Wednesday :: Mar 10, 2004

Log Cabin Republicans Launch Ad Campaign Against Bush On Gay Marriage

by Steve

In Karl Rove’s desire to continually appease the far-right base of the GOP, he occasionally ends up angering other parts of the pro-Bush coalition. In an election fought in the middle, where capturing not only your base but also moderates and swing voters is essential, any craven attempts at base-appeasement can backfire. Karl has managed to do this once again, with the announcement by the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) yesterday of the launching of a significant ad campaign in key swing states against Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

In a dramatic break with President Bush, a prominent group of gay Republicans that supported him four years ago is launching a $1 million advertising campaign today attacking the administration for trying to ban same-sex marriage. The ad, by the Log Cabin Republicans, uses grainy footage of Vice President Cheney saying during the 2000 campaign that the matter should be left to the states.

Bush's decision to endorse a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage was "the line in the sand" for the 27-year-old group, which has never run a campaign ad, said Executive Director Patrick Guerriero. He said he had warned the White House as Bush edged toward supporting an amendment that "despite our historic loyalty to the party and the president, we would be forced to speak out if gay and lesbian families were going to be used as wedge issues in swing states."

The group's move, which shatters the fragile alliance between the president and his strongest backers in the gay community, could undermine efforts to renew the "compassionate conservative" appeal he used four years ago.

The ad shows Cheney in the 2000 vice presidential debate saying of gay marriage: "People should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. . . . That matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area."

The on-screen tag line says: "We Agree. Don't Amend the Constitution."
Asked whether the group could still support Bush, Guerriero said the president has "jeopardized that endorsement" by "the hypocrisy of using this in an election year." He said that his organization has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in the past two weeks and that the ad campaign could be expanded if fundraising continues to surge.

Naturally, the cultural/religious far-right base of the party that Rove was trying to please is happy with Bush’s call for an amendment. But the GOP pollster that LCR used in developing its campaign confirms that those who are most happy with Bush’s pandering are those most likely to vote for him anyway.

But GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted a survey for Log Cabin, said that only 3 percent of likely voters consider marriage an important election issue, and that four out of five who back a constitutional amendment already support Bush. "The people it matters most to in terms of banning gay marriage, he has them," Fabrizio said.

But the president could be hurt among the 25 percent of gays who, according to 2000 exit polls, said they voted for him.

We are told that Bush is in total charge of his campaign. If so, then the political mastermind botched this one. He has put himself in a box on this, since the far-right base as evidenced by Gary Bauer now expects Bush to act on this call for an amendment. If Bush follows through, he pleases the base and loses the LCR and any semblance of being a compassionate conservative, and will risk more ads from the LCR and energized opposition from the gay community. Yes, there are more far-right votes in his base that gay votes, but in a close election every block counts.

Polls indicate that since Bush’s announcement, support for civil unions has rebounded, as has support for allowing each state to decide for itself rather than amending a ban into the Constitution.

Nice work George.

Steve :: 7:05 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!