Prominent media pundits and politicians alike are dismissing the likelihood that gay fear mongering tactics will play a pivotal role in the 2008 presidential election. Most say the strategy has lost steam.

Speaking to contributing writer Christie Keith in a story titled Gay-Baiting '08, progressive MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann said: “The sense I'm getting from a lot of quarters among the Republicans is well, we can do all this stuff now and we'll just make people's opinion of us worse. This isn't going to happen for us this time. We have spent all of the capital that the party has. We've damaged the brand. Let's not go nuclear on this because we will just provide material to reelect a Democratic president, Senate and House in 2012. And if they're thinking in those terms, there is at least the possibility – maybe a third, maybe a quarter – that these sort of kitchen sink strategies on these issues will not happen, because it will only come back to hurt them in severe fashion.”

I think people are thinking about it, evolving on it and I don't think it has the scare factor, culturally, that it had,” political commentator and MSNBC The Chris Matthews Show host Chris Matthews said. “You know, look at the Larry Craig story – it was so sad that it made a lot people say, 'Wait a minute. If you don't respect individuals, they're not going to respect themselves.' And I think that's a very good conservative argument for [gay] marriage.”

CNN chief national correspondent John King said, “I do think McCain himself does not like that kind of campaign.” But goes on to say that the possibility remains that in a tight race – out of desperation – Republicans might attempt to exploit the issue. Several conservatives have openly urged McCain to speak out against gay issues such as marriage and the military's policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly.

Karl Rove, who served as George Bush's adviser in 2004 and is widely credited with using the issue to drive Christian conservatives to the polls, denied any coordinated effort to malign gays and lesbians.

I think it entered into force in the 2004 race simply because it was not introduced by the political actors themselves,” Rove told “Neither the Bush nor the Kerry campaigns brought the issue forward. It was brought by a Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts. It sort of exploded on the scene and got a life of its own.”

Openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank disagreed with Rove: “I think what he's telling you now reflects the fact that he and the President and their political people tried very hard to whip up anti-gay marriage sentiment in 2005 and 2006 by forcing several votes on the Constitutional amendment, and it blew up in their face. What Rove is telling you is probably true now, but he forgot to add that he's very disappointed because he tried very hard to exploit it for the 2006 election and it had no impact... We passed an anti-discrimination bill by a large majority. We passed the hate crimes bill...”

I think the air is substantially out of this balloon,” Barney Frank said.

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