Social Conservatives As Second Class Citizens In The GOP? That’s Not Even Remotely True

Over at the Weekly Standard, Allan Carlson is claiming that social conservatives don’t get the respect they deserve in the GOP:

“Moreover, when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party’s attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon’s infamous candid comment–“The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio”–suggests a common opinion among the dominant “K Street” Republicans toward their coalition allies. Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better–much better–toward social conservatives.”

This sort of poor, poor, pitiful me screed about social conservatives just isn’t true and by the way, I had to actually look up Michael Scanlon, because he’s such a non-entity. I’d never heard of him before (Apparently he’s a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who’s enmeshed in the Abramhoff scandal).

Look, social conservatives are liked and respected in the GOP. When social conservative groups speak, conservative legislators listen — except maybe not to Robertson and Falwell so much — they’re goofs, and everyone knows that. But, if you’re talking about James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly, Paul Weyrich, etc., they do have juice. Republicans in Congress have also taken up issues important to social conservatives as well — like abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and cracking down on indecency.

Does that mean social conservatives get everything they want? No, they don’t. But, who does? A lot of conservatives have been complaining about illegal immigration, border control, and deficit spending for years now and what do we have to show for that?

Reagan helped make social conservatives into an integral part of the Republican coalition that’s just as important as all the other blocks, if not more so, and not only is that the way it should be, it’s not going to change.

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