If there were as many "fiscal conservatives" as there are people who claim to be, it is hard to see how Republicans would lose as many elections as they do.
One frequently hears this political self-identification: "I'm socially liberal, but fiscally conservative." Or, "If the Republicans weren't conservative on so many social issues, I would vote Republican." Or, "It's too bad the Christian Right dominates the Republican Party. I would vote for the Republicans on fiscal issues, but I can't stand the religious right."
The same sentiment holds among many inside the Republican Party. Most secular conservatives and the libertarian wing of the party agree: Let's jettison all this social stuff -- most prominently opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, and this unnecessary commitment to religion -- and just stand for small government and personal liberty.
To many people these positions sound reasonable, even persuasive. They shouldn't.
To respond to the first argument, it is hard to believe that most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives and vote Democrat would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage and abortion.
The left and its political party will always create social issues that make Republicans and conservatives look "reactionary" on social issues. Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican "war on women," and tomorrow it will be ending the objective male-female designation of Americans (Children should have the right to determine their gender and not have their parents and their genitalia determine it, even at birth). Or it will be animal rights, race-based affirmative action or an environmentalist issue. Concerning the latter, how many "fiscal conservatives" who vote Democrat are prepared to abandon the party on the climate change issue? I suspect very few.
Fiscally conservative Democrats are fooling themselves and others when they announce that would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republicans just weren't socially conservative. They didn't leave the Democrats before same-sex marriage was an issue and they won't leave them if same-sex marriage ceases to be an issue.
Let's turn now to God and religion, the most obvious expressions of social conservatism. There are many Americans -- among secular conservatives, libertarians and secular fiscal conservatives who vote Democrat -- who say that they, or many others who now vote Democrat, would vote Republican if it were not for the social conservatives in the Republican Party who are so adamant about God and religion.
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