Monday, February 7, 2011

How the GOP can lose in 2012

The upcoming 2012 elections look overwhelmingly positive for Republicans. Lots of vulnerable Democrats have Senate seats to defend, several of which have already been left open due to retirement. The economy is still in the toilet and President Obama has no plan to even appear to be trying to solve the problem other than vague talk of “strategic investment” which everyone knows is code for “more stimulus spending”. So all conservatives need to do is sit back and coast to a win in 2012. Right?

Not so fast. We are dealing with politicians and we are also already seeing the Right start to splinter. The recent blow-up at CPAC is a prime example where a homosexual Republican group, GOProud, was allowed to co-sponsor the event leading to a number of social conservatives sitting it out. The latest salvo comes this morning from David Boaz, executive VP of the libertarian Cato Institute, writing in the Los Angeles times and taking shots at “social conservatives” in his essay Phony solutions for real social ills. Mr. Boaz seems miffed that people are letting issues like abortion and gay marriage interfere with the quest to lower taxes and spending. He had this to say regarding abortion….

Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty.

That is very true (although it is instructive to see that Mr. Boaz hedges his statement by saying that abortion “may” be a moral crime). Of course, murder is a moral crime but it is also isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. Rape is a moral crime but it isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. So why worry about those issues? Lets just worry about lowering taxes and spending. He goes on to say….

And one thing gay couples are not doing is filling the world with fatherless children. Indeed, it's hard to imagine that allowing more people to make the emotional and financial commitments of marriage could cause family breakdown or welfare spending.

Also true but that misses the point and ignores a fact. What makes Mr. Boaz think that homosexuals are going to be more prone to stay married than heterosexual couples? That is simply insane. We live in a morally permissive society and there is nothing to indicate that homosexuals would be better marriage partners than heterosexuals. So you would seek to complicate the already muddled waters of marriage, divorce, adoption and child custody by adding a new dimension and a new pool of people who could legally marry and adopt and who could also legally divorce. Certainly Mr. Boaz must realize that a stable family of a mother and father who are married and stay married is the best environment for raising children all else being equal. The socially conservative stance against homosexual relationships being solemnized as “marriage” is that it further dilutes the meaning of marriage and is a major step on the road to delegitimizing marriage as an institution. This is not merely conservative rhetoric and hyperbole, one simply needs to look to Europe to see the results.

This splintering might just be the beginning. The question is going to come down to who the GOP nominee in 2012 is. Will it be a combo social and fiscal conservative like Mike Pence (who isn’t running) or will it be a polarizing individual focused on libertarian “pocketbook first” issues or a social conservative only candidate? The GOP needs to tread carefully here because following the playbook of Mr. Boaz is a sure way to alienate social conservatives and ensure a second Obama term. Libertarians need social conservative votes a lot more than the social conservatives need libertarians. A secoond Obama term is an outcome nobody on the Right wants but that we certainly will get if the various wings of the GOP spend the next year and a half attacking one another.
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