Mitt Romney's Anti-Gay Politics Clash With Donors'
In his endless effort to move right and win over the Republican Party's social conservative base, once-moderate Mitt Romney may have shot himself in the foot when it comes to gay marriage.
Politico reports today that three of Romney's major donors, Paul Singer, Dan Loeb and Cliff Asness, have all contributed their monetary might and influence to win gay marriage in New York and elsewhere. Singer, of course, played a huge role here in the Empire State by donating $8 million over the past five years for equality. He has also helped Romney's official campaign raise $1 million and gave another to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore America.
Reporters Maggie Haberman and Emily Schultheis wonder if Romney's anti-gay politics will ultimately endanger his relationship with the well-heeled donors, especially now that the National Organization for Marriage has endorsed the former Massachusetts governor:
The New York moneymen and some other Republican movers-and-shakers — such as former George W. Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman, who came out two years ago and is now raising money from a broad swath of donors to push for gay marriage but who hasn’t made a presidential campaign endorsement — are at odds with Romney, who signed a pledge proffered by the conservative National Organization for Marriage promising to, among other things, support “sending a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.”
Officials at NOM endorsed Romney Wednesday morning, within hours of Rick Santorum’s departure from the race. And while both political sides agree that the general election will most likely hinge almost exclusively on the economy, Romney’s position on gay marriage puts him in a difficult spot between some key donors and his party’s base.
It also puts Romney at odds with where the general electorate has been heading on the issue — in 2004, a majority of the country did not want to see gay marriage legalized. But in a Washington Post/ABC News poll last month, 52 percent of voters said it should be legal, while 43 percent said it should be illegal. Once seen as strictly a side issue, gay marriage has become much more central to the political conversation over the last few years.
Romney supporters of course doubt their candidate will come out for gay marriage, and are trying to spin his stance as identical as President Obama's.
This gives the president, equality advocates say, even more incentive to back same-sex nuptials. Yes, even equality-minded Republicans, like GOProud's Chris Barron agree: "If I were Obama, I would come out in favor of gay marriage before the election.”
"It’s been pretty clear over the last few months that the Obama campaign team has enjoyed (success) every time the conversation has gone to social issues….these social issues, these wedge issues, can maybe for the first time ever work the opposite way."