Palin Continues to Break Right From McCain

October 20, 2008 · Leave a Comment

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) David Brody, Palin broke from the position held by McCain and said that she supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

McCain clearly opted to shore up the far-right conservative Republican base with his choice of Palin.  Now that the McCain-Palin ticket is starting to face heavy odds and struggles to regain momentum and shrink the gap between themselves and Obama-Biden, it would appear that Palin may be starting to focus more on life after a possible defeat of her ticket by playing more to the right and breaking from McCain’s positions.  Given her history of – shall we say – slips of the tongue, it’s also possible that the comment was simply a statement of her own beliefs in an unguarded moment.

It’s also troubling to me that Palin, who has given fewer interviews to the legitimate media, chooses to speak with CBN instead of CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times or the Washington Post.

McCain got it right when he said about a constitutional gay marriage ban that it was “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans.”  But I’m not sure if that was the principled McCain of a decade ago, or the opportunistic McCain of this campaign.

It certainly should surprise no-one that Palin supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  This red-herring issue has long been a favorite of social conservatives.  So forget about “leave it to the states” – that’s only good for abortion, where that’s the only way the right sees that they can make progress on outlawing abortion.  Forget for the moment that it would be the first time  that we changed the constitution to deny civil rights to a group of people (which in itself ought to give any fair-minded person pause).  What is surprising is that with only a couple of weeks left before the election Palin would take positions different than McCain.  She had been in lockstep with him since her selection (with the exception of ANWR).  I think this very well could be the start of Palin staking out her own position within the party.

As I’ve written before, I don’t think that this approach will achieve what Palin hopes.  Even if she does solidify a position of prominence with hard-core social conservatives, if she does it by being a part of the team that loses the Presidency to the Democrats it will only accelerate a rush to the middle by mainstream Republicans. A civil war between economic and social conservatives has been kept at bay for a long time.  I think we will continue to see that coalition unravel with the loss of the Presidency and a smaller minority position in both houses of Congress after the 2008 election.  I don’t know who will win control of the Republican apparatus, but the ensuing internal fight will drain the party of its ability to compete.

I think that when the analysis has finally been done, it will be clear that McCain’s grand gesture of choosing Palin proved to be a lethal choice for his ticket.  And we can hope that the venom and politics of division practiced by Palin goes back to Alaska for a long hard deep freeze.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology
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