From the “comes as no surprise” category, Fox News Pundit Fred Barnes said Sunday that McCain would have to run a center/right (not sure what that actually looks like myself) in order to win the election. This would mean appealing to the far right wingnuts of the party by using the “gays in the military” and “gay marriage” issues. Barnes explicitly cites these issues.
First, on a point of clarification, Barnes is wrong is when he says about gays in the military, “This is not a popular issue.” A recent CNN poll finds that 79% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly, and Zogby poll from 2006 finds that 73% of service members are comfortable with gays and lesbians. (These and other related poll results here.)
The left side of the blogosphere is all in an uproar over the comments. I don’t like that this happens to be a true statement, but it is true that McCain will win friends from the krazy kristian kooks by bashing gays. This has been a winning issue for Republicans for a while now (there’s yet no real price to pay for homophobia), and the recent California ruling can certainly be used to inflame that important Republican base. So the fact is, (while I don’t like it) it’s going to happen, and it’s just a matter of time.
On the other hand, Juan Williams makes a good point as he keeps asking, “who else are they going to vote for?” The fact is, McCain doesn’t have to play the GLBT card, as the krazy kristians certainly are not going to vote for Obama, and unlike what Barnes says, they are not going to sit home and allow a black man to move into the White House. They will come out and vote for McCain just because he’s already said once that he supports Arizona anti-gay marriage amendment…that’s all it takes.