Where Have All the Conservatives Gone — Long Time Passing

Written by Laurie Higgins

Over the weekend, former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman under the Bush administration, Ken Mehlman, publicly confirmed what had long been rumored: He identifies as homosexual.

On the Sunday morning Chris Matthews Show, Reihan Salam, writer for National Review, expressed the troubling but not surprising truth that the conservative movement is being undermined by “elitists” within the movement:

RNC former chairman, Ken Mehlman, coming out of the closet reveals a big divide between elite Republicans, a lot of whom are donating to the cause of same-sex marriage, and a base that is absolutely unreconciled to same-sex marriage. And this is going to be a huge divide for Republicans for a least a decade.

Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, made an even more troubling statement:

[Mehlman’s] conservative credentials are impeccable….”

If same-sex marriage and homosexuality-affirmation now constitute conservative impeccability, we’re in big trouble.

In his “coming out” interview with The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, Mehlman exposes how his sexual predilections have influenced and continue to influence his efforts to undermine conservative political positions:

[Mehlman will be participating] in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.

Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for civil unions and told of how, in private discussions with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage….

He said that he “really wished” he had come to terms with his sexual orientation earlier, “so I could have worked against [the Federal Marriage Amendment]” and “reached out to the gay community in the way I reached out to African Americans.”

He said that he plans to be an advocate for gay rights within the GOP…. “What I will try to do is to persuade people, when I have conversations with them, that it is consistent with our party’s philosophy, whether it’s the principle of individual freedom, or limited government, or encouraging adults who love each other and who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other to get married. I hope that we, as a party, would welcome gay and lesbian supporters. I also think there needs to be, in the gay community, robust and bipartisan support [for] marriage rights.”

…Chad Griffin, the California-based political strategist who organized opposition to Proposition 8, said that Mehlman’s quiet contributions to the American Foundation for Equal Rights are “tremendous,” adding that “when we achieve equal equality, he will be one of the people to thank for it.” Mehlman has become a de facto strategist for the group, and he has opened up his rolodex — recruiting, as co-hosts for the AFER fundraiser: Paul Singer, a major Republican donor, hedge fund executive, and the president of the Manhattan Institute; Benjamin Ginsberg, one of the GOP’s top lawyers; Michael Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission; and two former GOP governors, William Weld of Massachusetts and Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey.

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award winning writer of “Milk,” said, “Ken represents an incredible coup for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

Recent articles warn about the serious problems that infect conservatism, which has stood as a bastion against the radical, pernicious movement to normalize homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder.

World Net Daily’s editor, Joseph Farah, laments recent events, including Ann Coulter’s decision to speak at GOProud’s “Homocon”:

[M]any self-proclaimed “conservatives” have already betrayed their cause of preserving the most important institution to any civilized or self-governing society, while others are treating marriage as if it’s just another issue on which good people can disagree.

That’s the capitulation I see since the recent arrival on the scene by a well-funded group called GOProud, which bills itself as a “gay” conservative organization.…

GOProud claims to be conservative, but it’s not.  It’s conning the conservative movement – or what is rapidly becoming the formerly conservative movement.

What does GOProud stand for? Hate-crime laws, open homosexuality in the U.S. military, non-discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendereds in any workplace, tax code changes to protect “domestic partnerships,” expansion of health-care benefits to “domestic partners,” the expansion of U.S. military operations to force other countries to legalize sodomy, federal perks for people based on their sexual proclivities and, of course, same-sex marriage….

As GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron explained in a Twitter posting of 4:04 p.m. Aug. 4, just before announcing his big Coulter coup: “We are a gay organization, we only work on gay issues, we have never claimed otherwise. My God people.”

The real goal of GOProud is infiltration and subversion of the conservative movement – and it is highly successful in its early efforts. It is softening up the movement that has provided much of the opposition to the very non-conservative agenda of the homosexual rights movement….

Even more shocking is how few name-brand conservatives are speaking out on this outrage.

Where are the pro-family organizations? Why are they so quiet? Where are the other celebrity conservatives? Why aren’t they speaking out? Where are the Christian leaders? Why does it take a lifelong journalist, a newsman, a pundit, to point out what’s happening here?

Is it because others are afraid of the wrath that comes with disagreeing with the celebrity conservatives? Is that what this movement has become? If so, the homo con has already succeeded. The conservatives have caved. It has been seduced by a small band of well-heeled homosexuals and intimidated by loud-mouthed allies.

Joe Carter, web editor of the First Things blog, First Thoughts, asks why conservatives tolerate this kind of betrayal:

[W]hile social conservatives were giving money to the RNC to support the cause of traditional marriage, the chairman was working in secret to undermine the effort…. why do we continue to financially support institutions that actively work to undermine our values? How long will we let the minority within the conservative movement treat the majority like chumps before we say, “No more”?

I don’t suspect that more than a handful of prominent conservatives will chastise Mehlman for his duplicity, but I hope I’m wrong.

Matthew Franck and Gwen Brown writing on Public Discourse echo concerns about the fear of conservatives to respond adequately to the cultural assault on truth:

A CNN/Gallup poll released on August 11 found that 52% of respondents supported and only 46% opposed same-sex marriage—a result widely trumpeted as the first time a majority expressed this view. But in an important finding, a North Carolina firm called Public Policy Polling discovered that its method of automated polling or “robo-calls,” in which respondents interact on their phone with a computer-controlled interview system rather than a human interviewer, yields significantly higher numbers of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage.
…Using this same system, Public Policy Polling…found in a poll released on August 13 that a mere 33% of respondents favored same-sex marriage, while a full 57% opposed it. (This is a result the firm’s head deplored, but defended as accurate nonetheless.)

What’s going on here? If we take both polls as accurate, each in its own way, then we can say that one-tenth (or more) of Americans oppose same-sex marriage but are extremely hesitant to say so to another person, even a stranger conducting a telephone survey. Yet they will express their disapproval in the complete anonymity of a “robo-call” survey—or, from what we have seen so far, the voting booth.

This finding shows that while support for conjugal marriage is widespread, it is also fragile and falling victim to a phenomenon known among public opinion researchers as the “spiral of silence.” The late German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann coined this phrase, and used it as the title of a book 30 years ago. W. Phillips Davison summarized her theory as follows:

Most people are able to estimate (although not always correctly) what majority opinion is on most issues, or whether a particular opinion on an issue is gaining or losing ground. Those who see their own views as becoming more widely accepted tend to voice these views in public, and with increasing confidence. Those whose opinions seem to be losing ground are reluctant to speak out. The silence of the “losers,” in turn, increases the confidence of the other side. Finally, only a hard core is willing to defend the minority opinion in public.

… The conformity of crowd behavior has been observed almost as long as there have been crowds, and, for most people, the smaller and weaker one feels one’s own position to be, the harder it is to maintain it.

…There can be little doubt that the dominant institutions in the American news media—the leading newspapers, magazines, and television network news divisions—have been at work for years in framing the question of same-sex marriage in ways that advantage its advocates. In the dominant media “frame,” for instance, it is always the opponents (and never the supporters) of same-sex marriage who are described as employing the controversy as a “wedge issue,” the implicit moral judgment being that those who push such controversies to the forefront are being divisive and working to destroy the harmony of the American community by pitting neighbor against neighbor. The advocates of same-sex marriage are never described in similarly loaded language, although the radicalism of the proposition that men can marry men and women can marry women is self-evident.

The danger for traditional marriage’s defenders, then, is that media framing of an issue can, over time, push many Americans into a “spiral of silence,” in which they will first…publicly [suppress] their opinion that there is “something wrong” with same-sex marriage, then prevaricate even with strangers surveying them on the phone, and finally acquiesce, however reluctantly, in a fait accompli foisted on them as a “constitutional right” by activist judges.

Franck, Brown, and Farah point to the pride and fear that so consume conservatives that they would allow elementary school children to be exposed to resources that affirm homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder as normal and moral rather than risk being falsely labeled “homophobic bigots.”

Many purported conservatives, including self-avowed Christians, refuse to publicly oppose civil unions and legalized same-sex marriage—even in conversations initiated by liberal friends, neighbors, or colleagues—because they don’t like conflict.

In addition to the closely entwined motivators of pride and fear is the other problem of increasing ignorance. Conservatives are being duped by the specious arguments and outright lies of the homosexuality-affirming movement.

Here are just a few of the radical, unproven, destructive lies that conservatives are either accepting as true or that conservatives consider less important than preserving reputations, friendships, positions, peace, unity, or comfort:

• Science has proven that homosexuality is 100% heritable.

• Homosexuality is ontologically analogous to race.

• Disapproval of homosexual practice constitutes hatred of persons.

• Disordered sexual desire is constitutive of identity.

• No one can experience an eradication or diminution of same-sex attraction.

• The presence of same-sex attraction renders volitional same-sex practice moral.

• The legalization of same-sex marriage will not affect either marriage or society.

• The redefinition of marriage is a civil right.

• The redefinition of marriage will not lead ineluctably to the legalization of plural marriages.

• Homosexual couples—who are by design sterile—have a right to acquire children.

• Homosexual couples have an inherent right to create deliberately motherless or fatherless children.

• Children don’t need or have a self-evident, inalienable right to be raised when possible by the biological parents who produced them.

• Either mothers or fathers are expendable.

• Widespread cultural affirmation of homosexuality will not further undermine First Amendment speech rights.

• Widespread cultural affirmation of homosexuality will not further undermine religious liberty (Even former Georgetown University law professor and current EEOC member, lesbian Chai Feldblum, affirms that the “rights” of homosexuals should and will trump religious liberty.)

• The legalization of same-sex marriage is not a central, “existential” political issue (Only the abortion holocaust is a more critical, existential issue than marriage and the natural family).

• The affirmation or embrace of homosexuality by teachers, legislators, and judges is irrelevant.

• One can be a Christian while embracing and affirming homosexual practice.

• Society has an obligation to provide to homosexual couples through civil unions the same benefits it provides married heterosexual couples.

• Homosexuals will be satisfied with civil unions.

All of these are dangerous fictions that conservatives must oppose with the same boldness, vigor, and conviction with which the other side advances them. We must do so without regard to personal comfort or our desire to “fit in” and be liked—which are manifestations of pride and cowardice. We must not exploit the rationalization that peace and unity demand our silence or acquiescence, for truth trumps even those. We must begin to treat conservative beliefs about homosexuality as if they are objective, immutable, transcendent truths—which, of course, they are.