Let me be up front.
Strategically, where should the parties fall on social issues? We know, more or less, that the Democrats will tend to be tax and spenders. We also know that the Republicans, for the most part, will be tax and government cutters (yeah, raising taxes in 2003 was not something I would have done). On social issues though, Democrats are trending more urban and liberal and Republicans are more exurban and rural social conservatives. Yet, particularly for the Republicans, now that they have established themselves as a majority there appears to be (as is happening nationwide) a resurgent libertarian movement inside the party that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, though they’d say moderatel and it particularly exists in suburban Republican strongholds.
Where the GOP will find balance in social issues is going to be interesting to watch. With the gay marriage debate we have seen how the GOP can successfully rally conservatives to go to the polls on social issues. But, the sad thing to me seems to be that we are more likely to fire up social conservatives than fiscal conservatives, when we need both and probably need more fiscal conservatives in government.
I don’t profess to have the answer. Given a socially liberal or socially conservative candidate, I’ll vote for the social conservative. Yes, abortion and traditional values are two big issues for me.2 That does, however lead into races like the Reed v. Cagle race and the Stephens v. Handel race. Sure, we can all say that it is really a matter of ethics and not culture, but we’d be fooling ourselves in the GOP to not admit that there is also a battle going on between the social liberals and conservatives in the GOP. That battle is reflected in races like the Cagle and Reed race. Cagle is just as conservative as Reed, and maybe more so, yet Reed has the Christian Coalition moniker around his neck and some people have a visceral reaction to that.
Again, I don’t have the answer, but this is certainly something both parties are going to have to deal with. To keep the majority, the GOP is going to have to deal with it more than the Georgia Democrats.
- Presbyterian Church in America, not those borderline heretics in the PCUSA.↩
- It’s not that I want the government policing the bedroom, it’s that I don’t want my kid to see the bedroom. Yes, I was raised a rural Southern Baptist and am a Chesterton fan, so I’m naturally predisposed to the idea that some things should be publically frowned upon while we privately turn a blind eye to those who engage in the act.↩