OLIVER: Fighting, And Losing, The Culture War

(Photo cre(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Daniel Oliver Contributor
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Just because Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, is in the marketing business does not mean she should ignore the culture war.

She recently tweeted: “@GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs.” That’s the Big Tent Theory at work.

The problem is, if your tent is big enough to accommodate tigers and leopards, some people won’t go on your safari. It’s not that they don’t like tigers and leopards: they’re happy to support efforts to keep them from going extinct (and they don’t believe in throwing them off tall buildings). But tigers and leopards are — well — different, and most people don’t want their children … you get the picture. Especially when the tigers and leopards are trying to teach the kids to walk on all fours.

Many Republicans are probably willing to let the LGBTQs do what they do in peace — and in private. But shoehorning them into “normal” society (and your work place) by means of the civil rights laws has seemed a perversion of those laws. It’s a cultural thing — and we should ask, where was the black community when those laws started to be perverted?

The politics of today is culture — pace those (former Speaker of the House of Representative Paul Ryan?) who still think the only issue that really matters is the economy (stupid). And Republicans, or at least the conservative Republicans, think they’re losing the culture war — and they’re right. A headline in the Washington Post makes the point: “The fight for gay marriage could have left society fractured. Why didn’t it?” And because it didn’t, we moved on to the whole LGBTQ business and even gender reassignment surgery, which now has its own acronym — GRS!

Here’s a cultural note you may have missed: the Public Broadcasting Service decided to broadcast a children’s show featuring a drag queen singing, dancing and reading a book to an intended audience of 3-to-8 year-olds.

PBS is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. If you look up (on Google) “How is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded?” you get: “CPB is a private nonprofit corporation that is funded by the federal government.”

You gotta love “private nonprofit corporation that is funded by the federal government.” Verrry private.

The episode is part of the series “Let’s Learn” and was produced by (you are going to believe this) The New York City Department of Education and PBS member station WNET. “Let’s Learn” is not a PBS series but was made available to PBS stations.

It stars drag queen and author “Lil Miss Hot Mess” who reads her children’s story about drag queen culture and addresses the young audience as “drag queens in training.”

“I wrote this book,” Lil Miss Hot Mess is quoted as saying, “because I wanted everyone to get to experience the magic of drag and to get a little practice shaking their hips, or shimmying their shoulders to know how we can feel fabulous inside of our own bodies.”

What would Pat Nixon, in her Republican cloth coat, think of that? What do you think of that? And — this is the real point — what do you think most voters, Republicans and potential Republicans, would think of it?

How many LGBTQ people are there, anyway? And where do most of them live? Are they evenly distributed throughout the country, or do they tend to live in New York, with the diminutive Ms. Hot Mess, or in California — two states that aren’t likely to vote Republican until … climate change makes Hell feel like Beverly Hills.

Isn’t it possible, or even likely, that for every LGBTQ voter McDaniel recruits, she loses a voter who feels that her religious freedom is being threatened by the LGBTQ agenda and its supporters among the politicians who are forcing that agenda on the public — and on her children?

It’s so easy not to vote, especially if you feel threatened by people on the opposite side of the culture war. And certainly these days: say the wrong thing and you could lose your job, especially if you work at Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS or Merck (Donald Trump’s list of the wokest companies), which employ a total of about 1.2 million people.

Chasing LGBTQ voters may produce a certain … shaking or shimmying sensation for McDaniel and Republican campaign consultants, but it’s likely to alienate cloth coat Republicans who want what goes on in New York and California to stay there.

And who see the culture war as the struggle of our time.

Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.

Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.