For years it has been conventional wisdom that the GOP needs the votes of social conservatives to win elections. Defined loosely, a “social conservative” is someone who has very traditional, restrictionist views on so-called “social issues” like abortion and same-sex marriage. These voters are mostly white and evangelical Christians. They support strong restrictions on abortion and oppose any recognition of gay couples. In short, they are basically anti-libertarians. As such, the moderate wing of the party has always them as a necessary but disliked coalition partner.
In recent years, though, the tide has started to turn against this strategy. The portion of the electorate that votes strictly on social issues is shrinking. Attitudes are changing on gay rights and, while the country tends to lean pro-life, it’s fairly clear that most voters are repulsed by the extreme views held by some pro-life polticians. It’s clear, then, that the GOP can’t rely on anti-gay rhetoric and severe positions on abortion to win.
The call, then, naturally is coming from those who never even liked social conservatives to push this portion of the voting population to the wayside. Some, like my colleague Jeremy Kolassa, argue that the GOP should entirely ignore social conservatives. The thinking goes that moderating on abortion and gay rights will gather enough new votes to make it possible to live without hardline social cons.
By any reasonable standard, the War on Drugs has been a total disaster It has not shown any results in terms of reducing drug usage. The cost in money, resources, and lives has been immense. It’s no shock, then, that a whopping 82% of the American public believes it has been a failure. Yet in our political realm, it is the name that cannot be spoken. Political leaders who seriously question it are largely on the fringes, with coverage of the issue mainly relegated to places like Reason and other libertarian sources (as well as some liberal publications). In my experience, it’s rare to even see it discussed in conservative circles - and that’s a great shame. If conservatives could educate themselves on it, I think it could be a great issue. There are numerous reasons why, but here are just three.
First of all, the War on Drugs destroys families, especially within minority communities. Conservatives like to talk about how important the family is, yet seem to be not bothered by the fact that the United States incarcerates 2.3 million people, more than any other nation (except perhaps China). Many of these inmates are fathers, sons, mothers and daughters who are in prison for non-violent drug-related offenses. They are doing hard time alongside violent criminals because our laws are so strict. Instead of getting clean and being able to make something of their lives, they are in prison with felonies on their record, making it near impossible to recover. I can’t see for a second how society and the family unit are bettered by this. Why destroy someone’s life for using drugs?
The 2012 election was a crushing blow to conservatives and Republicans across the board. Although they held onto the House, they still had losses there, and totally failed to take the Senate, and had a fairly disastrous presidential election. Yet there appears to be some hope on the horizon, because already the GOP soul-searching has begun, and already I am seeing some encouraging signs.
So I do have to ask: Did you idiots just wake up and crawl out from under a rock in Oklahoma, or what?
We’ve been saying here for months at United Liberty—and for me personally, elsewhere before then—that if the GOP didn’t tone down the social conservatism and stop with the anti-gay messages and the anti-science messages (Paul Broun, anyone?) and for once in their lives genuinely embrace limited government, they were going to lose a generation. It took a shellacking in the polls this year to shake Republicans out their idiotic stupor.
Look at this tweet:
We need economic solutions, but also need to confront the social rhetoric that has undermined our party. AFA/FRC, I’m looking at you.
— Luke Londo (@llondo) November 7, 2012
Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Ohio, had some strong language for his party on Thursday, saying that he wants Republicans “out of people’s bedrooms.”
It’s election day. We’re finally here. This grueling, seemingly non-stop campaign ends today. President Barack Obama made his last campaign stops yesterday. Mitt Romney hopes to pickup what undecided voters remain during visits to Ohio and Pennsylvania today.
Despite public polls showing a close race in swing states, though Obama has a slight advantage, Romney’s campaign says that their internal polls show him leading in Ohio and tied in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Writing at National Review yesterday, Jim Geraghty saw reason to hope that Romney will pull off a win tonight. And Aaron Blake surmised that the early voting numbers suggest that the race will be tight. However, Blake points out that “[i]n basically every state, Democrats’ early vote edge is between four and eight points less than it was in 2008.” That could mean trouble for Obama, especially in Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.
It seems that GOP candidates still have not learned that they are better off not speaking about rape and abortion. Just weeks after Todd Akin’s infamous “legitimate rape” comment, another conservative has stated his views on the issue - this time Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock:
“I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize: “Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Now, I should get one thing out the way here. I personally find Mourdock’s comments to be callous, and as someone who does not personally believe in a deity, I could never imagine telling a woman who was impregnated by a rapist that it was “God’s will” to carry to term a baby fathered by a vicious attacker and forced on her through the most violent of means. It seems remarkably insensitive and lacking compassion.
But it’s not at all inconsistent or illogical given the thinking of pro-lifers. If you’re someone who genuinely believes that life begins at the moment of conception, it doesn’t matter to you the circumstances. I’ve always thought it to be very dishonest for “pro-life” candidates to be against abortion, but leave exceptions for rape and incest. If you believe that unborn fetuses have full human rights, then the only possible time you could be okay with ending that life is if another life is at stake or if you believe it is compassionate due to severe birth defects. And even then, that’s debatable.
I’m sick and tired of this “War on Women” meme. It portrays women as nothing more than helpless vaginas that need subsidized abortion, free birth control, subsidized daycare, special loans in order to start a business, special laws to negotiate a decent wage, and all sorts of things only sugar daddy government can provide. It is dehumanizing and insulting to the millions of strong, independent women everywhere and the millions of men who love them. If you want to see what a real “War on Women” looks like, here it is. Finally, just because someone opposes abortion and wants to cut government spending does not make them a misogynist. In fact, many feminists believe that women can and should stand on their own without the help of the government.
Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.
Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.
In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…
…and then lose disastrously in November.
It is a sad trend that after every shooting in this country, there is a group of people who, without fail, rush to use it to make some political point. There’s always the perfunctory debate about gun control, with advocates stating that somehow gun sellers should predict when someone will use the weapon for evil. And when the target is political in any way, one side always uses it to make the case that the other side is “encouraging hate” and thus somehow to blame for the shooter’s actions.
We saw this clearly in the Gabby Giffords shooting, when those on the left tried to tie Jared Loughner’s actions to Tea Party rhetoric and even absurdly to Sarah Palin by posting pictures of a “target map” she had created, clearly referring to taking POLITICAL action against certain incumbents, not violence. Yet this did not stop liberals like Paul Krugman from plainly implying that she and other conservatives were partly to blame for their so-called “incendiary rhetoric”. This is not to say that the language of Palin and Bachmann is not often excessive and overheated, but it is plainly not encouraging violence.
Fast forward to this week, when a gunman decided to take out his disagreement with the Family Research Council by opening fire, wounding a security guard before being wrestled to the ground. Now, it should be known that I vehemently disagree with basically everything the FRC stands for. But never in a million years would I or any other sane person think this warranted violence. It’s clear that the main issue here was a severely imbalanced person who decided that the way to express his feelings was firing a gun at innocent people.
The Tea Party movement has been much maligned by its opponents as nothing but the conservative movement under a different name. Admittedly, this is a charge that even I’ve made as I’ve been concerned about ancillary social issues that have seeped into Tea Party. That was made even worse when polls showed Tea Party voters backing Rick Santorum, who is no fiscal conservative and even worse on social issues.
But a new study from the Cato Institute, written by David Kirby and Emily Ekins, shows that the Tea Party movement does indeed have very strong libertarian roots, which is often overlooked by political strategists and the news media.
The study isn’t necessarily the first of its kind. The Cato Institute has previous put out two separate studies on the libertarian vote. In 2006, an analysis by David Boaz and the aforementioned David Kirby showed that the libertarian vote, which was drifting toward Democrats at the time, made up “some 13 percent of the electorate.” A follow up study in 2008, showed that the number of voters that could be identified as libertarian made up 14 percent of the electorate. Moreover, they were much more supportive of John McCain than Barack Obama.
This latest analysis shows that the Tea Party movement has a strong libertarian influence on economic issues, which, as Kirby and Ekins note, is the uniting factor holding it together. However, they also note that the Tea Party movement is evenly split on social issues.
Anna Marie Hoffman is one of the sharpest young social conservatives out there. She is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet and converse with. She wrote a recent blog about Federal funding for abstinence based sex education that was picked up by Lifenews.com:
On July 6, 2012, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a pro-abstinence staff report called “A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance.” This report details how Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), abstinence, truly lowers the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unintended teenage pregnancies as opposed to comprehensive sex education (CSE), which only focuses on reducing these risks.
Truthfully, SRA paves the way for healthy teen development, because it is based on adolescent behavioral theory, relies upon effectual techniques of public health prevention programs, emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and support, and teaches personal skills teens need to avoid dangerous sexual risks. In the end, the report successfully drives home a pro-abstinence message by concluding with 22 peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that teens have benefitted from SRA programs.
To advance these efforts, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act is seeking to promote abstinence by appropriating $15 million more for abstinence education programs and $80 million less for President Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.