Republicans And Social Liberals

One distressing tend on the right is that the social conservatives have taken a position of dominance. Yes, there certainly are still some fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal, but for the most part they have been purged from the conservative movement and have little hope for support in the Republican Party.

One example of how the Tea Party movement is heavily dominated by social conservatives, despite the claims of some leaders to only be interested in economic issues, was seen in Michigan. Many in the Tea Party who might have supported his economic proposals are unhappy with Republican Governor-elect Rick Snyder for his more moderate positions on social issues. For example, Snyder favors environmentalism, supports stem cell research, supports civil unions, and opposes abortion but would allow for exceptions in cases of rape or incest. These are views which are hardly far left, and a majority of the country would likely agree with him or take even more liberal positions.

Snyder won because social conservatives split the vote in the Republican primary. In addition, many Democrats crossed over to vote in the GOP primary, realizing that a Republican victory was inevitable and they could make better use of their votes by helping the least objectionable Republican win. It will be difficult for other moderate Republicans to pull off such victories.

One conservative leader is taking the opposition to socially moderate Republicans even further. Jim DeMint is now claiming that “You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.” Needless to say, many bloggers on the right, such as Doug Mataconis disagree writing, “…it’s fairly clear that when it comes to the shrinking the size, scope, and power of government Jim DeMint is not onboard. Libertarian-minded Republicans should take note of that fact.”

One problem with labels is that they tend to group together people who have differences and divide people who might actually agree on a number of issues. My views are certainly closer to socially liberal Republicans than they are to those on the far left who actually fit the stereotype of big-government liberals which the right wing noise machine demonizes.  Unfortunately, while there are Republicans whose views might come closer to mine than those of some Democrats, they have lost the battle for influence in both the conservative movement and Republican Party. DeMint would have had a stronger argument if he conceded there are socially liberal fiscal conservatives and limited his argument to claiming they have no future on the right. This appears to be true for the immediate future, but I do believe that ultimately social conservatism is a philosophy which will gradually decline in the twenty-first century.

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