Skip to comments.Social Conservatives Want More of Their Own to Speak at the G.O.P. Convention
Posted on 07/12/2004 12:05:47 AM PDT by neverdem
Some prominent conservatives say they are upset at the apparent exclusion of the champions of their favorite issues from the limelight of the Republican convention in favor of more moderate members of the party.
Conservatives said they were surprised to see former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Senator John McCain of Arizona - all moderate Republicans who oppose the proposed constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage - given high-profile roles at the convention, with few conservative Republicans on the list.
"I hate to say it, but the conservatives, for the most part, are not excited about re-electing the president," warned Paul Weyrich, the longtime Christian conservative organizer, in an e-mail newsletter on Friday. "If the president is embarrassed to be seen with conservatives at the convention, maybe conservatives will be embarrassed to be seen with the president on Election Day."
Pleasing both moderates and conservatives at the convention has been a challenge for the Republican Party in recent elections. In 1992, after a bruising primary battle over social conservative issues, the party gave the outspoken traditionalists like Patrick J. Buchanan a major share of convention airtime. Many strategists later argued that their battle cries of a culture war over abortion, gay rights and feminism contributed to the defeat of the first President George Bush by driving away moderate voters.
Seizing on that lesson, George W. Bush was nominated in 2000 at a strikingly different convention dominated by images of inclusion and his calls for "compassionate conservatism," with little discussion of abortion or other priorities of social conservatives.
Prime airtime is particularly precious this year because the networks have said that they plan to limit their hours of coverage of the conventions. And at the Republican event in New York City - Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 - the Bush campaign appears to be following the template used in 2000.
The speakers' roster makes room for many moderate Republicans, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, as well as Education Secretary Rod Paige, Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. But conservatives have noted with alarm that so far, aside from Mr. Bush, the only like-minded social conservative with a featured speaking role is Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia.
"When the only Reagan Republican to enjoy a prominent supporting role at the party's convention is a Democrat, the G.O.P. has a serious identity problem," Kate O'Beirne, the Washington editor of the conservative National Review, wrote in a column posted on its Web site last Wednesday. The list, she wrote, "is not the mark of a self-confident party establishment," adding, "if the lineup is intended to make an overwhelmingly conservative party attractive to swing voters, it does so by pretending to be something it's not."
Yesterday, Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said: "The Republican Party is a national party, and the convention lineup will reflect the broad national appeal of the Republican Party. When the speaker lineup is complete, it will reflect that."
This year, Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, has emphasized the importance of turning out conservative churchgoers whose votes fell four million short of his projections in 2000. Bush campaign pollsters have concluded that frequent churchgoers are likely to vote disproportionately Republican and made them a major target of voter registration efforts.
And as the Democratic campaign of Senator John Kerry has tried to reclaim "values" rhetoric over the last week, Mr. Bush has turned up his own talk of opposition to abortion and especially same-sex marriage. He devoted his radio address on Saturday to supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week.
"We had been assured months ago that as this vote happened the president would take an active role - both publicly and on Capitol Hill," said Gary L. Bauer, a social conservative candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and the founder of the organization American Values. "So they are keeping their word and my hat goes off to them for that."
But Mr. Bauer added, "If they are going to win the values debate - and it looks like there is going to be one - it is important for the president's words to be reinforced by other major personalities at the convention." He said social conservatives were continuing to push for greater representation at the convention, as well as for Mr. Bush to take up abortion, same-sex marriage and similar issues prominently in his own address at the convention.
Some Christian conservatives were already feeling sensitive to perceived slights from the Bush campaign, in part because of how hard it is pushing for their help in turning out voters. Some had already reacted badly to reports of the Bush campaign's efforts to recruit churchgoers to help turn out their fellow worshipers, including by sending the campaign their church registries and by speaking about the election to church groups.
Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, issued a statement saying, "I'm appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way."
He added, "I am fearful that it may provoke a backlash in which pastors will tell their churches that because of this intrusion the church is not going to do any voter registration or voter education."
The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, said that many conservative Christians felt the Bush campaign had made mistakes, including its outreach to churches and the omission of more social conservatives from the convention so far. "This campaign has done some dumb things," he said. "They have alienated people who they desperately need, big time."
Mr. Schmidt, the spokesman for the Bush campaign, said that polls show that support for Mr. Bush among the Republican base is at record levels, comparable to support for President Ronald Reagan.
On Friday, as the Senate began debating the amendment on same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, placed an advertisement in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call listing Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor Pataki, Senator McCain and Mr. Giuliani. "Want to get a prime time spot at the Republican National Convention?" the advertisement asked. "Oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment."
Hoping to turn the same advertisement into a message to the convention planners, Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council, sent flowers to Cheryl Jacques, the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, with a note that said, "Dear Cheryl, per your ad in Roll Call - thank you."
Nah, give the RINOs the TV time. Conservatives control the platform, that's the more important thing.
Let's just let John F*ckin' win so the RINOs can get the President they really want.
Hey, I'm just kidding
The Left is putting out a bunch of this wedge stuff. Try to ignore it.
It sounds as if the administration has a tin ear when it comes to listening to social consevratives and there can really be only one reason for that. They don't really believe in what we stand for.
There was certainly no problem with Reagan reaching social conservatives. And Reagan didn't have slam dunk issues like gay marriage to fall back on.
is it any suprise the republican leadership wants to downplay the role of social conservatives on their biggest night? gay marraige, abortion and family values are important to a lot of americans, but none of these issues have fired up middle-of-the-road voters in 2004. it makes sense to dwell on less devisive topics like security and the economy.
So he'll assume he can get away with anything. And he will.
But not with my support.
Yup this is a quadrennial exercise around convention time. Their (the media) success in falsly painting the Pubbies as extreamists with the Pat Buchannan speach has only encouraged them.
Most often they use abortion.
Years ago it was race.
Welcome to freerepublic.
I am waiting for Zell Miller's speech. That speech may be the highlight of the Convention.
Zell Miller will be good... I guess I can crack a smile when Arnie speaks too.
I am waiting for Zell Miller's speech. That speech may be the highlight of the Convention.
I'm sure it will be. Ironically, he's the only Conservative in the bunch, and he's a Democrat. Sad.
So how come John F*ckin' can't get a RINO as his keynote speaker?
Psst, it still is race, e.g. racial quotas, phony BS about more churches will burn, exploiting James Byrd's murder to yap about not passing hate crimes laws, equating conservatives to Nazis, voter disenfranchisement in Florida 2000, etc. This stuff is continuing.
Conservative Republicans don't have the guts to punish Bush for being a RINO.
Why should they punish him when so many agree with him? Look how they supported Swartzenegger over McClintock. A bloody lefty if ever there was one, I don't care what he calls himself. They accuse the Democrats of being led by Hollywood, but they're just as bad. They pick the pretty boy every time. Sad. Republicans aren't Republicans anymore. They're now to the Left of old time Democrats.
Hugh Hewitt says the base of our party is the party of faith; for the Democrats, the base is the party of race.
I'll fill you in on a secret: we're old time Democrats. The Democrats have moved so far Left we've had to become Republicans.
You are absolutely right. I was just limiting my observations to wedge articles directed toward the convention and the platform.
Who are you trying to kid, he never had it.
They got the Gipper's son, Ronald P. Reagan, to talk about stem cell research, although I think he may be registered on the dark side. A better analogy would be a DINO, but who could that be, Zel Miller, at both conventions?
The New York Times sure knows how stupid the right is. They know the right thinks thatt the rights 35 percent of the voters can cast 51 percent of the votes.
So when th Bush campaign tries to get from 35 percent of the vote to 51 by appealing to the center, the New York times knows the right is stupid and used that knowledge to good advantage of the left. The Times knows they can drive the stupid right away from the polls.
It is a technique the left has used to advantage for decades.
I am convinced that the leftist rank an file are a lot brighter than the right. The left knew that the Clinton's let on to steal the right's right to get votes in 92 and 96. The left is bright. They knew Clinton was just doing what it took to get and keep the left in power. The right ain't that smart as your post proves.
and I WAS kidding about going home.
in regards to "moving away from its base", we all know democrats and republicans do things for the sake of political expediency in election years. i think this is just a way to make sure undecided and moderate voters don't get turned off by concentration on issues that don't grab them. this isn't a matter of platform, they are still behind their base who will always vote for them, but a matter of marketing.
Then don't put your "kidding" in big bold letters and leave a (/sarcasm) tag, next time.
JMO Geron, you were serious about your reply #2, but backtracked when you realized you were being played like a cheap violin by the NYT.
Religious social conservatives scare the hell out of many many moderate Republicans because if they become the predominant voice in the party, the Republicans are doomed to lose nationally.
I was discussing this stuff in another thread. I ain't happy with the GOP, but we don't have anyone else than Bush right now.
Oh come on...it is a well accepted principle that during the primaries you solidify your base and during the general election you move back to the middle...That's how you get elected fer crying our loud. Have we so quickly forgotten what it was like with Clinton in office? Have we forgotten so quickly that we are at WAR? Paul Weyrich has more than a few problems of his own so lets not even go there...
I think "religious social conservatives" have been the predominant voice in the GOP, and have made up the party's base, for quite some time. It's one of the better reasons to vote Republican. The day the
"moderate" liberal Republicans have a stronger voice is the day the party will be worth writing off, at least temporarily.
Secondly, the Democrat party is extremely left wing, and shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with republicans. If republicans continue the leftward motion of the party, they will lose their base of conservative followers.
Leftist ideas and liberal "I'm a constant victom" mentality is ruining this fine country. What made U.S. great is old fashioned hard work, and basic Christian values, and that is all we need to sustain us.
Well let's take a look at the recent signing by Pres. Bush of the partial borth abortion ban.
You can bet that Gore or Kerry would not have signed one.
See reply #34.
The choice is clear. Big tent or no tent.
see post #32 as well.
You are correct.
A person who has harsh words for teacher unions isn't exactly a mushy middle moderate to me.
It is high time that politico's in D.C. stopped shifting from conservative, to moderate, to liberal and back. We need rock solid, conservative leaders who do not waiver, or sell out on principle. In short we need "Statesman" types or we are going to lose this war we are in.
I don't think that the Republican leadership is "pandering" to moderates, I think it is paying them lip-service. Once Bush is reelected they can work on satisfying their base.
You are right though, they do have risk alienating the base. This just means they are walking the election year tight-rope right now. Since there are only two real meaningful parties any split is disasterous and the Republicans know this. They won't move too far to the left, because they don't want another Ross Perot spoiling things. Just as the Dems won't move too far to the right and risk another Nader taking votes.
All I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't worry that the Republican party is moving too far to the left. After election day there won't be any more need to appease moderates for another four years.
AS much as we would all like to think that we conservatives are in the majority, it ain't that simple. On particular issues some folks that you would think should be conservative aren't. For example, the "social conservatives" would probably cover a large number of practising Catholics. How many of them are going to vote for Bush if the Rats are busy punding away on the "scary right wing"? John Kerry is the classic "statesman" and frankly so was Clinton, they all want to get along and find consensus. There is something known as cutting your nose off to spite your face. Statesmen don't win wars...in fact they usually get us into them at too late a date ( think Chamberlin)
Zarf, you made an excellent point and now I want to point out something that is going to get those who read this and identify themselves as social conservative very angry.
You see, social conservatives are not really "conservatives". Those who readily identify themselves as politically active SC's are almost always just religious fanatics. And, religious fanatics are, based on their (often admirable and passionate beliefes) striving to achieve Utopia. At the end of the day, they want basically what the Taliban wants, which is complete and literal observance to whatever scripture they purport. And, this means everyone and if someone refuses they will be forced to do so. Of course, if everyone really did listen to what Jesus taught we would live in a Utopia. If everyone acted the way Karl Marx thought it would also be great. (Please do not think I am equating Marx with Jesus, rather showing the parallel that sexpectations that all people will act properly are utter nonsense) A real conservative will immediately let you know that this is only the wishful thinking. That does not mean we can't make things better, just not perfect.
Real conservatives begin and end their thought processes by reminding themselves that Utopia (by its very definition) is not to be achieved. RATS want to social engineer everyone there and so-called Social Conservatives want to pray and, yes, legislate everyone there.
This is not to say that SC's often stand on the right side of the debate - to the contrary. Just that the manner in which they self-righteously do so is not only off-putting to more moderate folks, but downright scary in a Sharia Law kind of way.
For most Americans, including true conservatives, talking about denying people rights rarely strikes a positive cord. The abortion issue aside, SC's often (and perhaps for good reason) give your average moderate the feeling that they have no intention of stopping with their current demands and that a first they came for the . . . is always just the tip of a much larger SC iceberg agenda.
HERE WE GO AGAIN. DIDN'T WE LEARN OUR LESSON IN '92 WHEN MANY OF US ABANDONED BUSH THE FIRST FOR ROSS PEROT? REMEMBER? THAT GAVE US 8 YEARS OF BILL CLINTON.
I'M AN EXTREME SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE BUT YOU GUYS NEED TO PEACE OUT.
Note the source...NYTimes...divide and conquer.
What conservative, in their right mind, would vote for Kerry, by abstaining to vote for Bush?
If Bush loses because of division in the party, then it seems maybe the Democrats deserve to win.
I don't believe in "cut off my nose to spite my face" politics.
Why don't you guys keep it up and divide the GOP as much as you can then on election night maybe Michael Moore, George Soros, Whoppi Goldberg, John Mellancamp or Chevy Chase will invite you to one of their victory parties.
"Let's just let John F*ckin' win so the RINOs can get the President they really want."
If you wouldn't make statements like that people wouldn't know just how ignorant you really are.
I believe GWB sees himself as president of ALL Americans, not just one party or one interest group. Like all politicians I suppose he has to take care of his big donors first, and of course he wants his base supporters to vote for him, but he also has to govern. And that means governing all America. Not just the red states but the blue states too.
Yep, the left is going to put out as much of this crap as they can: