Ken Connor

Though it is easy to overlook given the overwhelming focus on Washington, D.C., it is important to remember that the solution to our country's problems are not found exclusively within the political arena. While both sides of the aisle have become more and more inclined to look to government for solutions, many Americans recognize that politicians on Capitol Hill and bureaucrats in committee meetings are unwilling to address – much less solve – the many vital issues facing our nation. Real solutions and real change are often to be found in the social, cultural, and spiritual arenas. Strengthen families and communities, foster a culture of life and faith, and the results will provide the foundation necessary for America to thrive. Economic prosperity and fiscal responsibility will be the natural by-products of an America that embraces its founding ideals and values.

For GOP political operatives to suggest that "social issue" conservatives mute their voices indicates a complete lack of understanding of what animates their involvement in the party, not to mention a lack of appreciation for the vital contributions this wing of the Party has made to past electoral successes. Social conservatives want to use the microphone available in the political arena in this election to express their concerns about issues that transcend economics. If that venue is shut out to them as a vehicle for expression, they will find another one. If the Republican Party has become merely a shill for special interest politics as usual and no longer represents foundational principles of conservatism, then social conservatives will move their allegiance elsewhere. And if a party does not exist that will advocate their cause, they will create their own. If this means defeat for Republican candidates, so be it.

This is the new reality facing the GOP. The Republican leadership in Washington is being presented with a choice. If they wish to advance a responsible fiscal agenda and put America back on the right economic track, they should be willing to lend an ear and a voice to those in the Party who wish to address social and cultural concerns. Failure to so will not only ensure President Obama's reelection, it will likely to spell the beginning of the end for the Grand Old Party.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.