Today, a number of Tea Party groups and the leading gay conservative group GOProud co-signed a letter to the GOP leadership with GOProud that urged the party to forge a truce among fiscal and social conservatives and present a focused front to deal with the urgent fiscal problems we’re facing right now.
I’m with Glenn Reynolds on this; the temporary truce (and make no mistake, it is only a temporary truce) just makes sense. The voters gave the GOP a very clear mandate to fix the economy and deal with our ridiculous level of debt, not to charge forward on various pet social issues. If you don’t believe me, look at the polls. Every one of them puts the economy at the top by huge margins. Now, you may be tempted to say that many of those polls didn’t include hot-button social issues and you’d be correct. However, issues like abortion and gay marriage, and even borderline social issues like school vouchers didn’t even show up in the open-ended polls collected by PollingReport.com taken just before and after the election. The Pew Research Center’s comprehensive poll showed that barely half of Republicans rated abortion as “very important”. Gay marriage fared even worse, clocking in at 37 percent and finishing dead last of the 13 listed issues. Among all those polled, these issued finished 12th and 13th. This is a very different look from Republican voters than what we saw before the 2008 election.
By contrast, fiscal issues took the top four spots and six of the top eight among Republicans, including eye-poppingly high ratings of 91 percent for the economy and 81 percent for the deficit. They fared only sightly worse among all voters, at 90 and 69 percent respectively.
Clearly, America is willing to lay the usual hot-button social issues aside for a time so we can focus unrelentingly on our economy, jobs, the deficit, and taxes. The Republican Party would be foolish not to follow the country’s lead.
UPDATE: Melissa Clouthier has a post worth your time today. I don’t agree with the thrust of her argument, but we get to the same place . This part, however, struck me as not helpful in the least.
Better idea? Simply emphasize fiscal conservatism. Period. As Dan Riehl notes, it seems especially disingenuous coming from GOProud to talk about taking social issues off the table. That’s their raison d’etre, non?
Oui. But that doesn’t make them liars. In fact, it’s a sign of political maturity and adult reasoning. If GOProud can lay aside the issue on which its existence is based to spend hard-fought political capital on our more urgent troubles, then so should the rest of us.
UPDATE 2: Jesse Hathaway has a very good point about the people who co-signed the letter. See, they’re not exactly on the record as being squishy-wishy moderates or *gasp* liberals.