When asked by Politico if he had changed his opinion on same-sex marriage Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) simply responded, “I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”
This should be forever remembered as the defining Zen kōan for the problem with the current GOP. In just two short sentences Chambliss some how magically captures the essence of what is wrong with the modern Republican Party. It is a simple but truly enlightening statement.
Since Chambliss isn’t gay the issue of marriage equality doesn’t personally affect him, so he doesn’t care if his position on the issue is hurting other people. Those other poor schmucks are not Saxby Chambliss. What an amazingly honest admission.
While Chambliss is talking about same-sex marriage, this basic line could easily be adapted to explain almost every other major position of the Republican Party. Chambliss isn’t unemployed, so he is not going to need unemployment insurance. Chambliss can’t get pregnant, so he doesn’t need the right to choose. Chambliss makes more than minimum wage, so he doesn’t need minimum wage laws. Chambliss is not an Iraqi, so the war will not hurt him.
The Republican Party is coming to be defined by an exclusionary form of narrow self-interest. The rare times a Republican official seems to show empathy, like Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) did on marriage equality, it is only because the issue pierces their bubble by directly affecting them on a personal level.
Republicans used to at least try to create sophisticated justifications for positions that could hurt some people but Chambliss seems to have stop even trying.