UPDATE 9/20, 3:05a: From the Washington Post, September 18:

[Christine] O’Donnell pushed back against the notion that at a time when voters are focused on the economy, social issues should take a back seat. And a few politicians with longer résumés and national profiles expressed their own righteous indignation.

[Sen. Rick] Santorum told the crowd that “when people come out and tell us that we have to put the values issues in the back of the bus, we have to have a truce on the values issues, because the economic issues are paramount – we can have no economic freedom unless we have good, virtuous moral people inspired by their faith.”

UPDATE 9/18, 5:30p: FRC has announced – no surprise to me – that Mike Pence has won its presidential straw poll. He also won the VP poll. Here were the results:

Presidential Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage

Mike Pence 170 24%
Mike Huckabee 159 22%
Mitt Romney 93 13%
Newt Gingrich 72 10%
Sarah Palin 51 7%
Rick Santorum 39 5%
Jim DeMint 38 5%
Bobby Jindal 15 2%
Mitch Daniels 13 2%
Chris Christie 11 2%
John Thune 11 2%
Bob McDonnell 10 1%
Marco Rubio 10 1%
Paul Ryan 7 1%
Haley Barbour 6 1%
Ron Paul 5 1%
Jan Brewer 1 0%
Undecided 12 2%

Vice Presidential Candidate Responses:

Mike Pence 119 16%
Sarah Palin 112 15%
Rick Santorum 75 10%
Paul Ryan 51 7%
Jim DeMint 45 6%
Mike Huckabee 43 6%
Marco Rubio 43 6%
Bobby Jindal 36 5%
Bob McDonnell 31 4%
Chris Christie 25 3%
Mitt Romney 25 3%
Newt Gingrich 24 3%
Jan Brewer 20 3%
John Thune 15 2%
Mitch Daniels 10 1%
Haley Barbour 6 1%
Ron Paul 5 1%
Undecided 38 5%

9/17, 2:47p: I’ve always loved Mike Pence. Today I love him more.

Bear in mind Pence is the House Republican leadership’s #3, behind only Eric Cantor, the House GOP Minority Whip, and John Boehner. the Minority Leader.

Paul Ryan, mentioned in the following piece as the latest Republican pro-life domino to fall on the pro-life issue (behind Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour), is also in a leadership position as the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, although ranked under Pence.

Ryan, Cantor and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, are co-authors of the newly released book, Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders, which fails to mention any socially conservative issues, in particular, abortion.

So knowing all the players here makes Pence’s statement today, as outlined in The Hill article below, particularly important. He’s taking a bold shot across the bow at his caving colleagues, going so far as to call social conservative to arms. Pence’s statement today was pretty big.

A top House Republican urged conservatives to “demand” of national GOP leaders that they hew to socially conservative principles.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (IN) put the pressure on national leaders to not write off social conservatives’ concerns, especially if they retake control of the House and/or Senate after this fall’s elections.

Conservatives “must demand that leaders of the Republican Party” stand strong on social issues, Pence said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.

Pence, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, urged voters to make sure the party stands strong against abortion rights and in favor of traditional values in an election cycle in which economic issues have driven the narrative.

Not all members of the GOP leadership in the House, at least, seem to be on board, though.

Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), the top Republican on the Budget committee, suggested Monday that members of the party should “agree to disagree” on social issues.

“We will agree to disagree on those issues,” Ryan said Monday on CNBC. “But let’s rally around the tallest pole in our tent: fiscal conservatism, economic liberty.”

Republicans have tended to avoid talking about social issues this election cycle, fueled by the tough economic situation facing the U.S.

Thirty-two percent of registered voters said the economy was their most important issue, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Wednesday, and 28% said job loss was the most important problem facing the country.

By contrast, 1% of registered voters said “moral values” was the top problem, and another 1% named “religious values” as the top problem.

But as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his Politico piece yesterday, social issues never poll high but still matter in elections, particularly this election season, and have been helping us – even giving us the edge – time and again.

Pence added, according to The Atlantic:

To those who say we should focus on cutting spending, I say, OK. Let’s start by cutting all federal funding for abortion at home and abroad…. You wanna find savings? Let’s cut funding to research that destroys human embryos… and let’s deny funding to Planned Parenthood of America! We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged.

Pence’s Planned Parenthood jab drew some of the loudest cheers of his speech. At one point toward the end of his address, an audience member shouted, “Pence for president!”

I’ll second that.

[Photo via the AP]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...