A Romney campaign Iowa adviser today declared the culture wars over – the right-wing lost.
Speaking on a local Iowa political show, Romney 2012 Iowa adviser Dave Kochel told host Dave Price that,
“frankly, the culture wars are kind of over and Republicans largely lost.” (Video below.)
Kochel uses the explanation a number of commentators are now relying on, the “demographic shift.” Namely, younger voters are pro-gay, pro-choice (and pro-environment), and don’t care about the culture war issues. I’d argue that it goes even further than that: Young people care quite a lot about gay rights and women’s right and the environment, and they agree with Democrats on the issues.
Kochel went on to explain that he talks to his kids, one of whom is in college, and gay marriage and abortion and birth control are “settled issues for younger voters.”
Interestingly, President Obama said something similar about his kids when he came out in favor of gay marriage in mid 2012:
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
A little more on the importance of youth and that “demographic shift.” From a post we did in 2011 about Virginians’ attitudes on gay marriage, note the support for gay marriage among those aged 18 to 29:
The survey shows that nearly three-quarters of those ages 18 to 29 say gays should be able to legally wed. Only 22 percent of those ages 65 and older agree. Between the ages of 30 and 65, residents are split, with 44 percent saying same-sex marriage should be legal and 43 percent saying it should illegal.
That’s a huge shift in opinion, and the numbers show that for young people, the debate is over.
Former Romney adviser Kochel continued: “If we’re the party of freedom and liberty, then we should be for personal freedom and individual liberty — and that extends to marriage.”
Kochel goes on to note something quite interesting – that a number of his Republican friends in Iowa want these issue to just to go away all together:
“You also hear a lot of conversation off the record, people talking about how they’d like to move on past some of these old fights we’ve been having and can’t talk about it.”
Keep in mind, these aren’t just Republicans – they’re Iowa Republicans. This isn’t liberal Massachusetts. It’s the heart of the Midwest. And Kochel isn’t just talking about gay rights, he specifically mentioned abortion and birth control as well.
The article also notes that former Republican party chair Ken Mehlman is coming out to Iowa to appear at a Republican event in favor of gay marriage.
The battles aren’t over. But the war is. And we won.