This morning I reflected on the debate between Lisa and me. Not that I want to make a big deal of it — I respect Lisa and I know there are other folks who are thinking as she does and who are repeating the main message of gay-marriage advocates: There is no hope; give up; the tide has turned; abandon the issue. . . because down the road we’ll the lose the majority we have now on this issue, we should abandon it immediately.
Here’s what I think this response by Lisa and others means: The old Reagan coalition is dead. Not because we failed, but because we won: because we won on communism and because we cut taxes. (Social conservatives got the least out of this coalition, but that is partly our fault — more on that another time). Whether a new coalition along similar lines can be sustained — economic conservatives, hawks, and social conservatives — is an open question. What alternative coalitions might work for economic conservatives is extremely unclear.
Many in the Republican intellectual networks are flirting with political suicide. They are imagining that because gay marriage (and to a lesser extent these days, abortion) generates hatred and contempt in elite networks, the solution to the current real difficulties is to . . . jettison the core of the GOP’s voter base.
This makes no sense at all, but the people who are responding in this way tend to think of themselves as very, very smart. Perhaps the lead lemming thought so, too.
Respectfully: Putting together an attractive agenda for economic conservatism and support for a strong defense in the current environment is an urgent task. . . it is also not the job of social conservatives.
Getting this right is extremely important: Blaming values-voters for the last election’s vote of no confidence on economy and the war (and John McCain) may make you feel better but it will not help you — us – win back the power to set good policies, or even to block extremely bad ones.