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For GOP, it's the social issues, stupid

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
10,560
1
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http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/26/opinion/avlon-social-issues-gop/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

(CNN) -- This election is about the economy -- not social issues or other distractions.

At least, that's the mantra we've consistently heard from conservative candidates this election cycle. We heard the same thing during the "tea party election" of 2010.

But it's an odd insistence from an overwhelmingly social conservative Republican party. Because keep in mind, they're not disavowing anti-choice beliefs on abortion or opposition to gay rights or any other deeply held hot-button issues. They just don't want to discuss them loudly in an election year.

It's almost as if bringing up social issues is impolite. But of course, there's an electoral calculation beneath the impulse to keep them in the closet.

It is an interesting implicit admission -- that the far-right litmus tests on social issues that seem necessary to win closed partisan primaries also alienate the centrist and independent voters that Republicans need to win general elections.

There is no question that fiscal conservatism is what holds the Republican coalition together and helps it connect with independent voters concerned about deficits and the debt. Smaller government and lower taxes are popular promises, particularly if specific cuts aren't spelled out in detail. And certainly, the still struggling economy is a cause of frustration and anxiety.

But all that was true in 2010, when the tea party revived the Republican Party with promises to refocus it along libertarian lines, ignoring divisive social issues because there were more urgent economic matters at stake.

Two years later, this pitch has lost some of its punch. That's because we can compare the rhetoric to the record. And contrary to the libertarian promises, social issues have been front and center, especially in the state legislatures that Republicans took control over in 2010.

In 2011, 24 states passed a record 92 restrictions on abortion, including mandatory ultrasound legislation, waiting periods, insurance restrictions, and abortion bans after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The pace continued in 2012.

Likewise, when Republicans took control of the North Carolina state legislature, one of the first referendums they put on the ballot was a bid to ban same-sex marriages. It passed handily. In Iowa, three judges who ruled same-sex marriage was constitutional found themselves kicked out of office in 2010, and another of those judges is being targeted this election cycle, with former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal adding their voices to the effort.

It's not just a case of unruly conservative state legislatures. The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was elected on a similar promise to focus on the economy. But less than one month after taking office, conservatives pushed through the first of several efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, even though the long-standing Hyde Amendment already prohibits spending federal money on abortions. (The taxpayer money that Planned Parenthood does receive is limited to women's health services, like mammograms.) With all the promises to cut excess spending, this was an odd place to begin looking for meaningful cuts, unless you recognize that social issues were driving the agenda from the outset.

By contrast, look at the contortions many conservatives are going through to avoid making the sequester cuts to the Defense Department -- required after congressional negotiators failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan last fall -- proposing instead that the cuts guaranteed by the bipartisan failure of the super committee come entirely out of entitlement spending.

It's important to appreciate that social conservatives hold their views dear. And good people can disagree on these most difficult and personal issues, particularly abortion. Vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan is a serious deficit hawk who had the courage to put his budget plans in writing, but he is similarly opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and has written extensively about his beliefs in this area.

That this is deeply held should not distract us from the fact that fewer than 20% of Americans support a constitutional ban on all abortions, as called for in the Republican platform. The Clintonian formulation of "safe, legal and rare" comes closer to expressing the consensus; but pro-choice Republicans are close to being RINO -- "Republicans in name only" -- hunted out of existence.

Mitt Romney has characteristically shown less consistent commitment to social issues. He was pro-choice until he started running for president, but now expresses a desire to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He once was a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood, but now wants to defund it entirely. In addition, the man who once pledged to be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy now backs the Bush-era constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

There's plenty of reason to believe Romney reversed his positions for political expedience while trying to win the Republican primary -- but there's no reason to believe he would abandon those new positions if he became president. Given the conservative congressional record, he'd likely be faced with social legislation if he took the oath of office. Is it reasonable to believe he would veto it in a return to moderation?

Many of my libertarian friends are content to ignore these inconsistencies while distancing themselves personally from the social-conservative populists in their chosen party. There are more urgent issues, they say, especially reducing deficits and debt, which have exploded under President Obama.

But I can't help but wonder why a serious focus on this front would not have created a tea party rally around the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission recommendations, which would have cut taxes, closed loopholes, reduced spending and enacted entitlement reform. Ryan and his Republican congressional colleagues on the commission voted against it. Likewise, it was the tea party congressmen who undercut House Speaker John Boehner's attempt to forge a grand bargain with Obama during the self-inflicted debt-ceiling crisis.

Social issues received earlier and more consistent support on the state legislative and congressional level than serious attempts to reduce the deficit and the debt. Formerly bipartisan jobs bill proposals put forward by Obama -- like a public-private infrastructure bank -- likewise did not move forward, contrary to promises to focus on jobs and improving the economy.

The bottom line is it makes no sense to pretend that social issues are not on the ballot this fall, along with more pressing issues. The record of the past two years suggests that social conservatism is a driving force beneath the tea party rhetoric. To ignore that fact is to ignore reality, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Exactly right. This is why I don't trust the GOP to not start legislating their morality when they're in the majority.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
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494
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That's true, but the GOP is the party asking us this time around in Romney/Ryan to trust them that it's just about fiscal issues.
To be honest with you I wish these two would talk more about the economy. Seems like every time I open a newspaper or turn on the news they are yapping about abortion or gay marriage. The economy is front and center and it is like the Republicans are acting like it is 1988 or something.

And the person writing this must have some different libertarian friends than any I know.

Many of my libertarian friends are content to ignore these inconsistencies while distancing themselves personally from the social-conservative populists in their chosen party. There are more urgent issues, they say, especially reducing deficits and debt, which have exploded under President Obama.
I dont know a single libertarian who is voting for Romney. Not a single one. They are either not voting, or voting for Gary Johnson, or writing in Ron Paul. I question if he has any libertarian friends. I get this feeling he is trying to smear libertarians by lumping them in with the neocons.
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,883
1,221
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I wish people exercised the least bit of intellectual honesty. Legislating morality is NOT conservatism and is the exact opposite of small government. These people think it is conservatism because the conditions they are imposing is on other people's lives, not thiers.

If it is something you believe in, be proud of it but honest-declare you are for stong government authoritarianism. To me, it's amazing how many people spend so little time thinking through what they express as their core beliefs.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,669
6
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To be honest with you I wish these two would talk more about the economy. Seems like every time I open a newspaper or turn on the news they are yapping about abortion or gay marriage. The economy is front and center and it is like the Republicans are acting like it is 1988 or something.
Both parties are doing this.

What with the Democrats obsession with a "war on women".

And Obama coming out of the closet on gay marriage.

Neither side wants to talk about the economy.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,061
494
126
Both parties are doing this.

What with the Democrats obsession with a "war on women".

And Obama coming out of the closet on gay marriage.

Neither side wants to talk about the economy.
Well I understand why democrats dont want to talk about the economy. It is a god damn disaster right now and their record for the past 4 years has been terrible. For them talking about wedge issues makes 110% rational sense. Distract the avg voter from the economic issues while motivating your base.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
27,783
9,944
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Well I understand why democrats dont want to talk about the economy. It is a god damn disaster right now and their record for the past 4 years has been terrible. For them talking about wedge issues makes 110% rational sense. Distract the avg voter from the economic issues while motivating your base.
Actually, at the end of 2008, the economy was a disaster. Right now it's just mediocre with a slight upward trend. I'll take a mediocre recovery over a swirlie, thank you very much.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,061
494
126
Actually, at the end of 2008, the economy was a disaster. Right now it's just mediocre with a slight upward trend. I'll take a mediocre recovery over a swirlie, thank you very much.
It is still a damn disaster and why Obama is focusing on wedge issues.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
27,783
9,944
136
It is still a damn disaster and why Obama is focusing on wedge issues.
I've only seen one Obama ad on TV so far (not in a swing state) and it was all about whether or not you think you are better off now than in 2008. No wedge issues mentioned.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
10,560
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I've only seen one Obama ad on TV so far (not in a swing state) and it was all about whether or not you think you are better off now than in 2008. No wedge issues mentioned.
I've seen an Obama ad talking about abortion and how Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.
 

dawheat

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2000
3,123
71
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It is still a damn disaster and why Obama is focusing on wedge issues.
Both losing 800K jobs in Jan 2009 to slowly gaining ~100K jobs a month now are 'damn disasters'?

To say the recovery now is anything but anemic would be foolish, but considering our states then and now equal is hard to understand.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,669
6
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Both losing 800K jobs in Jan 2009 to slowly gaining ~100K jobs a month now are 'damn disasters'?

To say the recovery now is anything but anemic would be foolish, but considering our states then and now equal is hard to understand.
And this explains why neither side wants to talk about the economy.

Romney will be tarred with Republicans caused the economy to lose 800K jobs in Jan 2009.

And Obama will be tarred with anemic recovery.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
10,560
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I've long been an advocate of divided government. I'd like to hear your arguments why we should have one party with majority control of the federal government.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,057
3,604
126
I dont know a single libertarian who is voting for Romney. Not a single one. They are either not voting, or voting for Gary Johnson, or writing in Ron Paul. I question if he has any libertarian friends. I get this feeling he is trying to smear libertarians by lumping them in with the neocons.
They'd be forced to respect us more if we weren't generally Republican Party lapdogs. Republicans make a good show of pretending to be small-gov, convinces a lot of people who should otherwise be attacking them.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
10,560
1
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They'd be forced to respect us more if we weren't generally Republican Party lapdogs. Republicans make a good show of pretending to be small-gov, convinces a lot of people who should otherwise be attacking them.
That's true. There is an analog to that in the Democratic party, as well.
 

shadow9d9

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2004
8,132
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I love how the Republicans pushing a ton of anti women legislation and having its senators talk about legitimate rape becomes the democrats fault for pointing out it. Brilliant spin!
 
Jun 7, 2012
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Now ... now ...

I had a staunch Republican tell me in no uncertain terms it was "about the money"!

His example was that our county provides $5,000/year in condoms to the poor. Then he challenged me to justify that.

As a financial conservative he should have known that one (1) unplanned but well and lovingly cared for birth will add over $90k in public education cost for that birth assuming education costs DO NOT rise for the next 18 years. Fat chance on NO educational cost increases for the next 18 years!!!

An unhealthy birth, planned or unplanned, can easily cost $150k ... sometimes annually for the life of the newborn. That is enough to put most people on welfare if they were not there already.

An unwanted and abused child would probably cost 6~8 years of public education, at least $49k, plus possible costs within the legal and/or welfare system. Again for a lifetime. I'll ,let you figure that total.

Justified? I think so ...
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,883
1,221
126
Both parties are doing this.

What with the Democrats obsession with a "war on women".

And Obama coming out of the closet on gay marriage.

Neither side wants to talk about the economy.
Your examples are Democratic efforts to expand or protect freedoms, not restirct them. The GOP fundamentalists are seeking to restrict freedoms and to force everyone into the same box, a very significant difference.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,669
6
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Yea because just last week in the clinic there was a dude getting his vagina vacuumed out ....oh wait.
Because clearly all women have that done monthly ....oh wait.

Your examples are Democratic efforts to expand or protect freedoms, not restirct them. The GOP fundamentalists are seeking to restrict freedoms and to force everyone into the same box, a very significant difference.
The real difference is you support the Democrats on social issues.
 

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