Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page capped off the PBS NewsHour yesterday with a commentary on wedge issues in politics, particularly the supposed use of the race card by Republicans in President Nixon's "Southern Strategy.". Page congratulated Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman for publicly renouncing the "Southern Strategy" earlier this year in an apology given to the NAACP, but he closed his commentary hinting that the GOP is all too ready to make gays the next wedge issue:
Mehlman's outreach to black or Latino audiences is aimed just as much at the wider and whiter audience of moderate suburban swing voters that both parties covet. Just as Bill Clinton had to show he was not in the hip pocket of civil rights leaders, Mehlman wants to show that his party is not hostile to them. The suburban swing voters that both parties desire want to see a kinder, gentler and less-polarizing Republican Party. In that sense, the old southern strategy was replaced in 2004 by a new red-state strategy that divided the country against even smaller minorities, like homosexuals who want to get married.
Apologies can't change the past. Apologies are about the future. In today's racial and ethnic demographics, neither party can build a true majority on wedge issues alone -- or at least not with the same old wedge issues. I'm Clarence Page.
PBS, spending your tax dollars on insulting the American voter for approving marriage protection initiatives by large margins in 11 different states, including Kerry states like Michigan and Oregon.