I may lack the political sophistication to completely understand the ramifications of New York’s same-sex marriage vote last week, but I can recognize a weak rhetorical argument. The Wall Street Journal published a column by conservative Maggie Gallagher in Thursday’s edition in reaction to the vote in Albany.
In a column running next to a conservative voice in favor of same-sex marriage, Gallagher argues three main points. First, the majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. Second, the GOP base will now have a bigger impact in the presidential nominating process because it is fired up. Third, the vote in Albany will hurt NY’s GOP. All three points miss the mark quite convincingly. It must be confusing for a conservative ambivalent on the issue of same-sex marriage to read Ms. Gallagher’s piece and walk away with a conclusion other than, ‘This is not a winning issue.’
Ms. Gallagher’s analysis begins by writing “the majority of Americans continue to oppose same-sex marriage.” Of course, that is true depending on who one believes. Thankfully for her, she believes a poll commissioned by the Alliance Defense Fund. However, polls conducted by the Gallup organization, CNN, ABC News/Washington Post, and Fox News show an American public much less decided on same-sex marriage. And remember, it’s not too difficult to determine that views on same-sex marriage will continue to liberalize. Blame whomever or whatever you want: public schools, political correctness, or weak religious organizations. Same-sex marriage is hurtling toward greater social acceptance.
Secondly, Ms. Gallagher writes that the vote in Albany will “fire up” the GOP base and “it will affect the presidential nomination process, starting with the Iowa caucuses.” She’s so convinced of her point that she predicts Herman Cain’s campaign for the GOP nomination will be stalled because he failed to support a federal marriage amendment at the New Hampshire debate. Wow, what a prediction. Herman Cain will fail to emerge as a “serious contender” for the Republican nomination? That’s pretty farfetched! If the GOP base is fired up it’s because the feckless Obama Administration’s handling of the economy; the fact that a year removed Obama’s “Recovery Summer,” real unemployment is well above ten percent. It’s the economy, stupid.
Third, Gallagher writes “Memo to Empire State Republicans: Abandoning your core values to get elected is wrong.” Memo to Ms. Gallagher: NY’s GOP has been abandoning their core values for awhile now. The same-sex vote in Albany is like the Bruins empty-netter versus the Canucks in game six.
If Maggie Gallagher’s rhetorical failure is the best defense of traditional marriage social conservatives have they may want to head back to the drawing board. Perhaps fire up the War on Christmas stuff again. Or scare people about polyamory. Or how about this for a novel idea: attempt to fix the institution of marriage.