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NOM to GOP: We will continue to tear you apart in 2016, too!

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization For Marriage helped elect three pro-equality Democrats in the most recent election, two in the US House and one in the US Senate. To be fair, I would say "helped" is a very strong word since NOM spent very little money and seems to be one of the least effective special interest groups in DC. But they did target three pro-equality Republicans, and all three of them lost.

Now NOM, an organization that has seen over thirty marriage equality states come in on its watch and which could very well be living in a fifty-state marriage equality reality by the time the 2016 election rolls around, has vowed to take its war on moderates to the GOP presidential primary. First target: Rumored presidential candidate Rob Portman:

US Senator Rob Portman announced his support for redefining marriage in 2013 after his son told him he was gay. Portman faces voters in Ohio in a 2016 reelection race, but has also been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president.

"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," said Brown. "If he runs we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments across the country because his son is gay. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage. The same voters who just elected pro-marriage candidates like Joni Ernst, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Pat Roberts and Thom Tillis are not going to support someone like Rob Portman."

Brown said that if Portman runs for reelection, they will oppose him in Ohio. "The people of Ohio deserve a US Senator who respects their votes for marriage. We hope that Portman faces a stiff challenge in the Republican primary from a candidate who will proudly stand for marriage. We intend to oppose Sen. Portman for reelection, and if he survives a primary challenge we will urge Republicans and Independents to refuse to vote for him in the General Election, just as we successfully did with DeMaio, Tisei and Wehby."


First off, how sweet of Brian to grant Rob Portman's son the permission "to live as he chooses." I know the Portman family was waiting by to see if Bryan's personally-held version of conservative Catholicism would allow their son to move through this world, or if Brian would insist on a plan B. What a relief for the Portmans to earn Mr. Brown's approval!

But that snark out of the way, you really do have to wonder what sort of delusions Brian Brown is living under. NOM is an organization defined by failure, a truth that has only ratcheted up since Brian took the leadership from Maggie Gallagher. The 2012 presidential was a DISASTER for NOM. And yet for some reason Brian thinks that they're going to have enough weight (not to mention funding) to throw around in the next presidential so that they first get the conservative ideologue that they favor to seize the big ticket nomination, and then to somehow change the demographics in a way that will make such a candidate electable on the national map? It's ludicrous thinking! I only wish NOM did have more sway so that their plan might have some efficacy.

Personally, I think the next GOP presidential might very well come out in favor of marriage equality. Even if not, it's almost impossible to envision the GOP pushing someone who wants to go to war against the legal rights of American citizens in a majority of our states (and again, perhaps as many as all fifty by Nov. '16). I know people like Brian are feeling their oats right now, thinking these most recent "six year itch" flips of an unusually high number of vulnerable Democratic holds in a very low turnout year somehow speaks to a good conservative long game. But smarter GOP heads realize the disastrous errors of such thinking. And if the GOP wants to remain a party with any hope of winning a presidential election in the future, they will jettison the "culture war" games of NOM—and fast.

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