by William J. Murray
At meetings on Capitol Hill for the last several months, I have warned GOP and other conservative leaders not to attempt to run this important election on a two legged stool that does not include social issues. My warnings have been ignored.
GOP leaders and conservative groups maintained an almost 100% certainty that they could win the White House, take over the Senate and hold the House on economic issues alone. One of the key economic issues in what they thought was a full arsenal was ObamaCare. From the Heritage Foundation to the Speaker’s office there was a cockiness that the Supreme Court would side against the Obama Care insurance mandate. A major part of the GOP campaign plan was to use this defeat to blame Obama for “wasting time” on the unconstitutional ObamaCare instead of fixing the economy.
While conservatives can continue to beat the ObamaCare drum, they now have a problem. The very conservative Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, wrote the decision that ObamaCare was constitutional. What now? Impeach Roberts?
I feared that Roberts or another conservative on the Court would approve the mandate because the concept of the individual health insurance mandate probably originated in a 1989 paper produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Republicans twice introduced health care bills that contained an individual health insurance mandate in 1993. Democrats and Republicans introduced a “bi-partisan” bill containing the mandate in 2007. While nothing like the overreaching nature of ObamaCare was proposed, the mandate continued to circulate in Republican circles until it was claimed by Barack Obama.
This is exactly why I did not believe ObamaCare should be foundational in a purely “it’s the economy” campaign run by Republicans. Without a campaign plan that includes social conservatives, there cannot be a GOP majority. Yet, the social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage, have been set aside by economic conservatives in the GOP who hope to return to their glory days when Richard Nixon was President. They want a pre-Reagan party without all the parading pro-lifers, “gay-bashers” and other “religious nuts.” The economic conservatives thought that with the economy bad and most people hating ObamaCare, the social conservatives brought in by Reagan could finally be discarded.
Now the GOP suddenly has a problem. The only lawsuits against ObamaCare that may succeed are those brought concerning the Obama administration’s attempt to use ObamaCare to have greater control of religious organizations. It is virtually impossible for the GOP to win 60 Senate seats in November, and that means ObamaCare will be institutionalized even if Romney wins. And without social conservatives, a Romney victory is not very likely.
The future of the party is not Grover Norquist’s tax pledge, “undocumented” immigrants, “moderate” Muslims, gays, or secularists. To win in the future, the GOP must return its attention to real fundamentals: Family, Faith and Freedom. Candidates such as those backed by socially conservative Government Is Not God – PAC can prepare the road to rebuild an America in which the government is not the god of the people.