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Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2009

AN ABSURD LITMUS TEST.... The 2012 elections are obviously very far away, but Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman certainly seems to be running for president. This week, he's making campaign stops appearances in three key Michigan counties over five days.

It would have been four counties, but one of them refuses to listen to what Huntsman has to say. He'd already been invited to speak in Kent County, but then local GOP activists learned Huntsman supports civil unions.

Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R), seen by many as a potential top-tier presidential candidate in 2012, has been uninvited from a local Michigan Republican club after announcing his support for civil unions between gay couples.

Huntsman is touring Michigan this week and stopping at several county party events as he slowly raises his national profile. But the Kent County Republican Party this week canceled Huntsman's appearance, with the county party chairwoman saying his appearance would amount to an abandonment of party principles.

Joanne Voorhees, chairwoman of the party in the Grand Rapids-based county, emailed party members to announce the cancellation of the Saturday fundraiser.

"The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots," Voorhees wrote in an email. "Unfortunately, by holding an event with Gov. Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite."

The Campaign for Michigan Families, an anti-gay group in the state, applauded the decision and encouraged other county Republican Parties in Michigan to also disinvite Huntsman.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about an event to deliver an endorsement. Huntsman -- a conservative Republican governor from a conservative Republican state -- just wanted to stop by and talk to these folks. But since he supports civil unions -- not marriage equality, just civil unions -- they don't even want Huntsman to walk in the door.

This really isn't healthy.

Republicans in Kent County, Michigan, might want to consider a more open-minded approach. In 2004, George W. Bush won the country by 55,000 votes. Four years later, Barack Obama narrowly won the same county.

If local GOP leaders don't even want to be in the same room as a Republican who supports civil unions, this is likely to get worse.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

... this is likely to get worse.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Posted by: bleh on April 29, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Good. Let them continue to be stupid, narrow-minded bigots with small brains. The more they paint themselves into a corner, the better will be the victory in 2010 when we get rid of them completely.

Just remember: "the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies."

Posted by: TCinLA on April 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Didja ever notice that when a Republican says "return to our roots" it always involves some non inclusive religious based hate/ intolerance meme that has carried them to victory before. Where's my Confederate flag?

Posted by: John R on April 29, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I met and spoke with Huntsman a couple of times back in 1991 or 1992, when I still lived in Salt Lake City. He seemed a decent man. Good Mormon, though. He was one of the group pushing for the Winter Olympics in SLC, and his foundation actually gave money to non-Mormon charities.

I'd never vote for him, but he'd be a lot better than most Repubs that come to mind.

Posted by: Michael W on April 29, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, a reasonable person when he finds himself in a hole, stops digging. It's been a long time since we could apply the term reasonable to the Republican party and the way they seem determined to keep digging might at least make it easier to undo the damage created by Republican policy.

Posted by: Dave on April 29, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP pup tent is shrinking even more. Are they trying for single digits in party identification?

Posted by: BH on April 29, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

A potential candidate for public office who may be suspected of possibly being marginally acceptable to non-Republicans is obviously the wrong kind of potential candidate. It's the 'itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny tent' model of politics.

Posted by: MattF on April 29, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hoot smal-ly, and bury a rig schtick.

Posted by: JM on April 29, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

These far-right Republicans - the ones who make up the unmovable '28%-ers' - are becoming increasingly scarier.

They brook no dissent, they circle the wagons, and lambast anyone who ventures outside of their approved viewpoints.

I fear that one day we're going to see what happens when their boiling pot runs over the edge, when they feel (more than they currently do) that 'the man' is coming for them. There will be shootouts, explosions, perhaps a coordinated effort to 'take back the country.' This is not some conspiracy--these people feel so powerless when not in power (imagine that)--that they may well become too extreme. Then what?

Posted by: terraformer on April 29, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we need to start referring to the Repubs as "Pups"; as in "pup tent".

Posted by: artsmith on April 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK
I'd never vote for him, but he'd be a lot better than most Repubs that come to mind.

Which is why he's more dangerous than any of them. I hope the activist loons insure that he's incapable of winning the nomination.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 29, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

What's interesting is that many who oppose marriage equality argue that civil unions should "be enough." Yet when push comes to shove they oppose civil unions too.

Posted by: Mike on April 29, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I usually just refer to them as "assholes."

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on April 29, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Aparently the GOP has mistaken the scoring in politics for the scoring in golf. The lower the better.
I for one, support them in this tactic and wish them all the best in distilling the GOP message down to its key initiatives.
We in the DNC will gladly take all those unnecessary voters.

Posted by: cboas on April 29, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

them dutch calvinists'll nail you to teh gay cross while tryin' to sell you their amway products... what a bunch of maroons...

Posted by: neill on April 29, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

'What's interesting is that many who oppose marriage equality argue that civil unions should "be enough."'

and yet here in vermont, when we asked if anyone with a marriage license would be willing to trade it in for a civil union license, we had no takers. could it be that they don't really believe what they're saying?

Posted by: just bill on April 29, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Huntsman and Crist are the two best potential national candidates the republicans have. luckily for Obama and the democrats the republicans and their crazy base don't realize this.

Posted by: Pindar on April 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Before too long the GOP pup tent will have shrunk to a decrepit, rain-rotted cardboard refrigerator box in an abandoned trailer park, with faded pictures of Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, and James Dobson torn from Parade magazine taped to an interior wall. Tim Lahaye's entire Left Behind oevre is neatly stacked in one corner under a small plastic figure of Jesus. The man pacing back and forth just outside the box will be gaunt, wild-eyed, and will keep stabbing his finger in the air while making a telling philosophical point in his own mind. The woman hiding back in the far depths of the box will be clutching a Bible, gently humming and rocking back and forth with a beatific smile on her face.

Posted by: bluestatedon on April 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

If it isn't the 'civil union' litmus test, it would be some other element of ideological purity that would be invoked to shrink the Repugs even further. Pretty soon the GOP will be able to have a national convention in a motel room. Motel 6 comes to mind.

Huntsman, as a Mormon, has the same problem as Romney, but Huntsman seems like an intelligent guy who, while too conservative for me by far, makes an effort to deal with reality.

If the Repubs insist on becoming a religion, or a cult, with infallible dogma, and loyalty oaths, then maybe they'll make the terror watch list when they begin advocating violent overthrow of the government they only hate when they don't control it.


Posted by: rRk1 on April 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I guess that should be "oeuvre."

Posted by: bluestatedon on April 29, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

You really think these mouth breathers know the difference between civil unions and gay marriage?
They don't.
They just know they're ascairt.

Posted by: Cazart on April 29, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

"The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots," Voorhees wrote in an email.

Let me guess; the "roots" in question are... turnips?

Posted by: exlibra on April 29, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Again, the governor of friggin' Utah is getting shunned? I predict that the GOP membership will be reduced to people living on militia compounds by the end of the year.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 29, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK
luckily for Obama and the democrats the republicans and their crazy base don't realize this.

It's not even that so much as that they don't care. They take Satan's position- better to reign in Hell (the rump wingnut GOP) than serve in Heaven (a successful party not totally controlled by them.)

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 29, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, exlibra. Don't knock turnips. I actually quite like them, if they're served properly. ;)

Posted by: Michael W on April 29, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Which is why he's more dangerous than any of them."

Oh God, it's four months in and some Democrats already have the panic mentality about potential future candidates. Buck up soldier! Nevermind that the same thing was stated about Huckabee in an open election and the guy didn't make it past McCain.

This is a governor from a sparsely populated, bright red state who simply by dint of a semi-sane position on civil unions is scary? What's his national constituency? Where's his support? The South didn't support Romney in part because he's a Mormon -- you think this guy gets a pass?

Obama will be an incumbent in 2012. He will, hopefully, have a string of successes he can point to -- and if he does, it won't matter who the Republicans will run. If he doesn't have a string of successes, it won't matter either because then the Republicans will have a shot.

Posted by: Jay B. on April 29, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious, the last line of defense for Jebus. What a joke the cons have become!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on April 29, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

If local GOP leaders don't even want to be in the same room as a Republican who supports civil unions, this is likely to get worse.

Yes it is, and we should remember what Mr. Gilliard said about anvils. Now hush.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 29, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"This really isn't healthy"

But it IS healthy. This is a diseased and rotting institution dying off. Years ago when the Republican Party sold its soul to the Christian right and Limbaugh they sealed their fate. By each day the Republican Party is appearing more and more Nazi-esque. I hate to say it, but I fear we will see some nasty and brutal events at the hands of these people as they realize more and more how marginalized they have become. The only thing keeping them afloat is that they are devoted to their media mouthpieces and there's profit for the corporate ownership. The day advertising revenue drop we will see the bottom fall out completely on them.

Now, the healthiest thing is let the Republican Party atrophy into a fringe party and pave the way for a viable new institution to spring up.

Posted by: Saint Zak on April 29, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Do you suppose they are also uninviting Jesus from their churches because he is unwilling to support torture?

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 29, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK
Oh God, it's four months in and some Democrats already have the panic mentality about potential future candidates.

Oh, shove it. Nobody's panicking, moron. It's elementary prudence to be aware of who your most formidable future opponents may be. Complacency is never a recipe for lasting success.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 29, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

What's interesting is that many who oppose marriage equality argue that civil unions should "be enough."

Sadly, one of the anti-gay-marriage arguments that worked here in California is that because we have a domestic partnership registry that gives a few legal rights similar to marriage, gay people had something that was just like marriage (except for not having all of the same legal benefits) so therefore the only reason they could have for wanting to get married was to wreck the institution from the inside. I could easily see civil unions becoming a similar roadblock.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 29, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

If it wasn't for his support for camel-nose civil unions, I'd be glad to get behind Huntsman-Palin in 2012! (Gotta love his name.)
BTW "Operation Leper" is still going strong, no matter what you hear from the drive-by media.

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies.

This is way over the line. You want to reconsider?
Or are you a mirror image of the hatred you claim to oppose?

Posted by: joel hanes on April 29, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

The 'Reagan coalition' is officially dead. The bargin made between libertarians and the religious right that brought us the 'Reagan revolution' has officially come to close. The libertarians are leaving/being forced out of the Republican party.

Unfortunately they are now joining the Democratic party (Hi Arlen) and are increasingly pulling Dems away from their progressive base.

Posted by: thorin-1 on April 29, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
Joanne Voorhees, chairwoman of the party in the Grand Rapids-based county, emailed party members to announce the cancellation of the Saturday fundraiser. "The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots," Voorhees wrote in an email.

And what the hell makes Joanne think that, as a woman, she has a right to vote? Sounds like that group really needs to do some soul-searching if it really wants to get back to its roots.

I'm also not sure I approve her dutch roots either.

Posted by: inkadu on April 29, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I challenge every heteroprivileged married person out there who truly thinks civil unions are "goood enough" to trade in their marriage certificate for a civil union registration.

Any takers? Anyone? ...hello? Is this thing on?

**crickets**

Posted by: Keori on April 29, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Circling the wagons is bad enough, but when you open fire on the chuckwagon the show is over for sure.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 29, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Any takers? Anyone? ...hello? Is this thing on?

Well, I'm not married, but I really wouldn't care whether my government-issued certificate said "civil union" or "marriage". I could get a marriage certificate from whatever church performed the marriage.
Not sure why you think it would be so awful or unacceptable, but a self-serving comment certainly doesn't prove anything.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 29, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and when I say a civil union vs. a marriage certificate, I'm assuming that they would both represent all of the same rights and privileges--not using it as a way to deny equal rights.
I'm with those who think that the term "marriage" belongs in the religious realm, and that we should take the semantics off the table when it comes to government recognition of unions between two people.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

"because we [in California] have a domestic partnership registry that gives a few legal rights similar to marriage..."

I support gay marriage, but registered domestic partners in California DO have all the state-granted legal rights (and responsibilites) that married people do.

BTW, gay people married here or elsewhere will NOT get federal marriage rights due to DOMA.

As to the idiocy of the Republican'ts, I think Reagan's so-called "big" tent was a pup tent to begin with (he certainly didn't invite union members in, or environmentalists) but it must have been made of wool knit and since Sunny Ronnie's day it's been sloshing around in a washing machine in hot water with PLENTY of bleach.

AND I'm with Allan Snyder: make up a word that isn't "marriage" to designate the legal relationship ("matrimony" maybe) and leave "marriage" to the religious (Although don't they term the "sacrament" "holy matrimony?") Maybe what we need is a word not based on Latin.

Separation of church and state -- it COULD work.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 29, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I support gay marriage, but registered domestic partners in California DO have all the state-granted legal rights (and responsibilites) that married people do.

Well, yes, that was my point -- the Prop 8 proponents pointed to our domestic partnership registry and claimed that it was just as good as marriage, even though all of its protections disappear as soon as you cross the state line.

Not to mention that there are some horror stories of people who are legally registered domestic partners and were still refused things like being able to make medical decisions for their incapacitated partner since they're not "really" the next-of-kin.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 29, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

@joel hanes: My sentiments exactly. We can't stoop to their level.

Posted by: Kris on April 29, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and when I say a civil union vs. a marriage certificate, I'm assuming that they would both represent all of the same rights and privileges--not using it as a way to deny equal rights.

You'd be assuming wrong. There are literally hundreds of specific legal rights conferred by marriage and not by civil unions. Why do you think people are fighting for the equal application of marriage laws?

I support gay marriage, but registered domestic partners in California DO have all the state-granted legal rights (and responsibilites) that married people do.

Which would be great if a) federal laws weren't also at issue here and b) people in domestic partnerships never wanted to venture outside of California.

Posted by: shortstop on April 29, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

As the auto companies go down and unemployment skyrockets, it'll be anybody but Obama in 2012, if he doesn't resign before then.

It's the economy, stupid.

Posted by: Luther on April 29, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I was born and raised in Kent County, MI. Grand Rapids, to be specific. There are a disheartening number of new stories originating in my home town that make me wince.

I'm glad I live in Portland, OR, these days.

Posted by: Dan B on April 29, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Mnemosyne and shortstop.

Domestic partnerships (or in Hawaii, reciprocal beneficiaries) do not confer legal kinship. There are two ways to be declared legally related, and those are by virtue of a blood tie, or by a legal declaration of marriage or adoption. Domestic partners are NOT legally related, and so any rights or protections based on kinship can be challenged at any time on that basis. Hawaii couples under RBs do not have access to family courts, the state does not mandate equal access to marital benefits such as insurance, and healthcare decisions and hospital visitation are subject to the whims of whomever is on duty. Spouses cannot be legally denied entrance or information about their loved ones in a hospital. DPs/RBs can and are. Despite the medical POA my partner was denied entrance and information when I was injured in a car accident and was in the ER because she isn't legally my next of kin. The same thing has happened in California and New Jersey to couples who had DPs or civil unions - any spousal-type relationship other than marriage is not typically understood, and most people don't have the money to keep an attorney on retainer to come running and set things right.

Not to mention that having to fill in "civil union" or "domestic partner" in any paperwork requiring a disclosure of marital status automatically outs you, putting you at risk of discrimination and unequal treatment.

So anyone who thinks that civil unions, domestic partnerships, and RBs are "good enough" or are "just like marriage" - they aren't. As I've demonstrated, Allan Snyder, semantics ARE everything. The devil is in the details for those of us stuck in a second-class, separate and unequal, piecemeal rights ghetto. So feel free to take your straight privilege cookie and shove it.

Posted by: Keori on April 29, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like lately the GOP is doing everything they can to be on the wrong side of history-- defending torture, rejecting anyone who doesn't openly disapprove of the existence of gay people.

The most recent poll has support for same-sex marriage at 44%. Combine that with the people who support civil unions and that accounts for well over 50% of the country. Not that "majority rules" applies when it comes to civil rights, but they're losing this argument more and more everyday. I'm starting to think (and hope) that same-sex marriage will not be like the abortion issue-- it will not hang around for decades as a major wedge issue.

This is very personal for me. My partner and I have been together for over 10 years, married for almost 7 years (a non-legal ceremony in front of family and friends, followed by a honeymoon, etc.) and if you had told me on my wedding day that we'd be able to get legally married before we were old and grey I wouldn't have believed you. America is coming around so much faster than I ever could have dreamed or imagined.

Posted by: zoe kentucky from pittsburgh on April 29, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

"the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies."

Here in Kent County, that's descriptive rather than prescriptive--the current crop of Republican leaders (the DeVos/Prince family, for example) must be making Arthur Vanderberg and Jerry Ford weep in heaven . . .

Posted by: rea on April 30, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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