Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Gay Marriage, Tech, and the GOP


"The Republicans are about empowering everyone," says Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) "We've got to make sure that the face of the Republican Party is one that reflects the diversity that we see across this country." 

Rodgers was a keynote speaker at the at the 2014 Lincoln Labs' Reboot Conference, held July 18-20 in San Francisco, California. She sat down with's Nick Gillespie to talk about why the tech industry should be receptive to Republicans, the future of the GOP on social issues, and how the party plans to make its message palatable to millennials, who are more liberal on social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

"I'm someone who does believe in marriage as being between a man and a woman," says Rodgers. "But there is a question as to civil unions and what is legally needed, where the government should be involved in making these decisions."

The congresswoman is the chair of the House Republican Conference and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Reason TV previously interviewed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), also a keynote speaker at the conference, who said, "I think Republicans could only win in general if they become more live and let live."

About 9:58 minutes. 

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Paul Detrick. Shot by Detrick and Tracy Oppenheimer. Music by Kromatic.

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  1. “The Republicans are about empowering everyone, individuals no matter who you are, no matter your background…”

    Two things. One, you might want to tell your colleagues that. Second, you might want to explain how what you’re doing does actually empower individuals regardless of background. Or, you could just say something stupid about rape.

  2. Finally! A Reason article where we find out what the Milanesas think about the GOP

  3. She dodged every question that Gillespie lobbed to her.

    Interview that plant behind that GOP dimwit instead.

    1. She’s a politician, and as such is an asshat. Her party affiliation has no bearing on it.

  4. *”We’ve got to make sure that the face of the Republican party is one that reflects the diversity that we see across this country.”*

    So, “color of skin/type of genitals” overrides “what the party actually believes in”? Ooookay.

  5. The GOP is all about the GOP. They want to government in your lives and in your bedrooms just as much (if not more) than the Democrats do.

    The GOP brought us the abominable Patriot Act, for God’s sake!

    Please…vote third party.

    Because there IS an alternative to Hitler and Stalin.

    1. Tito?

      I know you can’t mean Francisco Franco given that, at last report, he is still dead.

      1. Franco’s still trying to set the world record for being dead…what a tool!!!

    2. Nothing gets fixed until we deport most of the progressives out of America.

    3. That is the Nixonian wing of the party. Unfortunately, they are currently in ascendence. The Reagan wing of the GOP is much more big government averse.

    4. Please…vote third party.

      Because there IS an alternative to Hitler and Stalin.

      Better yet, don’t vote at all. It is a waste of time. Democrats and Republicans will continue to win elections until the US defaults on its debt, the global economy crashes, and we all enter a full-fledged depression. Soup lines and all.

      You’d better spend your time gathering guns and reading books about primitive hunting techniques than voting.

  6. McMorris-Rodgers seemed very uncomfortable in that interview. She just wanted to stick to some set of talking points that was handed to her just before the interview. Apparently she is seen as some type of rising star by the Republican establishment (she gave the Republican response to the SOTU). However she doesn’t seem to have any ideas or original thought. She is probably liked simply because she can stick to talking points.

    1. Ideas and original thought are death to a sitting politician. You tend to say what you think instead of what you are allowed to say (think Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act).

    2. She strikes me as an unintelligent mouthpiece, who’s being put on display rather than a powerful woman who earned her spotlight. I recall her SOTU response – it was bad script-reading with no real message.

      Seems like some contrived, misguided GOP plan for mass appeal – woman, from NW, homemaker, unremarkable demeanor, etc.

      1. Just like a few dozen D congresswomen and Senators I could rattle off – Deb Wasserman-Schultz, Barbara Boxer, Patty freakin’ Murray, Shelia Jackson-Lee, ad nauseum.

        Man, the average quality of our elected elite is just dismal. The proportion who you can listen to and say to yourself “even when I don’t agree with them, I have to admit they know what they are talking about and impress me as someone intelligent” has to be under 10%.

        1. That Wasserman creature also lies with impunity, then proclaims ‘it doesn’t matter’ when called on the lie.

          1. Well they did pull her off the talk show speaking circuit after she told a whopper right before the election. But other than that small amount of CYA on the part of the Democratic party she pretty much says any lie that advances the agenda and just doesn’t care if she gets called on it.

        2. How very true…even our President who is an alleged “Constitutional scholar”…

    3. She just wanted to stick to some set of talking points that was handed to her just before the interview.

      Which demonstrates conclusively that she is far more interested in her own career than in real reform. Which, in turn, makes me wholly disinterested in her.

      Ain’t life ironic?

  7. “”I’m someone who does believe in marriage as being between a man and a woman,”

    Hi nick, I stopped here and just wondered if the Lincoln Labs Liberty Conference was open to libertarians who don’t want the government involved in abortion, immigration, gay marriage, massive military spending, etc. Or we’re the invites just given to the same old right wing flacks? If you gave the keynote to Barney frank, for example, who for his entire career led the fight against this country’s wars, defense budget increases, and was a leading figure in the fight for gay equality would there have been a massive walkout? Just curious, was neel kashkari, architect of Bush’s tarp bailouts, there? It would have been lovely for you to interview. Keep up the ideological diversity, nick. You libertarians are really mixing it up!

    1. I have sympathy for those who don’t think that the government should be involved in defining marriage at all, and that it should be a matter for private contracts or one’s religious institution.

      Unfortunately, Government has committed the original sin by becoming heavily involved in promoting marriage between a man and a woman – via the tax code, social security benefits, HIPAA, etc. Having them stop discriminating as to what type of union deserves a tax break or the right to adopt children is a second-best solution.

      1. Extending marriage to gays under equal protection doesn’t wash because there’s no equal protection for individuals who aren’t marriageable. There are plenty of people – due to lack of youth, beauty, manners, health, conformity, hygiene – who will never be married and enjoy the State benefits thereof. They shouldn’t be bound to a second status because no one wants to partner with them.

        1. So, let’s pretend we are off the Libertopia cult for a sec … should gay couples enjoy the same rights and privileges as straight couples so long as there are laws granting economic benefits to married couples? Simple question. Yes or no is good.

          1. Who cares? Gays are an insignificant part of the population. And they will be cured within a few decades. Along with pedophiles necrophiles, and such.

            1. Speaking of insignificant….

    2. That would be the same Barney Frank whose name is prominently attached to a bill guaranteeing bailouts for the country’s largest financial institutions in exchange for the government’s expanded involvement in their lending practices, correct?

      Same Barney Frank that supports taxpayer-funded abortion as part of a single payer health care system, the continuation of government involvement in marriage, and ENDA protected-class legislation? And voted for TARP?

      Oh, and, uh, same Barney Frank who’s earned high praise at Reason for his opposition to the drug war and support for legal online gambling?

      BUSTED NICK! A libertarian paragon like that and you won’t even make him your keynote speaker?

  8. ///// Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

  9. ,,,,,,, Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

  10. The GOP is a group of statists, no matter what they say. Actions are what matters

  11. What a bunch of establishment rubbish. God is that grating to listen to after a while. Same as always – talk endlessly about how wonderful and open-minded and diverse and free-market loving they are.

    But go look at their party platform, their legislation, and their apparent priorities, and they look about as socially tolerant as the Taliban, and as about free market as Zimbabwe.

  12. Why does she keep shaking her head “no”? It’s as if she’s saying to herself, “don’t say the truth, say this, instead” when she answers, and she keeps going back and forth trying to be positive so that she’s nodding in circles.

    How much time did she have to prepare for this interview? Could she be saying what she thinks we want to hear?

    I don’t think I trust her.

    It does bug me, however, that the camera angle looks down on her and up to Nick. Their relative heights may be different, but that’s not a relevant factor, and it looks like bias. I guess showing the bias could be considered being truthful, but since it doesn’t tell me whether the bias is against short people or some other criteria, it ends up being distracting.

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