We're about to see if that is really really true.
The Republican Party has some identity crises over the years. Believe it or not, there was a time when the Democrats were socially conservative and the R's were socially liberal, such as the "nation building" of Korea and Vietnam. (History lesson: when the D's started moving away from their hard lines when Truman desegregated the armed forces, several D's didn't want that and broke away, forming the Dixiecrats. When they realized they were useless, they jumped to the R's since they were shifting to the right to counter the inroads on the left the D's were making, resulting in the R's reputation as racist, socially backward assholes.) The back and forth manifested in small ways that those who held the R's as the way things ought to be could ignore it. For example, Barry Goldwater, the "architect" of the Republican Revolution in 1964, thought banning gays from the military was a stupid idea. He didn't explain it philosophically, either. He was asked about banning gays, and he flat out stated, "Well, that's just stupid!" No spin, no outs in case of controversy, nothing the least bit ambiguous about his stance. And I'll bet, until I mentioned it here, most of you didn't know about it.
In many ways, the R's have become like a Christian church -- everybody knows what those in power says should be how things are, but those a part of it reject many of those ideas. They are there for a basic reason and will gladly disregard things that don't have any further explanation than, "Because we said so." This has become most apparent when it comes to gay rights. The Log Cabin Republicans, for example, are openly gay R's who stand up for the party's platform of fiscal responsibility. When Shrub was running for President, Veep nominee Dick Cheney spoke long and hard about how the Republican party was willing to welcome anyone, and to prove his point, brought his openly gay activist daughter, Mary Cheney, on stage with him to share the spotlight. There was a collective gasp when that happened. After all, the R's spent most of the recent years saying gays were evil, a defect of nature, had no basic rights, and so on. Still, from the standpoint of hope, it was a pretty gutsy move, not hiding someone who generally works against your own party and in fact making sure everyone knew about her.
In many ways, the R's are talking to themselves, thinking that the support they get is validation of their social beliefs when they don't realize the voters are just using them. The voters want certain things to happen and think the R's have the best chance of making that come about. The Tea Partiers are a good example. R's who courted them to get into office and stay there are now finding this group wasn't a fan club, they wanted actual results and they goddamn well better deliver or they'll vote against them next time. All the while telling themselves the support comes from everyone thinking how wonderful their platform is (witness the annoyance of R supporters over the stalling on the congressional budget. They aren't heaping all the blame on Obama, they are also blaming the R's for playing politics and cutting deals).
The 2008 election was the most interesting election I ever saw. It was the era when the Digital Generation first made their presence felt. People for whom the Internet has been a part of their everyday lives, who couldn't remember a time when it didn't exist, came of age and were eligible to vote. The result is history was made: the first black President of the United States. This was something hinted at with Howard Dean -- he had huge support from the Netizens, but there weren't enough of them to overcome his celebratory behavior that killed his campaign. However, the Digital Generation, like all collectives of people, exhibit certain behaviors, and political scientists have had four years to see what makes them tick, what they will respond to, and how to harness that energy into a controllable force of nature.
One of the side effects of the Digital Generation is that others saw how they organized, how they worked, and started mimicking them. The Tea Parties are simply the tactics of the Digital Generation with a different goal. R's anxious for support didn't get it and started courting them.
In doing so, they have opened themselves up to having their socially outdated biases and bullshit thrown in the trash.
New York is in the middle of a hotly contested election season, and the R's are getting sizable contributions. But as with all political contributions, these are expected to get certain results. And those results? They are pushing for New York to legalize gay marriage.
That sound you hear is the Republicans shitting themselves. They've taken contributions for all kinds of things that violate their platform before. And they know their intolerant bullshit is a political liability. And now, if they accept these contributions, what will they do?
This isn't just some group working to make this happen, by the way. NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg is donating $100K of his own money to campaigns supporting gay marriage in New York, hosted a fund raiser, and went to Albany to lobby lawmakers. Paul E. Singer is a hedge fund manager and one of the biggest R donors. He's giving money to support gay marriage. Two other financiers with long ties to the R's, Steven A. Cohen and Clifford S. Asness, are also giving money and expecting it to open the door to legal gay marriage in New York.
What's going to happen? I don't know. Gay marriage is still a hot button issue. Iowa threw out a bunch of justices just because they didn't like how they ruled on gay marriage. Proposition 8 is still being considered for retrial because the judge of the case was gay (if you are wondering why gays still closet themselves, there you go). After all the bleating about family values, the R's find the people that they listen to and count on to keep their phony baloney jobs are pushing an agenda they don't want to support. They've let it be known they can be bought -- they are politicians, after all -- but now they are being bought to do something they might not want to do.
Do they want the money or don't they?
Will they support the people's agenda? Or will they saw screw the people and support their own agenda?
I'll be watching the New York returns to find out.