The failures of all conservatives for the last 45 years, not just the failures of Reagan's social conservatives for the past 30 years, have led to the present circumstance.
Recent remarks by James Dobson of Focus on the Family (referred to below) concerning the culture battles/war have been picked up on by the Drive-by Media to declare victory over the supposed theocracy-seeking social conservatives in that war and to blame "radical right wingers" for recent GOP election losses.
Such is par for the course from the Left.
What troubles me more is when conservatives echo such claims, especially such thoughtful ones as Sandra Wise, as in her recent "We have lost the culture wars", Words to the Wise:
Dr. James Dobson was widely criticized for recently making the statement that we have lost the culture wars. I saw him on Hannity this past week and he backtracked a little. He clarified himself by saying that we've lost the current battle, but not the war. He talked specifically about abortion, and the fact that all of the progress that had been made is currently being rolled back by the Obama administration. He believes that even partial birth abortion will be legalized again.
I think Dr. Dobson is too pessimistic and quite inaccurate concerning abortion. Yes, the odds are great that we won't be able appoint a fifth vote to reverse Roe v. Wade on the Supreme Court given the Democratic Party majorities in the U.S. Senate and the Death Cultist in the White House, but the odds favor maintaining the current five-vote majority in favor of many state restrictions that fall short of reversal of Roe.
Dr. Larry Sabato has just published a book which explains the overwhelming Democrat gains in the last election. He believes that any Democrat candidate would have won the Presidency and that it was not all about Obama as everyone thinks.
Sabato explained, in an interview this morning on Fox News, how the changes in the demographics of the country affected the last election. One, the growth of the minority population which voted overwhelmingly Democrat, and the youth vote. He pointed out that younger people tend to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal.
These trends will continue and I don't see the country moving back to being conservative on social issues any time soon. In the next few years, States will continue to legalize gay marriage, as the country moves more and more towards accepting gay marriage as a civil rights issue.
I think that Dobson was right the first time. We have lost the culture wars. The battle lines were drawn in the last election and we lost big time.
I haven't read Sabato's book, but am aware that McCain led Obama post-Palin and pre-credit crunch when the moderate Republicans candidate of choice since 2000 blew the election by agreeing with his Democrat opponent to pull the TARP over our eyes. I know that Obama won by less than overwhelming margin that could easily have been overcome with a more enthusiastic conservative base.
I also know that social issues played insignificant roles in the 2008 national election dominated by the economy and the 2006 congressional elections dominated by the Iraq War.
Yes, young people are more socially liberal than the general population, but they are more pro-life than baby boomers. Yes, blacks registered in record numbers to vote for the first viable black candidate, but they are more socially conservative than the general population.
Sandra, "states" are not "continu[ing] to legalize gay marriage, as the real "movement", defined by the preponderance of actual laws passed, in the country has been We the People in referenda and state legislatures passing laws and Constitutional amendments defining marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
No referenda by citizens of a state and only one state legislature has approved of gay marriage. Even the citizens of the deep blue states of California and Massachusetts, when given the chance, have rejected gay marriage.
The only "movement" towards changing such laws is the same movement we have been losing in the courts since the 1940s, and especially since the 1960s.
Conservatives have been losing the culture wars primarily within the culture, not politics, for 50 years primarily due to non-participation of enough conservatives in the institutions of the culture, i.e. press, law, academia and Hollywood, and also due to un-elected judges and the federal bureaucracy.
When conservatives gain control of the bureaucracy or the congress/white house, we play too nice.
Social conservatives entered the political arena precisely because their free speech rights were threatened and due to abortion, etc and other laws being imposed by secularists via judges, etc thus usurping we the peoples' right to self government, Liberty.
We are happy to compete within the federalist system and the culture, in the arena of ideas and let the chips fall where they may. We came into the national political arena due to usurpation of our Liberty.
Had other conservatives helped both before and after Dobson and Reagan entered the fray, and had the political spine to fire bureaucrats and "Bork" their judges been present (albeit based not on personal smears, but rather via objections to the unconstitutional Oath violating "living Constitution" interpretation mode), we would have fared better in the culture wars.
Of course, there is much truth to the idea that Christians and other so-cons may have invested too much in the political arena. After all the main purpose of the Church is the saving of souls and even if Roe is overturned, one must still win the hearts and minds of people in states.
But, we must not be doing so very badly given gay marriage votes and the deep drop in the number of abortions.
This member of We the People has not, and never will, give up on cultural battles, much less the war, and given the Obamanation we are witnessing, I suspect a GOP comeback that will be partially driven by revulsion at the far left non-values of the DC Democrats that are anathema to the traditional Judeo-Christian values a large majority (76%) of Americans still hold.
Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all for verification links may be accessed, including Reagan's own words on abortion and the culture war.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson