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Dent in the tent: Tony threatens to grab sleeping bag and go home

by Jeremy Hooper

As predicted, the social conservatives are starting to come out against Michael Steele for, among other things, his quasi-positive comments regarding homosexuality. tony-perkinsThis one comes from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins (or whoever writes his stuff):

Earlier this week in the midst of a number of meetings with congressional leaders, I responded to an invitation to meet with Mr. Steele. During the meeting, I expressed my concerns about dismissive comments he made in previous interviews about the efforts to protect marriage from radical redefinition. He said that as chairman his personal views were subordinate to the Republican platform. Imagine my disappointment just 48 hours later when this story landed on my desk.

This only serves to reinforce the belief by many social conservatives that one major party is unfriendly to their values while the other gives only lip service to core moral issues. If such a visible Republican leader continues in this same vein, I'm sure many more will drop their affiliation with the GOP. The prospects of more social conservatives leaving may excite the "big tenters," but that will only last until they discover the Big Tent is empty.
Steeling the Party [FRC]

Of course Tony's last snarky comment is nonsensical, considering he, as a career, basically tells folks that the "big tent" of both the GOP and society as a whole should only accommodate his "pro-family" values. If a "big tent" truly exists, then one community's mass exodus couldn't possibly empty it. It would just turn it into a smaller tent with more inclusive values, or an even bigger tent that grew from its rejection of the far-right politics that have commanded it for the past few decades! If Tony truly thinks his "pro-fam" peeps hold such powerful cards that their decision to stop playing would turn the Grand Old Party into an less-than-grand soiree with virtually no revelers, then it's clear that he doesn't really believe that there's an inclusive GOP to begin with.

What Tony fails to see is that Republicans who support more moderate approaches to issues like abortion or gay rights are not only giving "lip service to core moral issues," but are instead using their lips to present their own moral takes in regards to these matters. And it is this sort of myopia, the kind that defines something as moral only if it bends in one certain direction, that has divided society, weakened American politics, and threatened to render the GOP an outdated dinosaur. Now, we're not writing the religious right's obituary or saying that we think Meghan McCain is the newly anointed voice of the party. However, we are saying that there's a growing awareness/discomfort with the close-minded, feet-dragging, "I'm simply right and you're simply wrong -- case closed" mentality in which the far-right social conservatives have trafficked when dealing with matters of basic fairness. So while his threats of alienation might make Tony feel better about his career, perhaps he should consider that it is he, a man who still resists even granting gay people the most minute of basic protections, who could someday very soon be left without a politically viable tent.

*Earlier Perkins/Steel dealings: Audio: With Steele in his party's spine, Tony shows signs of unease [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

Perhaps Mr. Perkins should look around. The "big tent" GOP is already empty. The fanatics are the only ones left after successfully taking over the GOP and driving everyone else away. Great job, you've managed to ruin a once proud party!

Based on a recent poll, their takeover of the religious movement by screaming the loudest is driving Americans away from religion, too.

If their way was the right way, people would be running to them instead of away.

Posted by: Gavin | Mar 13, 2009 10:29:15 AM

Keep in mind that former Bush admin folks regularly talk trash about the hyper-religious.

Posted by: Tony P | Mar 13, 2009 5:23:54 PM

Maybe the tent will fall down and kill all the snakes!

Posted by: brucci Davidson | Mar 16, 2009 6:39:34 AM

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