Legitimate questions about the viability of right-wing GOP candidates have cropped up thanks to a shift to social issues in the Republican primary race.
Back in September, I argued the Republicans needed to focus on economic issues because too many of the candidates were so out of touch socially, that it would hurt them.
Now that we’ve had about 684 debates and the field has been trimmed, we’ve heard everything we possibly can, it seems, from candidates like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich when it comes to fiscal policy.
We know where they stand, what they intend to do.
Social issues inevitably creep into campaigns, if for no other reason that there is a need to talk about something else.
Last week, they showed up for the first time in any importance and have sparked some concerns from the mainstream.
Could we really elect a president who is against gay marriage? Pro-life?
It should be pointed out that Candidate Obama ran a campaign mostly without mention of social issues. Now, when you run a campaign devoid of any substance, it’s easy to leave certain things out, but Obama’s presidency has followed a similar trend.
A man who was supposed to bring social justice has mostly side-stepped questions about gay marriage, has done nothing to promote improved race relations or fight for civil rights.
Can we really elect a president that is against gay marriage? Well, we actually already did. Barack Obama has long been against same-sex marriage, although federal policy during his administration has instituted laws supporting it.
What’s weirder is that liberals seem to forget that Obama, as a devout Christian, has been against same-sex marriage for some time.
In the last few months, soon-to-be-former President Obama has said his feelings on the matter are “evolving.”
Even the New York Times points out that this is an obvious ploy to reach gay donors in an election year (and that was 6 months ago).
Just because New York passed a gay marriage provision (something Obama had nothing to do with) and Congress repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, doesn’t mean Obama is a champion of gay rights.
In fact, I’d argue the fact that Obama is, in principal, opposed to gay rights, yet spear-heading legislation to promote it is a cowardly act based on scoring political points rather than acting on principal of moral character.
Whether you support gay rights or not, for someone to go against what he believes in in order to gain support, is the kind of spineless political maneuvering the American people have grown tired of.
It also happens to be one of the indelible marks of Obama as a leader. As the political winds blow, so too will Obama.
For Republican candidates, particularly on a subject like gay marriage, it seems like they can actually take a cue from our soon-to-be-former president.
If a guy like Mitt Romney were smart (the jury is still out on that), he’d say something like “In the Mormon faith, marriage is a sacred act. We believe it’s an act that can only take place between a man and a woman. On the other hand, in this great country, we have a separation of church and state. I understand not everyone shares my religious beliefs and that this country was founded on tolerance. While I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, the state cannot designate who’s marriage is true and who’s isn’t, since the state cannot legislate from the pew.”
Of course, Romney has already said he’d amend the constitution to make marriage between a man and a woman, an argument for another time.
My point, though, is that Republicans can hold the socially conservative line on the morality of gay marriage while doing what someone like Ron Paul is doing, and explaining that the government has no authority to legislate such things.
Sometimes social conservatism gets in the way of civic conservatism. In the case of who will score better political points, Ron Paul’s example is clearly superior to his socially conservative counterparts.
It’s why Paul continues to garner strong support from civic conservatives and libertarians and why he remains a dark horse contender in 2012.