Skip to comments.Social Conservatives: GOP Can't Live Without Them
Posted on 11/27/2012 4:37:17 AM PST by Kaslin
One of the largest elephants in the GOP's post-election room is the fate of Christian and other social conservatives. Party honchos can't just wish this problem away -- or, maybe they can.
There has been increasing hostility toward Christian involvement in politics, and the animus hasn't been solely from the left. To be sure, Democrats have taken the lead, demonizing conservative Christians as science-challenged scolds who don't care about women's "reproductive rights," but there is plenty of antipathy from certain elements within the Republican Party, as well.
Many establishment and some libertarian Republicans have long looked upon Christian conservatives with mild, condescending contempt. Party leaders from Barry Goldwater to Alan Simpson have openly derided Christians and lamented their negative influence on the party and on the overall political climate.
Even Ronald Reagan's warm embrace of faith-based conservatives didn't diminish the establishment's disdain for them, which forcibly reared its head over the Todd Akin and Rick Mourdock kerfuffles. So swift and dramatic was their descent on Akin following his "forcible rape" embarrassment that one could almost infer they were lying in wait for just such an excuse to marginalize outspoken Christian conservatives.
Don't get me wrong; I had serious doubts about Akin's electability after the comments, too, but the establishment's outrage wasn't limited to Akin (or Mourdock) or even to his rape comment. There was palpable disgust from certain quarters on the right over what they perceived as the lunacy of making social issues a part of the equation at all.
If my analysis is incorrect, then why do we hear so much conflation of the Akin and Mourdock incidents with the question of the viability of social conservatism in general? If the outrage over these two was simply limited to their comments, then why are they increasingly cited as Exhibits A and B in the case for purging social conservatism from the Republican Party?
The GOP's distaste for social conservatives this election cycle wasn't confined to the Akin affair. If you'll recall, Rick Santorum was the object of much scorn for his insistence on placing social issues front and center in his campaign. Some of the criticism was based on Santorum's perceived demeanor and sanctimony, but no small amount of it would have occurred even if Santorum had been cheerfully optimistic in his approach to these issues.
In fairness, we are in extraordinary times, and it's understandable that even some Reagan conservatives (those who subscribe to his three-legged stool of economic, foreign policy and social conservatism) became impatient with attempts to place social issues at the forefront. They were convinced that President Obama's fiscal and economic nightmares alone would ensure a Republican victory and there was no need to make controversial social issues a drag on the ticket.
But that excuse will not mollify many social conservatives, who believe not only that social issues are the most important matters facing the nation today, but that at the root of our economic problems is an underlying disintegration of the nation's moral fabric.
My purpose here, though, is not to debate the merits of the competing positions, but to point out that this growing intolerance for social issues by some in the GOP could result in a major schism, even a splintering of the party.
I am receiving emails and reading articles from Christian conservatives advocating a doubling down on social issues, some even suggesting that Christians redirect their focus away from politics and toward evangelism. I don't believe this represents a major segment of Christian conservatives presently, but if efforts persist in scapegoating and diminishing social conservatives, more will become alienated.
Social issues are like blood in the water to Democrats and their liberal media accomplices, witnessed by their effort to ensnare GOP rising star Marco Rubio in a scandal over the age of the Earth. Even Rubio's tempered response was uniformly maligned as evidence of his science-illiteracy and superstition. The right's failure to come to his defense guarantees further and stronger attacks.
It is no small irony that those urging a remake of the GOP to bring it in line with changing demographics could unwittingly alienate Hispanics and other minority recruits who might be receptive to social conservatism.
It is also ironic and a testament to the wholesale ineffectiveness of the Republican Party that it is cowering from potentially winnable social issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, Obama's assault on religious liberty and his phony war on women. Is there no issue on which the establishment will not cave in the end?
The Republican Party can choose to ostracize social conservatives and their issues, or try to purge them altogether from the party and its platform. But they better be careful what they wish for, because if they do, it will be the end of the party as we know it.
Show me a fiscal conservative/social liberal, and I’ll show you someone without the moral fiber to stand up for fiscal conservatism.
If by now conservatives do not understand the republican party is useless, then forget about it! The problem with the republican party is the "party honchos."
Conservatives need to form their own party, not afraid to confront liberals and their idiocy!
Almost everyone who embraces moral libertarianism ends up rejecting his total responsibility for the costs of his moral libertarianism. “I want what I want when I want it,” but when the reasonably predictable results ensue, I want the government to force others to bail me out.
Here is a news flash for the GOP. We are not going away. We are not going to compromise our principles for you. You run candidates we can support or you continue to lose elections.
The problem with the Republican party is not social conservatives in the trenches, it is democrats in the leadership. The entire leadership of the GOP (The GOP elite) is not republican.
Once you surrender social conservatism (upon which this country was founded), you surrender all moral ground upon which to make any stand.
As an example: If abortion is OK then there is no right to life as our founding documents claim. If our founding documents are false then who really cares what the president or congress does because it’s all allowed.
We either have the right to life or we have nothing.
What the gop elite will find is that more and more of us social conservatives do not support the GOP. I support ONLY socially conservative candidates with my time and my money (and I tell the RNC etc fundraisers this every time they call). Eventually they will realize that WE are the republican party. they are just usurpers.
Let me get this straight:
The same people who want to through the pro-life, pro-family wing of the party aside, so they can “focus on fiscal conservatism”,
... are about to cave on TAX INCREASES WITHOUT ANY SPENDING CUTS?!?!
...oh...and they will also fling the door wide open on amnesty!
When you’re dealing with the Devil, “compromise” will not save you!
A voice of sanity. How refreshing.
If the socon base leaves, the Republican Party is DEAD.
There are a lot of people, including many on this site, who are whistling past the graveyard on this issue.
The Republican party cannot win without social conservatives.
It also cannot win WITH them.
The more you move right on social issues, the more from the other side (independents, libertarians, others that we need) abandon ship.
And vice versa.
I have no idea what the Republican party does from here.
Akin was proof of Niven’s Law (and I paraphrase): “There is no cause so righteous that you won’t find an idiot following it.” Otherwise he signified nothing. The RINOs and the press successfully pinned his foolishness to good SOCONS everywhere. But let there be no mistake: the Republicans cannot win national elections without the SOCONS. Without us they would be penny-pinching Lite Democrats, nothing but a less-filling, ungenerous substitute for the genuine article. They aren’t gong to peel any voters off of the Dems with that weak soup, and the Pubbie base will just stay home.
Absolutely, the GOP cannot live without social conservatives.
Unfort. the GOPe doesn’t had the wit to state WHAT they are for without being shown as hypocrites by their own actions. For me, they always bring up the ‘It’s not Fascism when WE do it’ poster.
Maybe if they actually believed in smaller gov’t and started trying to REDUCE it, instead of just paying lip service, those of us on the outs now may just hold our noses. Maybe kicked out a few judges for over-reaching. Shit, ANYTHING!
Again, for myself, I’m not counting on it. There’s too much piss leg/rain for that to happen anytime soon. And just voting for (R) in the HOPES that something may change is not a winning strategy.
Some how so cons have been unable to field a nationally viable candidate but even worse have trouble when th baited questions from the MSM. One thing complaining about unfair questions from the MSM is foolish you might as complain about bad weather...it’s coming prepare.
Whether it’s Santorum on porn,Akin Murdock on rape or Rubio on the age of the earth ...so cons need to put the gun down and stop shooting themselves in the foot. They really need to keep in mind they are running for a political office......not the president of the local Bible studies group.
That is the solid gold truth.
Most libertarians think they will be young and invincible forever.
Hard to say, because it hasn't been tried. At least not on a national level with conviction and enthusiasm. Leadership is not about giving the troops what they want, but leading them into the battle with the conviction of something bigger than themselves. The GOP has not fought hard for any principle because they do not have one other than their own self aggrandizement.
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Romney was the most social liberal candidate in GOP history, and he lost to Jimmy Carter’s second term.