Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush Appears to Be Making a Push for the Gay-Friendlies on the Right

Or so gay-friendly conservatives hope


Let the best panderer win!
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Robby Soave noted earlier today that while gay conservatives and libertarians (and their supporters) may have struggles dealing with the leadership and tone of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),  the reality is that the Republican Party is going to have to, by necessity, come to terms with a country full of happy, legally married gay folks.

Buzzfeed reports today that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, likely 2016 presidential candidate, appears to be leaning in to this shift, as evidenced by who he is picking to join his team:

When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching equality for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay.

To an extent that would have been unthinkable in past elections, one of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination has stocked his inner circle with advisers who are vocal proponents of gay rights. And while the Bush camp says his platform will not be shaped by his lieutenants' personal beliefs, many in the monied, moderate, corporate wing of the GOP — including pragmatic donors, secular politicos, and other members of the establishment — are cheering the early hires as a sign that Bush will position himself as the gay-friendly Republican in the 2016 field.

In addition to [David] Kochel, who is expected to run the national campaign, Bush has hired Tim Miller, a star communications and research operative who is gay; longtime aide Sally Bradshaw, whose support for her pro-gay preacher recently showed up in a New York Times profile; and Mike Murphy, the veteran GOP consultant who joined other prominent Republicans in signing a 2013 brief calling on the Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8. What makes this band of operatives unique is not just that they support gay rights, but that many have made it their mission in the past to bring the party along with them.

With his team in place, Bush has attracted a wave of early support from many of the party's most prominent gay rights advocates. Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chair who authored the Prop. 8 brief, has reportedly been introducing Bush to donors. At least a dozen of the brief's 80 signatories have either endorsed him, donated to him, or gone to work for him. Tom Ridge, the former Homeland Security secretary who regularly preaches LGBT inclusion to his fellow Republicans, has declared himself an enthusiastic Bush-backer.

Reporter McKay Coppins says that despite Bush outwardly having the same position on gay marriage as guys like Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (pro-traditional marriage, but let the states decide), supporters believe that Bush would pivot more openly in favor of gay marriage recognition if the Supreme Court provides a favorable ruling this summer. This would certainly separate him from Cruz, who has said he wants to introduce a constitutional amendment giving states control over their marriage laws should the Supreme Court rule that bans on same-sex marriage recognition violate the 14th Amendment.

A lot of Coppins' reporting, though, is triangulation based on Bush's slow evolution on gay issues combined with hopeful comments from gay-friendly conservatives within Bush's orbit. A favorable Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage renders a presidential candidate's position on the matter irrelevant as far as policy is concerned (Cruz's proposed constitutional amendment has no chance). The gay friendly folks supporting Bush are likely hoping a more positive response to the ruling compared to Cruz's plans will bring in those all-important millennial votes, and maybe put him on the radar of independent voters and even some Democrats, should he land the nomination.

Bush will be speaking at CPAC on Friday. The Washington Times reports some Tea Party-oriented attendees are planning a walkout, apparently over his positions supporting Common Core and immigration fixes.

NEXT: On Stage at CPAC, Chris Christie is Grilled While Ted Cruz is Pitched Softballs

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  1. Oh, God, he is the establishment choice.

    1. Mr. Electable Moderate Sensible Candidate. I hope he stays retired.

  2. I hope will be some toe-tapping involved here?

    1. And a wide stance or two?

      1. This made me look up what happened to Craig. He heads a lobbying/consulting firm, New West Strategies.

  3. Nobody named Bush is getting elected for at least 50 years.

    Even if Reggie Bush ran he’d probably fall short.

    1. “Nobody named Bush is getting elected for at least 50 years”

      I bet a few years after Bush the Elder people were saying that too.

      1. You would lose that bet.

        1. Really? The ‘read my lips’ stuff?

      2. Bush-41 was a good man, who ran for President to fill out his resume. He had no real reason to be POTUS, except that he was Reagan’s VP, and the Democrats nominated Dukakis who was about the worst choice possible for showing someone who could be a national leader.

        Bush 43, on the other hand, was elected because because just enough people were tired of blow jobs in the Oval Office to elect him in a complete tie. In 2004, when he should have sailed to reelection as an incumbent, Bush-43 also was in a near-tie.

        I can’t see the voters electing Jeb, even after 2 terms of a liberal Obama. Unless the Democrats pick a leftwing candidate.

        But It’s going to be a very interesting next 18 months.

  4. Have to come to terms with gays? Ignoring bunches of minority groups is the bread and butter of the GOP!

    1. I can remember when “equal protection” and “the rule of law” meant ignoring the racial, sexual, religious, etc. groups that people belonged to.

      1. Wrong on “rule of law”. If the law allows preferences (whether on race or veteran status or having green hair), that is perfectly compliant with a rule of law. It might not be good public policy, but it’s lawful.

  5. Nae king! Nae queen! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!

  6. If Mike Murphy is working for your campaign, you are definitely going to lose.

  7. Bush has two parts if the GOP base he appeals to: establishment types and evangelicals. He’d be shooting himself in the foot by alienating the later via a soft line towards gays.

  8. Libertarians are considered anti-gay because they don’t want to use the government to force people to bake cakes. As far as I can tell, so are republicans for the same reason. But the difference, from what I hear is the republicans secretly want to put gays in prisons or something.

    1. Republicans are the ones actively working to prevent states from issuing gay marriage licenses.

      1. And that’s the entire rights debate, to draw a new arbitrary line on marriage that’s just as arbitrary or more so than the last. How does one line = freedom, and the other = oppression.

        1. When one line excludes gay people for no good reason.

          1. Please explain why the reason is not good, without circular logic.

            1. What was the reason again?

            2. Marriage is a civil contract between individuals. Letting same-sex couples wed wouldn’t be an issue, except for massive legal issues (inheritance, immigration, taxes, access to health insurance or hospital rooms, and another 1000 rights and benefits according to a Congressional study.)

              To exclude a couple under equal protection from these benefits requires a reason other than “I don’t like Gay people”.

              Right now, that exclusion is based on “rational basis” review in Federal law. I predict in the next 5 years, the Federal courts will come to accept and understand that sexual orientation should be judged under strict scrutiny. Discrimination against Gay and Lesbian citizens fails for all 4 reasons in the SCOTUS rule book. The only reason that Sexual Orientation discrimination is not judged against strict scrutiny is because “Them thar gays is icky, bubba”.

        2. If that’s the entire debate, then why were you blabbering about baking cakes when that’s a separate issue?

      2. No, they’re actively working to prevent states from being forced to issue gay marriage licenses against the will of the voters.

        And not getting a license is not coercive, so it’s minor compared to the pro-gay political activity in this matter.

        1. Fair-weather democrats. How about we put your right to own a gun up to a vote?

          1. You need a Constitutional Convention or an Amendment. Seems your view on guns is losing ground, and rightly so. However, you are free to remain defenseless.

  9. I’m not up to speed on Republican party rules. Can Jeb actually lose the primary to win the general? Because while it is refreshing to see one of them go against conventional wisdom that you have to pretend to be a douchebag buffoon to win over the primary rubes, I don’t remember Jon Huntsman getting very far with that strategy, and I remember said rubes bouncing from one crazy person to another before being forced to choke on Romney, who had nonetheless gone with the severe conservative routine. Jeb’s not pushing every last one of his opponents out by sheer force of money–he’s the guy people will want an alternative to. But it’s definitely a good strategy for if he somehow makes it to the general.

    1. I’m not up to speed

      You don’t say.

  10. a country full of happy, legally married gay folks.

    Let’s not overstate things, please? Around, what, 3% of the people in this country are gay. The majority of those are never going to get married, would be my guess. And of the ones who do, not all are going to be happily married.

    A country where .5% of the population is happy, legally married gay folks is not exactly “full of” such people.

    The small percentage of the population who will actually exercise their newfound entitlement to a state licensed marriage in no way diminishes their right to do what they want, of course. But I do get a little worn out on how overstated this whole issue is, in the scheme of things.

    1. Christian conservatives are welcome to shut their faces about it.

      1. They’re not the only ones who could stand to tone it down.

        1. Once legal equality is achieved, and it won’t be long, the gays will shut up about it. Rather simple.

          1. They’re not shutting up even in states that have gay marriage. They’re using the machinery of the state to punish people who don’t like them and don’t want to associate with them.

            1. Gays won’t shut up until they’ve legally forced churches to marry them.

    2. If you outlaw gay marriage, only outlaws will have gay marriage.

      I don’t want to return to the days of back-alley coathanger gay marriages, do you?

  11. Conservatives (and by extension the GOP) may not support civil rights (let alone marriage equality) for LGBT people anytime soon ? but sooner or later they’ll have to come to grips with the fact that vilifying Gay Americans is no longer a vote-getter for them. Back in 2009 a CBS News survey found that while only 18% of Americans over the age of 65 supported marriage equality for Gay couples, 41% of American under the age of 45 supported it. That was SIX YEARS AGO, and the generational shift in attitudes among young people toward their Gay friends and family members is accelerating.

    30 years ago most Americans were not aware of any Gay friends, family members, or co-workers. Today most Americans ARE aware, and they have become dramatically more accepting and supportive of the Gay people and Gay couples in their lives. And social networking sites like Facebook have made the proverbial “closet” virtually obsolete. The Republican Party ignores this growing acceptance at its own peril. Jobs and the economy are important, yes ? but your friends and family members are PERSONAL.

    1. LGBT people have the same rights as everyone else under the Constitution.

      1. Pot smokers don’t. That will be an issue next election, along with “states’ rights”.

  12. Conservatives (and by extension the GOP) may not support civil rights (let alone marriage equality) for LGBT people anytime soon

    I am not aware of anyone who opposes civil rights for gay people. Honestly, I haven’t heard any proposals to strip them of voting rights, due process rights, 2A rights, rights to free speech and association, any of that.

    Could you give me an example?

    1. Yeah they would just prefer gay people not be gay, then they can have all the rights!

      Last I checked equal protection was a constitutional right.

      1. Last I checked equal protection was a constitutional right.

        No, it isn’t.

    2. “As of April 2014, 17 states either have not yet formally repealed their laws against sexual activity among consenting adult, or have not revised them to accurately reflect their true scope in the aftermath of Lawrence v. Texas. Often, the sodomy law was drafted to also encompass other forms of sexual conduct such as bestiality, and no attempt has subsequently succeeded in separating them. There are 14 states’ statutes purport to ban all forms of sodomy (which may also include oral intercourse), regardless of the participants’ genders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah. Four states specifically target their statutes at same-sex relations only: Oklahoma, Kansas[16][17] Kentucky, and Texas.”…..ted_States

    3. 14th Amendment access to equal protection.

      The denial of this leads to inequality under any of the 1000+ benefits and rights attached to civil marriage in federal law.

      If you want to lobby to repeal marriage as a factor in law, then the need for civil marriage equality becomes a private, family matter.

  13. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

  14. Fuck Jeb Bush.

  15. “Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, likely 2016 presidential candidate, appears to be leaning in to this shift,…”

    In other words: Jeb is desperate for voters.

  16. May 3 gay males form a marriage unit?

    May 4 straight females get married?

    A father marrying his son, is that okay?

    May a mother marry her two daughters to form one marriage unit?

    May 2 males and one female form a marriage unit?

    If not, why not?

    1. Polygamy and incest present a host of legal and social problems, which marriage by same-sex couples do not.

      Historically, polygamy has always been abusive to women, and recent Fundy Mormon scandals in the American Southwest do not suggest this has changed. Polygamy can only thrive in a culture of inequality, which uses force to control the unlucky poor and younger men shut out of marriage because the rich and powerful snapped up all the women. Do you really want a bunch of horny teens and 20-something men with no chance to find a bride, or even a date? That is the ultimate destroyer of civil society.

      Incest harms stability for different reasons. Marriage creates kinship between the unrelated. It’s a legal and social question how close kinship is. SOme states allow first cousins to marry, others do not. But given the damage that divorce does to families, one can assume incest marriages would have similar levels of failure. It would be very bad to add that additional harm to families if you have divorce splitting the hypothetical family members you ask about. This doesn’t even address the genetic concerns from in-breeding.

      Strong families lead to a strong nation, and reduce the need for the state to intervene.

      This is why Libertarians should strongly advocate for marriage equality for same-sex couples, and strongly oppose polygamy and incest.

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