The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both have behind-the-scenes accounts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's successful push for gay marriage in New York. And (surprise!) the key was a bunch of rich Republicans.
The Times recounts a "secret meeting" between the governor's "most trusted advisors" and "a group of super-rich Republican donors," which would otherwise be every progressive's nightmare. But this one was about people whom those donors knew—billionaire Paul Singer, for example, has a gay son—and their right to enter into contracts, and the donors "were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views." (The Times also notes the "surprise" vote of Democratic Senator Carl Kruger, who was apparently swayed by the "gay nephew of the woman he lives with." Though maybe he was more swayed by the son of the woman he lives with—and with whom, by many accounts, he is engaged in a long-term gay relationship.)
The Journal, meanwhile, focuses on gay "libertarian-leaning philanthropist" Tim Gill, and his group the Gill Action Fund, which spent nearly $1 million financing "attack ads against three vulnerable senators... who voted against the bill in 2009." All three lost re-election bids, and the group sent "a very strong and clear message about what happens when you double-cross us," in the words of political director Bill Smith. Who—hey, look at that—"began his career in the 1990s working under the tutelage of Karl Rove."
This is how things get done, in government, now! Rich people decide they want things, and then they use their money to get them. This works great when rich people, or their friends, or their families, are victims of injustice —which is what happened last night.
But there aren't a lot of millionaire libertarians on medicaid, or getting food stamps, or looking for jobs! Which means that in those "secret meetings" between the super-rich Repblicans and the governor (or the president!), people on medicaid don't get brought up very often—and bills (or budget deals) that might actually help them aren't presented, or lobbied for, almost ever. And until a libertarian-leaning philanthropist comes out as poor, or a billionaire Republican has a working-class son, don't expect that to change.