From the Washington Post, last night:
After nearly two weeks of listening to GOP officials pledge to assert greater control over the party and its most strident voices in the wake of Romney’s loss, grass-roots activists have begun to fight back, saying that they are not to blame for the party’s losses in November.
“The moderates have had their candidate in 2008 and they had their candidate in 2012. And they got crushed in both elections. Now they tell us we have to keep moderating. If we do that, will we win?” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader.
(Vander Plaats is an influential conservative evangelical leader and Republican politician. He wrote a political pledge asserting that African-American families were better off during the era of slavery. Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum both signed that pledge.)
When the Christian Right “moderates” (softens its ultraconservative political positions)–that’s when it will become okay for the Republican Party to “moderate,” to try and bring more voters into its incredibly shrinking demographic. But according to the Christian Right: it’s the voices of moderation and tolerance who are the villains.
From a different story today, at NBC Politics:
To hear some conservative leaders tell their story, Romney erred in refusing to engage social issues forcefully enough. When the president endorsed same-sex marriage, Romney largely demurred; the GOP nominee largely left bread-and-butter social issues out of his stump speech, focusing almost exclusively on the economy – the top issue for voters.
“I think, clearly, the Republican Party didn’t win on the issue on which it invested a billion dollars,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony list, a women’s anti-abortion group. (Note: Susan B. Anthony list–big, very big tool of the Christian Right. Huge Bachmann supporters.)
(Dannenfelser) argued, too, that it’s difficult to blame the GOP’s social conservatism for four losses among House Republicans who support abortion rights…
More from the Washington Post:
The conservative backlash sets up an internal fight for the direction of the Republican Party…
(“Sets up” an internal fight? That “internal fight” for control of the direction of the Republican Party has been going on for more than twenty years. And the Christian Right has been winning that fight: making the difference in electing Bush to a second term, co-opting the tea party, steadily driving the GOP further and further to the right.)
The conservative backlash sets up an internal fight for the direction of the Republican Party as many top leaders in Washington have proposed moderating their views on citizenship for illegal immigrants, to appeal to Latino voters. In addition, many top GOP officials have called for softening the party’s rhetoric on social issues, following the embarrassing showing by Senate candidates who were routed after publicly musing about denying abortion services to women who had been raped.
Yeah, Akin and Mourdock lost big. Michele Bachmann also would deny abortion services for women who’ve been raped. She won–but by less than 2% in a district that favors Republicans by 7+ points.
No matter, according to the Christian Right and the tea party. It’s not their fault that the GOP lost so big this year. It’s the fault of “moderates” like…Mitt Romney! The guy they were all endorsing for president just a few weeks ago! Conservative evangelicals have flipped their propaganda on him from “designated savior of America” to “moderating villain who ruined us all.”
In a post-election heartbeat, the Christian Right snaps right back to its pre-Romney position: “GOP moderates are villains.” That’s how fast their leaders can flip-flop, when it comes to saving its leaders’ political skins. Because if the current leaders of Christian Right went along with post-election calls to moderate the GOP–those guys would be cooked; done.
If the leaders of the Christian Right moderate and broaden their views–they lose their white paranoid base. That would lead to loss of a lot of money in donations, a lot of their political control over regional voting in conservative districts.
So the leaders of the Christian Right don’t care if sticking with their ultraconservative, “transvaginal probe” program continues to cost the GOP national control in the future. Yes, the tea party and the Christian Right lost some high profile contests in this election. But their ultraconservative candidates continue to hold and win political office; they continue to beat more mainstream Republicans in nomination contests.
And they know that they can continue to do that, simply by running to the right of more “moderate,” inclusive Republicans. Why would the Christian Right and ultraconservatives care about winning national control–when moderating would drive away their base and cost them regional control they now enjoy?
These guys are running their own party, with its own candidates and its own extremist agenda. Their political influence depends on offering that extremist agenda. They’ve reached the stage where establishment Republicans need them and their voters–more than they need the establishment Republicans.
They don’t care that this situation might kill the GOP’s current and long range prospects. So for now, their answer to Republicans calling for moderation is: “Moderate, my a**.”
LINK: Washington Post:
LINK: Vander Plaats and slavery.
LINK: NBC news.