The thing that should be clear to observers of the Iowa caucuses is that social conservatives remain a critical component of the conservative movement. It’s been said that there are three legs of the conservative stool: economic conservatives, social conservatives, and national-security conservatives. But many in the elite, including some in the GOP elite in Washington, have been working hard to dismiss the importance of social conservatism. Iowa reminds us that this is a losing strategy for the Republican party.
I attended the Waterloo caucus and listened to people talk in the crowd and the candidates’ representatives make their final pitches. Virtually every one of the representatives spoke of their candidate’s solid commitment to social conservatism — support for life from conception to natural death and a fervent commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Certainly Rick Santorum’s meteoric rise in Iowa is due in large part to his consistent championing of social-conservative issues, especially life and marriage.
Social conservatives were heard from in Iowa. They propelled Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — who along with Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann signed NOM’s marriage pledge — to the front of the pack, and sent an important message to Ron Paul.
Iowa reminded the GOP elite that supporting marriage is a winning issue. Marriage won in Iowa, just as it has won in 31 of 31 state elections.