Bad news for Democrats.
Republican nutbags in Weiner’s district may pull off a reverse Hochul. Why? Because of Democrats’ failure to understand that the NY-9 race is very different from the NY-26 race, in which Kathy Hochul upset Jane Corwin by making the election a referendum on Medicare and Paul “Baby Blue Eyes” Ryan’s attempt to figuratively murder your grandma by turning Medicare into a voucher program.
Everybody loves Medicare. Not everybody loves same-sex marriage, and the NY-9 race has become a referendum on same-sex marriage, as evidenced by Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz’s robo-call efforts slamming Democratic candidate Weprin for his pro-same sex marriage stance:
In a phone call going out to Latino households in New York’s 9th congressional district, Democratic state senator Ruben Diaz slams Democratic candidate David Weprin and endorses Republican Bob Turner in Tuesday’s special election.
In the robo-call, sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and recorded in Spanish, Diaz denounces Weprin for his vote for same-sex marriage in June of this year. “David Weprin betrayed New York families when he voted to impose same sex marriage,” Diaz says, according to a translation. “Weprin voted to impose gay marriage against the wishes of our community. Worse, he refused to allow the people of New York to decide this issue by allowing us to vote on marriage, as voters in 31 other states have been able to do. Our families face terrible consequences because of David Weprin. Join me, Democratic state senator Ruben Diaz, in supporting Bob Turner for Congress on September 13.”
The Latino community in New York’s 9th congressional district is sizable and could sway Tuesday’s election. “There are around 100,000 Latinos in the district, of whom 40,000 are registered voters, including 27,000 Democrats, according to U.S. Census data and voter registration data,” City Hall News reported recently. “For context, there are approximately 33,000 registered Jewish Democrats in the district.”
A poll released Sunday night by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed that a plurality of voters in the district oppose same-sex marriage–45% say it should be illegal, 41% say legal, and 14% aren’t sure. While 29% of all likely voters in the district said the issue of same-sex marriage is “very important” in “deciding who to vote for for Congress,” 38% of Hispanic voters said the issue is “very important” to them.
Diaz is not the only Democrat who has crossed party lines to support Republican Bob Turner:
[Weprin] further incensed leaders in the Orthodox Jewish community — usually reliable Democratic votes — by claiming his orthodox faith was a rationale for voting to legalize same-sex marriage. In response, Queens Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, even crossed party lines to endorse Republican Bob Turner.
But New York liberals like Weprin are beginning to see problems arise among other blocs, too. As the New York Times reports, “Larry Yang, the Korean-American owner of a hardware store,” in Queens was opposed to a public advertisement for same-sex weddings in his neighborhood and “many among the large number of Korean-American Christians in Queens felt similarly but feared that if they spoke out they would be demonized by a liberal majority.”
While conservatives have long worried that immigration and changing demographics would harm them politically, social issues may prove to be the wedge that could be the GOP’s saving grace.
“If [the Democrat] loses, it will be because of the demographics,” says Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic consultant.
Here’s the hard truth: When it comes to same sex marriage, the country is not there yet. It simply isn’t. And failing to take into account that not all Democrats are hardline supporters of all progressive causes — in this case, same-sex marriage — will doom Democrats to failure in 2012.
While the media and Professional Left blame what is shaping up to be a loss in NY-9 on Obama and the economy, we mustn’t forget that oftentimes, social issues resonate more loudly with voters than economic issues; it’s why the evangelicals have so much success in whipping up support by yammering on about the evils of aborshun and teh gayz.
When viewed from this perspective, the howling from the left — including Rachel Maddow’s snide (and factually inaccurate) statement that President Obama was “against what just happened” in New York — is that much more ridiculous. When coming out in favor of same-sex marriage can mean the difference between winning reelection and not winning reelection (and ushering 4-8 years of Teabilly Crazy), and when President Obama’s record on LGBTQ issues is as outstanding as it is, I’d much rather have a president who DOES shit than a president who simply SAYS shit.
And, in my view, the third option — Doing and Saying Shit is not feasible — not in this environment.
Yes, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. But, this is a new trend (new, as in “May of this year” new) and the percentage is 53 — only 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. That means almost half the country does not support same sex marriage. 53 percent is not enough, generally, and certainly not enough, specifically, such that President Obama could come out guns blazing in favor of same-sex marriage and not get creamed for it at the ballot box.
As such, I’m fine with President Obama continuing to DO instead of SAY.
You may call it “apologism,” I call it “pragmatism.”
UPDATE: Before this gets any further out of hand: I AM NOT DEFENDING BIGOTRY nor am I saying that Weprin is “insufficiently bigoted.” I am simply pointing out — inartfully perhaps — that the howling by those who would like for Obama to come out and SAY he supports gay marriage ignores that the country as a whole is not there yet, and if Obama were to come out and say he supports gay marriage, it would likely kill his reelection chances. And, given that President Obama has DONE more than any other President to bring about equality for LGBT, I’m ok with President Obama’s current political stance. Would I like for him to come out in support of same-sex marriage? Of course. Would I like him to do so if it meant no actions would be taken to further equality for LGBTQ community (because we’d have a President Perry who wants a marriage amendment to the Constitution)? Absolutely not. My apologies to those who misunderstood me: I am trying to draw a distinction between actions that advance political goals and words that advance political goals when, in light of the political landscape, combining the two isn’t feasible because it would lead to nothing being accomplished in furtherance of the marriage equality goal.
[cross-posted at ABLC]