By US Daily Review Staff.
For years the Republican Party gave, at least, lip service to social conservatives. These conservatives may not have provided the money to get candidates elected, but they did have the foot soldiers that often made a difference. However, in recent years, social conservatives have found themselves outside the GOP “big tent.” They were accused of being the reason for GOP electoral failures because they “polarized” the political process. Many social conservatives have cried foul, because Republican candidates — particularly for national offices –have tended to be softer on social issues. Social conservatives argue that, if they are guilty of anything, it is not showing up for candidates that do not agree with.
Ronald Reagan, who is arguably the most popular Republican in the last 100 years, had a decidedly different view of politics. He believed that a candidate who stood strong on the three major areas of modern conservatism — limited government, strong military, and pro-family — would win all these voters and not alienate any of them. This was a formula that provided great success for Reagan and the GOP in general. It appears Republicans seem to be slowly moving back to sharing these values.
The UPI noted that “A bill banning the use of federal funds for any healthcare plan providing abortion services passed the U.S. House on a mostly party line vote…Two Republicans opposed the measure and 15 Democrats supported it in the 251-172 vote, Politico reported. The “Protect Life Act” would also ban the government from withholding funds from hospitals and other healthcare institutions that oppose offering abortion.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) defined the GOP position, stating “Simply put, we must end what Obamacare did. We must stop subsidizing abortions with federal taxpayer dollars.”
Meanwhile, GOP candidates for president are demonstrating more passion about the issue than we have seen in the past. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has clearly positioned herself as a “Reagan” conservative who supports the three classic positions he was known for that garnered his success — defense, family, and limited government. Often characterized as “odd” by the media, this has been mainly due to the candidate’s propensity to misspeak, rather than on any specific policy position.
Rick Santorum (R-PA) is also quite passionate about the social issues and is nevery shyed away from such. In fact, most of the GOP fold are squarely in the social conservative corner.
Even Ron Paul (R-TX), who is mainly known for his position on economic issues, although as a medical doctor and Congressman, he has always been pro-life. The Daily Caller is reporting that he “has largely been defined by his calls to “audit the fed,” but the Paul campaign on Friday began running an ad showing another side of his political identity. The advertisement focuses on the Texas congressman’s pro-life position and personal history as an OB-GYN. The ads are airing on cable television in the key primary state of Iowa and on radio in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. ‘The whole notion of life not being valuable is something I am not able to accept,’ Paul says in the ad, which highlights the fact that he has delivered over 4,000 babies.” See the commercial here.
The social conservative wing of the GOP has been largely ignored by the party establishment for quite some time. It is too early to tell if it is going to be the major force it was in the 1980s, but it is certainly gaining attention like it has not seen in for quite some time. The question is, will it have the unifying effect that Reagan described or the polarizing effect that moderate Republicans often expressed concern about?