The Antigay Mandate?
Fault lines in the Republican Party
-by David Baake
On Election Day 2004, the Republican Party achieved a major victory, gaining seats in both houses of Congress, and re-electing their president to serve four more years and to appoint up to three new members to an already Republican Supreme Court. In the exit polls, Bush supporters overwhelmingly agreed that there was one major reason that Bush should still be president despite a quagmire in Iraq, a never ending 'war on terror,' and an economy in shambles, this reason was of course, 'moral values.'
Bush's 'moral values' are based on two issues: he is pro-life, and he supports a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriages. Many lower class Americans, especially Catholic Hispanics, voted directly against their economic interests because of these 'values' that are championed by the religious right. The Christian Right, after putting Bush back into office after the most expensive campaigns in history, will demand results. Bush can't allow Roe v. Wade to stand, when he controls all three branches of government, without losing the support of the religious right. Similarly, they will demand more than a symbolic attempt to ban homosexual marriage.
But Bush and the GOP can't realistically accomplish either goal. Even if they have the power in government to do so, which no doubt they do, the majority of Americans still think that think abortions should be legal in some cases (according to "Polling Report," 61% of Americans believe that Roe v Wade ought to be upheld. While that is disturbingly low, it is still a clear majority and the GOP could not win a democratic election if the overturned Roe v Wade.) Also, moderate Republicans such as Arlen Specter are pro-choice and will not allow the Bush administration to fully outlaw abortion. Bush does still cannot conceivably amend the constitution to ban gay marriage, as he would need až of the state governments to ratify the amendment, and it would have to pass both houses of congress with a 2/3 majority. Even with the strong conservative hold on all branches of government, either action is inconceivable.
However, the religious right's hatred of abortion and homosexuals are deep seated, and they're not about to allow their greatest chance perhaps ever to repeal Roe v Wade and ban gay marriage go by. To understand a growing far-right movement that feels the Republican Party has become too 'secular,' I refer you to the website of Michael Peroutka, the Constitutional Candidate for President, at www.godfamilyrepublic.com (Incidentally, his party has nothing to do with the Constitution). Peroutka's platform was very simple and basic, according to his advertisement he would repeal Roe v Wade, deport all foreign immigrants, abolish the IRS and all gun control laws, leave the UN, and illegalize gay marriage. Oddly enough, and despite the Confederate flag on the homepage, Peroutka's campaign was not racist against blacks, indeed, on the homepage is an anecdote of Lance Elliott Griffin, a ' Young Black Man And Former Bush Campaign Worker' who felt abandoned by the vast liberalism that had invaded the Republican Party and decided to join the Peroutka campaign. The Black Commentator, a pro-black magazine, has a word for such African Americans: 'mercenaries.'
Peroutka has an article on his homepage called " President Bush Sticks It To Conservatives Again." The article bemoans President Bush's appointment of 'Guantanamo' Gonzales, the man who called the Geneva Convention 'obsolete' and has encouraged Bush to use torture tactics in the War on Terror, because he is pro-choice and thus far too liberal.
This is where the fault line in the GOP lays: the pro-business corporate wing and the imperialistic neo-cons will not be willing to let Bush take an action that will be so disastrous for their party and their interests, and the social conservatives will not continue to support Bush and the GOP if they don't see action taken. Right now the corporate imperialist agenda is built upon a mandate engineered by the religious extremists and upon the votes of a religious lower class who is continually hurt economically by right wing policy. The GOP cannot continue to win election after election on a phantom-issue; they have got to deliver to what has turned out to be their base, but their base's agenda is still far from mainstream and it could potentially destroy the Republican Party to act based on the wishes of the evangelicals (20% of the electorate.) Either way, Bush stands to lose a major portion of electorate, to the Constitutional Party or some other fascist party if he fails to act on the religious right's prodding, or to the Democrats or Libertarians if he acts against the interests of a democratic majority.
David Baake, 15 years old, is at Lubbock High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.