A GOP Truce On Social Issues Is Smart Politics

While the various factions of the GOP wrestle with the question of how much to emphasize social issues over the next two years, perhaps they need to spend a little time paying attention to the polls:

This comes via Wonkroom which observes that, bizarrely, the GOP seems intent on focusing more on social issues despite clear indications like this that this isn’t what the public wants to hear:

Social conservative activists hope to keep culture issues like abortion and same sex marriage at the forefront of the GOP agenda and plan to extract commitments of support from Republican presidential contenders in the early primary states where these causes are already advancing.

In New Hampshire, where Republicans are already leading an effort to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law, Hampshire Cornerstone — the anti-gay group spearheading the campaign — “will ask each Republican presidential candidate to sign a pledge agreeing marriage should be between one man and one woman.”

“Why not try to leverage the influence of the candidates to get them to declare their support for traditional marriage?” Smith told Roll Call earlier this week. “If you have a candidate saying they’re not willing to oppose same-sex marriage, I think they’ll have a problem. … We have a wide membership list. We’ll certainly let them know.”

Yea I’m sure you will, and you’ll lead them right to disaster.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. M.Lewiston says:

    The GOP should declare their social positions honestly and readily. This way, the voting public can make an informed position. Why be ashamed of the platform?

  2. EddieInCA says:

    Doug –

    The disconnect is that most GOP base voters, unlike you, are DRIVEN by social issues. If they can’t hate on Abortion, Gays, Immigration, Pornography, and Drug Laws, they’d have to become Democrats based on economics alone.

    So, of course, the GOP is going to push this agenda. It what it’s base – the people that actually organize, mobilize, and vote GOP – wants and needs.

    You’re one of the outliers in your party, which is what makes your stance so strange to many of us.

  3. sam says:

    “Why be ashamed of the platform?”

    I’m with you dude (not in that way, of course). We have to stop these people in their tracks. The very survival of our nation depends on it. We must resist. America must be made aware of this existential threat to our way of life and our dressing habits. Already the assault has begun. Only the GOP can save us.

    Marauding Gay Hordes Drag Thousands Of Helpless Citizens From Marriages After Obama Drops Defense Of Marriage Act

    WASHINGTON—Reports continue to pour in from around the nation today of helpless Americans being forcibly taken from their marital unions after President Obama dropped the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this week, leaving the institution completely vulnerable to roving bands of homosexuals. “It was just awful—they smashed through our living room window, one of them said ‘I’ve had my eye on you, Roger,’ and then they dragged my husband off kicking and screaming,” said Cleveland-area homemaker Rita Ellington, one of the latest victims whose defenseless marriage was overrun by the hordes of battle-ready gays that had been clambering at the gates of matrimony since the DOMA went into effect in 1996. “Oh dear God, why did they remove the protection provided by this vital piece of legislation? My children! What will I tell my children?” A video communique was sent to the media late yesterday from what appears to be the as-yet unidentified leader of the gay marauders, who, adorned in terrifying warpaint, announced “Richard Dickson of Ames, Iowa. We’re coming for you next. Put on something nice.”

  4. legion says:

    There’s another reason for this, Doug. In order to produce on their promise of jobs, the GOP has to convince companies to take some to take some of their record profits & pay them back out as salaries to newly-hired Americans. They don’t want to do that, and the GOP will never do anything that businesses don’t want them to. They have to keep blowing the dog-whistle of social issues, or their voters will realize how big a ride they’re being taken on…

  5. Gerry W. says:

    You’re one of the outliers in your party, which is what makes your stance so strange to many of us.

    The social issue arguments are strange to most Americans because it has nothing to do with their issues. People want answers to unemployment, the deficit and debt, and how we move forward. Spending time on social issues is a waste of time and neglects our real problems. Deal with the issues and stop leaving the middle class behind. Eight years of Bush, his cronies, and his religious righteousness was a total joke while money was spent on war, our jobs left the country, and our infrastructure in neglect.

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    I continue to be amazed at your support of the Right, Doug. You must know that under the system conservatives wish to realize, civil libertarians such as yourself would be tried for degeneracy.

    If they actually succeed in defeating what you so quaintly refer to as “The Left”, they’re coming after you.

  7. wr says:

    Yes, but before they go after Doug they’ll pass their laws to execute women for having sex in every state. Fortunately, it will be for their own good.

    Republic of Gilead, here we come!

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Episode 927 in the on-going saga of the naive young Objectivist who discovers he’s thrown his lot in with a bunch of theocrats and loons.

    It’s like that movie Memento. Doug needs to write it down on his hand so when his short-term memory fails again, he’ll remember: “I’m in bed with crazy people!”

  9. matt b says:

    This, plus the recent article on the overwhelming acceptance of Gay marriage, might truely mark the end of a supposed “era” of the “united” Republican party. Not that I take his word as gospel, but throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, one thing Limbaugh consistently talked about is that Republicans win because they would always be a United party.

    Last year, they largely won on 2 platforms: (1) not being Democrat/Incumbent. (2) We’ll promise you what you want regardless if we can achieve it or not.

    (2) is going to be a potentially large problem in 2010 — especially considering the role that low voter turn-out played in 2006 & ’08.

    And, at least for the moment, due to social changes, a schism is emerging.

    What’s important to note is that, at least for Social Values people, compromise on those core values (even more so than economics — because that failing is part of the larger moral failing) is the reason for our “decline” as a nation.

    And, at least one side has labeled any compromise of “core social values” as a sign of moral failing — they’ve been promised a straight, (largely white), christian (in other words Protestant/Evangelical — Catholics, Catholic-Light Prots, and Mormons better keep their heads down) America. Any attempt to negotiate on this foundational belief is a sign that you cannot be trusted.

    And at this moment, I don’t think the mainstream GOP feels that they can afford to lose any voters.

    Welcome to the Will Rogers “disorganized party” folks.

    (On the plus side, this might actually allows for some good compromise work to be done as the Democrats are not *that* much more stable than usual: see 2010 elections)

  10. Moosebreath says:

    The current Republican Congress campaigned on a platform of creating jobs. Instead, once in power, they have largely spent their time reopening the battles on social issues which the Democrats largely avoided in the prior 2 years. Their only economic work has been to push for reduction in jobs in the public sector.

    I think they’ve made their minds up already on what to focus on.

  11. wr says:

    Well, in several states they’re trying to create jobs for professional killers, as they make it legal to murder abortion providers.

  12. Scott says:

    Can we please stop pretending that the current GOP is in any way fiscally conservative? Watch what they do, not what they say. Sure, they’ll cut taxes. Then increase spending faster then the Democrats, debt be damned.