First Shots Fired in Post-2012 Conservative Civil War

On the latest GPL podcast, John Podhoretz predicted a perilous few years for the GOP if Romney loses. His take was that the libertarian conservatives and social conservatives — personified in Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee, respectively — would engage in an internecine war.  Maggie Gallagher gets off an early shot for the SoCons in a recent 

  1. Fredösphere

    We all agree that the budget is the existential issue for now. While nobody signed up for Mitch Daniel’s “truce”, we are united in our priority. That doesn’t change with a defeat for Romney in November 6. I think such predictions are either typical left-wing wishful thinking, or in John Podhoeretz’s case, a the view of an urbanite who simply doesn’t understand the heartland very well.

    (That’s not intended to be a snide attack on JP; I’m not hurling a RINO charge at him. It’s just a fact. Not his fault. Just a fact.)

  2. raycon and lindacon

    SoCon, EconCon, LibCon who cares.  We are each individual conservative voters who have spent a lifetime of disappointment with the GOP.  We were vocal in our opposition to Romney during the primaries, because our expectation was/is that we will again be disappointed.

    But no one I know who is socially conservative has expressed to me or anyone I know, that they are less than full on for Romney.  We are not a gang of children who take our ball and stamp off the field because we expect to lose.  We expect to win if for no other reason than we will help in defeating satan’s handmaidens.  Those who have chosen death.

    Maggie Gallagher might have a tights far too tight if she has so little latitude in accepting allies who aren’t her chosen ones.

  3. BrentB67

    I think the GOP is in for a rough couple of year regardless of who wins.

    If we have a President Romney and a republican Senate and don’t repeal Obamacare in a matter of weeks the civil war will be full tilt on the right. Additionally, I think Laura Ingraham and Joe Scarborough’s calls for the republican party to disband if they can’t win an election against Obama in this economy are valid and will probably come to pass.

    I think it is worth remembering that the majority of Romney’s support isn’t for him. It is much more for anyone but Obama. The Tea Party and fiscally minded conservatives are very wary and have long memories of the debacle the last time republicans had power across the board.

  4. Severely Ltd.

    To (once again) pinch the Instapundit’s line, all is unfolding as I have foreseen. The reasonable political boundaries are being reset far to the right, with the Libertarians at one end and Conservatives at the other. The new American political spectrum. Religious Conservatives have been so successful at shedding their coercive tendencies of late (e. g. Pat Robertson for Pot legalization) that I’m no longer enamored of the Nolan chart.

    Or so run my fevered dreams.

  5. MJBubba

    I’m a social conservative. My SoCon buddies agree with me that Romney is a good enough candidate for us to support.   Not quite with the level of enthusiasm that we would have wished, but enough to make sure that we cast our ballots.   As I have said since W won the primaries in 2000, the Republican may be a disappointment, but the Democrat is dangerous.

  6. Sabrdance

    I don’t know what MG is hearing.  Social issues are down this election because Romney isn’t a particularly good proponent of them and because economic issues trump -and because “the deficit is now a social issue” to quote someone I don’t remember their name.

    But they haven’t been absent.  Romney’s being oblique, but every time he talks about religious freedom he’s taking aim at the contraceptive mandate, and on abortion the three most important thing Romney can do as President are: get Obamacare repeal through Congress, Appoint good judges, and reinstate the usual raft of executive orders about family planning funds.  So far as I know, all three are planned.

    So that leaves gay marriage and the drug wars -and those are never major points in Presidential Elections (except insofar as judges matter).

  7. Donald Todd

    Fredosphere:  While nobody signed up for Mitch Daniel’s “truce”, we are united in our priority.

    Raycon:  But no one I know who is socially conservative has expressed to me or anyone I know, that they are less than full on for Romney.

    I was a Republican.  I am registered as an Independent.  I cannot vote for a Democrat, but I have to have a reason to vote for a Republican.  Romney did not have my vote until he picked a social conservative for his running mate.  

    What will come of this political marriage remains to be seen, but if the professional Republicans think that they can win national elections without the 20- to 30-percent of the party or its voters from the SoCon wing, I’ll be watching from the sidelines.

    Romney is a moderate.  His position when he was running against Kennedy for the senate from Massachusetts was pro-abortion.  Now it appears that his position on life is the Mormon position, which means that it is pro-life except when it is not.  Ryan is a Catholic,  and defines himself that way.

    I’m voting for Romney on Tuesday.  After that, we’ll see.

  8. Fricosis Guy

    Thanks.  I don’t think JPod was concerned about the “heartland”.  He seemed more worried about professional SoCon elements — talk radio, media, etc. – fomenting rebellion.  And he knows those folks.

    Fredösphere: …in John Podhoretz’s case, a the view of an urbanite who simply doesn’t understand the heartland very well.

    (That’s not intended to be a snide attack on JP; I’m not hurling a RINO charge at him. It’s just a fact. Not his fault. Just a fact.) · 1 hour ago

  9. Fred Cole

    I thought Romney was perfectly acceptable to social conservatives.  There’s no reason to sit out Romney if you’re a social conservative.

    He claims to be pro-life, he’s pro-drug war,  he thinks somehow that not only is marriage the business of the govt but also somehow it is a federal issue, he’ll apply a litmus test to judges, he’s publicly pious, what more could you want from a candidate?

    I mean, ask a Democrat, they’ll get really worked up and tell you how scary Mitt Romney is on social issues.

    What’s the problem here?

  10. Keith

    There is a certain sect of social conservative, the far, far religious right, “King James Version Only” type folks, that think Romney is evil incarnate.

  11. Recovering Liberal

    At the risk of committing a Nate Silver sampling error

    Nate Silver is not making sampling errors (that I can tell).  He is making statistical bias errors.

  12. Fricosis Guy

    BTW. Fox just had a piece on Romney GOTV that featured a group of OH teens canvassing and a quick hit from a Concerned Women of America spokeswoman.  Sounded like SoCon money and effort to me!

  13. Fricosis Guy

    I plead guilty of stretching the truth for a name-brand metaphor. 

    Recovering Liberal

    At the risk of committing a Nate Silver sampling error

    Nate Silver is not making sampling errors (that I can tell).  He is making statistical bias errors. · 9 minutes ago

  14. Severely Ltd.
    Keith Bruzelius: There is a certain sect of social conservative, the far, far religious right, “King James Version Only” type folks, that think Romney is evil incarnate. · 30 minutes ago

    Forgive the anecdotal rebuttal to this, but can I drag my mother into this. She’s about as KJVO far, far, religious right as they come. Bear with me here:

    She grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, her father was a Baptist minister, her brother was a Pentecostal preacher, her first husband, my father, a Southern Baptist minister. My dad passed away and she remarried a non-denominational fundamentalist minister from south Georgia (My father was also a Southerner). My mother and step-father are enthusiastic members of the central Tennessee Tea Party.

    My 83 yr old mother, about as steeped in southern fundamentalist religion as they come–who until not that many years ago doubted that any of those nice Mormons were getting into heaven–visited us a few weeks ago and made it clear that she was prepared to crawl through barbed wire with a knife in her teeth to get Romney elected.

    How many of that “certain sect” do you know?

  15. R. Craigen

    I won’t say this can’t happen, but I’m thinking that a conservative civil war is probably necessary even if, and perhaps especially if, Romney wins — rather than loses.

    If Romney loses we’ll be in about the place we were in 2008, and perhaps a bit better off because of the lessons learned in the interim.  It will be necessary for conservatives to hold together, though a period of introspection will ensue and you may see a realignment of strategies.  I believe the tea party will rise up against the Republican establishment and you may see a takeover, but I expect it to be on a civil basis more than on a war basis. It will be more “Sorry, guys, you’ve had your turn, you’ve taken your best shot, now it’s time to let real conservatives take the wheel”.

    If Romney WINS, however, there will be a confidence that the momentum is on “our” side and I expect a fight over what “our side” actually stands for.  I don’t think the SoCon agenda will be front and center.  It will be about big government interventionism versus laissez fair  and market libertarianism.

  16. Fricosis Guy

    Thanks, and I agree with your scenario if Romney wins.   He needs to have his feet put to the fire in a way we rarely did w/ Bush 43.

    But if Romney loses, I fear that 2016 will be a replay of 2012.  Tea Party-aligned folks wanted to complete the takeover started in 2010, but never coalesced around a short-list of plausible “Not Romney” candidates.  If we get a less muddled pool, then JPod’s “Rand Paul” vs. “Mike Huckabee” post-2012 scenario may end up being an improvement over 2012 itself.

    R. Craigen: … I believe the tea party will rise up against the Republican establishment and you may see a takeover, but I expect it to be on a civil basis more than on a war basis. It will be more “Sorry, guys, you’ve had your turn, you’ve taken your best shot, now it’s time to let real conservatives take the wheel”.

  17. Severely Ltd.
    Fricosis Guy: Thanks, and I agree with your scenario if Romney wins.   He needs to have his feet put to the fire in a way we rarely did w/ Bush 43.

    But if Romney loses, I fear that 2016 will be a replay of 2012.  Tea Party-aligned folks wanted to complete the takeover started in 2010, but never coalesced around a short-list of plausible “Not Romney” candidates.  If we get a less muddled pool, then JPod’s “Rand Paul” vs. “Mike Huckabee” post-2012 scenario may end up being an improvement over 2012 itself. · 8 minutes ago

    If you need anything to bolster your confidence about the future of Conservative political fortune, just look at our roster vs the Left: Ryan, West, Rubio, Nikki Haley, Jindal, Rand Paul, Martinez, Mia Love, etc. We’re heavy with young talent and I don’t see anything like it coming from the other side. We will have infighting over emphasis, but let that be the focus and leave the Left on the sideline and out of the game.

  18. James Of England

    Maggie says that Romney PACs aren’t running social conservative ads. Maybe. Romney himself, though, is running social conservative ads, like this one.

    There was the Values Voters Summit in which Romney and Ryan both spoke and Romney talked about a variety of issues, including SSM while Ryan talked about a variety of issues, not including SSM. In the period in between the talks, Bryan Fischer felt it important to issue a stirring condemnation of the ticket for not discussing SSM; he recanted his words after hearing Mitt’s speech, but only after the stories had run. Like the libertarian fringe, they’ve been straining to find excuses to jump ship.

    There’s zero daylight between the policies Mitt would introduce and the policies that the AFA would want him to introduce. It is very likely that they will be upset by his appointing gay conservatives to positions, as they were with Grenell (it’s worth recalling that predictions Grenell would support Obama after Obama came out for SSM proved just as absurdly false as the rest of the bigoted slander).

    That and other non-substantive issues are the gap, but it’s been enough to stop volunteering and donating.

  19. Crow

    Our internecine conflicts will largely continue as they have, and I think the internal, healthy tensions that animate these conflicts will continue to hold the coalition together.

    If Romney loses, there’s going to be a period of soul searching akin to the same period after the 2008 elections. We’ll hear many predictions about demographics, analyses of extremism, critiques of being too conservative or not conservative enough, etc. It is the natural course of things to take stock after a loss.

    If he wins, however, the Right will be divided on what the proper course will be, based on different assessments of what can be done given the governing coalition he has on the Hill, and given our differing assessments of what ought to have been done on the campaign trail to change that coalition.

  20. James Of England
    Keith Bruzelius: There is a certain sect of social conservative, the far, far religious right, “King James Version Only” type folks, that think Romney is evil incarnate. · 17 hours ago

    This is likely to lose us Iowa, and maybe Colorado. I don’t think it’s going to matter elsewhere. While ~20% of the vote, when polled, say they wouldn’t support a Mormon, most of that is concentrated in red and blue states, rather than the swingers. It’s a shame for donors and volunteers (both firing up their haters and damping down ours), but if unless those states are the tipping point, the numerous purchasers of anti-Mormon literature probably won’t be the key. If it’s a Florida margin, of course, each and every subculture will be decisive.

    Severely Ltd.

    If you need anything to bolster your confidence about the future of Conservative political fortune, just look at our roster vs the Left:

    If Amnesty passes, Citizens United is overturned, photo ID is outlawed, Acorn is re-funded, and the EFCA (Card Check) re-empowers unions, it won’t matter how good our bench is. We’re toast in 2016 and 2020.

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