The GOP’s Self-inflicted Wound
Ezra Klein flags an interesting Gallup result showing rare uniformity in American public opinion. Turns out near everyone, Republicans included, thinks the GOP is intransigent. And they don’t like it:
[Twenty-two] percent of Democrats, 17 percent of independents, and fully 26 percent of Republicans complained that the GOP refuses to compromise. That’s rather remarkable: It turns out that the GOP’s rigidity is the top complaint of both Democrats and Republicans. It easily beats “nothing,” even among Republicans!
This reminds me of a Twitter back-n-forth I had last week with frequent commenter and blogger in his own right, CK Macleod. Specifically, we were talking about Ben Carson; but the general topic was same-sex marriage (SSM) and the odd spectacle of seeing the conventional wisdom shift right in front of our eyes. Not even 10 years ago, campaigning for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was a clear winner for an embattled incumbent Bush.
And now? Now most Republicans — excluding the Bachmanns, the Kings, the Brouns and basically all the Congresspeople ThinkProgress makes bank shaming every single day— greet expressions of homophobia with silence or vague distaste. Cool. But their fundamental opposition to SSM is unchanged. Their silence is not their assent to changing social norms over sexuality and marriage. It’s much more like closing one’s eyes and hoping the world outside can’t see, either.
Anyway, as CK and I note, Republicans made a strategic error in regards to gay marriage when they settled on total opposition. Rather than get pro-family policy concessions along the lines of those advocated by Rick Santorum — things like tax credits for children — Republicans have simply stood athwart history, yelling no, and losing ground bit by bit. The same can be said of the GOP’s response to Obamacare, financial reform, Lilly Ledbetter and dozens of other Obama initiatives.
Republican obstinance hit its tragicomic peak-nadir, of course, during the summer of 2011, when the GOP said no to a Grand Bargain well to the right of anything remotely acceptable to any Democrat not experiencing abject terror over the prospect of losing reelection. I shudder to think of the consequences if that “deal” had been struck. But thankfully Republican intransigence has been liberals’ best friend as much as conservatives’ worst enemy. And if these Gallup results are to be believed, none have internalized that fact more than Republicans themselves: