Tuesday, January 29, 2013

David Brooks' New Mockery Defense Strategy

David Brooks is making it so easy that mocking him isn't' near as fun as it used to be. In today's column he criticizes the Republican Party for living in a right-wing bubble:
In this reinvention process, Republicans seem to have spent no time talking to people who didn’t already vote for them.
Change is hard because people don’t only think on the surface level. Deep down people have mental maps of reality — embedded sets of assumptions, narratives and terms that organize thinking. 
Mental maps of reality? You don't say! Brooks goes on to suggest that the way forward for the Republicans is:
...to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton.
See what I mean? I could mock him by saying the Republicans should instead differentiate themselves by being more like a Mercedes instead of a BMW, or more like a Rolex instead of a Tag Heuer, but where's the sport in that? His pre-emptive self-mockery renders me powerless.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How did we win on gay marriage?

I've been thinking a lot about the quick change in public opinion over gay marriage. I think it's fascinating. There is no other hot-button issue in my lifetime that has evolved so quickly. How did it happen?

We had TV shows like Will & Grace, Ellen, and Rosie that may have softened the opposition, but there must be more to it than that. Maybe it was just more and more people coming out of the closet, showing their heterosexual friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that their homosexuality is nothing to fear.

The rapid change was certainly not due to high-profile leadership in support of gay marriage. On the other hand, there was plenty of high-profile leadership voicing opposition. It makes me wonder...is it possible that Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, etc. were not only ineffective messengers, but so repellent that they inadvertently helped the very cause they opposed? I have no data, but I love that hypothesis.

In any case, it seems like a great topic for sociologists to study. Political strategists too. If we can figure out how we won on gay marriage, maybe we can figure out how to win on other issues as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Winning on Same Sex Marriage

In 2005, despite being heterosexual, I got married in Vancouver BC instead of my adopted hometown of Vancouver WA--specifically because British Columbia allowed same sex marriages and Washington did not. So, I'm happy that Washington has joined the ranks of the enlightened. I'm also happy that the Supreme Court will be ruling on a couple of same sex marriage cases. I think we're likely to see landmark decisions here, and I don't think we'll see narrow 5-4 rulings.

The number of Americans who approve of same sex marriage has increased greatly over the past decade. More than 50% now approve, and that number will only increase with time. I don't think any rational Supreme Court justice is going to stand in front of that train. Scalia and Thomas, yes, but I said rational. At best, they may get Alito to join them on the wrong side of history, but that's it. Roberts will certainly not thwart the will of the people this early in his reign. Plus, I think he will realize that Republicans might actually benefit by getting this losing issue off the table.

Before I could even post this, thrice-married Newt Gingrich and some current Republican congressmen have come out in favor of repealing DOMA and allowing same sex marriage. This is what I'm talking about. It's over, and we won.