The Washington Times

Social conservatives stay in fray: Economy dims cultural issues
The Washington Times

The nation’s social conservatives may have ceded center stage to economic conservatives and the « tea party » movement for the midterm elections, but they’re not keeping quiet.

« Any campaign should address the issues that are of most concern to the voters now and which are most likely to lead to success, » said James Bopp Jr., a Republican National Committee member from Indiana and a founder of the RNC’s Conservative Caucus. « Economic and fiscal issues are the most pressing now, so it is appropriate that they are in the forefront of Republican candidates’ issues. »

« There is suspicion among our social-conservative base that the new tea party/libertarian Republicans might soon view restrictions on abortion as they would any government proscription of private conduct, » said former Oklahoma Gov. Frank A. Keating.

« Some of my law enforcement friends have expressed similar views about a worrisome second look at drug laws, » Mr. Keating added. « Perhaps it is fringe thinking and a fringe worry, but it is still a worry. » In fact, many libertarian-minded Republicans – among them Senate nominee Rand Paul of Kentucky – have raised questions about the wisdom of the country’s strict laws on drug use.

The wariness of social conservatives surfaced in a brief public dust-up between the Family Research Council’s Mr. Perkins and Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, after Mr. Daniels suggested this summer that the country should « call a truce on the so-called social issues » to focus on economic recovery.