Have I Got a Party For Them!

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After every major Republican defeat the party plays a game of lifeboat which boils down to:  “If we just dump over those rascals I have never agreed with, everything would be hunky dory.”  After a few months of this, the party settles down, learns from its defeats, the Democrats fall on their face, and the party comes roaring back.  In the present period of Republican angst, some commentators have been calling for the social conservatives to go into the deep blue political void.  Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal is typical.

Fellow conservatives, please stop obsessing about what other adults might be doing in their bedrooms, so long as it’s lawful and consensual and doesn’t impinge in some obvious way on you. This obsession is socially uncouth, politically counterproductive and, too often, unwittingly revealing.

Also, if gay people wish to lead conventionally bourgeois lives by getting married, that may be lunacy on their part but it’s a credit to our values. Channeling passions that cannot be repressed toward socially productive ends is the genius of the American way. The alternative is the tapped foot and the wide stance.

Also, please tone down the abortion extremism. Supporting so-called partial-birth abortions, as too many liberals do, is abortion extremism. But so is opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest, to say nothing of the life of the mother. Democrats did better with a president who wanted abortion to be “safe, legal and rare”; Republicans would have done better by adopting former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’s call for a “truce” on social issues.

I always find the sheer political fantasy land of such proposals amusing.  Social conservatives are  the core of the Republican party.  No one can be involved with the Republican party for long without noticing that most of the volunteers in Republican campaigns are social conservatives.  They are the ones who do the door to door canvassing, put up yard signs, man the phones, etc.  Without them any Republican campaign would be a mere shell.  Yes, it would be a masterstroke for Republicans to alienate their most devoted supporters.

Then of course we have the vote totals for social conservatives.  They are the group in the party that provides a plurality of votes for Republican candidates and have since before Reagan.

The vast majority of elected Republican officials embrace social conservative positions.  Most I think do so sincerely, but even those who don’t understand it would be political suicide to alienate their key voters.

Finally, if the party turned its back on the issues social conservatives care about, social conservatives would doubtless turn their back on the party and form a new one.  The old rump Republican party would quickly find itself in third place in the red states, and running a poor second in blue states, with mass defections around the country by elected Republican office holders.

Yep, turning out social conservatives would be the smartest political move since Republicans denied Theodore Roosevelt the party nomination in 1912.

We saw in the most recent election what happens to Republicans when they soft pedal the social issues:  the Democrats attack them ruthlessly anyway on the social issues, the GOP spends its campaign time being a punching bag, and the Democrat base is enthused while the social conservative base of the GOP is depressed.  This is one of the big factors in explaining the poor turnout of Republicans on election day this year.

No, I think it would be better  if Republicans who can’t stand social conservatives form their own party.  But they don’t have to!  Such a party exists!

Here is its stance on gay marriage:

Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.

On abortion:

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

The dream party of Republicans who hate social conservatives!  It is called the Libertarian Party and in the most recent election its candidate for President got

1,191,420  votes out of some 120 million cast.

10 Responses to Have I Got a Party For Them!

  • Art Deco says:

    the party plays a game of lifeboat which boils down to: “If we just dump over those rascals I have never agreed with, everything would be hunky dory.

    Not ‘the party’, but a collection of professional word merchants like David Frum.

  • Pinky says:

    Democrats did better with a president who wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”.

    That was Bill Clinton’s era. I haven’t heard the current president say “rare” once. The kind of pro-abortion extremism that the Journal correctly derides is sitting in the White House. It’s perfectly legitimate, even by the WSJ article’s standards, to raise the abortion issue in the face of extremism. I agree with Don about the rest, too, but I just had to call out that “safe, legal, and rare” falsehood.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Listening to the radio right now I hear Penn Jillette, the comedian/comic, claiming to be a libertarian. He says that he is “as far right as you can go on economics and as far left as you can go on sex.” First of all, note the obsessive linking of all social issues with “sex.” More importantly, it continues to astound me that so-called small government types miss the connection between culture and economics. The massive interventionist state has been created by (and also exacerbates) the breakdown of the family and reliance on the government as a last refuge of charity. Libertarians simply cannot grasp this concept, thus highlighting the problem of viewing liberty as an end rather the means to an end.

  • Art Deco says:

    The massive interventionist state has been created by (and also exacerbates) the breakdown of the family and reliance on the government as a last refuge of charity. Libertarians simply cannot grasp this concept, thus highlighting the problem of viewing liberty as an end rather the means to an end.

    In this country, the elaboration on conventional common provision which began around about 1933 antedated the breakdown in social architecture by more than three decades. The initial experiments toward this end in Hohenzollern Germany were underway five decades earlier.

    Libertarians are commonly discussing a hypothetical society, not the actual world of 1928, and are often in a state in life where the observation that all of us come into this world in a dependent position and most of us leave in the same circumstance is not exactly palpable. Rich Leonardi once said that his departure from the libertarian fold began when he realized that the luminaries thereof were disproportionately drawn from the childless.

    One should draw a distinction between a state which allocates capital beyond the conventional boundaries of common property and public works (through mercantilist measures and economic planning) and a state which re-distributes income. The former is attempting to influence economic decision making at every stage; the latter is not. Friedrich v. Hayek’s brief concerned planning; social insurance was not of much concern to him.

  • Greg Mockeridge says:

    The left understands the importance of the social issues, which is why their push for abortion, same sex “marriage”, etc. has always been symbiotic with their push for the welfare nanny state. Obamacare proves that fact in spades.

    For Mitch Daniels of all people to call for a truce on social issues is bizarre in thta he distances himself from his own record as Governor of Indiana in doing so. His record on social issues there was sterling.

  • JDP says:

    What’s ironic is that what likely depressed turnout for Romney in places like Ohio is the exact OPPOSITE of what the low-tax liberals at the WSJ would ever admit — namely, this caricature of him as Gordon Gekko.

    while the economic liberal/socially conservative dichotomy when it comes to working-class voters is probably an oversimplification, I seriously doubt all of Obama’s support in the Midwest came from people who are gungho about his cultural liberalism.

  • Mike Petrik wrote, “I agree with Don and would note that the Libertarian platform is perfectly fine with polygamy, as will be the Democratic platform eventually.”

    When will both parties then support leagilized pedophilia and beastiality? After all, if sex between two men or between two women is OK, then why not sex between man and boy, or sex between man and animal? Let me guess: the only behavior the left is outrages at is when a priest is accused, falsely or otherwise, of any sex act. But if a liberal does the exact same act, then it’s OK. In fact, it’s to be praised. Romans 1:32 says that such people deserve to die. Not my words – St. Paul’s and hee was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Just to be clear, however: anyone who sins deserves to die. We have all sinned. That’s why Christ died on a Cross.

  • Foxfier says:

    Most of the sane libertarians I know are aware that the Libertarian party can’t go anywhere; that’s why they want to take over the Republican party.

    This phenomia is familiar to anyone who has lived near a left wing disaster area, and had floods of people moving out of that area…and making their new home make the same stupid mistakes.

  • Ivan says:

    The Republicans allowed themselves to be painted as a party of plutocrats, even though their tradition included famous Republicans such as the trust-busting TR who had warned about the concentration of capital in a few hands. They could have handily won the battleground states with swing votes from the Reagan Democrats alone without compromising on any of their core issues. They could not bring out the Evangelicals either which despite Rev Billy Graham’s last minute trick on the Mormon issue, left many unconvinced. Obama was in tears when congratulating his campaign workers, quite realising that they had pulled off an unexpected victory on the back of an ill thought Republican campaign.

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