So, yes, have no doubt - - there is a “disconnect” between the Republican Party and its largest subcategory of voters - - the religious social conservatives.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this “disconnect” is that it displays a certain ambivalence to sound policy ideas (especially economic policy ideas), while it also suggests that, for the social conservative leaders, theology and church affiliation are more important in the selection of a President tham are the candidates’ actual positions on the issues.
Think about it: McCain is most certainly a “fiscal conservative,“ and an absolute crusader against governmental waste, while religiously he’s an Episcopalian and not an Evangelical. As a Governor, Mike Huckabee was something other than “conservative” on everything from fiscal policy to law enforcement, yet, as he is fond of reminding us all, he is definetly an Evangelical. And Huckabee got the social conservative endorsement just a few weeks before he withdrew from the race, while the last man standing - - nominee McCain - - is still getting snubbed.
So, now what?
Thoughtful voters who might historically have fit into the category of “religious social conservatives” (sometimes referred to as “values voters”), along with everyone else who might be inclined to vote Republican, should carefully consider what the “Republican coalition” is really about. Sure, it’s easy to be cynical about the three subdivisions of the party - - the fiscal conservatives, the social conservatives, and the national defense “hawks” - - and assume that the relationship between the three is purely arbitrary, or merely thrown together for the sake of short-term political expediency.
But in reality, it’s not about anything short term. The agendas of each of the three subdivisions form a relationship of core necessity, and working together, they nurture the entire nation.
So the leaders of the religious social conservative movement can continue their talk of being “pro-family,” while they ignore the multitude of crucial policy issues that are in play, and try to avoid people who belong to the “wrong” church. But the rest of us need to be more thoughtful.
Here is the reality facing social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and the pro-defense hawks, all at once: in order to maximize the wellbeing of our families, we need a stable and thriving economy. And our economy only thrives when sound economic policies are in place. And a thriving economy requires that healthy families are producing healthy, competent children who will be our nation’s future wealth producers. And if our nation’s security is not assured, then our familial and economic objectives are for not.
Let’s hope a sufficient number of Americans catch-on to this, even if the “pro-family” leaders don’t.
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.
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