GOP Candidates Throw Gays Under the Bus
In New Hampshire Tuesday night, seven Republicans vying for their party’s 2012 Presidential nomination participated in a debate which focused on topics ranging from privatizing Social Security to Muslims working in the White House. In addition to blaming Obama and “Big Government™” for all that ails America, most of the participant’s positions on the economy and entitlements were the same as those put forth by the Bush administration from 2001 through 2008. And five of the seven candidates also endorsed the anti-gay policies that helped get Bush reelected in 2004.
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Ken Mehlman, the former Bush/Cheney campaign manager who came out last year, revealed that the former President’s 2004 reelection strategy involved placing laws banning same-sex marriage on the ballot in swing states such as Ohio. The goal was to get a higher turnout of conservative voters who were more passionate in their anti-gay views than they were in their support for the President. Bush even publicly endorsed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. That strategy, along with the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry, is viewed as key to helping Bush win his second term. Given today's growing national support for gay marriage, it seems the GOP would drop the anti-gay baiting. But they believe there are still some votes left to be squeezed out of demonizing gays.
Republicans know that support for LGBT equality is highest among younger voters and lowest among seniors. Since seniors vote more consistently than any other group in the U.S., GOP candidates believe pandering to this demographic on social issues will be rewarded with more votes. All of Tuesday's debate participants, with the exception of Ron Paul and Herman Cain, said they would support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
It’s difficult to know what candidates pandering for votes truly believe when it comes to LGBT equality. But we do know that Romney, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, and Pawlenty are willing to throw gays under the bus in their bid for power.
Go below to watch the seven candidates discuss gay marriage and DADT.