What do Ellen DeGeneres and the "fiscal cliff" have in common? They’re both signs of the inevitability of social progress and the demise of the radical right.
In case you missed it, DeGeneres stars in a new JC Penney’s ad in which the openly gay TV host flagrantly tries to persuade three of Santa’s elves to make more toys for Christmas. While at first glance, a naive viewer might think the ad is a ploy by a crumbling department store to boost holiday business by promising free stuff, the trained eyes at the conservative One Million Moms group know better.
Vulnerable Americans watching their televisions will obviously be brainwashed. Hmm, what should I get Uncle Sid for Christmas this year? I know, homosexuality! JC Penney’s is practically giving it away!
Ever since Oprah Winfrey stepped down from daytime television (a whole other story for the hate groups), DeGeneres has become America’s sweetheart. And, judging from her live television audience, DeGeneres is particularly beloved by heterosexual housewives. While the anti-gay conservative group calls itself One Million Moms, there are at least several million who love Ellen.
And so it is that conservatives repeatedly bang their heads against the social progress and common-sense values of ordinary Americans, whether it’s a Christmas commercial or the so-called fiscal cliff. Conservative Republicans literally manufactured the “fiscal crisis” by refusing to extend our nation’s credit, so that they could try to exact drastic cuts to government spending. But here’s the kicker: The American people really like those government programs. A lot. Once upon a time they may have been skeptical but now, by a wide margin, even Republican voters favor Democratic proposals to protect and preserve Medicare and Social Security.
Also, the vast majority of Americans, including most Republicans, support increasing taxes on the rich in order to address the alleged crisis. In fact, the election results — in which, ahem, the Democrats won — were a resounding affirmation of this approach, as confirmed by exit polls. By continuing to resist the fundamental will of the American people, do conservatives realize how out of touch they seem — how much they are losing their grasp on political reality and the electorate?
Americans support gay rights and increasingly believe that same sex couples should be able to marry. Most Americans think that Wall Street CEOs should not pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Culture wars and class warfare in America? Conservatives built that. And lost.
Time to pack up, go home and reemerge as a more mainstream political movement that finally acknowledges that Americans don’t like economic inequality -- and do like gay folks, opportunity for women, racial tolerance and government programs that help poor people and seniors. No, the American people haven't finished evolving on these issues either, but they’re evolving toward justice and equality and away from conservative demagoguery.
“We lost the election,” Ann Coulter recently admitted to my colleague Sean Hannity on Fox News. Coulter, who incidentally is a strong supporter of gay rights, argued that Republicans need to give in and let taxes on the top 2 percent go up.
“You sound like Obama!” Hannity responded.
No, Coulter -- of all people -- sounded realistic. She suggested that conservatives start acknowledging public opinion rather than constantly railing against it. I mean, even JC Penney’s knows when it’s losing and needs a new strategy. Maybe Republicans can get a clue for Christmas.