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Social conservatives fight back

by JONATHAN MARTIN | Politico  |  published on April 2, 2013


The preferred plot line for many in the GOP establishment for revitalizing their party goes something like this: They move to a more libertarian stance on key social issues — particularly same-sex marriage — and the Bible-thumping, evangelical wing of the party meekly complies, realizing times have changed.

One problem with that scenario, however: The Christian Right, while a diminished force, doesn’t like how that story ends at all.

Leading cultural conservatives, including the movement’s standard-bearers from the past two presidential campaigns, have had it with Republican elites faulting them for the party’s losses and are finally ready point a finger back at the establishment.

“Look, the Republican Party isn’t going to change,” former Sen. Rick Santorum said in an interview. “If we do change, we’ll be the Whig Party.”
Santorum continued: “We’re not the Libertarian Party, we’re the Republican Party.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who carried the Christian conservative torch in 2008, pointed to the drop-off in enthusiasm among Republicans following George W. Bush’s victories.

“The last two presidential elections, we had more moderate candidates, so if anything a lot of conservatives went to the polls reluctantly or just didn’t go at all,” said Huckabee in a separate interview. “If all of the evangelicals had showed up, it may have made a difference.”

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