November 04, 2009

Burris is back ...

... that's Dave Burris, by the way, at the new Dave Burris.com. Today he has an apt analysis of why Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman lost in New York district 23. And though Dave doesn't really explicitly mention it (but I know he agrees with it), Roger Simon does: Hoffman's social conservatism was ultimately his undoing (my emphasis):

In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?

Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.

Hoffman’s capital-C Conservative campaign, however, tried to separate itself from the majority parties by making a big deal of the social issues. He was all upset that Scozzafava was pro-gay marriage, seemingly as upset as he was with her support for the stimulus plan. He projected the image of a bluenose in a world that increasingly doesn’t want to hear about these things. Hoffman’s is a selective vision of the nanny state – you can nanny about some things but not about others. I suspect America deeply dislikes nannying about anything.

There is, of course, a message in this for the Republican Party going forward. You can choose to emphasize the social issues or not. Today may show the former is a losing proposition.

And this is precisely why I consider myself more libertarian than conservative/Republican. If the GOP wants to be consistent, its message should be "government out of ALL aspects of our lives." Not just the money matters. Why does the GOP care about gay unions/"marriage"? Let the states decide whether to allow gay "marriage." (I've had myriad debates/discussions on this; I actually believe that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment should grant homosexuals all the benefits accorded traditional marriage. Since this amendment essentially applies rights to the states, states could not deny gays the applicable benefits. However -- and this is yet another topic which I've long debated -- states could decide whether the term "marriage" should be permitted for gay unions or not. Some have claimed this would be akin to "separate but equal," but I do not concur. Would have Maine, for instance, voted like this if the issue was gay civil unions and not "marriage?")

And abortion is another such issue. Conservatives pretty much already have the winning hand in that debate; most Americans, though desiring that abortion be a decision between just a woman and her doctor, also want stricter limits on the procedure. There's already a ban on "partial birth" abortions (which 70% of Americans wanted); why push the issue much further than that?

The answer to defeating Obama and his agenda is not to be as far right as he is to the left -- as is becoming more apparent each and every day.

Posted by Hube at November 4, 2009 03:38 PM | TrackBack

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I should also add that "separate but equal" is a lot more acceptable in our society when it comes to gender than when it comes to race.

Racial differences are superficial, while gender differences are fundamental.

Posted by: Michael Ejercito at November 4, 2009 08:00 PM

The sad thing is that the idea that "we don't like to be nannied" is dying out among a lot of our young people, especially in college.

I survey my classes in a somewhat unsystematic manner throughout the years, and I can report a growing trend of willing compliance with increasing state regulation of private life.

A majority of students in one class told me yesterday that the government needed the "right" to protect a fetus from her mother choosing to smoke or drink, and that government had the "right" to intervene in my family if I chose to let my son ride his bike without a helmet.

"They have to protect him," you see.

Posted by: steve Newton at November 5, 2009 12:22 AM