Mike over at the Big Stick and I have had a little argument about the role of social conservatism (or social liberalism) in the current state of the Republican Party.
In a recent post he talks about how one camp within the GOP has not taken any blame: the national security conservatives. He then goes on to say that it is because of that national security conservatives and how the have prosecuted the war in Iraq that the GOP is in such a sad shape. He then adds that social liberals and fiscal conservatives should place their anger at the national security conservatives who basically got us into this mess.
I have to disagree. I do think that the misadventure in Iraq is a factor for why the party is in such a mess, but it is not the only reason. What has happened in 2006 and 2008 was an "epic fail" of conservatism in America. It failed on all accounts: socially and fiscally as well as in foreign policy.
I think sometimes each of the different parts of the conservative family wants to place all the fault on one area. I know that I tend to focus on social conservatism, and Mike focuses on national security. But what is needed is not just a little remodeling: conservatism needs a total teardown and rebuild.
Republicans need to build trust on fiscal matters again after 8 years of reckless spending. They also need to find a way to be more accepting of those who are more socially liberal and more willing to accept those who are gay, those who support gay marriage and abortion rights. Finally, they must find a way to not go on wild goose chases in foreign lands and ways to work with other nations in achieving objectives (kind of like what Bush the Senior did in the Gulf War).
Everyone's sacred cow will have to be sacrificed in rejuvinating the party and the philosophy. Scapegoats are not going to solve the problem.