 23, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"and as Israel watches smiling,..."

Intersting quip. But what would they have to smile about?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 23, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"I bet he thought he was going to be somebody. "

And instead, he's somebody's doggie.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

And instead, he's somebody's doggie.
----------------------------------
Poodle.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 23, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"It wasn't Obama, Mitch! It was you. You remember that night in the Garden, you came down to my dressing room and said: 'Kid, this ain't your night. This isn't the time. You remember that? 'This ain't your night!' My night! I coulda taken the unions apart! So what happens? You gets the title shot outdoors in a ball park - and whadda I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville....You was my fellow Republican Gov, Mitch. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me - just a little bit - so I wouldn't have to take the dives for the short-end Koch money....You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it. (pause) It was you, Mitch.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it. (pause) It was you, Mitch.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mitch: You dummy! Doncha know you gotta who yer talking to before ya spills the hole story. That part about bringing in the agi-taters to stir up truble--that story ya dont tell to yer priest, dummy.

And the tricky thing 'bout lyin to get the democraps back to the state--better ya keep that one to yerself too. Now they know--whater ya going to use as a trick now? Dint think of that, didya dummy.

Instead, ya gotta blow off yer mouth fer the Godfather. So's he thinks ya a big man.

Get outa my way lil man. Yer dont know me and I dont know ya.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 23, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Get outa my way lil man. "

Little Hosni: "Who YOU callin 'little man' ya little man?!?!?!"

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 23, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/happy_hour_roundup_192.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 23, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"But what would they have to smile about?"

I hope you have read the hand wringing pieces in the NYT etc. about how awful this must be for Israel. The Israeli position has depended upon stalemate, they hate us and we hate them, mutually assured destruction...If they are smart, they will work together with the US to reset a whole series of stale relationships, to bring together against Iran, their last remaining serious enemy (shhhh...don't tell, but no one really cares about the Palestinians).

Troll, no one except shrink2 is talking about it, but the political absence of the Death to America Death to Israel factions in the last three weeks is extraordinary, almost unbelievable, it is as if they were in hiding. They aren't, but as Bush said, they sure aren't leading any parades.

This is a catastrophe for the Islamists, it really is, it is just hard to understand that. But Israel knows and they will be ecstatic, though they will never say so.

Each of these horrible Arab dictators in turn tried to threaten the people with The West, just as Iran still does and the people said, kill me, you can kill me, but it is you, you are the bad one.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

On cue...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12562631

The Palestinians overplayed their hand.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

And a steaming crock of feces from the NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/world/middleeast/24saudis.html?hp

Oh no, the Saudis, the Iranians, oh no!

Posted by: shrink2 | February 23, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Why do repubs always have to have someone to hate or something to hate.

Best summary I can say about them

Except in WI re the union bargaining debate, a repub assistant attorney general said of the protesters " use live ammunition on them".

As usual the party of protecting life calling for mass murder.

At least the officials above him sent him to the unemployment line.

Next we need the people prosecuting the mass murder in Tuscon to check the nut case schizos ISP logs. If he was looking at Palins subtle call for the murder of Gifford and 19 others, perhaps we can put her where she belongs.

I think its called conspiracy to murder, which makes the person exactly as guilty as the trigger puller.

And yes re life again - where is the catholic church on the issue of the mass murders by loose guns in this country.

FBI 2006 data - 29000 killed by guns, only 100 were justifiable as self defense. About 1000 were police justified, but those wouldn't have happened if criminals didnt find it so easy to get guns.

In canada the population adjusted rate is 1/7th of the USA, In England 1/50th

It seems like those who talk about protecting life are the hypocrites at best and complicit at worst.

Posted by: SJames6621 | February 23, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

REpublican morality - isn't that an oxymoron?

support life and support endless guns and mass killings for example.

talk about cutting the budget when it was mostly repubs on wall street who destroyed our economy with paper that wasnt worth the ink printed on it.

the warm up to the economic wreck was Enron. Guess who deserted that about to sink ship 3 mos before the callamity.

George H W You got it BUSH.

He had to know what was coming. Especially sins Jr. Bush made about 100 milliion during the s&L crisis in the 1980s. By wrecking the silverado savings and loan place, and leaving with the money before anybody realized what had gone wrong. We taxpayers paid for that one also.

Posted by: SJames6621 | February 24, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse


The only reason the GOP is off the back of the gay folks is they have more and bigger fish to fry.

UUUUUSSSSS

Welcome to the dark ages of a lord and serf society. I cant imagine what makes people who own a private business worth almost a hundred billion (the Kochs) greedy for more.

Apparently a defect in their human? nature"

Posted by: SJames6621 | February 24, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The Republican party establishment do seem to have higher priorities than the mockery of homosexual "marriage", that's true.

But, the folks in the heartland notice how it is.

Democrat party. Party of:

homosexuals

outlaw "immigrants"

socialism

government bankruptcy

Muslims

assorted leftwing causes

military weakness

national stagnation

Jimmy Carter

Nancy Pelosi

San Fransisco-Chicago-New York

union thugs

A sad lineup of causes.

It's no wonder that Americans who describe themselves as "liberals/progressives" are at an all-time low.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 24, 2011 6:05 AM | Report abuse

It's no wonder that Americans who describe themselves as "liberals/progressives" are at an all-time low.

==

Leave it to some Republican knucklewalker to see political significance in a poll about the *popularity of a couple of words*

Posted by: caothien9 | February 24, 2011 6:24 AM | Report abuse

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