In his November 8 Crisis Magazine piece, “Romney’s abandonment of social issues contributed to his defeat,” Austin Ruse cites several Republican and Democrat pundits who are calling on the GOP to abandon the abortion issue in the wake of several defeats.
(One of those Ruse quoteds was Michael Walsh, former editor of Breitbart’s Big Journalism, who edited or nixed my pro-life articles to such an extent I finally stopped submitting them. Unbiased source, he.)
Shock, even Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, joined the chorus. “There’s a clear pathway to [win back women’s support], and it’s to listen to the middle of their party instead of the extreme fringe,” Richards told the Huffington Post.
As if President Obama’s bff and Democrat Party spokesperson really wants to send women back to the GOP. No, Richards’ advice has nothing to do with wanting Republicans to back off from defunding or investigating her big abortion biz.
But hey, Republican Party, listen to these pundits and see what you end up with.
Erick Erickson at RedState.com wrote something brilliant, in bold:
The GOP establishment… look at Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock and conclude that they, not Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, George Allen, Scott Brown, etc. are the problem….
They can’t see how what happened actually happened unless it happened because the issues on which they disagree with the base played a role….
Mitt Romney won about a quarter of the hispanic vote and a tenth of the black vote.
Those numbers may not sound like much, but in close elections they matter.
A sizable portion of those black and hispanic voters voted GOP despite disagreeing with the GOP on fiscal issues. But they are strongly social conservative and could not vote for the party of killing kids and gay marriage. So they voted GOP.
You throw out the social conservatives and you throw out those hispanic and black voters. Further, you make it harder to attract new hispanic voters who happen to be the most socially conservative voters in the country.
Next, you’ll also see a reduction of probably half the existing GOP base. You won’t make that up with Democrats who suddenly think that because their uterus is safe they can now vote Republican. Most of those people don’t like fiscal conservatism either – often though claiming that they do….
In fact, if the GOP really wanted to expand with minorities, it’d keep the social conservatism and throw out the fiscal conservatism.
Richard Mourdock was one of two of the poster children for abandoning social conservatives this year. He was beaten by a pro-life Democrat.
The problem is not social conservatism. The problem is social conservatives have gotten so used to thinking of themselves as the majority they’ve forgotten how to speak to those who are not and defend against those who accuse them of being fringe, most particularly the press. Couple that with Mitt Romney’s campaign making a conscious decision to not fight back on the cultural front and you have a bunch of Republicans convinced, despite the facts, that if only the social conservatives would go away all would be fine.
It’s not time to throw out social conservatives. It’s time to accept that without them the GOP would be even a smaller party even less able to reach out to the hispanic demographic all the smart people say they need to embrace. Addition through subtraction never really works well.
I disagree it is social conservatives who are not aptly defending our beliefs. It is the Republican establishment, which has abdicated responsibility. Pro-life organizations exhausted themselves trying to make our case. I know, I went on two bus tours. As I’ve written before, the establishment is either terrified to discuss abortion or support it. Imagine had pro-life leaders been given the same prominence at the RNCC as pro-abortion leaders got at the DNCC. Actually, I can’t.
Matt Lewis at The Week agrees:
If conservatives want to win, we must broaden our appeal. But that doesn’t mean abandoning our core principles….
The notion that you can hurl trite, if patriotic, red meat and expect the red state masses to carry you over the finish line has been proven false. The public is more informed and sophisticated today, and it’s time Republicans realize that. Conservatism is, of course, a serious intellectual philosophy. It’s time we start acting like it….
It is entirely possible to preserve conservative values and ideas while simultaneously making them more appealing to a changing America.
Even feminist Hanna Rosin agrees it wasn’t the abortion/contraception issue that won the day for Obama, writing at CNN:
The women’s vote did not turn out to be historic in the way pundits predicted before the election. Yes, more women voted for President Obama, but not in record numbers. The gender gap was in fact a little smaller in this election than in 2008. Yes, women were important in certain states, but so were young people, African-Americans and Latinos, who, together, make up Obama’s new winning coalition. What’s more, women did not even constitute a unified vote. Married women tended to vote for Romney, while single women went for Obama.
Had only Romney spoken up a bit on social issues, who knows how many more minority voters he might have plied away from Obama.