February 18, 2012

POOR GHWB AND MAVERICK, THEY COULD NEVER GET TO THEIR OPPONENTS' RIGHT:

Social Issues and the Santorum Surge: Jeff Bell, an 'early supply-sider,' on the roots of American social conservatism--and why the movement is crucial to building a Republican majority. (JAMES TARANTO, 2/18/12, WSJ)

If you're a Republican in New York or another big city, you may be anxious or even terrified at the prospect that Rick Santorum, the supposedly unelectable social conservative, may win the GOP presidential nomination. Jeffrey Bell would like to set your mind at ease.

Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, "The Case for Polarized Politics," has a winning track record for the GOP. "Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964," he observes. "The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix--I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections."

The Democrats who won, including even Barack Obama in 2008, did not play up social liberalism in their campaigns. In 1992 Bill Clinton was a death-penalty advocate who promised to "end welfare as we know it" and make abortion "safe, legal and rare."

Posted by at February 18, 2012 11:13 AM
  

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