In an effort to expand his party’s base of support, Senator Rand Paul is urging fellow-Republicans “to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by” issues like “traditional marriage.”
Is he serious? Does he actually think this is a winning strategy? And can he truly believe that this is a way for Republicans to advance their cause?
I’m afraid so.
As reported on March 14th, Paul stated that, “I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues.”
What a self-defeating, misguided strategy, for quite a few reasons.
First, the very concept of expanding a party whose platform includes a strong, conservative stand on social issues by weakening that stand is contradictory and wrong-headed. It would be like Planned Parenthood deciding to agree to disagree on abortion, actively recruiting pro-lifers into their ranks (or the reverse, with pro-lifers expanding their base by agreeing to disagree on abortion and welcoming pro-abortionists into their ranks). Who ever heard of such nonsense?
Second, we’ve already seen in recent elections that by catering to the left-of-center Republicans, the party’s most important voting base gets turned off and fails to vote in force. And make no mistake about it: What Paul is referring to does cater to the left-of-center voters (more on this shortly).
Third, has Paul learned nothing from the success of the Democrats in 2012? Their platform, highlighted during the DNC, put forth a radical social agenda (from the most extreme pro-abortion stances to the wholesale embrace of gay activist goals, most particularly redefining marriage), and the Democrats did so unashamedly. Yet Paul thinks that by doing the opposite with his own party’s values, the Republicans can succeed.
Fourth, by compromising core values in order to get elected, you ensure that your party will be ineffective in bringing about change once elected, regardless of what promises are made. In fact, leaders who compromise in order to get elected have already revealed themselves to be lacking in conviction (which is a reason they should not be voted for in the first place).
Fifth, by minimizing the massive implications of redefining marriage – this is not the kind of issue you “agree to disagree” on – Sen. Paul indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of the inevitable results that will follow should marriage be redefined on a national level.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.