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Fighting Culture Wars

Tam amusingly notes that the Republican dog can always be counted on to chase the culture war stick. The fact is that there’s no better tactic for the Democrats to use this election than to get everyone all pissed off about culture war issues. The question is whether Mitt Romney will be stupid enough to chase the stick. Having been relatively socially liberal as a Governor of Massachusetts tells me he doesn’t have true SoCo instincts, but Romeny has never met an important constituency he didn’t want to pander to. Look for more of this as the election gets closer. Obama knows he can’t run on his record on fiscal issues, so culture wars it will be.

18 Responses to “Fighting Culture Wars”

  1. Steven says:

    Hmmm…guess I’m one of those hillbilly A.D.D. suffering dupes that those crafty Dems keep tricking into debating all these social issues (that the majority of voters disagree with them on). Silly me.

    • Sebastian says:

      The concern for Republican on the gay issue that there’s a significant generational gap. If they pander to the older generations that are less tolerant, they risk losing a majority of the next generation. Abortion is less of a concern generationally, but on that issue there’s roughly even division, so it can be a coalition breaker in both political parties, but it tends to play against winning independents here in the Philly suburbs.

      • Steven says:

        I’m becoming of the mind that the dear, utra-important mush-minded independents vote on their own situation, mostly economic, maybe a war if there is one, and then whatever the media tells them to think about. That’s why I believe we have to answer these silly things, like the stay at home mom thing and the dog thing and the bullying thing, forcefully and in unison. It’s the only way to prevent the media from making them into something that silly independents actually do think about. Romney put a dog on the roof? Well how about this? They’re shamed into silence because of their desire to appear unbiased.

        The rest is all about exciting our base and depressing theirs. That’s what abortion, gay marriage and (gasp) gun rights do.

        • Sebastian says:

          A lot of independents fall into the social liberal bus fiscally conservative mold. They are not ideological libertarians, but tend to lean in that direction. I agree that you have to fire up your base, but if you do that at the expensive of driving a lot of Independents to the other party, you’ll lose the election. So it’s a fine line.

          Now, do the politics of gay marriage favor the GOP for this election? I would agree they do. But is it worth it in the long run if it alienates a generation of voters? I think that’s debatable. I am certainly not expecting Romney to come out favoring gay marriage, but if Obama tosses the stick, the smart thing to do, politically, would be for Romney to say:

          “I support traditional marriage, but let’s get back to talking about how the Obama Administration has, in four short years, maxed out the nation’s credit card.”

          Newt Gingrich, actually, has had some useful things to say about sticking to 80% issues, because the left are on the wrong side of so many of them.

        • Sebastian says:

          And I should note, despite the topic of this blog, I wouldn’t advise Romney to go into his campaign with, forgive the cliche metaphor, both six shooters blazing on the Second Amendment issue. It would come off as phony to all of us, and would be distracting voters from issues they will find broad agreement with conservatives on.

          What we need on our issue from Romney is more subtle, and alignment on those can be accomplished through signaling. Saying you’ll appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will respect the 2nd Amendment is an 80% issue, and signals to people like me the list of nominees you’d choose from for the court.

          I’ve also wondered if Romney’s campaign is quietly OK with Nugent turning up the crazy, as a signaling mechanism to Nugent fans that if Romney is OK with the Nuge, that they ought to be OK with Romney. Romney has, essentially, no other way to reach those people.

      • It isn’t clear that the generational gap on homosexuality is going to age. I was quite liberal about homosexuality in my 20s, then I moved to the Bay Area. That was also the experience of many of my peers–they became less liberal on this as they aged. It won’t ever be like it was in 1960, but I rather doubt that today’s 20 year olds will still hold the position on this when they are 40.

      • Hank Archer says:

        If the opinions of the young are more valuable than those of the older generations let’s only let 18-30 year-olds vote. We could get back to the future faster!

        As Clayton says just above – people usually get wiser as they get older.

        Life experience will show the young that just because they couldn’t understand, at 20, “what could it hurt?” doesn’t mean that the things they support are actually harmless. An awful lot of mature people who are now conservative or libertarians were socialists and liberals in their youth.

  2. SPQR says:

    And yet, the Rasmussen polling shows Romney improving against Obama this week …

    • David says:

      This is what happens when you stay away from the social issues, letting them move first. They won’t talk about their record, so the need a distraction. As long as Romney avoids the bait and sticks to jobs, his poll numbers will climb.

  3. Sage Thrasher says:

    Romney’s primary advantage is that he’s running against Obama. His disadvantages are that no one knows exactly what he will and won’t fight for, or what he personally feels strongly about. His political past is as a moderate, even a liberal, but who knows which wings of the Republican party are going to be setting his agenda–social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, defense hawks, etc.? I don’t see him as a libertarian somehow. Is he going to pull a Scott Walker kind of divisiveness that will gridlock the federal government for another four years or will he be more like a Mitch Daniels or Christy? It’s not a rhetorical question–I don’t think anyone knows the answer, but Romney needs to supply it.

    • David says:

      Why is gridlock bad? Remember, congress only does things that harm the people. The more they fight with each other and the less stuff they pass, the better off we’ll all be.

  4. Andy B. says:

    I think Tam is indirectly raising an issue that should be of concern to all advocates for issues of individual liberty. To continue her metaphor, if you’ve committed your flea to a dog that can be lured in front of a bus by the simple toss of a stick, expect your flea to wind up under a bus.

  5. Weer'd Beard says:

    When in doubt, Mitt will do the thing to make me like him less!

  6. Alpheus says:

    For what it’s worth, isn’t Mitt on record stating that marriage is a State’s issue? At least, depending on the crowd he’s speaking to?

    And what about Obama, who apparently is committed to Gay Marriage, but only to on the State level (if I recall the newsclips I may have heard correctly)?

    It’s kindof funny how both politicians are somewhat spineless on this issue…which, in turn, will probably mean it won’t be a major issue…

  7. Brad says:

    Uh, isn’t it the so-called “wedge issues” which help Republicans against Democrats? Hence the negative connotation of “wedge issues”, a notion heavily reinforced by relentless media table-pounding?

    If the Democrats are resorting to harping about social issues because they need to distract the voters attention away from the awful economic situation and Obama administration mismanagement, then the Democrats are truly in deep doo-doo. At best all the Democrats will accomplish is motivate the Democratic base.

    And greater voter turnout in blue states like New York and California won’t help the Democrats craft the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. If anything the social issue gambit is an act of a desperate and demoralized campaign leadership.

  8. This is just Obama’s SQUIRREL! issue de-jour. As his polls continue to slid, he’ll move on to something else.

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