The Right Opinion

Social Conservatives: GOP Can't Live Without Them

By David Limbaugh · Nov. 27, 2012

One of the largest elephants in the GOP’s post-election room is the fate of Christian and other social conservatives. Party honchos can’t just wish this problem away – or, maybe they can.

There has been increasing hostility toward Christian involvement in politics, and the animus hasn’t been solely from the left. To be sure, Democrats have taken the lead, demonizing conservative Christians as science-challenged scolds who don’t care about women’s “reproductive rights,” but there is plenty of antipathy from certain elements within the Republican Party, as well.

Many establishment and some libertarian Republicans have long looked upon Christian conservatives with mild, condescending contempt. Party leaders from Barry Goldwater to Alan Simpson have openly derided Christians and lamented their negative influence on the party and on the overall political climate.

Even Ronald Reagan’s warm embrace of faith-based conservatives didn’t diminish the establishment’s disdain for them, which forcibly reared its head over the Todd Akin and Rick Mourdock kerfuffles. So swift and dramatic was their descent on Akin following his “forcible rape” embarrassment that one could almost infer they were lying in wait for just such an excuse to marginalize outspoken Christian conservatives.

Don’t get me wrong; I had serious doubts about Akin’s electability after the comments, too, but the establishment’s outrage wasn’t limited to Akin (or Mourdock) or even to his rape comment. There was palpable disgust from certain quarters on the right over what they perceived as the lunacy of making social issues a part of the equation at all.

If my analysis is incorrect, then why do we hear so much conflation of the Akin and Mourdock incidents with the question of the viability of social conservatism in general? If the outrage over these two was simply limited to their comments, then why are they increasingly cited as Exhibits A and B in the case for purging social conservatism from the Republican Party?

The GOP’s distaste for social conservatives this election cycle wasn’t confined to the Akin affair. If you’ll recall, Rick Santorum was the object of much scorn for his insistence on placing social issues front and center in his campaign. Some of the criticism was based on Santorum’s perceived demeanor and sanctimony, but no small amount of it would have occurred even if Santorum had been cheerfully optimistic in his approach to these issues.

In fairness, we are in extraordinary times, and it’s understandable that even some Reagan conservatives (those who subscribe to his three-legged stool of economic, foreign policy and social conservatism) became impatient with attempts to place social issues at the forefront. They were convinced that President Obama’s fiscal and economic nightmares alone would ensure a Republican victory and there was no need to make controversial social issues a drag on the ticket.

But that excuse will not mollify many social conservatives, who believe not only that social issues are the most important matters facing the nation today, but that at the root of our economic problems is an underlying disintegration of the nation’s moral fabric.

My purpose here, though, is not to debate the merits of the competing positions, but to point out that this growing intolerance for social issues by some in the GOP could result in a major schism, even a splintering of the party.

I am receiving emails and reading articles from Christian conservatives advocating a doubling down on social issues, some even suggesting that Christians redirect their focus away from politics and toward evangelism. I don’t believe this represents a major segment of Christian conservatives presently, but if efforts persist in scapegoating and diminishing social conservatives, more will become alienated.

Social issues are like blood in the water to Democrats and their liberal media accomplices, witnessed by their effort to ensnare GOP rising star Marco Rubio in a scandal over the age of the Earth. Even Rubio’s tempered response was uniformly maligned as evidence of his science-illiteracy and superstition. The right’s failure to come to his defense guarantees further and stronger attacks.

It is no small irony that those urging a remake of the GOP to bring it in line with changing demographics could unwittingly alienate Hispanics and other minority recruits who might be receptive to social conservatism.

It is also ironic and a testament to the wholesale ineffectiveness of the Republican Party that it is cowering from potentially winnable social issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, Obama’s assault on religious liberty and his phony war on women. Is there no issue on which the establishment will not cave in the end?

The Republican Party can choose to ostracize social conservatives and their issues, or try to purge them altogether from the party and its platform. But they better be careful what they wish for, because if they do, it will be the end of the party as we know it.



S.a. in Oklahoma said:

Just as the Democrat party no longer exists as such, the Republican party is no longer the party of conservativism and constitutionalists. It is time for the Republican party to fade away and be replaced with a Party of True conservatism led by God-fearing men and women unafraid to base their politics on America's true roots of Judeo-Christian morals. In my opinion, that is the only way our country will be saved from the evil forces in charge today!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Army Officer (Ret) in Kansas said:


You are correct, Sir: neither the Democrat nor Republican parties are what they were in the past. When considering their actual positions - ignore what they say and watch what they do - the Republican Party is nearly indistinguishable from the Democrat Party of my youth, while the Democrat Party is nearly indistinguishable from the Socialist Party of my youth. Wherever the Democrat Party goes the Republican Party follows a few decades later, and the Democrats have been drifting to the left for nearly a century. Democrats ousted their social conservatives in the 1960's, at which point they were scooped up by the Republicans, which temporarily made the Republican Party appear more conservative than it was organically. Ronald Reagan was the last to make them welcome, and even then the Republican establishment viewed them as the hick cousins whose only uses were as foot soldiers for the party and a voting bloc they could otherwise ignore. (The Democrats treat blacks the same way - they do nothing for them because they know they'll stay on the party's plantation.)

SoCons do for Republicans what blacks do for Democrats - vote for their party no matter how badly the are treated by that party. But the average SoCon is a lot more politically aware than the average recipient of an "Obama-phone," and Republicans will either stop giving them the back of their hand or they will lose their most reliable voting bloc. If I were a betting man I would put my money on establishment Republicans committing political suicide rather than appearing "unsophisticated" on social issues upon which most agree with the Democrats anyway.

There ARE conservatives out there, and more than a few of us are Libertarians, despite what Republican apologists say. The sad fact is that there are simply not enough people who care about liberty to win national elections anymore. If there were the last presidential election would not have pitted an open communist against a center-left plutocratic financier.

Since there is no longer a place for conservatives, and conservatism (social and fiscal) is the only model that actually works over the long term, the only answer is the budding secessionist movement. The split is not between Democrats and Republicans: the parties are far too similar for that. It is between the minority who want liberty and are willing to accept the responsibilities that go with it and those who want "Big Daddy" government.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

If the Republicans want us only for our votes then they are no different than the Demorats. Vote for us but don't expect us to care about the issues you believe in. I'm for starting a Constitutional party dedicated to living by the rule of law and the Constitution. Let's bring back those morals and values that served us so well until the Progressives started pushing the government as the answer to all our problems. A country based on a lack of morality and responsibility will not long survive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Sam Osborne in West Branch, Iowa said:

After 236 years of living together in a nation of our own making, the real differences among us amount to no more than splitting hairs — we got this way together.

This past election found a Republican Party to be out of touch with this fact. If it is to continue to exist as a major party, its leadership is going to come from moderate Republicans and centrists that progressively steer it along the center-right and meet in compromise with liberal Democrats on the center-left — there are hairs to be split.

The inviolate values the religious and plutocratic right present as sacrosanct do not amount to a hill of beans — nothing more than threatening insults to women, gays, the younger generation and newer arrivals to our land.

They mock the nation’s founding proposition: “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Meanwhile, rational conservatives content themselves with nothing more than finding fault with and blocking anything liberals propose that “We the People” do. They themselves don’t have a clue of what to do aside from further turning power over to a greedy few that may trickle down what’s left after they have ever enhanced their bottom line.

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in times of challenge from which the nation moved forward: “A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Tapdaddy in Indiana replied:

Sam you are telling Republicans that in order to win or to be acceptable in the future we must move to the center. Romney was there, obviously all by himself waiting for you to join him and now he sits all by himself trying to figure out where he went wrong.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

Sam, you are under the influence of the same mass deception that the secular-liberal-socialists are under. The problem with reaching toward the left is that you must first move toward the left to reach very far, because they will not draw closer to you. The left is still trying to build and offer utopia on their terms. They have embraced the original lie of Satan, "ye shall be as gods." Only God can provide utopia. It is beyond man's grasp. America will be saved when fiscal and social conservatives go out into the streets and win one convert at a time. We need a moral/spiritual and ideological revival to put America back on track. The posturing and maneuvering of political parties will not offer us anything of value. We should be running FROM secularism as fast as we can go. America will not survive without God's help.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Bruce R Pierce in Owensboro, KY replied:

The problem is more than just splitting hairs, every time one is split you have less of it, It comes down to either “We the People” have the right to Life, Liberty and Property or the Government has. If you believe the quote in the fourth paragraph it is the People that were created with Liberty that forms the Government. That being true a just government only has the powers that the People relinquish to it, so that government cannot exercise any powers that the people themselves do not have. So what it actually comes down to is, do the people that were created by the Creator have the natural rights endowed at creation or does the government? If you say the government then the people only have those “rights” that the government allows by “splitting hairs”.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Tapdaddy in Indiana said:

I agree with Limbaugh and think that we should cut our nose off to spite our face.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

DPPoz in Holland, Ohio said:

The GOP has already moved so far left that many true conservatives don't recognize it and any further moves will simply alienate those diehard conservatives that remain. What the GOP needs is a immediate move back to the far right so that we can reunite the now splintered conservatives. Mayhap the GOP should start recruiting people willing to serve a single term in DC to actually make the tough choices rather than life-long politicians.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Bruce R Pierce in Owensboro, KY replied:

What the GOP needs to do is be absorbed into the Democratic Party.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

A move to the center is in reality a move to the left, because the whole spectrum has moved leftward. If the Republican Party wants to remain relevant, it MUST move far, far to the right. The people need a clear difference between the left and the right. In this case, any further movement to the left, will render the Republican Party completely useless.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Army Officer (Ret) in Kansas replied:

I would argue that the Republican Party has been center/left since around 1990, so a move toward the center would actually be a move to the right. I'm trying to think of a single issue in the last couple of decades where the Republican Party has united to make a hard stand on inviolate principle rather than mere pragmatism. I'm drawing a blank. Any party that could not even muster the will to de-fund NPR in an era of 500 channels - when they controlled the White House and both houses of Congress - is already to the left of the political center.

Even when they favor tax cuts the main Republican talking point is that lower marginal rates increase tax revenues.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

Limbaugh's central theme and the comments below are the stuff of a political party losing it's way. Nominating George W. Bush was an act of believing what you're told instead of what you may have seen easily without your self imposed blinders.

Yes of course double down, become more extreme, further divide your little world into "real conservatives" and everyone else. Make em take a test, sign an oath, recite a pledge....100% no tolerance for anyone but true believers.

But while you're playing as immature children there are no adults in charge. You don't want to believe it yet but your moment is over. There isn't anything to lost. Romney won the Confederate states but they don't matter anymore. The Southern Strategy is dead and so is your creepy political movement.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

I can't believe you had the nerve to accuse the republicans of being 100% intolerant when leftists like you constantly degrade what we believe in. You fault us for being Christians, for believing that its not the place of government to furnish anyone a living, and that the Constitutiion is the document we should live by under the law. During the last election the name calling by the left against Governor Romney to include accusing him of causing the death of a woman. When it was later revealed it was all a lie did anyone on the left apologize for insulting him in this manner? Hell no, it was more important to get Obama reelected tha to tell the truth. You follow along like little sheep and believe everything the lamestream media and the Demorats spout. You could care less what happens to this country as long as the "guvmint" takes care of the parasites living off the sweat of others. Your statement about the Confederacy was typical racist BS pushed by this administration. Typical West Coast liberal who knows nothing about the South but feels that you can denigrate an entire region because you bought into Obama's class warfare. What a waste of good skin you are!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:51 PM