Can we be candid for a moment?
The Republican Party, and the religious social conservative movement, are at odds with one another.
That’s an assertion of the obvious for some, and yet for others its newsworthy. But just as the struggle between Obama and the Clintons is re-shaping the Democratic Party (and exposing some of its “dirty laundry” at the same time), confusion and chaos within the “Christian Right” is changing the Republican Party as well. And at this point, we simply don’t know what the long-term affects of this turmoil will be for the party as a whole.
You don’t believe there’s a problem? I’d rather spend most of my column space proposing solutions. But over the past four years, we’ve seen plenty of examples of social conservatives being in conflict with the broader Republican fold.
In the historically victorious election year of 2004 alone, we saw social conservatives attempt to unseat incumbent Senator Arlen Spector in Pennsylvania; we saw social conservatives refuse to support Colorado’s Republican Senate candidate Pete Coors (that seat now belongs to Democrat Ken Salazar); and several top social conservative activists threatened Bush-Cheney ‘04 Campaign Chairman Mark Racicot that year, telling him that “we will walk,” if the Republican Party “continues its drift” in the direction of the “homosexual agenda.”
Thus far in the current election cycle, the social conservative movement has been all over the road. Pat Robertson (one of the movement’s founders) endorsed Rudy Giuliani; Gary Bauer, Dr. Richard Land, and Tony Perkins all “voiced enthusiasm” for Fred Thompson; most all of the movement’s leaders ignored Mitt Romney for fear of associating with a Mormon (God forbid); and after Giuliani, Thompson and Romney had all withdrawn from the race, America’s most politically influential Evangelical Christian, Dr. James Dobson, endorsed the candidate who raised taxes and opposed educational choice initiatives while he was Governor of Arkansas - Mike Huckabee.
And the one candidate that I haven’t mentioned yet, is the one who will receive the Republican nomination - - John McCain.
McCain is unmistakably “pro-life,” and has been a defender of the historic, one-man-one-woman definition of marriage, yet for whatever reason the social conservative leaders still don’t like him. In fact, Dr. Dobson has claimed that, while he cannot vote for Obama or Clinton, he can’t vote for McCain either - - so this year, he just won’t vote in the presidential race at all (this is especially ironic - - the social conservative movement began with the objective of getting conservative Christians out of the habit of “not voting”).
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.