Rachel Maddow and former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele had a lively discussion on Maddow's Thursday show about the prevalence of so-called "culture war" issues in the modern Republican party.
Before bringing on Steele, Maddow spent ten minutes detailing the things she saw that made her think that the culture wars--which have supposedly been overtaken by fiscal concerns by the current GOP leadership and the Tea Party--are alive and well. These included the head of the congressional Republican Study Group calling for gay marriage to be overturned in Washington, D.C., and a video of leading Republican Mike Pence saying that anti-abortion issues had to be a top priority for the new Congress.
Maddow then turned to Steele. "What am I gonna do with you?" he joked. "I don't even know where to begin with your opening. There are so many holes in it."
Steele said that the culture wars are "virtually over," at least on the national level. "What you're seeing now is something a little bit closer to home, which is a state by state approach," he said.
Maddow wasn't buying it, and pointed to the focus on D.C. marriage policy.
"How on earth is it conservative or Tea Party or even capital-r Republican to say those decisions should be made at the federal level?" she said. "To have a congressman from Ohio saying, you know what, my first priority...is to take away DC's own decision-making capacity on gay marriage, that's my first priority?"