Hey, hey, ho, ho, Michael Steele has got to go

by CynthiaYockey on May 16, 2009

You don’t just know a minority has arrived when one of its members — Barack Obama — becomes president. Or — Michael Steele — head of a major political party.

The real sign of having arrived for a minority is for its members to start bashing on the gay people who truly believed the rainbow coalition was real and that their hard work and donations for other minorities — mostly blacks, but also illegal aliens, Hispanics and Asians — would be rewarded with reciprocity for OUR equality.

Well, Obama  says “no” to gay marriage and “don’t hold your breath” to serving openly in the military.

And Michael Steele says expense should be a determining factor in whether a minority should have equal rights — and equality for gays, including equal marriage rights, would be just too darn expensive:

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

“Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,” Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. “So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

As Steele talked about ways the party could position itself, he also poked fun at his previous pledge to give the GOP a “hip-hop makeover.”

“You don’t have to wear your pants cut down here or the big bling,” he said.

I suppose it’s a coincidence that Mr. Steele is using the talking points of the National Organization for Marriage, which is working hard to claim that equality for gays will be just too onerous a burden for small business owners.

Guess what, Mr. Steele? Lesbians and gays are the natural constituency of fiscal conservatism because we are discriminated against in so many places and so many ways that quite a lot of us HAVE to be entrepreneurs. Thirty percent of gays and lesbians voted for McCain/Palin. The margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election could have been decided by the gay vote ALONE. And there are enough gays and lesbians who have awakened to the fact that they can be fiscal conservatives without being social conservatives that we’re just not going to wait for an engraved invitation and a welcome mat like a bunch of liberal losers. We’re freaking conservatives, gosh darnit, and all we have to do to  transform the Republican party and the conservative movement so that they live up to their ideals of equality for every citizen and limited government IS SHOW UP — and then WE’LL MAKE OUR OWN WELCOME MAT, thank you very much, and I promise you, IT WILL BE FABULOUS!

P.S. Attila, dear, are you still standing by your man?

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Diane May 16, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Somebody tell Mr. Steele that we pay taxes on the health insurance I get through my partner’s employer and that it really doesn’t cost the employer that much. After all, we are paying the premiums. Some days I get so fed up with anyone in government.

Jenn Q. Public May 17, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Cynthia, I’ve been meaning to stop by and say “hi” ever since you linked to my “Outrage” post a few weeks ago. I’m glad I saw this post.

I’ve tried to stick to Reagan’s eleventh commandment, but Steele is seriously pissing me off. If gay marriages were set to become a significant burden on the health care costs of small businesses, the conservative answer would be to disentangle medical insurance from employment and adjust regulations to create healthier competition in the insurance market. That kind of policy reform is consistent with conservative principles and would benefit all of us.

In addition, it’s simply untrue that gay marriage would be a significant drain on small businesses. It’s been estimated that it would add only 1 to 2 percent to employers’ benefit costs, and at the same time it would actually reduce federal expenditures on on Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and Medicare. The CBO calculates that extending federal benefits to same-sex partners would reduce spending by $100 million to $200 million annually from 2010 through 2014 because their incomes would be merged for the purposes of means testing. Those savings could be passed on to small business in the form of tax reductions, so in reality, recognizing same-sex partnerships is the very embodiment of fiscal conservatism.

While I happen to support gay marriage, I recognize that some opponents have valid concerns. Steele, however, is reaching so far he’s about to pop his shoulder right out of the socket.

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