Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jeb on "Non-traditional families"

This will, IMO, be a nettlesome issue for the GOP in '16.   No one will get nominated without earning the support of (at least a meaningful slice of) the evangelical/socially conservative wing of the party.  The leverage of SoCons in the early states, esp. Iowa, SC, FL is just too large.  That said, a message of "the gays are after your kids' minds" might fly in an Iowa GOP straw poll, but not in a general election (again, IMO).

How to negotiate these straits?

1) I think a candidate has to have bona fides.   Traditional voters must honestly believe that the candidate in question is on their side personally, regardless of how they decide to "message."   You can't reinvent yourself as pro-life.  Mitt tried it in 2008, and it probably cost him the nomination that year.  You have to be seen as someone who has been a friend to traditional morality and the pro-life movement.  The weekly church attenders in Dubuque have to believe it in their guts.

B) A candidate has to be able to frame their traditional morality as non-threatening to those who equate it with the persecution of non-conformists.  This means that it has to be articulated in a way that is non-judgmental.  It has to be raised in the context of a national conversation around the direction of our culture and the implications of change in our traditional norms.  But NOT as part of a central thrust of his/her legislative agenda.

III) A candidate has to be able to articulate to GOP primary voters how these issues are not, per se, at the core of our country's national political agenda, b/c for the most part, they should not be handled as matter of federal law.  This gets us back to federalism and constitutionalism, which should make it a pill that many conservative GOP primary voters can swallow, even though for a significant number of GOP voters, these issues may tug at their most deeply held convictions.  And yet, Even IF these issues happen to be what matters most to certain GOP primary voters, the argument must be made that the federal government will probably not "win" at changing our cultural direction over the long-haul.   Those types of changes must be "won" at the kitchen table, at the local school board meeting, at the parish council or synod level.   In fact, politicizing and nationalizing these issues generally works only on behalf of the left.

d) A GOP candidate has to be able to explain to primary voters that the issues that are squarely in the purview of the federal government, matters of economic regulation and taxation, foreign policy, immigration, etc., have been pushed and pushed quickly to the left.   Policy is moving well left of the "center" of the American political mainstream.  That will trend will continue without GOP victory, which will require broadening our political coalition.  The way the party approaches these social issues, and even more so, the language we choose to frame them, will go a long way towards determining whether a new GOP majority can be attained.

This brings me to Jeb.   I've been a fan for decades, as most of my (small but highly incisive and loyal) readership knows.   As I heard him address these issues in the clip below, I just kept nodding my head (vertically, not horizontally). I think he's as close to me on these issues as any candidate I've heard.  Whether my feelings and the prescription I've laid out above turn out to be more broadly embraced remains to be seen.  I welcome your opinions.

Link.  Story with video [bold emphasis is mine]:

In an exclusive sit-down interview with The Brody File, Jeb Bush affirmed his personal belief in traditional marriage and went on to say that, “traditional families are what are going to end up leading our renewal.” He also says that he when it comes to issues that divide the GOP (like, for example gay rights), he has no interest in getting bogged down in those.

We sat down with Jeb Bush Friday morning at the Faith and Freedom Coalition event in DC. If Jeb Bush decides to run for president, he will most likely be considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. However, there’s plenty of room to run to Bush’s right on some issues. Someone will take up that space. Actually, plenty will fight over it. 

Courtesy: CBN News/The Brody File



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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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