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Ordered Liberty

The GOP and Social Issues: Another Perspective

January 29th, 2014 - 11:46 am

On the question whether the Republican Party ought to de-emphasize social issues, I find myself more in the Bryan Preston camp than in Roger Simon’s. That’s ironic because, though I’m drawn to the logic of Bryan’s “Where do the surrenders end?” argument, the brute fact is: the political divide in the country has almost nothing to do with logic. It is, instead, about “us versus them.” Roger thus gets closer to the heart of the matter when he contends that “fairly or not,” opposition to gay marriage – today’s hotly contested social issue – is used “to paint the right as bigots. And young people … don’t want to hang with bigots[.]”

Where I respectfully suggest that Roger goes wrong is in too narrowly applying the truth he has hit upon. It is about much more than young voters. Social conservatives can be alienated, too. While Republicans might peel off a few social liberals by shelving opposition to gay marriage, the party cannot win without the social conservatives, a major part of its base.

We are in “us versus them” politics because the Left’s positions are shot through with contradictions. The agenda is not logically compelling, whether we’re talking about paying people not to work; raising the minimum wage (i.e., eliminating entry-level jobs) and championing illegal immigration at a time of extraordinarily high unemployment; punitive taxes and regulations that shrink the wealth available for redistribution; healthcare “reform” that does next to nothing for the uninsured while booting millions of insured Americans off their policies and raising costs dramatically; closing Gitmo by freeing anti-American terrorists to return to the jihad; and so on. That is why Democrats, once they win office and become accountable to voters, prove endlessly malleable: walking away from some of these agenda items, “waiving” the dire effects of others, and banking on a compliant media’s help in blaming the inevitable mess on purported right-wing sabotage.

Logic, however, is not the point. The architects of these policies are striving for power, not coherence. They achieve power by promoting a Manichaean politics: they are the progressive lovers of humanity, while we on the right are the evil, bigoted Babbits. We can argue logic until we’re blue in the face. They will focus on the culture and the classroom, using relativism and political correctness to eviscerate the critical thinking skills that logic requires. The left’s voters are relentlessly challenged to remember not so much what they stand for as whom they stand with. This is often accomplished through ploys like the “war on women” and “Pajama boy.” These seem juvenile to us because we’re missing the point, which is solidarity not persuasion.

Roger may be right about the salience of gay marriage for young people. The logic of “traditional marriage” is beside the point; the debate has become the noble “us” versus the baleful “them.” Young voters, however, are just one demographic in a broad landscape that includes legions of social conservatives. Without the support of those legions, Republicans simply cannot win elections, especially presidential elections.

Consider the 2012 campaign. I bet that if you told the Romney folks a day or two before Americans went to the polls that Barack Obama would lose nearly four million of the voters who supported him in 2008, Mitt and Ann would have been ordering new White House curtains. Yet Romney lost because he barely edged McCain’s poor 2008 showing. Those four-million voters did not shift to the GOP; they stayed home. So, additionally, did millions of conservatives.

The right, very much including social conservatives, was indifferent to Romney just as it was to McCain – a progressive Republican notorious for bashing conservatives. As the chief proponent of Romneycare, the Massachusetts precursor of Obamacare, Romney demoralized the conservative base, largely nullifying the issue that had propelled Republicans to a smashing victory in the 2010 midterms. Moreover, Romney and his GOP establishment advisers decided that focusing the campaign myopically on Obama’s dreadful economy was the winning strategy. Social conservatives felt slighted, and many reciprocated by ignoring the candidate – notwithstanding their opposition to Obama.

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Top Rated Comments   
Your personal motto is a load of crap, sorry.

I don't build bridges to tear down and nor should any reasonable person. You build bridges so that you can maintain them for use crossing from each side.

And, anyone who thinks that live and let live conservatives are looking to sneak back and cut the throats of social conservatives, is unhinged.

We are in an existential threat to our freedom. There is nothing squishy about fighting to retain that freedom.

Social issues are important, but they are in God's time. Totalitarian overthrow is in man's time. God can do just fine setting out the path for sinners, and while I admire those who want to help Him here on earth...I have the feeling that He isn't dependent on man to do it for Him.

On the other hand, the existential threat to America DOES need immediate attention.

So, my point is not to surrender moral beliefs, but to take the existential threat first and deal with it. And to learn to frame the issues, not fall for the traps set by the small c communists.

Live and let live fiscal conservatives are not atheists or agnostics. Independents are not atheists or agnostics. They WILL respond to a moral argument. But they will NOT respond to your bullying attempt to blow up bridges, because you are trembling over whether they will come back and slit your throat.

Convince them with logic of the righteousness of your position, because your threats are puny and self-defeating. You are losing the country...and that's a's the kicker...your position has the moral high ground. That means...your tactics suck.

You have sacrificed the war because you are convinced that you should shoot your friends in the back because they don't like your losing battle plan.

YOU are the reason we will lose our freedoms. Wake up to reality.

You are helping the enemy steal liberty. If you keep doing so, you are no better than a traitor.

Sorry for being so harsh, but this is no time to mince words. I don't oppose your morality. I oppose your destruction of our last chance to stave off an existential threat. If you don't want to join need to be defeated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Andy, you have done a brilliant job here of laying out the leftists. One of the best I have seen. I agree with nearly every single word.

You get them...and most people don't. Or they get them only on the surface.

You understand their mindset. You seize their blueprints and their battle plans.

I submit it is what we do with that knowledge that will make or break this country. And there...and only where I part company with you.

The "social conservatives" come in a variety of flavors. The "live and let live" fiscal conservatives come in a variety of flavors. We are not doing enough to bridge those flavors, but we are doing plenty to blow up those bridges that do exist.

McCain is a slobbering imbecile, frankly. If he hadn't gotten himself captured and become a POW...I would find virtually nothing in this man's background to recommend to high office. He was a horrible choice for a candidate and while I find Sarah Palin to be a potentially wonderful neighbor, that ticket was abysmal politically.

Mitt Romney campaigned like a sacrificial lamb. The entire slate was a clown car of B Team candidates. The primary season was a cosmic joke of circular firing squads and cannibalism of midgets.

Romney is a polished appearance and a political oaf substantively. He comes from central casting, on what a Republican candidate should look like stereotypically...if you wanted the country club version. (the Mormon twist, instead of Protestant...wasn't even interesting enough to gain traction in the commie left)

HOWEVER, ...if social conservatives stayed home or will do so again when the nation needs saving...then they are no better than traitors on the left.

Having a difference of opinion on how best to stave off the threat of totalitarianism vs surrendering to it is not even a close choice. And every argument I have heard to the contrary is a load of tripe.

If independents are abandoning Obama and his cabal in droves...then the positive arguments for Constitutional, free market, self-governing democracy are the sealants to keep them moving toward a vote for freedom.

Trading off social conservatives for independents is not a policy, it's suicide.

Trading off independents for social conservatives is mind-numbingly insane.

It's not necessary. Finding the balance point is necessary. What the left learned and the right has incremental change works.

What the left learned and the right has not is that messaging is the art of today's politics. He who frames the message, wins the reality.

What the left learned and the right has not, is that you don't shoot your friends first and then run out of ammo when attacked by your enemies.

The radical left has hidden their agenda, they wear the mask and they have their Propaganda Machine cover for them. Our to rip off that mask and to hold the traitors accountable. In the media, in academia, in Hollywood and in the Party.

We cannot do that...shooting at ourselves. Only an imbecile would build that as a battle plan.

Any buffoon can win an argument with a rational person if abortion is about Gosnell. So, the left makes it about women choosing what to do with THEIR bodies...and the right falls for the trap.

Any imbecile can win an argument with a rational person about crashing the border and stealing identities, forming gangs and pushing law abiding immigrants out of the way. The left makes it about "for the innocent kids who were brought here without any fault of their own"...and the right falls for the trap.

We need a plan to save the country. We are in a phase of lawless, treasonous, totalitarian tyranny. There is no time to bicker over who is more pure in their conservatism. There is an enemy waging a war against freedom. And if freedom from tyranny isn't enough reason to bind together against it...then I call anyone on the other side of that equation...a traitor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The country is in deep trouble. The Democrats have pulled way to the left -- in ways we haven't seen since well before my time. Culturally, the Democrats are off the American scale and over near Weimar Republic territory. On economics, they are moderate-left but dying to go full blown German- or French-style social welfare state.

I'm not sure we Republicans are helping. All we are doing is slowing the inevitable march off the cliff and giving the Democrats an opponent to bash.

Since 2012, my mood has been, "OK, let it burn." But still ....

As far as the GOP, I think we are in the late Whig stage, when slavery tore the party apart. Abortion is the most important moral issue of our times, and the issue is as big as slavery. Yes, abortion is the slavery of our time, and we need to treat it as such. Just as the pro-slavery politicians had no reasonable or scientific argument on their side, so the pro-choice politicians have no reasonable or scientific argument on their side.

The storm over abortion is coming ... maybe not this generation, but this century -- it can only go on for so long and we must pay for shedding innocent blood. The Republicans were right on slavery, right on secession, right on segregation ... and we're right on abortion. We just need to be unapologetic and bold on the issue. The Democrats are sociopathic in their defense of killing -- we need to oppose them with the same zeal -- and then defeat them.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (144)
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Finally... someone gets it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There are truly evil people commenting on this. I'll tell them right up front I don't consider abortion killing and I don't accept others telling me what to do. Stick your nose under my tent and it won't come back. Some of these self-righteous idiots need to be removed from society. There are seriously disturbed people writing some of this crap. I used to vote mostly Republican, but those kind of hysterical assholes who think God put them here to rule need to get their thinking in line with being a disciple of Christ. They are so ate up with hate they are Poster People for the whole damn group.

I don't think I've ever seen a more hard-headed and focused group of believers though. The problem is you folks think your attitudes on sex and other things are the only proper ones and folks like me have no use for you sticking your nose into our business. I don't tell you when and where to go to church and you don't tell me squat about your religious beliefs. Now you folks seem to have trouble understanding that not everyone wants somebody telling them what to do that is religiously acceptable. Consequently Republicans can't get the votes with a bunch of nosy wannabe preachers harassing everybody with their rules of social responsibility. And no matter what anybody wants, it is a secular country and it's going to continue that way. It isn't about Conservatism, it's about an attempt to establish a dominating theology not freedom.

Most of the comments I've seen here are unfortunately supportive of the hateful bad people label. Republicans at this point have managed to talk themselves into yanking defeat from the jaws of victory. The question is continually put how do you expect to get people to vote for you if you assail their personal liberties , try to criminalize things they do your religion doesn't approve of, accuse large blocks of potential voters they are lazy shiftless bums leeching off the workers? Is it really that hard to understand you don't constitute a majority and insulting and denigrating millions.

Who needs friends like that? I'm sure I'll get lot's of answers that are short and to the point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I don't think I've ever seen a more hard-headed and focused group of believers though."

You shoulda been around in the 1850s and 60s, when the GOP was born, pal. Ever hear of John Brown or Harriet Tubman? Harriet Beecher Stowe and her brother Henry Ward Beecher?

Different but similar issue, same damned opposition. Go read Douglas's part of the Lincoln/Douglas debates if you want the northern Democrat view on that issue.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Abortion isn't slavery and that is the problem. It is as bad or worse than slavery near the end (late term abortion), but isn't even wrong at the very front (morning after pills and IUDs). There are two groups who just don't get that, radical feminists to whom abortion is nearly sacramental, and radical fundamentalists who believe that god has endowed undifferentiated cells with a soul (and don't seem to get that if that's true about 50% of every soul ever manifested ended up not being born for natural reasons)...I wonder if they believe in recycling?

Abortion is Our new Slavery is an insane suggestion, but we don't want to say that because we look at the 1860s and see all these people compromising on this fundamental issue and don't want to be reckoned in their number...well guess what, the "cure" was a Civil War, 600,000 dead Americans, and the strong Federalism that has led to the twilight of liberty in the United States.

I am more John Brown than Abraham Lincoln (although Brown was incompetent), but one more compromise that ended slavery with something like conversion to seven year indentures, or something would have been morally questionable, but better for the country in the long run, as well as less consumptive of lives. (That wasn't on the table of course.)

As it was, Lincoln was no radical anti slavery activist. Frederick Douglas, who really ought to replace Jackson on the $20 Bill, called him a "first-rate second-rate man". Still, the Republican Party was able to win because they made their run about keeping the union together, not about ending slavery (although they wanted both).

We need to make this election about liberty, not ending abortion for the same reason, and particularly because ending ALL abortion isn't even on the radar of a lot of good Republicans.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd be happy with legal abortion limited to the first trimester. I'd be happy with no abortion legal at all.

That said, it's unreasonable and even insolent of you to lump people who countenance and even call for the brain suctioning of viable infants with people who want no legal abortion at all (as there was not for most of the history of this nation and of Western Civilization) - as fellow radicals to be sneered at. Insolent.

And so are your sneers about Christian theology. "Where are the souls in undifferentiated cells? Isn't a soul too big to fit? Ha, ha, ha. Is there half a soul in a sperm cell? Ha, ha, ha." You're a regular Flip Wilson, except he'd never be so rude.

Christians believe life begins at conception. Buddhists believe human life doesn't begin till the 49th day after conception. Which one's funnier? Go ask the mullahs in Tehran what they think, then give 'em the horselaugh.

Sorry, you pushed a button. We need to end Roe, get the question back to the voters in their states. Telling people to shut up about how they want those state battles to turn out is a stupid and divisive waste of breath. Go ahead and trumpet a middle position, but quit preening about how reasonable you are! Anti-abortion absolutists are our allies in rolling back Roe, so quit insulting them.

John Brown and his sons used to ride across the Kansas border at night and come upon Missouri farmsteads. If they found slaves, they murdered the slave-owners and chopped the corpses to gobs with the specially sharpened swords they'd brought for the purpose. He was a hugely popular terrorist. Harriet Tubman rode with him at Harper's Ferry, where lots of slave-owners got hanged from lampposts.

I like Douglas, but I like Lincoln much better. The man was a wonder.

As for the election, I agree. But the media will ask and ask and ask our candidates about abortion. They shouldn't lie. They should also be ready to turn that conversation back on the fact that Federal spending has increased by more than an order of magnitude since 2007, and with NO benefit to the average citizen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry if the soul existing in undifferentiated cells annoyed you, but that's the point. It illuminates the absurdity of the argument. About half those undifferentiated cells spontaneously abort. If human life, that is PERSONHOOD begins with conception, where are the funerals? If personhood begins with conception, should we execute the mother and the doctor for the premeditated murder of a child, or just one of them?

This isn't a joke. It isn't meant to be a joke. When I am debating young earth creationists I ask how the marsupials got back to Australia from Mount Ararat, and why none of them stopped off in Africa.

I ask these questions to hold a mirror up to a person I may well respect, but who looks absurd to anyone with a hint of logic or rationality.

NO ONE who is not barking mad wants to execute mothers or doctors for First Trimester abortion. Why not? The answer is obvious. Even hard core prolifers know that's not a baby. It's not a person. If that's the case, this isn't "about the baby" it's about something else. I think it's about shaming and punishing girls for premarital sex. That's also why rape and incest are virtual universal exceptions. If you disagree with me make a more compelling argument. I'll listen.

Similarly, I DO want to execute Kermit Gosnell and a couple people at his "clinic". He is one of the worst serial murderers of children in history, and essentially everyone knows it. That's why the MSM wouldn't cover the story.

I detest untruth in public debate. If someone is against First Trimester abortion because they think that's against gods law, say that. If they want to publicly shame and punish immoral girls so their daughters won't break gods commandments, say that.

They won't because they know they will lose, and "any lie in a good cause"...

That shouldn't be us...that's the left's game. We're better than that. I would note that you can always tell the uncompromising ones for whom it IS actually all about life. They are the ones who refuse any exception to a complete ban on abortion save for a self defense right if the mothers life is threatened. Rape and incest don't enter in, because this is about saving innocent babies. I disagree with them, and I don't think their defense of cells is very reasoned, but they are internally consistent, and their dedication to innocent life is seamless. They are also as rare as hens teeth in this debate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And I think we could turn some of the "bigot" perception of the other tribe, and rally our loosely affiliated, with candidates who hammered on prison reform, prison reform, prison reform.

Our overcrowded prisons are atrocious. Womanish men, a disproportionately gay group, are targeted for rape by individuals and gangs. This is just accepted as part of the culture by the Left! (Watch episodes of Law & Order to see what I mean.) Dems just make jokes - remember the California AG saying he wanted to put Ken Lay in a cell and hear his black cellmate order him to bend over? Ha, ha.

Prison's easy for brutal toughs. Left judges have granted them TV and Internet privileges, even a Right to Porn. It's a nightmare for the weak.

And where do funds for improving prisons currently go? The Dems just pour them straight into guards' unions to buy votes and keep PAC contributions coming.

It's a disgrace. Societies are rightly judged by how they treat their prisoners. And a transvestite check-kiter is treated worse than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ever was.

Reopen Alcatraz - one man, one cell - and build many more like it. That's shovel-ready!

And ask the Human Rights Campaign why they're not on this - it seems only Christian Prison Ministries are interested in helping the victims. Marriage is just a word. Let's do some real good.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That was nicely reasoned and written, and it really bummed me out. Tribalism can't be reasoned against.

I disagree that it was so-Cons or any Conservatives who didn't turn out for McCain and Romney. (Maybe there's some exit-polling data I've missed.) They'd have voted for a hatrack over a Democrat, and they've done so many times in the past.

Palin rallies were huge. So were Romney/Ryan rallies, especially in Ohio. But not enough GOP turned out in Ohio.

I really think it's the more loosely affiliated GOP that stayed home. The tribalism IS nasty, and they don't want their faces gotten into, don't want to be demonized, don't see that marriage in general is worth being called a bigot over. (Especially after McCain assured them that Obama would make a fine president, and Romney opined that Obama was a swell guy who was a bit misguided.)

We need a Conservative candidate. A moderate can bring out Conservatives, but a moderate can't fire up the moderates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
True that we need all factions of our base in order to win on a national scale, but why is our side at a disadvantage? It could be due to candidates' pattern of not doing a good enough job of shoring up the entire base, particularly the socons; this is one thing the Democrats do quite well with their base.

Noteworthy excerpt:

"The thing to remember about religious voters is that unlike any other voting segment, they believe that history has already been written and they understand that even when someone terrible is elected, it is God’s will. This is a mindset that allows many people to sit out an election in a way that a union member or NRA supporter never could. They put their faith in God and that relieves them of certain responsibilities that other voters feel."

More here:
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What will work is for a half dozen Libertarian Senators to get elected. That's all it would take to force a coalition government between Republicans in the center and Libertarians on the Right to move the needle to the Right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Younger voters grow up and change. Ask Roger Simon. We can't let principles be bent for a group that is, quite by nature, going to change. How backwards can we be, coming up with stuff like that. Beside, the young typically vote is small numbers. They turned out for Obama to teach grandpa how wrong he was about a black person being able or unable to be president or anything else. Except they voted entirely on a color scale without spending a dimes' worth of time on evaluating this particular person of color's qualifications to do the job. I'm already witnessing some of them on FB scolding themselves for their mistake. IOW, they're experiences are changing them already.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Both sides in the political landscape, left and right, market their own distinct brands of tyranny. Neither, unfortunately, believes that we are responsible enough to manage our OWN lives.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem is not the issues themselves but that conservatives have lost the ability to frame them in ways that are easily understood and agreed to by the general population.
Social policy positions/legislation do not have to and should not be framed in a way that isolates the religious from the irreligious who agree with them when the issue is framed properly. We have allowed the issues to be framed as an 'us versus them' way that redefines us and them.
For example, the two most divisive issues on the right are abortion and homosexual marriage and both are framed as in a way to emphasize individual liberty. We have even invented a new 'right to privacy' associated with them. This loses the argument before it's begun because, of course, the right supports individualism and privacy and are both's greatest defenders.
However, restricting the redefinition of marriage and even restricting divorce is in the best interests of our system of government. For, if the family does not support the next generation, the government will have to. Therefore one generation's ability to exercise 'liberty' to it's fullest restricts the following generations' ability to do so.
My meds are kicking in so I hope that's articulate enough for someone to understand.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BH Marder, I respectfully disagree. The essential point here is that the federal government is too big. It's too big to efficiently achieve its constitutionally mandated duties, it's stifling the economy and has grown in such a way as to functionally nullify the constitution. Our first priority should be to trim it down and regain some type of constitutionally limited republic. Think of it this way--corruption is moral issue all elements of the GOP can agree on, and the Fedgov is so large we don't even know how corrupt it is. There's a winning issue everyone can come together to fight, and a strategic direction for which we now need effective tactics.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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