Sheila Kennedy has an blog entry entitled “Drawing the Wrong Conclusion” wherein she relates the self-congratulatory statements of Micah Clark and Curt Smith (both leaders of nominally “pro-family” and substantively anti-gay Indiana pressure groups) with respect to Tuesday’s primaries.
Smith and Clark are expanding on the narrative included in the Berggoetz/Cook article (and noted by me earlier) about the primary and how incumbent House representatives Kubacki and Heuer were unseated. For his part, Clark said this represented, “Yesterday’s primary election was as close to an across the board sweep as you will ever see in politics.”
That would seem to make him the Cotton McKnight of Indiana politics:
Cotton McKnight: Do you believe in unlikelihoods? Average Joe’s shocking the dodgeball world and upsetting Globo Gym in the championship match!
Pepper Brooks: Unbelievable!
Cotton McKnight: Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to the Great Wall of China, I have seen the Pyramids of Egypt, I’ve even witnessed a grown man satisfy a camel. But never in all my years as a sportscaster have I witnessed something as improbable, as impossible, as what we’ve witnessed here today!
In any event, Sheila says that Clark & Smith are wrong to draw the conclusion that these primary results represent a vindication of their views by Hoosier voters. Turnout was low and those who did turn out were more ideologically motivated. Beyond that, I’d add that this is hardly a wave – a whole lot of incumbents are heading into the November election and will likely return to the State House. Sheila says, however, that this is evidence that “the results do unequivocally tell us is that the Republican party is moving farther and farther to the right.”
I’m not sure I agree. Sheila might be right (usually the smart money is on that being the case), but I’d call the evidence equivocal. Is this the party of Smith, Clark, and Mourdock? Or is it the party of Torr, Truitt, and Kenley – conservative, but not unduly beholden to the social conservatives?
What is clear is that the power of pressure groups, in this case the Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana, depends on people – and lawmakers in particular – believing that they are in control. Perception is, in large part, reality. If they can convince lawmakers of the narrative that they can unseat disobedient lawmakers, their purpose is accomplished, regardless of whether they can truly unseat such lawmakers. And, so, at times like these, you have them turning their molehills into mountains. So long as that narrative remains unchallenged, they will be emperors with a splendid new outfit. And woe to the child who dares claim they are naked.