Conservatives need to be careful how we pick our shots. We can thank the Supreme Court for striking a unifying blow with last week’s same-sex marriage decision, but will we end up shaking our heads after taking up a losing battle we shouldn’t have wasted our time with? A fight over traditional marriage is just the kind of inflammatory attention-getter that will divert conservatives when we should be worrying about keeping the Republican Party from sinking into obscurity.
Traditional marriage battle is a political loser.
Trying to use the government to block gay marriage is great for pitting social conservatives against Democrats. When it comes to putting Republicans in office, it is a risky political loser.
What will a fight for traditional marriage get us? It will give lawmakers an excuse to continue ignoring problems like the national debt that are going to hurt us very badly in very real ways. Congress has already shown itself incapable of addressing debt and spending. Do we need a new reason to spend time hammering on hot buttons instead of facing America’s economic decline?
Congress puts newsworthy issues first.
Months ago the national debt was still important. Our House speaker affirmed:
The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.¹
When halting Obamacare was still deemed newsworthy, we heard this:
We voted to fully repeal the president’s health care law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”²
We still have the sequester and no progress on a plan for cutting the federal budget going forward. We still have Obamacare. Now we have the high court’s rebuke of DOMA. When it comes to headlines, same-sex marriage is a hard one to top. That’s the issue that will lure politicians to microphones.
The issue is conservative survival, not the defense of marriage.
Conservatives can appeal to the Founding Fathers, religious freedom, and traditional marriage and values until our faces turn blue. We are wasting our time. The population is aging, younger voters have different values, and sooner or later same-sex marriage is going to be with us to stay. If we want to spend time making it an issue, then we should focus on the cost of providing taxpayer-paid public employee benefits to same-sex couples. States like Illinois decided to pander to special interests promoting gay unions long before the Supreme Court’s decision (see: Illinois Raises Income Tax, Then Hikes Benefits). Do we want to see taxpayers nationwide saddled with these costs?
Does the GOP even have a plan?
Reaction without strategy is not a plan. Promising action and doing nothing is not a plan. Waiting for the 2014 midterms is not a plan, either. The Pledge to America is collecting dust. When Republican lawmakers finally decide to act like Democrats by hanging together and creating an agenda, a war over same-sex marriage should be near the bottom of their list.