Karl Rove is in the WSJ today asking if social issues are hurting Republicans. He concludes that the GOP is the home of social issue conservatives, and without them the party will be too weak to be effective, so he says this:
Yet the GOP must find language that holds social conservatives while attracting socially moderate independents and even Democrats who think their party’s left wing is too wacky. Republicans have done that on abortion—arguing that while the Supreme Court has held that abortion must be legal, people should find common ground to make sure it’s rare.
Far easier said than done. In this suggestion Rove ignores the primary tactic employed in the same-sex marriage debate, and given the success of that tactic we can expect to see more.
Proponents of same-sex marriage simply refused to accept compromise. Civil unions came and went faster than the Pet Rock fad of the 70’s. With same-sex marriage how do we “make sure it is rare?” It is increasingly illegal to try and help a person that thinks they are homosexual overcome it.
David French has said this is not so much about same-sex marriage as destroying Christianity in the public square. If the Supreme Court decides for same-sex marriage in its current case, the looming tax-exemption battles make that point very plain. One must ask if there is a middle ground available right now.
Rove’s desire is to attract “moderate independents and even Democrats who think their party’s left wing is too wacky.” My impression is that many of those types go along with same-sex marriage simply because they do not want to have to deal with the shrill, vociferous, tantrumesque responses of the left when they do not get their way. “Give ’em what they want; just make them shut up!” is far more what is happening than “Oh sure, same-sex marriage and abolishing religious morality will be good for the country.” Since there is no common ground on the issue, we need to shift the battleground.
That’s a tall order. It requires that we imbue people with the courage to stand against the kind of nasty threats and protests that were witnessed in Indiana and sufficient concern to use that courage. Either that or we are going to have to force the opponent to over play its hand.
“Religious liberty” has become the rubric under which this battleground shift has come to stand. And that is a great place to stand in the legal battles, but it rings a bit hollow in the political and cultural battles. Anymore, only religious people care about religious liberty and then they often only care about liberty for their particular religion.
We need, I think, to focus on the tactic. Demonstrations, protests, marches, civil disruption are the tools of the revolutionary, not the tools of a well order civil society. These tools were successful in the civil rights revolution of decades ago. But they were tame in comparison to the civil war of a century earlier, and were employed far more passively and peacefully than they are being in the current situation. We cannot decide things as monumental as we are through protest and civil unrest – and that I think is where we need to focus our politics.
There may be no middle ground on the issue, but there has to be middle ground on how we resolve it, or chaos will result. A new administration has to impose order, simple decent order. Now that is an issue most of us can support.