Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Right Stuff

Posted by Adam Graham on September 13, 2004 columnist Andy Oberman had an article called “Redefining Republicans” in which he wrote that because the convention featured “social moderates including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), the GOP seems to be pitching its stakes as the nation’s most inclusive party.

”Americans watching the convention, in essence, saw the “new right” of the Republican Party. This wing shares the party’s conventional fiscal conservatism and belief in America’s need for a powerful military, but advocates a true limited-government approach – espousing socially libertarian positions.”

There are several problems with Oberman’s analysis. First, when did McCain, Giuliani, or Schwarzenegger talk about their opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment? They didn’t. This was a very disciplined convention. This wasn’t like 1996 when then-Gov. Pete Wilson (R-CA) mouthed off about being pro-Choice or 2000. This was a “ra ra’ party for the GOP and President Bush where controversial social issues were off the table.

The brilliance of the Bush camp was that while they chose moderate-to-liberal messengers, the message delivered was that of President Bush, and it resonated well with everyone. Bush, himself addressed the social issues during his acceptance speech. He said:

“Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child…Because the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, I support the protection of marriage against activist judges.”

Thus the direction of our party is clear. We will protect marriage and stand up for the unborn. Whatever various convention speakers feel about these issues, the President has said what our position is.

He’s taking the social views of three Speakers to the Convention who didn’t address social issues and saying that because of those views, there is a new paradigm in the Republican Party.

He goes on to write:

“If this is a true revival of limited government beliefs, especially in our day-to-day lives, it will be a welcome sight in taking the seats of power from the religious right in the GOP.”

I have a question for people who want to defeat the Religious Rght and drive them from the “seats of power” in the GOP. How are you going to win without the Religious Right?

Lets say that Religious Conservatives will make up 15% of the vote in any given election and that 80% will vote Republican, which means they give a 9% advantage to the GOP. Do you think you can get rid of that 9% advantage and still win? Mr. Oberman, apparently does.

Indeed, this article talks about making sure the party is tolerant of dissent and differing viewpoints then talks about the need to strike down the religious right because they’re so intolerant of other viewpoints. The irony with this particular article is that Mr. Oberman is published on Religious Conservative leader Alan Keyes’ website.

He then informs us that Social Libertarianism doesn’t mean embracing the Democrats extreme views on social issues but rather viewing these as states issues. He seems to have confused social libertarianism with old line federalism. I’d also say that his argument that the presence of Senator McCain at the Convention shows support for a federalist approach on abortion is quite fallacious. McCain made it clear in 2000 that he does favor passage of the Human Life Amendment.

Now, I’d agree with Mr. Oberman that in a perfect world, both issues should rest outside federal boundaries. What’s the problem? Put simply, it’s that we don’t live in a perfect world.

Back in December, I wrote a column responding to Bill Kristol’s statement that Bush would have a difficult battle with Howard Dean (then considered the certain Democratic nominee) because he would paint Bush as “a Constitution-Amending radical”. I wrote:

If you go back to 1960 or even 1980, or 2000, where was the conservative call for a Federal Marriage amendment? It did not exist. Go back to the 1960s, where was the Conservative call for a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortion? It was unheard of.

Why now are these so linked with Conservatism? The answer is that liberals have attempted to enforce cultural hegemony on the entire nation. They’ve succeeded in the case of abortion and unless Conservatives unite behind a proposal, they shall do the same with gay marriage.

Our founders showed their wisdom when they crafted the tenth amendment. They understood that there were cultural differences between Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, South Carolina, and all the other states. To force uniform national laws on all issues of significance on the whole country was to invite disunion.

The left in the last century sought to radically redefine American culture through pushing the Gay Rights, Women’s Liberation, and the Pro-Abortion movements. They had two legitimate choices to address their concerns: 1) pursue their means in the State Legislatures allowing individual states to change their laws to meet their agenda, 2) use the federal democratic processes in amending the Constitution to change the law for all the land as the entire country could come together and raise their voice for abortion, gay rights, and equal rights for women.

Except for Women’s rights, the left has rejected the pursuit of normal democratic means that served this country well for more than 150 years. Rather, they’ve used activist liberal judges as their foil with which they’ve brought all of America into the culture of death and with which they hope for us all to celebrate the gay culture of decadence as equal in every way to Heterosexual marriage.

Because the left is still seeking cultural hegemony, a federalism approach to these issues will not work because the left will never allow states to decide the issues for themselves.

He then makes this bold assertion:

The major upside to the social libertarian philosophy is its basis in logic and law, rather than religious convictions and moral indignation.

Now, to assume that all religious conservatives are taking illogical positions based on their own religious opinions is presumptuous and arrogant. One could look at the lofty intellectual arguments of Alan Keyes, and those whose pro-life stance predated conversion to Christianity, or the numerous polemics on how radical gay marriage is in the history of our legal tradition to show the inaccuracy of the statement. But we should also ask is Mr. Oberman’s Social Libertarianism/Federalism logically/legally based 100%? Earlier in the piece, after explaining that abortion should be a state issue, he wrote the following:

The only time federal intervention should be considered is when extreme circumstances arise (such as the practice of “partial-birth” or “late-term” abortion).

Now first, I have to ask is Mr. Oberman’s belief that all of abortion except for late-term abortion should be left up to the states logical? Logically if states can handle abortion during the first 2 trimesters, they can handle the third trimester as well. Legally, if the Constitution means abortion should be a states issue, the federal government has nothing to do with it. It’d appear that his reason for saying the Federal government should regulate partial birth abortion is because it’s “extreme” in his view.

Back in February he wrote about “Our Faltering Values” in an article about Janet Jackson’s breast exposure. After explaining the great risk of American moral decline, he wrote:

“Bottom line: Is a quasi-breast shot going to ruin generations of Americans and end society as we know it? No. But like Rome, moral decline and lax indulgence will quickly lead the country in that direction.”

So according to Mr. Oberman we’re on the road of moral decline that can “end society as we know it” because of corrupt entertainment, but the redefinition of marriage by radical homosexuals and the unrestricted access to the ultimate selfish indulgence (abortion) are not issues that our party should take an active role in fighting. Furthermore, we should drive from our party those who are seriously concerned with these issues.

Somehow, I’m not seeing the logic, Mr. Oberman.


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