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Monday, October 15, 2007

Social Conservatives Continue to Save GOP From Itself

Columnist Deroy Murdock writes about Rudy Giuliani in his most recent entry at Human Events (“Rudy and the Religious Right’s Denial”). He argues that social conservatives should “not make the perfect the enemy of the outstanding”. In other words, we should “grow up” and support someone who can beat Hillary.

Murdock quotes some guy named Greg Alterton, apparently a Christian activist of some sort, who in turn contends that “the most important traditional value in this upcoming election is keeping the Clintons out of the White House”. They take people like James Dobson to task for publicly committing themselves to opposing both Hillary and Giuliani.

This debate may strike some as novel, peculiar to the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. But it is a fight which has been raging within the two major parties for the last forty years.

Basically it is the perennial struggle over definitions and vision. What does it mean to be a Republican or Democrat? How do the moral issues fit into a scenario of international terror and economics?

We face that battle all the time here in Idaho. Some Republicans openly defy the party’s platform on social issues (e.g., Senator Joe Stegner’s consistent fight for abortion and homosexual rights). Many others pray we would just go away so they can concentrate on the “important” issues like taxes, expanding corporate welfare and generally taking care of their pet special interests. In this thinking, legislators are often manipulated by powerful lobbyists – who want complete control of the Capitol agenda.

Generally, we continue to win this struggle over definitions, building on the coalition built by Ronald Reagan. Those victories are, it seems to me, the result of certain indisputable facts, facts which Mr. Murdock and Mr. Giuliani would do well to remember.

First, many voters care deeply about these so-called “social issues”. The great common sense and vitality of the American Experiment survives in the homes of hard-working folks who care about their community more than the machinations of Wall Street. They want good neighborhoods where they can raise their kids right, without the struggle of fending off government’s often-corrupting influences. In other words, they recognize that moral values are essential to the functioning of families, communities and even the nation as a whole. To abandon these voters, to insult their intelligence and values – is to court both political and real disaster.

Secondly, the swarm of “social conservative gnats” which continue to harass the GOP Establishment are actually doing those folks a big favor. Allowing the Wall Street Gang to control the GOP courts the very real likelihood that this great institution will be consumed by nothing greater than greed. A political party without a moral vision is nothing more than a gaggle of self-seeking individuals without the capacity to lead a nation in greatness. There is nothing wrong with making money and delivering product. But human beings are so much more than economic units.

Thoughtful business leaders recognize that the so-called dichotomy between “fiscal conservatives” and “social conservatives” is a false one, largely created by moderate Republicans as a propaganda effort designed to accommodate their libertine impulses.One does not need to be a rocket scientist, for example, to recognize that legalized abortion has seriously damaged the American economy through the wanton destruction of talent, workers, taxpayers and consumers.

I would contend that allowing Rudy Giuliani to lead the Republican Party next fall is about the most certain path to ensuring Hillary Clinton’s election.

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