"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, February 20, 2012

On Social Conservatism and Electability

There are criticisms floating around the blogosphere and the mainstream media that Rick Santorum can't win the Presidential election over Barack Obama because he's a social conservative -- which, boiled down, means he's pro-Life, anti-gay marriage, pro-school choice, anti-teen sex, and church-going.   Hmmmmm.... let's recap.   There have been five GOP candidates for President since 1980 -- Reagan, GHW Bush, Dole, GW Bush and McCain.   If you ranked them on how socially conservative they were, you'd probably say GW Bush, Reagan, GHW Bush, Dole and McCain, in that order.    Notice anything?   The more socially conservative the candidate, the better he does.    The candidates who ran as unabashed pro-Life Christians, Reagan and GW Bush, both were 2-0.   GHW Bush won once, but that was on Reagan's coattails in 1988; he lost the next time out.   And Dole and McCain, both fairly "moderate" Republicans in their social policies, both got wiped out.

Oh, and by the way, another thing... there are a lot of people commenting on how Rick Santorum got blown out in his 2006 re-election campaign for Senator from Pennsylvania.    Some people say that is proof that a social conservative can't win.   But does anyone recall that the Democrat who beat him was Bob Casey, Jr., one of the few prominent pro-Life Catholic Democrats, who therefore neutralized Santorum's appeal to Pennsylvania Catholics and pro-Life Democrats?   And Santorum also lost because he stressed the importance of the War on Terror and, in particular, the danger of Iran, at a period before the Surge when the Iraq War was incredibly unpopular.   Santorum turned out to be right on that issue, while the people who voted against him were wrong.   How does that show that he's unelectable in 2012? 

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