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The Republican Agenda: Social Conservatism
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I touched on this yesterday with the "Wal-Mart voters" post, and the fact that the identified group was, in general, comprised of social conservatives who liked government programs.

I also noted that the Republicans were losing ground in that group (see the poll results noted in the post) and would probably try to introduce issues which would appeal to social conservatives to try to win them back. Well guess what:
House Republicans intend to hold votes this summer and fall touching on abortion, guns, religion and other priority issues for social conservatives, part of an attempt to improve the party's prospects in the midterm elections.

The "American Values Agenda" also includes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — which already has failed in the Senate — a prohibition on human cloning and possibly votes on several popular tax cuts.

"Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life," Speaker
Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Tuesday.
The Dems have a new direction for America and the Reps now have a "Values Agenda" for America. How fun.

Some particulars sure to raise the "Reps are in the clutches of the Religious Right" banners:
"Family, faith, patriotism and hard work bind us together as Americans. Our laws should reflect those priorities, and House Republicans are committed to the American Values Agenda, policies that stress the core values on which our nation was built," said Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, third-ranking member of the leadership.

[...]

One would to strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of jurisdiction over cases challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. The legislation is a response to a 2002 Appeals Court ruling that held the pledge is unconstitutional because of the presence of the words "under God." A federal judge made a similar ruling last fall, citing the appeals court precedent.

Another measure would block the payment of attorney fees in challenges to the display of the Ten Commandments in public areas and other, similar church-state lawsuits.

An abortion-related proposal would require that some women seeking to end their pregnancies be informed the procedure "will cause the unborn child pain" and they have the option of receiving drugs to reduce or eliminate it. A separate measure would ban human cloning, a prohibition that cleared the House in the previous Congress.

Two measures relate to the rights of gun owners. One would prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms during national emergencies, barring practices such as the one that officials said arose in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Meanwhile the Dems are maneuvering for a vote on minimum wage and are about to unveil legislation calling for major changes in the new Medicare prescription drug program (particularly to allow federal officials to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices and eliminate the gap in coverage through the savings).

Anyone? Given the issues from both sides, which is most likely to appeal to social conservative but government program loving Wal-Mart voters?

Well, which deal more with ideology and which deal more with immediate benefits? And, given our past electoral track record, are voters more likely to vote for ideological issues or benefit programs? See Jon's post.
 
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An abortion-related proposal would require that some women seeking to end their pregnancies be informed the procedure "will cause the unborn child pain" and they have the option of receiving drugs to reduce or eliminate it. A separate measure would ban human cloning, a prohibition that cleared the House in the previous Congress.
Ah, McQ. This ain’t your father’s (Goldwater, or even Eastern Establishment) GOP.

Pray tell, I would ask them, where in Article I does it enumerate a power for Congress to legislate in this area traditionally left to the states? The modern, populist GOP has abandoned federalism. There is talk afoot that if Roe is overturned (which I believe it should be), Congress will federally prohibit abortion via the enabling legislation of the 14th Am. Like, sure, that’s what the drafters and ratifiers of the 14th had in mind, at a time when abortion law was entirely a state matter.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Congress will federally prohibit abortion via the enabling legislation of the 14th Am. Like, sure, that’s what the drafters and ratifiers of the 14th had in mind, at a time when abortion law was entirely a state matter.
Good Point Mona, EXCEPT that the US Supreme COurt MADE it a Federal right and TOOK it from the states...So as it is NOW a Federal issue I guess ALL Federal authorities can have a say. Now if you want to you can support overturning Roe v. Wade and return it to the states. But UNTIL that happens this is what you get.

And libertarians, "Welcome to Coalition politics." Ask FDR about HIS coalition, Jews, Blacks, Southerners, Union workers... all of whom pushed and pulled the coalition in conflicting ways... After all Sen. Byrd was a D and a member of the Klan, whilst another portion of the coalition were the Tuskegee Airmen. Unions and Blacks clashed, Blacks and southern farmers clashed....coalitions are messy. Politicians create and maintain them ideologues advance the interest(s) of their parts of the coalition.

Libertarians are just one, and a SMALL part of the GOP coalition. Welcome to advancing your interests, it’s call POLITICS. Good Luck and Have Fun.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Good Point Mona, EXCEPT that the US Supreme COurt MADE it a Federal right and TOOK it from the states...So as it is NOW a Federal issue I guess ALL Federal authorities can have a say. Now if you want to you can support overturning Roe v. Wade and return it to the states. But UNTIL that happens this is what you get.
Except that, there is no warrant in the Constitution for Congress to pass such laws. Roe is rooted in some manufactured nonsense about a "right to privacy" lurking in "penumbras," but it doesn’t add anything to Article 1 that would empower Congress to get involved. (Not that I would reject an actual amendment providing a right to privacy, depending on how it is drafted.)

But if the GOP wants to be hypocritical, and on the one hand denounce Roe, and on the other reach for the 14th Am to legislate an abortion ban once Roe is overturned (and pass lesser abortion-related legislation in the meantime), well ain’t nothing new about such hypocrisy. Welcome to big govt., populist, anti-federalist Republicanism. Phooey.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Oh I see Mona, so NOW certain portions of the Federal Government can operate INDEPENDENTLY of the others, i.e., the Judiciary can make a "right"-which you freely admit is specious-but NO OTHER Branch may now regualate or operate in that sphere? Doesn’t work that way with three CO-EQUAL branches. Once the Judiciary, wrongly, decided that Abortion was a Federal issue, ALL the Federal Government became eligible to intervene and operate in that area. It’s like the Prime Directive, sometimes it works FOR you and sometimes it works against you, but you can’t pick and chose to apply it or not.

As to hypocrisy, that’s called "politics"...I would agree that it is better if once Roe is overturned that the states be the battle ground for abortion fights, BUT it might be more expedient if Congress acts to make more law in the area. And that will apply to both PRO-LIFE and PRO-CHOICE politicians. It’s what they do, they seek advantage... not simply philosphic rectitude.

However IF the USSC were to overturn Roe, then it might be difficult for Congress to act, on behalf of any side, if Court "DE-Federalizes" the issue. Federal legislation might be challenged by the Congressionally-losing side, simply on the basis that Congress has no POWER or RIGHT to act in this area and cite the anti-Roe decision.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Libertarians are just one, and a SMALL part of the GOP coalition.
You can say that about conservatives to.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Always has, always will.

Life was simplier when the main concern was anti-Communism and avoiding nuclear war.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
What if you can cut taxes, AND balance the budget, AND reduce unnecessary trade restrictions, AND fund more social programs that people want.

Is that so bad, or counter-libertarian? It appears to be happenning now.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://moorejack.ytmnd.com/
Oh I see Mona, so NOW certain portions of the Federal Government can operate INDEPENDENTLY of the others, i.e., the Judiciary can make a "right"-which you freely admit is specious-but NO OTHER Branch may now regualate or operate in that sphere? Doesn’t work that way with three CO-EQUAL branches. Once the Judiciary, wrongly, decided that Abortion was a Federal issue, ALL the Federal Government became eligible to intervene and operate in that area. It’s like the Prime Directive, sometimes it works FOR you and sometimes it works against you, but you can’t pick and chose to apply it or not.
Ridiculous. That the 2nd Am protects the right to bear arms, it does not follow that Congress has a power to reduce that right, or regulate the states at all on the matter. Similarly, just cuz SCOTUS manufactures another constitutional right, it does magically create an Article I enumerated power for the Congress to get in on the act.

Republicans who respect federalism would not be passing federal abortion legislation, except in federal areas such as medicaid funding for the procedure. They can control how the funds they are empowerd to allocate are spent, but otherwise have no business in the abortion issue. That is, if they really adhere to principles of federalism.

And what of the ban on human cloning? Where in Article 1 is Congress given such authority?
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Similarly, just cuz SCOTUS manufactures another constitutional right, it does magically create an Article I enumerated power for the Congress to get in on the act.

Sure it does, If something is a Federal Right, a Federal issue not subject to state regulation, THEN it becomes subject to FEDERAL regualtion and legislation...IF abortion is a Constitutionally guaranteed right the Federal bureaucracy must expend funds to protect that right...and that requires CONGRESSIONAL action.

Mona... just come out and say it, "I support abortion and I don’t want anyone messing with it." Because your argument is pretty strained... Roe v Wade was poorly decided, BUT Congress really ought not get invovled, even though Congress can now FUND abortions, IF it had the political will to do so, and take other steps to ensure the continued exercise of that right.
Bottom-line: IF the USSC granted a peson a Federal Right then ALL the Federal government may regulate and legislate in that area as it pertains to that right. WHEN the USSC overturns Roe, then your argument makes logical sense. Congress MAY NOT act, as this is an area for state action(s).

I say logical, but still one side or the other may try to act via legislation. As I point out, a court case could well result in the defeat of that legislation, mind you either side would STILL act even knowing that it was going to be struck down by the Court. After all, then you can blame those "Unelected Federal Judges" for "Thwarting the Will of the People."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Regarding social conservatism, I would like to ask some sincere questions about libertarian vs. conservate views regarding abortion:

1. What is the libertarian/neo-libertarian position on abortion?

2. If the position is that it should be left to the states, does that position hold for a libertarian if she believes a fetus to be a human being?

3. If the positions above hold, would the libertarian be against abortion within her own state?

I’m not trying to be snarky or hiding some "gotchas" or anything like that. As a (my description) libertarian-leaning conservative, I really am interested in the views. I believe my political views may be more libertarain than conservative, but I’ve never identified with the pure, big-L Libertarian ideology. The more practical "neo-libertarian" view is interesting to me and I want to learn more about it, which is why I enjoy this blog.

I realize #2 and #3 may be invalidated by the answer to #1, I’m only assuming the answer to #1 so that I might get some answers to them all before this post disappears down the blog.

Thanks for any answers.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
Ridiculous. That the 2nd Am protects the right to bear arms, it does not follow that Congress has a power to reduce that right, or regulate the states at all on the matter
Then why do the FEDS say I can’t own a machine gun without jumping through all kinds of hoops? Sounds like their regulating my right.
 
Written By: DCB
URL: http://
And with a h/t to Kerry Howley at Reason, whats there for a libertarian not love when a GOP Senator seeks tax on pimps, prostitutes. All to end the vicious and evil oldest profession, via the IRS. Yessiree, this GOP is every libertarian’s dream.

Only a lefty would see it otherwise.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Well, at least some at the top are starting to figure out what’s wrong...

http://porkbusters.org/2006/06/we_need_to_stop_this_now.php
Among the core values we Republicans share with Pres. Reagan is a passion for free market principles such as lower taxes and opposition to unnecessary government regulation; and, very importantly, belief that the government that governs best governs least. I don’t think any Reagan Republican would disagree that fiscal restraint and small government are bedrock principles of conservatives.

So why has my party, the party of small government, lately adopted the practices of our opponents who believe the bigger the government the better? I’m afraid it’s because at times we value our incumbency more than our principles. We came to office to reduce the size of government. Lately, we have increased the size of government in order to stay in office. The editors of National Review have argued — and I agree with them — that unless Republicans curb government spending by reforming the budget process, we may lose our majorities in the House and Senate. I will go one step further and say that if Republicans do not reform our budget process, we will deserve to lose our majorities.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Mona... just come out and say it, "I support abortion and I don’t want anyone messing with it."
Truly hilarious the assumptions made about me merely becasue I criticize Bush and the sins agasint federalism of the current GOP.

In point of fact, I spent more than ten years very active in the Right to Life movement. I began to part with them on issues like the Schiavo case, which are quite distinct from abortion. I also didn’t care for it when all the fundamentalists poured in with a lot of hatred of homosexuals added to the pro-life mix.

All these assumptions about me are amusing, and driven merely because I oppose George Bush and criticize the GOP Congress for rejecting federalism; that body has no warrant to legislate in the area of abortion, and because that is so it has invoked the liberals’ usual crap about the "Commerce Clause" to pass The Partial Birth Abortion Ban. That is not a Commerce Clause the Founders would recognize, but never mind if it suits the modern GOP’s purposes (and regardless of one’s views on partial birth abortions, which I ardently oppose).

BTW, my current views on abortion are that prohibiting it in the first trimester would bring the bad baggage of the war on drugs. Abortion is already, in the early stages, inducible by pill and/or injection. This will soon be pervasively so, which would make criminalizing it in the first trimester a nightmare. But I continue to hold strong moral objections to abortion.

Like it or not, my objections to, and criticisms of, the contemporary GOP are based on libertarian principles I have held my entire adult life.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona and Joe,

If the Supremes were to overturn Roe v Wade, what the federal government could do would be entirely governed by how they overturned it.

They could overturn it because (1) the federal government doesn’t have the right to regulate this after all or (2) abortion is a fundamental abridgement of the right to life.

If (1) then the whole issue is kicked back to the states and congress doesn’t get a say in the legality of abortion. If (2) then congress will probably pass legislation in order to protect the rights of the unborn because that is the job of the Federal government.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Well Jeff your point(s) are well taken. I think it is more likely however that IF
Roe
is overturned, it will be on the basis of restriciting your "right to privacy" rather than on a "right to life." Now I oppose abortion and think overturning Roe on the basis of it’s bad law, rather than it’s immorality is the much better approach to take. If we limit on the basis of Griswold we can bring in libertraiains and others who felt that Griswold and Roe are BAD legal decisions, although they may support abortion. Si I’d bet that the court when it does overturn Roe will overturn in a way that leaves the decision to STATES, not on the basis of a Right to Life.

Well sorry Mona, but your approach certainly seems like a Pro-Choice approach. Because your argument is just awfully strained otherwise. The USSC involved the FED’S in the "right to Choose/Right to Life" debate and so for better or worse the Fedral GOVERNMENT is involved and to make any other case just doesn’t work within a Constitutional framework of Co-Equal branches and the normal operations of government.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, you are simply wrong. Roe may have, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum puts it, "invited" conservatives to legislate federally in the abortion area as a political matter, but when they do, they are passing unconstitutional laws, and forfeiting all credibility to speak of states rights and in defense of federalism. And for reasons more than abortion.

Sullum: (my emphasis)
Meanwhile, though, the Supreme Court’s unjustified nationalization of the issue has invited conservatives to respond in kind. And so we get patently unconstitutional laws such as the "partial birth" abortion ban, which covers purely intrastate activity on the pretext that it "affects" interstate commerce.

Conservatives who supported this cannot consistently question the constitutionality of the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which relies on the same bogus Commerce Clause rationale. Nor would they be able to credibly wield constitutional objections against federal legislation overriding state restrictions on abortion.

In addition to imposing national policies regarding medical marijuana and abortion, the Bush administration has sought to override the states in areas such as assisted suicide, pain treatment, education, and marriage.
Note, Joe, the conservatives are not claiming Roe gives them the right to federally legislate on abortion, becasue it doesn’t (and that legal argument would fail); rather, they are resorting to the same bastardization of the Commerce Clause that originated with liberals. Hypocrites.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Scout asks:
1. What is the libertarian/neo-libertarian position on abortion?
Libertarians are as split on the subject as is the rest of the nation, with a majority probably being in favor of legal abortion, but a significant minority are not. The only full-blown libertarian in Congress, Ron Paul, is pro-life.

I think, but am not certain, that the Libertarian Party is officially "pro-choice," but someone please correct me if I am wrong about that.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
How can legislation on abortion be unconstitutional, EXCEPT in the imagination of libertarians? Congress deals with firearms, voting rights, sovereign immunity ALL issues addressed by various parts of the Constitution, BUT ONLY in abortion rights is it stymied? If you can see that your argument is stilted, well I can’t help you.

You are arguing as many libertarians do, that in some PERFECT Universe something(s) would not be legislated or regulated...or that in YOUR copy of the Constitution, the one libertarians like to whip out the one that doesn’t REALLY exist, but WOULD exist if the United States were libertarian...

I don’t mean to be snarky. But as it STANDS NOW, yours is just bad argument. I AGREE THAT ABORTION OUGHT TO BE A STATES ISSUE

AGAIN, I AGREE WITH YOU THAT IN A PERFECT WORLD ABORTION OUGHT TO BE DECIDED AT TEH STATE LEVEL, right now it isn’t it’s decided at the Federal level and as such is not amenable simply to COURT rulings...

Which brings up one last point that just came to...under your theory as it stand only the Federal Court system can address the issue. Now how can in a libertarian universe can the only UNELECTED branch of government be tasked to set the parametres of abortion?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Not to be snarky here, but it is interesting that all of those (on the left and right) who make noises that the war for the hearts and minds in Iraq is the only way that the actual war can be won suddenly reverse course on this when it pertains to things back home. For example, Mona points out the hypocrisy of Republicans in attempting to legislate anti-abortion laws using the commerce clause (although as Mona points out somewhat hypocritical for a federalist type, the trend for both parties to use federal legislation to usurp state laws runs much much deeper, see the history of America 1790-present). Leftists are just as guilty with things like gun control, for example. Actual legislation regarding a specific "moral issue" for lack of a better term is equivalent to a military strike in Iraq. Where are the hues and cries that this will solve nothing? Where aren’t those on the left and right who oppose concrete military action in Iraq in favor of the hearts and minds strategy protesting in the streets that legislation solves nothing, the battle over "moral issues" must be won in the hearts and minds of the people?

Legislating morality, however well-intentioned does not work. See Prohibition and War on Drugs. Is that to say that the government should simply adopt a "hands-off" policy? No, I don’t think so. There are certainly ways that government can encourage good behavior without becoming involved in the legislation of what boils down to moral choices. Is that an ideal solution? No. The real war should be going on in the streets, the pulpits, and town hall meetings, not Congress (or your local state legislature). The only way to effectively advance a particular moral issue (be it opposition to abortion, opposition to same-sex unions, etc.) is to convince the vast majority of the people (not just 51%) that such things are wrong. Until that is done, all the legislation in the world will change nothing.
 
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URL: http://
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