This shift in Republican priorities is opening up the way for social moderates and libertarians to back Republican candidates in the 2010 elections. The libertarian strain in the American electorate has long been neglected by the mainstream media. But, through the Tea Party, it has gained ascendancy on the right. Those who want the government to stay out of both boardrooms and bedrooms have come to dominate the party and its nominating process.
Not so fast, say Kathryn Jean Lopez and Ramesh Ponnuru.
As Ponnuru says:
As for social issues not counting in the primaries, let’s look at the results of seriously contested primaries. Many of the pro-life establishment candidates won (McCain, Fiorina, Ayotte); none of the pro-choice establishment candidates did (Castle, Murkowski, and you could even count Crist and Specter depending on when you start the review). In three states establishment pro-life candidates lost (Lowden, Greyson, Norton) but in each case to pro-life insurgents. That none of the tea-party candidates in these races has been pro-choice is a fact so obvious that we don’t even think about it.
And as KJL says:
I actually believe we’re at this beautiful moment where people are in such a mood for common sense in governing that things like a universal Hyde Amendment and de-funding Planned Parenthood are absolutely coalition wins. Fiscal conservatives and the most dedicated anti-abortion activist can agree here. That’s not losing clout. It’s travelling the road to victory on the human-rights issue of our time.
I particularly like that last line as I've always been a little uncomfortable with abortion (and other direct threats to human life) being vaguely defined as a "social issue" when it is really "the human-rights issue of our time".
Finally, a poll released this past week actually indicates a high degree of overlap between Tea Party activists and "social conservatives".