It was briefly encouraging a week ago when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was offered a chance to condemn Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) over marriage equality, but passed. Referencing his party’s possible appeal to LGBT voters, Priebus said, “I think Sen. Portman made some pretty big inroads…. I think it’s about being decent. I think it’s about dignity and respect, that nobody deserves to have their dignity diminished, or people don’t deserve to be disrespected.”
It wasn’t exactly a progressive position, but for an RNC chair, it wasn’t bad, either.
The relief did not last.
…Priebus says his support of Portman doesn’t signal a policy shift within the party’s platform. “Yes, we’re still a pro-life party. Yes, we still defend our platform on marriage,” he said. He emphasized, however, that Republicans must also sound “reasonable” to voters who disagree.
Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”
Is that so.
OK, let’s take Reince Priebus’ advice and “listen to” Mike Huckabee on culture-war issues. We might hear, for example, the former Arkansas governor suggest a national quarantine for those who are HIV positive. Huckabee has also equated homosexuality with ‘ “pedophilia, sadomasochism, and necrophilia,” and compared gay marriage to drug addiction.
The chairman of the RNC doesn’t know “anyone” who talks about these social issues “better” than Huckabee? Either Priebus needs to get out more or his party’s rebranding campaign is very likely to struggle.