A quiet revolution of GOP progressives?
First, the GOP elects Scott Brown to the US Senate, a guy with some serious conservative credibility, but also some serious culture war ambiguity in his background.
This is a politician who posed nude in Cosmo, whose wife appeared in a bikini in a rock-and-roll MTV video, and whose daughter appeared on American Idol.
Brown is generally pro-choice, though he opposes late-term procedures; and he voted in favor of Massachusetts’ universal healthcare plan.
Meanwhile, two of the GOP’s most visible figures — Meghan and Cindy McCain — have embraced same-sex marriage.
Then, one of the most prominent Republican mayors in the country, San Diego’s Jerry Sanders, broadcast his own support for gay marriage, after discovering that his daughter is a lesbian in a committed relationship.
“I could not tell a whole segment of our community they were less deserving of marriage than anyone else simply due to their sexual orientation,” said Sanders. “I do believe times have changed and opinions change. The concept of a separate but equal institution is not something I can support.”
Throw into this mix the weird energy of Ron Paul’s libertarian anti-war activism and you have a picture of a party with a deep contrarian streak.
No doubt this is a time of outsized tea party activism, with conservatives still dominating the Republican agenda.
But that fact may reflect the media’s agenda — Fox News, Rush, etc. — more than the complex debate going on at the grassroots.
What’s clear is that a vivid undercurrent exists among GOP leaders — many from urban areas, and from blue states — who are wrestling in interesting ways with modern American life.