A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Republicans Concerned Over State Focus on Social Issues – NYTimes.com

In News, Politics on April 21, 2012 at 13:10

Republicans Concerned Over State Focus on Social Issues 

This is why the Republicans will lose the Presidential Elections. The GOPs social  policies are so moronic that no one can see past them and even think about some of their (occasionally reasonably)  fiscal policies

Fiscal issues and union rights were front and center in many Republican-controlled legislatures last year. But this year, with the nation heading into the heart of a presidential race and voters consumed by the country’s economic woes, much of the debate in statehouses has centered on social issues.

Tennessee enacted a law this month intended to protect teachers who question the theory of evolution.(Seriously??)  Arizona moved to ban nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, and Mississippi imposed regulations that could close the state’s only abortion clinic. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a law allowing the state’s public schools to teach about abstinence instead of contraception.(again… Seriously???) 

The recent flurry of socially conservative legislation, on issues ranging from expanding gun rights to placing new restrictions on abortion, comes as Republicans at the national level are eager to refocus attention on economic issues.

Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states.

One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge. But others said that actions taken by a handful of states would probably have little impact on the national campaign.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican who created a stir a couple of years ago with his suggestion for a “truce” on social issues, said in an interview that such issues are best handled at the state and local levels. They become more polarizing, he said, when people try to settle them nationally.

“If we don’t address soon what I believe are the lethal threats of our debts, our unaffordable commitments, our slow-growth economy, and so forth, every other problem will seem small,” said Mr. Daniels, whose state did see union protests this year when it enacted a so-called right-to-work law. He noted that Mitt Romney’s campaign was already emphasizing the economy at every opportunity.

“The genuine risk to our party comes if we allow it to appear that these are our first preoccupations,” he said.

But John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., said that the attention Republicans were paying to social issues at the state level could cost the party support from several important blocs of voters, including independents, women and young people voting for the first or second time.

“I think it’s problematic,” he said, “not just for this national election we’re facing, but for the long-term health of the party.”

The risks of focusing on social issues were highlighted this week when the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business-backed group that pushes conservative laws at the state level, announced that it would be refocusing its efforts on economic issues. Several sponsors had recently withheld their support after the group came under public pressure for advocating voting restrictions and self-defense legislation modeled on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which became an issue after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.


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