Things I Meant To Mention In The Leaguecast

Though much has been made of the generational gap, it’s really hard to separate that from the racial dynamics. Romney won the white 18-29 vote. I need to look further into it, but I think the larger issue could be the different composition of that age group.

This has ramifications for the gender gap as well. Though women vote more than men among all races, the difference is more pronounced among minority groups. And the difference between minority men and minority women in voting patters exceeds that of white men and white women (9-10% for minorities, 6% for whites). So the race problem is a women problem and vice-versa.

Speaking of which, it speaks volumes that at a time when anti-abortion sympathies have never been higher, and that the Democrats are pushing the envelope to the left, the Republicans still lost the issue in the overall.

A lot of the advice the GOP is getting is bunk. Especially by people with no vested interest in the GOP’s fortunes who would mostly like the GOP to nominate better candidates for them to vote against. The party would be wise to ignore a lot of it. I do hope that conservatives resist the urge to ignore all of it.

I agree with Elias on his closing point about the GOP’s situation not being too dire, but I also disagree with it. On the one hand, a 52/48 nation isn’t the worst place to start from. I also think that at least a part of the significant shift of Hispanics and Asian-Americans to Obama might be not unrelated to the man as much as anything. It remains very uncertain as to whether their next nominee will be able to pull it off. On the other hand, the Republicans simply can’t go forward with the assumption that will happen. Also, the dynamic of people getting more conservative as they age is about to get tested for a variety of reasons.

Because, in addition to the other demographic challenges the GOP is looking at, that fewer people are getting married and having children is yet another. It’s a little too convenient for me (a proponent of SSM) to believe that gay marriage and gay adoption may tighten the wide gap in the gay vote, but I’ll choose to believe it anyway.

With the exception of the introductory conversation, I tried to keep my part of the conversation forward-looking rather than gripey. If I’d been more gripey, I’d have gone to the bat more for Chris Christie and have said that the GOP response to him post-election is a part of the problem.

I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked talking about regionality and such, but one of the reasons that Chris Christie is important even though he’ll never be a national player is that the party needs regional ambassadors and needs people who are uncomfortable with the party’s core to be able to say “I’m a [Chris Christie/Tom Campbell/etc.] Republican” and feel that they have a place in the party.

One of the more interesting aspects of the “Republicans Got It Wrong” aspect is that one of those Republicans was Karl Rove. Rove, whatever you think of the man’s moral compass, was exactly the sort of coalition-minded person that while he was in the game rather than announcing it would have been keeping an eye on a lot of the numbers that the Republicans (including Rove) missed. He would have been the one to say “Mr. Governor, you’re going to lose tomorrow.” I remember back in 2000-04 it was Rove and the RNC that was ramping up its numbers base. They do need that back, in whatever form.

One of my bigger fears is that the Republican Party will determine that the easiest path to victory is with a marginal increase in the white vote. I don’t think it would work, and I’d hope it doesn’t work, but I can’t say that it wouldn’t. A softening of their views on economic issues could yield dividends in the midwest that will keep the GOP competitive for as long as it takes for its architects to cash out at least. There are reasons this might work, though it’d ultimately be disastrous for the country.

George W. Bush did reasonably well among Hispanics and Asian-Americans. A lot of conservatives looked at this and said “See, despite all he did, he still didn’t win them” and determined they’ll never vote Republican and that they shouldn’t bother trying (the above Sailer strategy, with less sharp edges). If nothing else, this election should demonstrate that even if you can’t win them, it’s not unimportant to mitigate the losses. The alternative is minorities that are not only voting against you, but are fired up.

Having said all that, I can’t fully disagree with those (Tim? Tom?) who talked about how the GOP shouldn’t overreact to this loss. They do need to stop digging, but they have four years until the next presidential election and a lot of time to test various ideas.

One thing I would have liked to talk about more is candidate recruitment. It’s hard to say what the party can and should do here at least at the state level. I mean, they didn’t choose Akin and they didn’t choose Mourdock. It’s easy to talk about how they should take more control over the process, but if they had been successful Rand Paul and Marco Rubio wouldn’t be senators. A whole lot of the candidate backlash is due to the fact that the establishment was choosing lousy candidates. So I suppose that would be a good place to start.

I say all of this with, perhaps, a foot out the door. I’m really not sure what the future holds for me as a voter. But I have, over the years, actually invested more time in the Republican Party than a lot of people who would call me a traitor or a RINO. If I ever officially cast my lot with the other side, it will have been as a last resort.

The issues with conservative media are so immense that I would have to save that for another post, if I want to breach that egg at all.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


    • Crap. Just realized you were talking about the white voters in that age group Will. But were there really enough non-white voters to skew it so much for Obama?

      • Are you looking at the CNN exit polls? Interesting, but…

        First off, something is up with that poll. The age categories are 18-29, 39-44, 44-64, and 65+, and the races White, Black, and Latino. There’s a catch-all “All Others” catagory, but it’s only 5%. Another poll puts Asians as 3% of the electorate, so they fit in All Others, but did no one 30-38 vote? Another poll puts 30-39 as 17% of the electorate. Are they all 39? The total percentage of 18-29 voters more or less matches the other polls, so I THINK the issue is with another age category, but something is up.

        Assuming that despite that issue the poll is otherwise accurate, there’s another thing. White 18-29 year olds were 11% of the electorate, Black and Hispanic 18-29 were 7% combined. So, Blacks and Hispanics combined are 40% of the 18-29 electorate, while Whites are 60%. Whereas Blacks and Hispanics combined are only 23% of the overall electorate, and Whites are 72%. So that’s worth talking about.

        • Need a regional breakdown. If it’s like the white male vote overall, Obama probably won the white 18-29 year old male vote everywhere but the South, where he got pasted.

  1. Just to also expand on what was probably the most ‘heated’ moment of the discussion…

    When I told Tom that I thought pandering to social conservatives was a bad strategy, what I should have made more clear was that I really meant evangelicals. I’m okay with pushing a socially conservative agenda (although I think we need to acknowledge we were probably wrong on gay marriage). What we cannot do is promote it from a religious angle. That is an immediate turn off to a lot of people that might be otherwise inclined towards our positions.

    Also, I’m still crunching the numbers but it appears that every evangelical in the country could have turned out for Romney and it wouldn’t have put him over. He received the highest evangelical turnout ever for a Republican candidate and STILL LOST THE RACE.

    • FTR in that moment I was not suggesting that social conservatives should refrain from pursuing legislation they like. They should push for the laws they like. And as with other kinds of issues they should reach out to Democrats as well as their fellow Republicans for support.

      My idea is that the GOP ought not to lay down the expectation that advocacy of such issues be a part of what it is to be a Republican. Yes, that puts economic issues closer to front and center. Where they ought to be, in particular at the Federal level. There are military and diplomatic issues as well. Parliamentary democracies have the concept of “conscience voting, ” when parties withhold instructing members on particular issues. This seems wise to me because pushing on social issues produces (in my evaluation) net losses for the GOP.

      [Edited to clarify meaning at 2:11 p.m. PST 11/13/2012. It’s tough writing in the combox on a Kindle Fire. — BL]

      • The trouble also is that old anlogy I have made before. When it comes to social ‘progress’ liberals are like a teenager with a sports car. They go too fast. I think conservatives play a really imporant role in slowing things down enough for society to catch up. Imagine if gay marriage had suddenly become legal nationwide 10 years ago. It would have cause much more upheaval because as a society we weren’t ready for that. in 2012 I think we’re almost there and the public barely blinked after the results of the pro-SSM votes last week. I think conservatives deserve credit for easing us into that. Unfortunately we will always be remembered as the party that stood in the way of people being happy.

        • Who was calling for gay marriage to be legal nationwide 10 years ago? Maybe civil unions, but I really can’t think of many pols who would have gone that far…

          • C’mon Kim – that was just lazy. Things started moving through the Mass. courts in 2002 and people were advocating for years before that.

          • I can imagine a (hypothetical!) scenario in which a (again, hypothetical!) U.S. Supreme Court might have effectively made unconstitutional any refusal by the states or federal government to recognize gay marriage.

            In that situation, I can see Mike’s point playing out in a way that could be tested. I’m personally don’t share his view that there would have been more, and presumably more damaging, upheaval in that situation. But I could be wrong. Such a Supreme Court decision might possibly have become another Roe v. Wade around which the parties would polarize. Now, however, there’s an inkling of a possibility of something amounting to a consensus in favor of actual marriage equality. I don’t think we’re there yet, and again, I don’t share Mike’s prediction (if I interpret it correctly), but the outcome is plausible.

          • Pierre,

            I think you’re exactly right when you say a court decision would have created a permanent resistance. As it has actually progressed, conservatives seem pretty okay with legalization through state governments and (now) popular vote. It took time to get to the point where those things could happen.

          • Mike,
            yes, people, not parties and politicians. I’m not certain folks would have said “gay marriage in Massachussetts is going to bring down the house” (the way people might if say it was suddenly legalized in Alabama.)
            The democrats were for a while there, willing to go along with the “let’s not rock the religious boat” by calling it “civil unions”. Until the republicans proved they wouldn’t go along with it, and the religious left said “call it marriage already!”

        • It’s easy to say people should hold their horses and just a wait minute when you have all your civil rights. We probably weren’t ready for nationwide anti-discrimination laws in 1963. It’s still a great thing LBJ didn’t wait a moment more. A civil right should never have to wait for public opinion polls to shift their way.

          • Jesse,

            The laws LBJ passed were rooted in the advancements people of color made during WWII. It was a long struggle that didn’t just abruptly culminate in 1963. Look what happened after Brown vs. Board of Education. You had nearly a decade of problems implementing and major resistance.

            What I am saying is that gay marriage passed nationwide by judicial decree would have been much more polarizing. The way it has come about, albeit slower, has actually been beneficial in the sense that it has gained a more natural acceptance through slow attrition.

            It’s easy to say that we should always Do the Right Thing Right Away, but with a nation of over 300 million it’s sometimes wise to take smaller steps.

          • From my view, the idea that legislation gives people rights is dangerously erroneous.
            It is the enforcement of rights whereby rights are recognized– as rights are inherent, and not bestowed, they cannot be “given;” but a right has to be enforceable to be recognized.

            There were three really big cases in the history of civil rights in the 60’s & 70’s that really stand out to me:

            Monroe v. Pape (1961)
            The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
            A black man in Chicago was harassed by the Chicago PD. The courts finally decided that civil rights legislation extended into unlawful acts of state actors.

            Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents (1971)
            Fourth Amendment (1791)
            A man in Brooklyn was harassed by Federal Narcotics Agents, who cuffed him and roughed him up in front of his family the day after Thanksgiving, and threatened to arrest the man’s whole family.
            The courts determined that there was an implied cause of action in the Fourth Amendment.

            Monell v. Dept. of Social Services (1978)
            The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (again)
            A class action suit by female employees contesting a policy of forced maternity leave by the Board of Education.
            The courts determined that municipalities are responsible for the acts of their employees.

            Those people are heroes of civil rights.
            You & I would not enjoy those rights, regardless of when the legislation substantiating them was enacted, were it not for them standing up and going the mile.

            Which is to say, that legislation is but a preliminary.

        • The problem with saying that liberals go too fast is that often conservatives go way to slow. I think many conservatives get too self-important with their Burkeanism.

          It is a massive act of injustice to ask historically oppressed and deligitmitized people to wait a bit more for their civil rights just because the speed of progress makes an Alabama grandfather uncomfortable.

          • New Dealer,

            You are right and *ahem* if I could direct you to this resource:


            Wise author says this:

            ” The analogy I have always used is that liberalism is like a teenager behind the wheel of their first car. They drive fast because the point is to get where they want to go and safety is a small concern. Mainline conservatism is like the elderly driver who fears everything on the road and drives so slow that they actually cause more problems than they prevent. Progressive Conservatives are like the middle-aged dad in the minivan. They set the cruise control at five over the speed limit because it gets them a little faster, yet they drive responsibly and keep the family safe.

    • Also, let it be recorded that even with a sharp disagreemet afoot, discussion was friendly, cordial, and respectful. Dare I say it, “gentlemanly.” See, it can be done.

  2. One thing that stands to be pointed out is that “Social Conservatives” and “Theocons” have a lot of places where they overlap and a lot of places where they *DON’T*.

    As Rufus points out: it’s socially conservative to support gay marriage. Two people pair off, they buy a house. Social Conservatives smile and nod. It’s the *THEOCONS* who say “wait, this isn’t in the handbook!”

    I mean, Mickey Kaus is one of those Democrats who is disowned by the Democrats because he’s very socially conservative… but he’s not a theocon in the least. It’s possible to care about the culture and the culture’s decline while being an atheist… and those who pull it off have, oh, let’s call it “tension”, with the theocons.

    • “As Rufus points out: it’s socially conservative to support gay marriage. Two people pair off, they buy a house. Social Conservatives smile and nod. It’s the *THEOCONS* who say “wait, this isn’t in the handbook!”


      That was the realizatiion that made me become a SSM supporter. I have never been a religious conservative. My opposition to SSM wasn’t biblical. It was sociological. Once it became clear to me that those concerns were unfounded I had nothing left to base my opposition on. Theocons can always fall back on the Good Book (even if that is terribly flawed theology in itself).

    • Mickey Kaus is disowned by Democrat’s because much like many Fox News/Conservative “Democrats”, he seems to claim he’s for many liberal things, but is obsessed with the conservative things (ie. the great Mexican horde and public sector union bashing) he’s more in favor of.

      • You know how the Republicans treated Chris Christie in recent weeks? I am reminded of how the Democrats treat Kaus.

        • Really?

          I think our problem with Kaus is that he is basically a financial opportunist. He figured a good way to a fat paycheck is to write or appear on conservative media in a kind of “I’m a Democrat but….” mode and then just repeat conservative/tea party talking points most of the time. There seem to be a lot of these people in conservative media land. The right loves their Democratic apostates.

          • I have to say that I too initially questioned his motivations as to some of the policy views he’s adopted, but over time have been convinced by his doggedness on a very specific set of them – immigration and unionism in particular – that in those cases he is sincere in his views. Once that basic break with the left happened, then I think that opened up the full policy slate to him to do a combination of both legitimate ideological sliding and also the kind of opportunism you describe. But it’s not exclusively the latter that has driven his path, I don’t think – far from it.

        • Kaus makes his living being the “See? Even Democrats don’t really like Democrats” guy. It’s not exactly helping people through a natural disaster. If you said “Bruce Bartlett”, that would be closer.

          • The two biggest examples I can think of are Kerry and Edwards.

            Gotta say, it seems to me that he had the right of it.

    • I don’t think of Mickey Kaus as very socially conservative. In me experience, he seems very reticent to opine on hot-button social topics, but maybe my experience is incomplete.

      What Mickey Kaus is is an old-school but *reconstructed* economic progressive. Whatever his views ever were on immigration, he’s come to the conclusion that immigration represents a grave threat to the U.S. labor market. He is obsessed with inefficiencies he believed are caused by labor unions of both public and private employees. He wrote a whole book on how “crude” economic equality it itself ought not to be the aim of the liberal movement and that there is nothing wrong with it, but instead that the thing to try to avoid is social inequality that results from high levels of economic inequality. People shouldn’t think less of others in the grocery line or at the DMV or something like that.

      And he is passionately for a system of universal health insurance – he’s okay with Obamacare, though I think he has some issues with it – I’m not sure what those are other than that he thinks the law and its PR campaign was far too concerned with cost containment: he hates the Medicare cuts. He doesn’t care at all what health care costs us publicly or privately going forward – the decision to purchase health care/insurance is the same to him as any other spending choice, again privately or publicly.

      He’s taken to extreme concern-trollism vis-a-vis the Democratic Party in his just-plain-old political analysis (which is, though, always informed and heavily weighted down by his policy views, especially on immigration and unions), which has kept him steadily employed by right-of-center outlets as his stock on the left has crashed and burned.

      He challenged Barbara Boxer for the Democratic nomination for Senate in California in ’08, I believe. When she wouldn’t debate him, he staged an Eastwoodesque (to coin an in-this-case-anachronistic phrase) mock-debate between himself and “The Box,” (a box stood up on a chair behind a podium), and if I’m not mistaken continued to refer to the Senator as “The Box” during the rest of his campaign.

      Tastelessness of that last incident aside, I continue to find him an interesting, often challenging, and sometimes valuable voice of critique of the establishment left from one of its past members. I’m definitely among a small number remaining on the left who feel that way, however.

      In any case, I’m not sure I see where “very socially conservative” is a phrase that very well describes his viewpoint based on those of his views about which he is most vocal. Maybe I’m missing a whole segment of his stated views, though.

  3. A lot of people get their politics from their families.

    I am a third-generation Jewish liberal-Democratic voter (though older than the demographic you mentioned at 32). Plenty of people probably inherited their Republicanism from their parents especially in the bracket you mentioned.

    Now can you tell me about the split between how white 18-29 year olds with a college/advanced education voted as compared to whites between the ages of 18-29 without a college education?

    Plenty of those kid’s had less than stellar reactions to the Obama victory:

  4. FTR in that moment I was not suggesting that social conservatives should refrain from pursuing legislation they like. They should push for the laws they like.

    This is the thing that I think both parties need to knock off, actually.

    They should push for laws that solve problems they want to solve, when those problems are best solved using the framework of the law.

    I think both parties would go a long, long way towards achieving a much more solid base, long term, if they spent a bit less time time talking about their convictions and much less than half as much time talking about how important it was that they enshrine their convictions in the law.

    Like I said on a conservative friend’s facebook page after the election: the squishy middle doesn’t care if you go to pro-life rallies and talk about how you give moral recognition to the fetus at the time of conception. Americans love conviction even when they disagree with it. The cantankerous old fool is a beloved national figure.

    They care when you try to pass “moment of conception” laws or get rid of rape exceptions in an existing law. At that point you change from being uncharitably thought of as a cantankerous old fool… to being uncharitably thought of as a sanctimonious prick who wants to tell me what to believe.

    Cantankerous old fools can win elections with the squishy middle, if they talk the right talk about supporting the troops and becoming more fiscally responsible. Sanctimonious pricks don’t win anything.

    Same thing on the left. You start an exercise program and talk about how you want to fund physical education in public schools and people aren’t going to give you flack. You start banning sodas and donations to soup kitchens, you’re losing.

  5. Speaking of questionable unsolicited advice, I was amused to find conflicting suggestions (from Sullivan and Drum, iirc) to the effect that, on the one hand, minorities demand free stuff and, on the other hand, don’t pander to minorities with free stuff. The left is obviously enjoying itself in this moment.

    I do think that the GOP needs its next set of leaders to assert themselves, feel their way around the next year or so and then see if we need to tweak the software. I’m with you, Will, in being totally flummoxed on the abortion issue: How are we losing that? It’s not like elected officials can even do anything about it given SCOTUS has made it a right. The GOP should just say we’re against partial birth abortions, which we find to be absolutely hideous, and can’t figure out why Dems would oppose us on that, but otherwise, we’ve got no plans, next question please.

    SSM is a trickier issue. It’s also not going to go change in the next cycle or two at least. Even were more Republicans to move toward a classical liberal position on the issue, for many of them it would be on limited government grounds, not on the grounds that they suddenly believe homosexual conduct to be ok. So while they’d be fine with keeping the government out of the bedroom, what is still vexing in the marriage question is that this is not a limited government issue: it is asking the government and the law to recognize and ratify a social arrangement. So the call to keep the government out of private affairs doesn’t apply here. It’s exactly the opposite. So if someone believes there is a moral component to hetero- vs. homosexual conduct, then even if they are otherwise libertarian, SSM still gives pause. The best that person could do is stand by quietly and accept the political and legal outcome when a majority successfully redefines the institution without his assent. For those in the GOP who sincerely cannot assent, that’s what I propose they do; I really don’t see the cause to get up in arms over it in the political arena. For those in the GOP who do support SSM, go for it if your constituency will go along with you.

    • I’m with you, Will, in being totally flummoxed on the abortion issue: How are we losing that?

      Prominent Republican Spokespeople are regularly tricked into talking about different kinds of rape while on camera.

      Chicks, for some reason, take exception. Even if they’re in different states entirely!

      • Yeah, I didn’t mean “why are people not with us,” I mean, “how are we failing to message properly on an issue where messaging should be so simple?”

        • “Here’s a device that’s used for birth control. It could, hypothetically, in rare cases, cause a fertilized egg not to implant. Therefore it causes abortions and must be banned.”

          That’s not a winning message.

          • This touches on what I was going to say. It’s not just the rape comments. In addition to Plan B, vaginal ultrasounds is another bridge-too-far argument, politically. Anti-coercion laws and personhood amendments, to the extent that people are/were aware of them, also caused problems. The winners are late-term, parental notification, and in some places waiting periods. Plan-B is conceptually too close to birth control. Vaginal ultrasounds too reminiscent of that thing that too many Republican candidates kept talking about.

          • I know that no one wants to take my advice on this (and I know why they don’t), but this is why the left’s basic message has been – consistently, for years – that the right isn’t really anti-abortion so much as it’s anti-woman. Whether conservatives think that’s fair or not, it’s perfectly clear how opposition to Plan B and support for vaginal ultrasounds looks to a lot of women. I’m also reminded of McCain, in 2008, sneering at the very idea that a woman might need an abortion to preserve her own health. Whatever you think of the science, there is no way that kind of behavior is going to win the argument.

        • Your candidates need better speech prep, for one. Better handlers on top of that. Maybe there should be more time spent on mock press conferences.

          • And when the entire party power structure says that you should step down, your response should be “okay” and not “BUT WHYYYYYYYY”

          • Or they could not be morons who need 24-hour-a-day baby-sitting to avoid suicidal gaffes.

            It’s a thought, anyway.

          • This year’s package has an increased co-pay for checkups, but we’re introducing a new pre-natal care benefit to encourage women who’ve been involved in certain aspects of the Divine Plan not to kill their babies.

    • Tim,

      I am reminded of around a decade ago when the Conservative Party of the UK was in the doldrums. I read more than one piece of “advice” that the UK needed to drop its anti-EU platform. I read polling elsewhere that anti-EU and metric-skepticism were actually two of the few issues where they had public support. I don’t believe the advice was disingenuous (though it was opportunistic) but rather that’s the sort of thing you can expect when people who have no vested interested in your success are telling you how to succeed.

      On SSM, I think the most that supporters can expect is that the party will loosen its opposition. Sort of like affirmative action, where Republicans oppose it but the politicians aren’t going to go to the mat over the issue. They’ll probably not be convinced that homosexuality or gay marriage are good, but they might be convinced that they’re not worth mobilizing to oppose because it only mobilizes the other side more. I don’t think that’s actually true, yet, but I think it’s where we’re headed.

      • I still have a great deal of reserve toward SSM.
        It’s just that every argument I hear for it, I can imagine hetero couples in the same boat.
        Why can’t the solution to those issues be more inclusive?

        As for abortion, there was a law that Congress passed a few years back making it legal for an adult to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion and by-pass parental notification requirements.
        That’s just plain wrong.
        You can’t even take a minor across state lines to buy them a pair of shoes, but you can for a surgery?
        Get real.

        • Will, Granted that getting abortion is a considerably more serious action than buying a pair of shoes, but I think the underlying issue was that a girl’s parents aren’t likely to beat her half to death for being barefoot.

          • If I’m not mistaken, most states with parental notification requirements have some manner of procedure to avoid the notification in instances where it is warranted.
            That is, the state implementing the requirement determines the procedure, and the instances where it might be lawfully avoided.

            I keep thinking about that 13-yr old girl in NJ, a Honduran immigrant, throwing her baby down an elevator shaft; the second one she had by her father.
            I would rather have seen some manner of judicial procedure the first time instead.

        • Will,

          I used to argue this point with a friend, who was a staunch supporter of abortion rights and even bordered on seeming pro-abortion at times (which I think just had more to do with her rhetorical style than her actual beliefs). I often took a similar position, arguing that there are a number of things minors can’t do without parental consent, including a number of medical procedures.

          As I’ve thought more about it, I don’t know if that alone is enough to say that parental consent laws and the like can be justified. As James points out, there are some unique factors surrounding abortion that might make it worthy of being treated different. It might not be. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t know how informative it is to make comparisons with unlike things.

  6. I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked talking about regionality and such, but one of the reasons that Chris Christie is important even though he’ll never be a national player is that the party needs regional ambassadors and needs people who are uncomfortable with the party’s core to be able to say “I’m a [Chris Christie/Tom Campbell/etc.] Republican” and feel that they have a place in the party.

    I think this is an important point, but have to wonder if the contemporary Republican Party has gotten itself into a position where it can’t work across regions. To make up an example… I’m head of nation-wide company, and I’d like to groom Jane for further promotion by putting her in charge of the company’s operations in Birmingham, AL. But I can’t ask her to take that position because her civil union isn’t recognized in AL, and the Republican position in AL and the South generally is that her civil union will never be recognized there. How can I be a “Christie Republican” in the face of that?

    Or alternatively, many Western Republicans favor the federal government transferring ownership of large federal land holdings outside of the national parks/monuments over to the states in which those holdings are located. My experience in the East (25 years ago, things may have changed somewhat) is that the Eastern population generally regards Westerners as reckless children who can’t possibly be trusted with making decisions about those lands. For an Eastern Republican to publicly support that Western position may be, well, career-threatening.

    Although I suspect that the biggest geographic error the Republicans have made is effectively declaring war on cities. There are reasons why urban folks tend towards things like “Strict regulation of pollutants is good,” or “Sometimes more rail and fewer new lane miles is a better answer,” or “Some controls on who can carry a loaded gun and where/when make sense.”

    • To make up an example… I’m head of nation-wide company, and I’d like to groom Jane for further promotion by putting her in charge of the company’s operations in Birmingham, AL.

      I think getting a gay employee to move to Alabama (even Birmingham) is going to be problematic in any event. My guess, though, is that such things is what will push red states to at least acknowledge out-of-state gay marriages. Alabama will be among the last (before Mississippi, though), but Texas, North Carolina, and other we-want-businesses-to-move-here are likely to be more responsive. Or the courts will take this off the table.

      How can I be a “Christie Republican” in the face of that?

      Christie may be a bad example here cause I think because he’s not good on the SSM issue, but the answer to that is that the local Republicans are more reasonable on the subject regardless of what the Republicans over there think.

      By way of example, Montana’s incoming Democratic governor is not yet on board with SSM (though the state Democratic Party is, platform-wise). But he still has the support of the party. Likewise, Senator Tester lead the fight on wolf hunting, which a lot of coastal liberals reflexively have a problem with, but he’s still considered a valuable member of the party. That’s what the GOP needs to do a better job with: letting out-of-pocket members “vote their district” so to speak. They “got it” with Brown for whatever reason, but are disinclined to cut others the same slack or nominate candidates who are with them on most but not all issues but still have a chance to actually win.

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