In a recent letter to the Des Moines Register, the former Republican lieutenant governor of Iowa suggests that “the social conservative agenda as a foundation of the party, fortunately, is no longer attractive to a majority of voters.”
Joy Corning was writing in response to the recent election of some social conservatives to the highest levels of state GOP leadership, and according to her:
“[Social conservatives] apparently believe the party’s declines can be reversed by championing anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-stem- cell research, anti-whatever-they-don’t-like positions as the lead campaign issues. Why? In other parts of the country it has been obvious that Republicans are seeking a leader rooted in more basic, centrist, traditional principles. McCain has triumphed over every candidate who tried to focus debate on abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research and the rest of the social conservative agenda.”
That’s kind of a breath of fresh air, especially for anyone who remembers the days before the religious right oozed their way into the GOP. Don’t get me wrong: There wasn’t much about the Republican party I would have embraced before Reagan opened the door to these yahoos anyway, but at least it was a legitimate political ethos, based in Constitutional principles.
The religious right couldn’t care less about the Constitution. They’ll only be happy with a theocracy where they can make your choices for you.
So I have a tough time feeling sorry for Ms Corning and the “real” Republicans who now find their party being overrun by short-sighted people with narrow minds. They’ve been pandering to these people for almost 30 years now, using them as the Republican base (because there aren’t enough millionaires to go around), counting on the fact that most of them will vote against their economic self-interest if they can earn heavenly brownie points in the process—and now suddenly they’re surprised that some of them have slithered into positions of leadership?
It might be a little late to tell these people “Oh, sorry, we’re not really the anti-abortion, anti-gay party. We’re sorry you got the wrong impression when we desperately needed all your votes.”