gay marriage

Cato Institute New Media Lunch: “The Republican Problem”

This year’s election served as a shock to Republicans, and now they’re scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong. With more Americans expressing viewpoints consistent with personal liberty — including marijuana legalization and support for gay marriage — the conservative movement, which makes up a chunk of the Republican-base, must now adapt to the changing political atmosphere or continue to suffer at the ballot box.

So what is a path forward for the Republican Party? In short, they need to become more libertarian. On Wednesday, December 5th, our friends at the Cato Institute will host a new media lunch, featuring a panel on this very subject at its Washington, DC campus.

Panelists will include:

  • Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute
  • Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute
  • Jason Pye, Editor at United Liberty (that’s me!)
  • Mike Riggs, Associate Editor at Reason Magazine

The event begins at noon and will run until 1:30pm. Zachary Graves, Director of New Media at the Cato Institue, will moderate the discussion.

You can RSVP and check out the details by clicking here.

2012 shows that Republicans need to seek a libertarian direction

Republicans are facing a reality right now, and it’s not one that many of the want to grasp. Back in 2004, President George W. Bush’s re-election bid was boosted by gay marriage bans on the ballot in 11 states, including Ohio, all of which were passed.

While gay marriage bans, abortion, and other wedge issues may still rally social conservatives, today’s landscape is much different than that of four years ago. Not only did three states — Maine, Maryland, and Washington — measures extending gay couples the rights other couples enjoy, but a poll released yesterday shows that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. Moreover, two states — Colorado and Washington — passed initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana; a prospect that has the federal government on the warpath.

These issues are driven in large part by younger voters who are generally supportive of individual liberties — a very much “live and let live” segment of our society. They believe that the Republican Party is intolerant of gays and unyielding in their commitment to the “war on drugs.”

Writing at the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Jason Riley noted that young voters broke with Mitt Romney by a larger margin than any other Republican nominee in recent history:

Republicans figuring out their social issue problem?

In the days following the election, young Republicans have vowed to help push the direction of the GOP in a more tolerant direction, away from wedge issues that have helped the party in the past. Zeke Miller noted some of the feelings of young Republicans last week at BuzzFeed:

In the hours after Barack Obama’s electoral rout of Mitt Romney, young Republican operatives in Washington, Boston, and around the country felt the same letdown as their bosses — the older crop who ran the losing campaigns of 2012.

But some of the younger generation — people in their twenties and thirties, digital natives, committed conservatives — reported another feeling: relief. The time had finally come to push aside the television-centric operatives who have run Republican campaigns for a generation, to reset the party’s values around race and sex, and to adapt its tactics to the era of Twitter. Politics has always been ruthlessly competitive, with one cycle’s guru the next cycle’s washed-up cable news commentator. Mentors have always had to keep an eye out for protégés wielding daggers. And now the daggers are out.

“Pretty much every relevant oldster consultant’s strategy has been repudiated the last two presidential cycles,” said a young Republican operative reflecting on the heat of the campaign.

Tuesday’s election “was a clearing of old mind-sets,” said a second operative deeply immersed in the Romney campaign. “We just can’t keep running campaigns like we used to. Too often the tactical realities of trying to win in 2012 ran into the old maxims of campaigns run in the past.”

LaTourette is right on social issues, wrong on the Tea Party

Steve LaTourette

Last week. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) tried to explain the Republican Party’s loss during an interview on CNN. LaTourette, who did not seek re-election this year, explained that, while the GOP has the “right message on finances,” it has to learn to get “out of people’s bedrooms”:

Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Ohio, had some strong language for his party on Thursday, saying that he wants Republicans “out of people’s bedrooms.”

After Republicans lost the presidential race and failed to retake the Senate, LaTourette said the GOP must rein in its extreme right wing and reach out to growing minority groups in order to stay competitive in future elections.

“We have the right message on finances, we have to get out of people’s lives, get out of people’s bedrooms, and we have to be a national party,” LaTourette said on CNN’s Starting Point. “Or else we’re going to lose.”

LaTourette also blasted the idea that the Tea Party movement has the answers for the party, slamming Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock in the process, noting that their views on abortion cost Republican votes:

The notion that the tea party holds the key to Republican success moving forward is “nonsense,” LaTourette said. He also said that “we can’t continue to dis the Latino voters.” Finally, LaTourette took aim at Republican Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, both of whom made controversial remarks about rape during the election.

Obama Wins and Nothing Changes; The Wildly Unpopular Status

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Americans skeptical of government promiting “traditional values”

Traditional Values

Politicians on both side of the aisle like to use government to coerce people into living moral lives, often aligning with some view of “traditional values.” President George W. Bush was guilty of this. More recently, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have carried that message forward in the Republican Party. But a new poll from CNN shows that Americans are increasingly skeptical of using government to promote these so-called “traditional values”:

The biggest: The number of Americans who say that the government should promote traditional values has fallen to an all-time low, a finding that might benefit many Democrats,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, just four in 10 registered voters believe the government should promote traditional values, down from 53% in 2010 and 57% in 2008.

“Between 1993, when CNN began asking that question, and last year, a majority of respondents have always said that the government should promote traditional values. Now, for the first time, more than half say the government should not favor any particular set of values,” adds Holland.

More Americans are also not happy with the government intervention in their daily lives. According to the CNN poll, “Six in 10 say the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses. That finding could favor Republicans.”

Clint Eastwood chats about RNC speech, libertarianism, and gay marriage

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s speech last month at the Republican National Convention (RNC) caught many people by surprise. His ad-libbed “conversation” with an empty chair, which Eastwood said was President Barack Obama, managed to overshadow Mitt Romney on the night he accepted the GOP presidential nomination.

Eastwood visited with Ellen DeGeneres yesterday to discuss his new movie, but also some of the reaction to his speech at the RNC, libertarianism, and his view on gay marriage.

The relevant part is within the first three minutes of the video. It was great to hear the reaction from the audience after Eastwood described libertarianism, the political philosophy to which he subscribes:

Social Conservatism is Going Out the Door

His Frothiness

Michelle Fields, the Daily Caller’s star reporter and a frequent contributor to Fox News, has a great blog post on what is happening to the GOP, and where it is going:

The biggest threat to conservatives right now is President Barack Obama, but the long-term threat to conservatism is an internal threat– young republicans. The RNC is doing everything in its power to prevent them from gaining power, but will it work?

If you were to talk to any reporter covering this year’s election they’ll tell you that most of the attendees at GOP events are over 40 years old. You can’t help but ask yourself “where are the young people?” Well, they’re organizing a libertarian take-over.

Young republicans aren’t on board with social conservatism, instead we’re seeing an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for libertarianism.  Many of my conservative colleagues will argue that, “ah, this is just a phase amongst young republicans.” But being socially liberal isn’t a phase. What we’re seeing is a cultural shift that is inevitably going to force the Republican Party to make some major adjustments. For example, take gay marriage— Millennials have grown up a time where it’s no longer taboo to be openly gay. Our favorite films and television shows have gay characters. Some of the most prominent figures in American culture are openly gay. And if you look at the polls, public opinion has moved sharply in favor of gay marriage in recent years with 76% of 18-34 year olds saying that the law should recognize same sex marriage.

GOProud’s “Homocon” was awesome

After a long day of hanging around the media center yesterday, some of us decided we wanted to party last night. We wound up over at the Honey Pot in Tampa’s Ybor City for “Homocon,” which was hosted by GOProud, an organization for gay Republicans. This was easily the best party of the week, folks:

Unlike their reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, pro-gay rights conservative group GOPProud staged a great party here on Tuesday night, hosting hundreds of guests at The Honey Pot, complete with glittering disco ball lights.

The three-floor “Homocon” bash featured go-go dancers clad in black T-shirts with the words “freedom is fabulous” written on them, a message underscoring GOProud’s goal to highlight gays and lesbians in the conservative movement.

Seated in the VIP sections were MSNBC “The Cycle” co-host S.E. Cupp, former Rep. Mark Foley and Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform. Both Cupp and Norquist are members of GOProud’s advisory board.

“I think the Republican party and the moderate Reagan conservative movement is the home for all right-thinking people, and it should be for gays as well as other people,” Norquist said at the event, which he attended with his wife, Samah Alrayyes Norquist.
As for Homocon in Tampa, just don’t call it run-of-the-mill.

“You can find dozens of coat-and-tie [parties], stand around with a cocktail, pose for a picture and then move to the next one. They have the same hors d’oeuvres at all of them. It’s one menu. Our events are different.” [GOProud Executive Director Jimmy] LaSalvia said.

Remy: The Equality Song

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