Like clockwork, traditional-values voters are being blamed for the failure of a moderate GOP presidential candidate.
This is the predictable consensus of liberal pundits but also some prominent conservatives. Never mind exit polls showing that conservative evangelical Protestants and devout Catholics combined gave Mitt Romney a higher percentage of their votes than George W. Bush in 2004 or John McCain in 2008. Somehow, it's their fault that Mr. Romney lost.
In The Washington Post's Sunday Outlook section, consultant Craig Shirley actually argued that because the GOP platform calls for a constitutional marriage amendment, "Obama now apparently holds the more correct conservative position on the marriage issue."
Some of the well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning advisers are using the talking points and incendiary language of the left. Like California federal judge Vaughn Walker, they see only "animus" toward homosexuals as a reason to support marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Religion? History? Social continuity? The well-being of children? Nope. It's only hatred.
The Post's ostensibly conservative columnists, George F. Will and Kathleen Parker, both employ the accusation to tar what Ms. Parker calls "the farthest right social conservatives." This refers to people who still resist Planned Parenthood's agenda of sexual anarchy.
Using one of the left's favorite euphemisms, Ms. Parker says, "Women's reproductive rights need to come off the table."
Frankly, I don't know any conservatives who want to deny adult women the opportunity to reproduce. I think she means abortion. She goes on to counsel the GOP to "marginalize or banish those who in any way make African Americans, gays, single women or any other human being feel unwelcome in a party that cherishes the values of limited government, low taxes and freedom."
Heck, you can make people feel unwelcome just by mildly criticizing Barack Obama. Better to cave now and forever hold your peace. Try to ignore the fact that as marriage and family decline, government grows exponentially to pick up the pieces. That means higher taxes and less freedom.
Mr. Will chides conservatives this way regarding the left's sexual anarchy: "They need not endorse such policies, but neither need they despise those, such as young people, who favor them." Despise? If you disagree, you're a despiser.
The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens, an otherwise astute writer, asks conservatives to "tone down the abortion extremism," and writes, "Fellow conservatives, please stop obsessing about what other adults might be doing in their bedrooms, so long as it's lawful and consensual and doesn't impinge in some obvious way on you. This obsession is socially uncouth, politically counterproductive and, too often, unwittingly revealing." Anything else?
If Mr. Stephens thinks this will stay in the bedroom, he's not paying attention. Gallaudet University suspended Chief Diversity Officer Angela McCaskill, a black American, simply for signing a petition to put marriage on the ballot in Maryland. I'd say this impinges in "some obvious way" on Ms. McCaskill's constitutional rights.
The left is spending tens of millions of dollars to redefine marriage, promote abortion and vilify anyone who gets in its way. One of the most effective tactics is to accuse opponents of what liberals themselves are doing -- "obsessing" over these issues.
The Wall Street Journal also ran a column, "Advice From a Lonely College Republican," by Sarah Westwood, who will be a sophomore in January at George Washington University. She informs us that "youth is all about rebellion," and, "Republicans don't have a future unless they break up with the religious right and the gay-bashing, Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young voter. By fighting to legally ban abortion, the party undercuts the potential to paint itself as a rebel against the governmental-controlled machine."
Government coercion is at the heart of the left's social advocacy, including forcing taxpayers to subsidize it and putting a gun to the head of Catholic and other faith-based institutions to pay for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations, so I think Ms. Westwood is confused about who the rebel is here against government power.
Finally, she asserts that "the evangelical set essentially hijacked the Republican Party in the 1970s; now we need to take it back." To what? To where? Tom Dewey's party?
Government schools, the media and Hollywood steadily suppress the truth, so these issues are not for the fainthearted. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels suggested as much. However, when one side refuses to articulate its beliefs at all while the other side aggressively does, it means surrender. In effect, the GOP is being told to quietly adopt a leftist, anti-family, anti-marriage, pro-abortion agenda.
In the 1970s, Western European-style decadence swept the Democratic Party, giving it George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. The fusion of social, fiscal and national-security conservatives gave the GOP two terms of Ronald Reagan, a term for George H.W. Bush and two terms for George W. Bush. In between, we got Bill Clinton, who redefined sex and the word "is." Liberals are praying that the GOP will drink long and deep from the Clintonian well of decadence and split the party.
To see what happens when moral confusion goes unanswered, ponder this: The UPS Foundation, which gave more than $85,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2011, announced this week that it is cutting off the Scouts because they won't allow openly homosexual scoutmasters or members. Millions of boys and men who have been involved with the Scouts support their moral stand against normalizing homosexuality. Yet an online petition with a mere 80,000 names was the trigger. Given the timid conservative response to the left's immoral onslaught, the company probably figured that sticking it to the Scouts would not hurt, even as the Christmas shopping season goes into high gear.
At some point, people are going to notice that this agenda, built on the powerful notions of tolerance and freedom of choice, is fashioning fetters for Americans who disagree. They'll also notice which public figures are defending their values.
Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist at The Washington Times.
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