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GOP gets into the weeds on social issues
February 28, 2012 - Ron Hart
February 21, 2012 -
By Ron Hart "When I joined the military it was illegal to be homosexual; then it became optional; and now it's legal. I'm getting out before they make it mandatory." --Gunnery Sgt. Harry Berres, U.S. Marine Corps
Rick Santorum is on a roll. He reminds me of a man running for mayor with the intention of outlawing dirty dancing if he is elected. I sense Santorum wants to be president to get back at that girl in high school who would not go out with him.
But don't start fitting Santorum for his inaugural sweater vest just yet.
Gaining steam on economic issues – the only ones that really matter – Republicans do what they always do: They lose momentum by not being able to overcome their basic instinct to inject their own religion into the policy debate, sending us libertarians and moderates back to "undecided."
Santorum advocates this fusion of faith and politics so much that he is now saying that we need to become more of a religious government. That way, when we are more of a theocracy, we will be better prepared to f
(Enlarge) Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum prays during a campaign stop at the Maricopa County Lincoln Day Luncheon, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Phoenix.
ERIC GAY, AP ight other countries run by religious leaders, like Iran.
Obama blames everything bad that happens on Bush, while the religious wing of the GOP blames everything on gay marriage. They seem to fear the alarming trend of allowing gays and women to serve in some positions in the military is somehow undermining our culture. So far, the only conflict involving gays serving openly was a small kerfuffle in the barracks when the Tony Awards were broadcast on the same night as Sunday Night Football.
The politicians who never served are the ones who get all bent out of shape about gays in the military. The only presidential candidate who actually served in the military, Ron Paul, does not care if a gay person wants to risk his life for his country. But to be fair, if you are a Marine and you let a gay guy get up on you, you probably need to rethink your career choice.
Their vacillating positions – and some 150 debates – have caused the GOP to get in the weeds over issues that really do not matter. They are made to seem judgmental, and they find themselves at odds with more and more Americans as we watch them battle to appease the social conservatives of their party.
This was exemplified with the issue of women's contraceptive rights and Obamacare's requirement that religious institutions provide birth control insurance coverage to their employees. So a Methodist like me, while at Catholic Georgetown University, could not get birth control. Fortunately, I could rely on my own form of birth control: a personality that steadfastly kept me from appealing sexually to women.
To paraphrase "Saturday Night Live," 98 percent of Catholic women say they have used some form of birth control, which goes against the teachings of their church. The 2 percent of women who did not use birth control are the ones always trying to get the church to start a softball team.
Perhaps just so the liberal academic establishment could tweak the right cheek of its native son, Santorum, some Pennsylvania colleges started selling condoms in the boys' bathrooms on campus. And now women can get the morning-after pill in campus health clinics. I guess the morning-after pill is for those women who date guys who couldn't come up with the exact change for the condom machine the night before.
Providing contraceptive insurance should not be required of us libertarians and Republicans. Without government-mandated health insurance, private-sector employers and employees could choose from the free market the health services they wanted at the price they were willing to pay. It would sort itself out. But now that this is an issue, it is clear how quickly government intrusion into our private lives can push us down a slippery slope. As it is almost all the time, the right answer is for government to get out of the way.
When the GOP wades into the thicket of pushing its religious values on the rest of the population, it loses traction. To the more scientifically minded moderates, Obama suddenly looks appealing. Yes, abortion and "reproductive rights" are the fashionable cover under which liberals can be racists and not admit it. But when the GOP limits citizens' choices, when it strays from core principles of minimal government and personal responsibility, it looks hypocritical – and it loses supporters.
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