A Repeat Groundhog Day for the GOP
By Tony Perkins
Congress has returned to the campaign trail and like a scene from the movie “Groundhog Day,” the consultant class is once again advising Republicans to support “moderate” policies. You can queue the liberal media’s applause as if this is somehow sage advice. Whether on contraceptives, abortion, marriage, or minimum wage and marijuana, tacking towards the middle does not gain support for the GOP. As FRC Action PAC President Connie Mackey told the Washington Post, “Those in the Republican Party who have stepped away (from conservative positions) thinking that’s an answer to beat the Democrats are going to put themselves in some unnecessary danger in losing some people going to the polls.”
Many advisors have been telling Republicans not to talk about the Obamacare HHS mandate that requires family-owned businesses and charities to cover contraceptives, including pills and procedures that can destroy human embryos, because they have bought into their opponents’ definition of this issue as a “war on women.” Our own polling shows a majority of Republicans and even conservative independents opposed to the HHS mandate, which if not obeyed can lead to crushing fines that threatens the total healthcare of employees and even the loss of jobs.
Republicans who stood for religious freedom and rallied to the cause of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood were vindicated by the Supreme Court. Yet, now Ohio Senator Rob Portman, along with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), is encouraging Republicans to go “moderate.” Instead of telling candidates to point out the federal government’s already $2 billion in contraceptive funding each year, the liberals’ attack on religious freedom, and the job-threatening HHS mandate, some conservatives such as Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie are now being told to call upon the FDA to make contraceptives “over the counter.” FRC has never taken a position on non-abortion-related contraceptives, but we question the public health policy of allowing young sexually-active girls and boys to obtain contraceptives without a doctor’s supervision. NARAL, one of the most vocal supporters of the HHS mandate because it offers “free birth control,” rejected Rep. Gardner’s new position as an attempt to woo female voters.
Instead of talking about the winning issues of protecting jobs and defending religious freedom, or the need to offer greater protections for five-month-old unborn babies, positions most Americans support, these Republicans are now talking about handing out contraceptives like candy? After Senator Portman broke with the majority of voters in his home state of Ohio by publicly endorsing the redefinition of marriage the NRSC began supporting candidates who disagree with the party platform’s support of natural marriage. Purely a politically expedient move, but is it wise? Polling on public support for Portman’s switch in his home state of Ohio would say no! FRC’s own polling in April showed 82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage “should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.” As we pointed out at the time, “the vast majority of the GOP base continues to believe that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform.”
This so-called sage advice to move to the “middle” isn’t just limited to social issues; it includes economic issues as well. There are growing calls from advisors to support raising the minimum wage, despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimated a hike would cost over 500,000 jobs. That’s not compassion, it threatens families. Why suddenly support legalizing marijuana, despite the medical and social harms it bears on children and communities? Based on the past few elections, it would be nice not to wake up and have to do this over again.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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