Political Animal


April 11, 2012 10:04 AM Plague Ship

By Ed Kilgore

Two items in the news really do provide for an interesting contrast. On the one hand, Politico’s Alexander Burns reports that it’s a big development that Brian Brown, president of the virulently anti-same-sex-marriage group the National Organization for Marriage, is now signalling the group will endorse Mitt Romney.

Says Burns:

[O]ne of the most urgent tasks facing Romney is consolidating support among social conservatives and somehow getting them excited about his nomination. While he may have a ways to go in terms of firing up the base, it’s a welcome development for Romney that a group like NOM is already prepared to get on board with him publicly, and that an activist like Brown is forcefully making the case that an Obama-Romney race demands intense engagement from cultural conservatives.

The timing of this acquisition of support by Romney may be less than ideal, however. NOM has been in all sorts of hot water over leaked documents revealing a cynical strategy to “wedge” racial minorities from supporters of same-sex marriage. Just today, the NOM web site and Twitter feed started featuring apologetic messages about the strategy and other NOM practices; it could be a sign of internal dissension or just of a hacker. The NOM site is currently “down for maintenance.”

Not sure the U.S.S. Mitt really wants to be boarded by sailors from this plague ship at this particular moment.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Danp on April 11, 2012 10:22 AM:

    If endorsements by Donald Trump or Ted Nugent didn't sink him, this won't hurt. At least people heard of Trump/Nugent. NOM is more like Kobach or Bolton.

  • Ron Byers on April 11, 2012 10:22 AM:

    The longer Mitt buys into the notion that he has to "fire up" the base the better. The Republican base isn't big enough to win and they aren't going to vote for Obama anyway. Romney needs to go after all the people the base has worked so hard to alienate. Remaining absorbed with the base merely insures the President's reelection.

    Romney needs to pull out his Etch a Sketch and start drawing.

    It isn't going to happen. Mitt has the single worst political staff ever paid big bucks. Those guys and gals are responsible for many of his screwups and probably should all be fired. They all watch Fox News and are unable to understand that the Fox Nation is not that big.

    By the way, I am not complaining. I think watching a major political party commit ritual suicide is fun.

  • berttheclock on April 11, 2012 10:26 AM:

    Did not know NOM's HQ is in Sarai. How apt. The plague to the Pharoah due to Sarai, the wife of Abram and the black plague moving westward from Sarai.

  • Al on April 11, 2012 10:28 AM:

    The GOP is the party of the big tent so it's natural that Romney would get endorsements from many different organizations.

  • RepublicanPointOfView on April 11, 2012 10:30 AM:

    Nothing says inclusiveness (or is more likely to fire up the low information and theocratic bases) than a large amount of LBGT hate and working to start race wars!

  • slappy magoo on April 11, 2012 10:36 AM:

    I'm not sure I agree or disagree with Ron Byers above. I think the RMoney campaign feels it needs to...not "shore up" the base, but "make its bones" with the base, still prove that Mitt is one of them, before they can go after Middle America. The base demands it, because they think they ARE middle America, common sense, git-r-done salt-of-the-Earth people politicians better ass-kiss or face their wrath. So Romney needs all the right-wing endorsements he can get - not just to ensure the base's appetites for someone who really reflects their values are sated, but because the plan in the general is to duck left and feint right on campaign issues. In other words, Mitt's team isn't going to try to convince the unconvinced "Sure, I kowtow to these knuckleheads over on the right, but I'm one of YOUUUUUU...REALLLLLY." No, that dog stopped hunting long before the Etch-A-Sketch comment. The SNL sketch this week was pretty brutal, and apt. Now, the plan is to pick some positions and try to stick with them come hell or high water, which means the general election plan is to try to convince the real Middle America that all these plans policies that f*** them over are exactly the kinds of ideas we need to get America moving in the "right" direction again. You see Republicans voting against their better interests all the time, we can make fun of it all we want but the GOP is pretty effective at that kind of horsecrap. And that's the date they're gonna bring to the dance, the pampered Mormon Prince Mitt doing his best Obi-Wan, telling the uncommitted voters "Obamacare is not the healthcare plan you were looking for...Big Business can go about its business...move along."

    It's an awful plan, representing all the worst that people who care about American politics can see in a campaign. And it's also their best shot, and they know it. It's why you see Paul Ryan touting his non-existent plan and insisting it has bipartisan support. it's why you see male Republican leaders insisting they don't have a problem with women voters and using the name of Republican female politicians as examples of people who don't believe there's a problem with female voters...WHEN MANY OF THOSE FEMALE GOP POLITICIANS HAVE PUBLICLY STATED THEIR CONTEMPT WITH THE GOP'S WAR ON WOMEN. Just keep insisting up is down and the Dow won't go up with Obama as President (psst! It has! A LOT!) until everyone believes it...
    Or as I often put it - A Republican's claims never have to be true. They just have to be MADE, and the party and the media will do the rest.

    here's hoping it doesn't work. November can't come soon enough

  • boatboy_srq on April 11, 2012 10:38 AM:

    Given LDS positions on LGBT and minority-related issues, and Mitt's rush to the Right to gain support, NOM's endorsement is hardly a surprise.

    Then again, a KKK endorsement would be similarly defensible - and similarly execrable.

    Romney just can't win for losing with friends like Brown.

  • Diane Rodriguez on April 11, 2012 10:38 AM:

    I have seen no indication that Romney will demur in the face of any money or endorsements, regardless of how distasteful. His present kneeling position in slavish devotion to Ryan is a clue to the depths he will plumb. My take is a quick penicillin booster and he welcomes this endorsement.

  • Jamie on April 11, 2012 10:41 AM:

    somehow the lyrics to the song "Ship of Fools"meencyi comes to mind.

  • T2 on April 11, 2012 10:53 AM:

    Romney will get endorsements from Hate groups because they are the base of the Republican Party and he's the party nominee. And he'll be happy to get them because he won't be getting endorsements from anywhere else. In reality, today's GOP is one big Hate group. Ship of Fools......yep, it is.

  • bleh on April 11, 2012 11:08 AM:

    My prediction is that Romney will leave pitching the loonies to surrogates, who are past masters at selling snake oil to the rubes, which he will reinforce with the occasional dog-whistle that they will exploit until it screams. They'll keep up a constant chatter to the Base, explaining that he really is one of them, remember what he said about X and Y, he has to appeal to some of the RINOs to get enough votes to defeat the Usurper, patience is a Biblical virtue, chatter chatter chatter. There are enough "base-only" channels that they can put out this message non-stop and little enough will seep through to the MSM. Meanwhile, Romney reinvents himself as a Compassionate Conservative, or some new brand like that, and the Usual Suspects fall all over themselves to proclaim him a Reasonable Moderate and doesn't that make sense because he's really a businessman and not a politician and all those things he said in the primary were just for primary voters and chatter chatter chatter.

    To sell in two markets, you use different strategies and different channels. It works if you can keep them reasonably separate, and he probably can.

  • Ron Byers on April 11, 2012 11:20 AM:

    bleh, your take is dead on. If this were 2000 it might work. Since then the internet and social media have become an important sources of political information. Even with the active support of the MSM it is increasingly difficult for a candidate like Romney to talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. That is a good thing.

  • POed Lib on April 11, 2012 11:28 AM:

    AA and Latinos are majority cultural conservatives. Of course NOM is working their cultural attitudes to get their support. This is Reason #1 why Prop 8 did not go the way gay activists wanted. THis is not news. THis is old stuff.

  • POed Lib on April 11, 2012 11:31 AM:

    I predict that Obama and the Dems will stay a long, long, long way away from a plank on Marriage Equality. Marriage Equality is a huge electoral loser. It does nothing to gain friends, only is popular for current Obama voters, and is no help in the middle. It will play no part in this election.

  • T2 on April 11, 2012 12:19 PM:

    I think bleh, Byers and POed Lib are all on track. We've all seen this play out before. Rove, Koch's, Armey, Palin etc. will do the heavy lifting for the Hate vote and Romney will be cast as the Businessman Who Will Save Us from Communism. Mitt will smile a lot and say as little as possible.
    My only question: will Mitt Romney ever give a Press Conference so the Media can fawn over him?

  • Marcia on April 11, 2012 12:23 PM:

    Kansas is going ten steps forward on the gay topic: The Kansas House approved a bill that basically allows people to ignore local anti-discrimination ordinances under the guise of following one's religion. The bill is named "KANSAS PRESERVATION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT". Gov. Sam Brownback says he will be proud and happy to sign it into law.

    If a property owner doesn't want to rent to the gay or an employer doesn't want to hire a gay he could refuse claiming religious beliefs.

    Remember gays in Kansas you will always be treated as less-than-equal citizens.

    Between the Kansas social conservative repubs who now control our legislature, Brownback's C Street politics, Koch bros and ALEC politics, Sec. of State Chris Kobach Vote ID law, and NRA "stand your ground" and gun laws, evangelical anti planned parenthood and abortion war on women laws, Norquist anti tax laws, defund education & shit on the poor and ruin the middle class politics; Kansas has become not a state but an evangelical corporation. Meaning this state is good for religion and corporations but not for it's people, especially gays.

  • Doug on April 11, 2012 8:18 PM:

    I disagree on keeping marriage equality out of the Democratic platform. Not because I'm gay, but because there is a very good selling point: the US Armed Forces.
    The plank need say no more than something on the order of:
    "The Democratic Party is committed to seeing that the Federal government does not discriminate against any of its' employees when it comes to the legal rights associated with marriage.
    If two people are legally married, then those two people are entitled to enjoy the benefits that go with that legal status."
    At present there are, I believe, seven jurisdictions that grant marriage licences, regardless of gender. I have little doubt that, just as many service members transfer their "state of record" to states that don't have state income taxes, those wishing to marry their same-sex partners can, and probably will, transfer THEIR state of record to a jurisdiction that permits them to get married.
    Unless, or until, the SC rules that marriage discrimnation is unconstitutional (something I don't see happening yet), states would STILL be allowed to discriminate in this matter. On the other hand, should DoMA be ruled unconstitutional, a much better possibility, the most any state could do is not allow marriage licences to be issued to same-sex couples, while still having to recognize the validity of such marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
    If Republicans are going to lie about Democrats' intentions, and they ARE, then there's no reason NOT to go ahead and put this plank in the platform.