Governor's comments on gays, guns, abortion shows how far left some liberals are leaning.
Liberals have long portrayed themselves as promoters of tolerance and respecters of diversity of opinion. Look up "liberal" in the dictionary and one of the definitions you'll see is "broad-minded." But rhetoric and reality are often very far apart when it comes to liberals' tolerance for conservative positions on social issues.
The most recent evidence came late last week when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview that "extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay … have no place in the state of New York, because that's not who New Yorkers are."
Cuomo's inclusion of pro-lifers is particularly interesting. It is well documented that more Americans call themselves pro-life rather than pro-choice.
To be sure, New York is more liberal than most states. It has one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the country, which produces an abortion rate that's nearly twice as high as that of the country at large.
But there are still millions of pro-life New Yorkers, which explains why Cuomo's "Reproductive Health Act," which would have liberalized abortion even further, was soundly defeated in 2013. Polls showed most New Yorkers opposed the bill.
Pundits are suggesting that Cuomo's comments were part of the governor's attempts to court liberals ahead of a possible showdown against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries. It says something about how far left the Democratic Party has moved that a candidate with national aspirations would feel compelled to make such an extreme statement.
It seems that support for third-trimester abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion, both widely opposed by most Americans, are no longer sufficient to attract attention from the party's base. To differentiate oneself from other Democrats, one must state a desire to drive conservatives out of the country's third-largest state.
Cuomo's remarks are only the most recent indication of the left's increasing intolerance of conservative views on social issues. The intolerance was evident, for example, in the Obamacare mandate, which requires Christian charitable groups and businesses to be complicit in what many consider an intrinsically evil act by paying for their employees' abortion-inducing drugs.
Cuomo also said that New York has "no place" for anyone who believes in the traditional definition of marriage. By this criterion of exclusion, Clinton wouldn't have been welcome in her home state until last March (when she announced her support for same-sex marriage). Obama, the man Cuomo campaigned for and presumably hopes to succeed as president, would not have been welcomed until May 2012. Even worse, with his comments, Cuomo, a Catholic, implicitly told the leaders of his church that they have no place in the state.
There has been a lot of commentary lately about how conservative Republicans have supposedly become. Ignored is how far left Democrats have moved, and how, as they've shifted leftward, their intolerance has become much more aggressive.
This was seen in the summer of 2012, when several prominent Democratic mayors and numerous universities made it known that Chick-fil-A was not welcome in their cities and on their campuses. This was a response to the fast food chain's president's stated belief that marriage should remain the union of one man and one woman (a belief shared by nearly half the country).
But it's not just the left's elected leaders who aren't practicing what they preach; there is plenty of proof that rank-and-file liberals are also less tolerant of viewpoints that differ from their own. To take one example, a 2012 Pew poll found that Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to disconnect from people on social media who disagree with them.
All this back and forth begs the question, as president, how would Cuomo and his political allies treat those who disagree with them? Demonizing your opponent and much worse has marred public discourse and the use of political power of late. Respecting the perspectives of all Americans is most relevant as people gather in freezing temperatures this week to commemorate the tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized most abortion nationally.
On Monday, Cuomo backtracked from his initial remarks, saying through his press office that "it's fine to be anti-gun control and anti-choice." The statement added that "(Cuomo) respects both positions."
But in his initial statement Cuomo made it very clear that he does not respect conservatives' position on life, guns and marriage. And in his absurd attempt at damage control, Cuomo made it equally clear that he doesn't respect their intellects either.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.
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