Anyone with half a mind could see that the GOP, which had Obama on the ropes vis-à-vis the economy, shanked the congressional and presidential elections because of the batshit-crazy wing of the party’s forays into reactionary
Christian social activism. The stone age positions on immigration, gay marriage and women’s reproductive rights, to say nothing of its Darwinian economic vision, all created a perfect storm to land Obama his second term in the Oval Office. Immediately the GOP public relations machine looked inward, blaming the evangelical social activism for the losses.
In the weeks following the election it seemed that Republicans openly questioned the wisdom of welcoming Dark Ages fundamentalist Christians into the fold. And rightly so, as such a voting bloc can, along with anti-federalist Tea Partiers, swing elections; but at what cost? The evangelicals’ rise in power within the GOP was matched with very public statements of hatred and stupidity, such as Todd Akin’s pseudoscientific theory on how women have a biological mechanism for preventing pregnancy caused by rape.
Add former Ambassador to China and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to this newly moderate Republican chorus, who just today called on the GOP to avoid “fringe issues.”
In case readers didn’t notice, Huntsman also ran for president in the 2012 GOP primaries, so there’s not a little positioning for a 2016 run in Huntman’s opinion here. Like any good politician, Huntman sensed a shift in the tenor of conservative platform, and seized the momentum. He’d be a fool not to.
Huntsman is perceived as a moderate, mostly because he trusts scientists on global warming and evolution, and doesn’t label Obama either an “antichrist” or “communist” infiltrator. Otherwise he’s about as a conservative on economic policy as, say, Mitt Romney. Huntsman essentially said as much of himself in an interview on CNN’s “Staring Point.”
“If we stick to a mantra that says strong individual liberty and economic freedom and a right-sized government, that’s always going to be relevant for the American people based on our constitutional government,” said Huntsman. “But we kind of drift in areas where we take on fringe issues, and it gets us stuck in the alleyways of life that take our focus away from what is really important for the American people, and that is individual freedom and that is getting the budgets balanced so people can get on with their lives.”
Deft rhetoric, to be sure. But the problem with the GOP move toward a rational social political philosophy is that the GOP can publicly ignore social issues for elections; but, once elected, they could pursue a regressive social platform favored by the likes of Michelle Bachmann and her fringe-dwelling ilk. This doesn’t seem to be Huntsman’s game plan, but it’s not as if the evangelical wing will simply let go of their theocratic dreams. Indeed, GOP brass could conceivably persuade evangelicals to shut up before elections with the promise that they can pursue their theocracy with GOP majorities in the House and Senate, and Republican president in office. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. Politics is compromise and evangelicals will play ball to get what they want.
The point being, beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing like Huntsman. The theocrats will not stop until this country is the Christian version of Saudi Arabia.