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 Politics Archive 2014

John Boehner's smart political investment
by Nathan'ette Burdine: October 29, 2014

It looks like Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is making a smart political investment by supporting two openly gay Republicans, Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei, for Congress.

According to the Hill, Boehner made the decision last year to support Demaio and Tisei.

Boehner reasoned that the 2012 election showed the Republican Party needed to broaden its reach beyond its conservative base to black Americans, Hispanics, women, and the LGBT community.

Boehner has given $14,000 each to Demaio and Tisei’s campaign, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has given $2.3 million to DeMaio and $1 million to Tisei.

Based on the recent poll results, the investment is paying off.  Currently, Demaio and Tisei are leading in the polls.

Demaio is leading Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) in the polls by three percentage points, and Tisei is leading Seth Moulton by two percentage points.

Yet, despite how well Demaio and Tisei are doing, their acceptance by Republican Party leaders has not been well received by others within the party.

Particularly, the Christian far right groups haven’t taken too kindly to the Republican Party and Speaker Boehner’s announcement that they are reaching out to the LGBT community.

Christian far right groups believe that supporting openly gay Republicans is counter to the group’s belief of the family, which includes a husband (man) and wife (woman), being the center of the institution of marriage.

In a letter to the Republican leadership in Congress, conservative religious groups expressed disappointment in the Republican leaders’ decision to support Demaio and Tisei.

The Hill quotes the religious groups as saying, “Carl Demaio, Richard Tisei, and Monica Wehby are antithetical to the Republican platform.

Mr. DeMaio supports and aggressively advocates for the redefinition of marriage, and welcomed the judicial activism of the federal courts which stripped the people of California of their votes in support of maintaining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

However, times are changing. The recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and 32 states and D.C. legalizing gay marriage says that the country doesn’t share a similar view as the Christian far right.

Plus, a Washington Post poll shows that half of the country says that gay-marriage is supported by the constitution. The poll also shows that 61% of Independents, who tend to be the swing voters in presidential elections, support gay marriage.

Boehner knows that politics is a numbers game and in order to reclaim the top prize in government, the White House, he must broaden the Republican tent and open it up to a more diverse group.

This doesn’t mean that Boehner and the Republicans must change their philosophy. The Republican Party just has to reexamine how it interprets and applies the Party’s philosophy to other groups.

Because as it stands, the biggest problem the Republicans face is that the far right has become the face of the national Republican Party.

Take for instance the far-right, Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. The Tea Party’s far right views on women’s rights, marriage equality, immigration, and gun laws cost the Republicans the White House for two terms, and is keeping them in a tight race with the Democrats for control of the Senate.

It also hasn’t helped the Republicans that the Tea Party led the charge to have the government shutdown last year, and stopped the passage of the Unemployment Insurance bill that received bi-partisan support in the Senate.

Of course Boehner won’t come out and say that the biggest problem he faces comes from the far right within his party because he understands the delicate matter of politics and turning on “your own.”

However, Boehner also knows that he and the Republican Party need more allies on their side to offset the “obstructionist” ways of those in the far right of the Republican Party.

And people like DeMaio and Tisei can help Boehner and the Republicans to broaden their tent so the party can reach its primary goal of reclaiming the White House.

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