I’ve written about the teamwork of the neocons and social conservatives (also known as values voters) throughout this blog. I’ve attempted to explain what they want for this nation. This includes a single-party Republican state, violating human rights at every level necessary, forcing Christianity as the national religion, putting the life of a fetus above all other life including the mother’s, widening the income gap further, corporate lobbyists with unlimited access to the president, corporate socialism, the end of labor unions, putting women back in their place, redefining science based on religious beliefs that cannot be empirically proven, remaking the rest of us in their own image and plenty of Nobel lies to get there. In other words, they want to replace “liberty and justice for all” with “liberty and justice for just us.”
What matters most to them is the “country” – not it’s citizens. Just listen to all the talking heads. How many times did you hear “country”, “USA USA USA USA …” or “American first” mentioned during or since the 2008 Republican convention? How many “Country First” placards did you see?
But let’s try and understand Sarah Palin by reviewing what her social conservatism means.
What follows are four perspectives on social conservatives: Their own view of what they call “America’s Largest Voting Block; Quotes from John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience; A Pew Research demographics survey; and the 2008 Republican Platform.
America’s Largest Voting Block:
Let’s start with the questions to which social conservatives, like Sarah, want an answer. Listed below are the questions presented to 11 Republican presidential candidates last September (2007) at the Values Voter Presidential Debate. A yes answer, for all but four of these questions, is what the social issues/values voters want. I’ve rearranged their original list and grouped them by general topic.
On Religion (as a national policy):
- Religious Freedom: Would you remove the gag rule from pastors like me and support a repeal of the portion of IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) that restricts churches and ministries from expressing our biblical convictions for or against a candidate?
- Military Chaplains: If you are elected president, will you protect your military chaplains’ right to pray according to their faith?
- Christian Symbols: Will you take steps to preserve our national war memorials and landmarks which contain Christian symbols from organizations like the ACLU who seek to purge all [Christian] religious symbols from the public square?
- Radical Islam: As president, would you support continued issuing of student visas to nationals of countries that are state sponsors of terrorist groups? [Preferred answer is NO]
- Persecution [of Christians]: Christians are being beaten, jailed, and expelled throughout the Muslim World. Will you take action to protest this gross injustice and persecution by denying visas or by imposing trade sanctions?
- Christians in Iraq: Would you support them by endorsing the creation of an autonomous administrative area in their ancestral homeland of the Nineveh Plains, as permitted under Article 125 of the Iraqi constitution?
- First Amendment: Would you support legislation that prevents federal courts from hearing lawsuits brought to stop state and federal officials from acknowledging the sovereignty of God in such ways as public prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the public display of the Ten Commandments
- Judicial Activism: A federal judge has ordered the Indiana legislature to never allow prayer in Jesus’ name. Will you, as President, consider impeachment a possible remedy for judicial activism?
On Health Care:
- Health Care: Will you protect the availability of needed medical care by opposing current efforts to subject Americans to government-mandated health insurance and universal coverage?
- Health Care: Would you support a health care plan that rewards behavior that promotes moral lifestyles, i.e. avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption as well as obesity reduction, exercise and nutrition that promotes health?
- United Nations/CEDAW: Will you promise to oppose all U.N. treaties, (including CEDAW) that could be used to promote abortion as a “human right?”
- Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Can you look at them now (“snowflake babies”) and tell me that it would have been OK if someone would have used them in medical experiments and snuffed out their lives? [Preferred answer is NO]
- Abstinence: In the interest of fairness and effectiveness, would you bring abstinence education funding onto equal ground with contraceptive based education?
- Disabled Patients: Would you pursue or support legislation that would protect the cognitively disabled and vulnerable people from being dehydrated to death by having their food and water taken away?
- Mexico City Abortion Policy: Would you require that federal funding recipients “will neither actively provide or promote abortion” within the United States as well as abroad or overseas?
- Judges: Will you nominate only judges and justices that are demonstrably faithful to the judicial role of following the text of the Constitution and who not only refuse to legislate from the bench, but are committed to reversing prior court decisions?
- Evolution: Will your office support and encourage a more open approach to education in the presentation of scientific facts that contradict the theory of evolution?
- School Choice: Will you support school choice for other students like me with similar tax-credit programs?
- Homosexual Education: Would you support legislation ensuring that schools forfeit federal funding if they expose our children to homosexual propaganda that puts them at risk?
- Multiculturalism: Do you agree that the excessive and overbearing use by liberals of “multiculturalism” weakens American culture and creates unnecessary divisions among the citizenry?
- Amnesty: Will you oppose all plans for amnesty, path to citizenship, guest workers, and seasonal passes until the high unemployment for minority youth and students has dropped to 5 percent?
On Information Control:
- Fairness Doctrine: If elected, would you veto any legislation that contains language of the so called “Fairness Doctrine”?
- Pornography: Will you agree to prosecute the broad range of illegal adult pornography, rather than just the most extreme material, and prosecute all violators of federal obscenity law?
- Cable Decency: Do you support and believe that broadcast indecency rules should be expanded to cable networks as well?
On Foreign Policy:
- Support for Israel: If elected president, will you solidly stand behind Israel not to give up land for unfulfilled promises of peace, even in the face of opposition of Allied, European and Arab nations?
- Trade with China: Would you make future trade with China contingent on them measurably improving their record on religious freedom and human rights, eliminating their unfair trade practices, slave labor and sub-standard policies that poison our food, toothpaste, and toys?
- NAFTA Superhighway: Do you support the NAFTA Superhighway presently under construction from Mexico to Canada, portions of which shall be under foreign control? [Preferred answer is NO]
- United Nations / LOST: The Law of the Sea Treaty was recently resurrected and will probably come to a vote in the Senate. Will you urge the Senate NOT to ratify this treaty?
- Jobs and Highway Safety: Will you rescind President Bush’s order that allows hundreds of Mexican trucks to be driven on U.S. highways and roads?
- Persecution/Slavery: Would you endorse the creation of a commission to monitor the eradication of slavery in Sudan, the last legal bastion of slavery in the world?
- Border Enforcement: Is this the kind of border enforcement policy we could expect in your administration? [Preferred answer is NO]
- Hate Crimes: If elected, could we count on you to veto any so-called “hate crimes” legislation? [As it relates to religious expression]
- Social Security: Would you revive President Bush’s attempt to introduce personal retirement accounts as a way to reform Social Security, thus allowing all Americans, particularly low wage workers and the self-employed, an investment in their future…?
- Homosexual Agenda / ENDA: Would you protect business owners from being forced to violate our moral conscience by vetoing the so-called “Employment Non–Discrimination Act” (or similar legislation)?
Conservatives Without Conscience:
In 1994, the same year Gingrich started remaking Congress in the single-party Republican image, Barry Goldwater said this to John Dean who used it in the preface to his book Conservatives Without Conscience.
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
In 2006, John Dean made the following statements about social conservatives in Conservatives Without Conscience:
Social conservatives, whose core members are Christian conservatives, comprise the largest and most cohesive faction of conservatism. They are, by and large, typical right-wing authoritarian followers. Both neoconservatives [social dominator authoritarians] and social conservatives include countless conservatives without conscience within their ranks.
Social conservatives are especially susceptible to irrational beliefs ….
… Social conservatives are deeply offended by atheists who want the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, yet … they recite … that pledge and its words: “liberty and justice for all.” For all but atheists [and moderates, liberals, peace mongers, scientists, climatologists, artists, gays, actors, except Fred Thompson, non-Republicans, non-whites, non-Christians, non-conformers, non-feelers or thinkers, hybrid owners, agnostics, union members, dissenters, suspected terrorists and anyone not like them] ….
Also in John Dean’s book, social conservatives respond ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ to the following statements:
Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.
The only way our country can get through the crisis ahead is to get back to our traditional values, put some tough leaders in power, and silence the troublemakers who are spreading bad ideas.
“Old-fashioned ways” and “old-fashioned values” are the best guide for the way to live.
God’s laws about abortion, pornography, and marriage must be strictly followed before it is too late, and those who break them must be strongly punished.
Once our government leaders give us the “go-ahead,” it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.
Dean also stated that social conservatives very strongly disagree with these statements:
Gays and lesbians are just as unhealthy and moral as anybody else.
Atheists and others who have rebelled against the established religions are no doubt every bit as good and virtuous as those who attend church regularly.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with nudist camps.
There is nothing wrong with premarital sexual intercourse.
Pew Research Survey:
Now let’s look at the demographics of the social issue voters.
According to the October 15, 2007, survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, , “many 2008 Republican presidential candidates are vying for the support of an influential segment of the primary electorate – social-issue voters. These voters are Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, many of whom are conservative Christians, who say social issues such as abortion and gay marriage will be very important in their presidential voting decisions.”
The survey goes on to report that 43 percent of the Republican voters say they will decide how to vote based on social issues.
The survey also shows that these social-issue voters differ in many ways from the rest of the Republican coalition. If you think about it and were paying attention to the Republican convention, how would you classify their delegates?
- More religious
- More conservative
- Less educated
- Mostly from the ‘working class’ and don’t benefit from Republican tax law changes – more irrationality
- Attend religious services at least once a week
- Consider themselves to be white evangelical protestants
- More are women
- More consider themselves “strong Republicans”
These social-issues voters also differ significantly from other Republicans on their issues and candidates:
- Stridently antiabortion
- A plurality oppose stem cell research
- Almost unanimously against gay marriage
- Most blindly obedient to GWB
- Favor Giuliani over Romney and McCain
2008 Republican Platform:
In case you are in doubt over who was in control of the Republican convention, here are some quotes from their platform.
At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion.
Because our children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it.
The public display of the Ten Commandments does not violate the U.S. Constitution and accurately reflects the Judeo-Christian heritage of our country. We support the right of students to engage in student-initiated, student-led prayer in public schools, athletic events, and graduation ceremonies, when done in conformity with constitutional standards.
Republicans support tax credits for health care and medical expenses.
Empower Individuals to Make the Best Health Care Choices. [“You’re on your own.”]
No health care professional — doctor, nurse, or pharmacist — or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, or refer for a healthcare service against their conscience for any reason.
It is through education that we ensure the transmission of a culture, a set of values we hold in common.
The innocent have far fewer rights than the accused. We call on Congress to correct this imbalance by sending to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of crime victims.
We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation
to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.
Republican leadership has made religious liberty a central element of U.S. foreign policy. Asserting religious freedom should be a priority in all America’s international dealings.
We call for a constitutionally sound presidential line-item veto.
We object to the [Supreme] Court’s unwarranted interference in the administration of the death penalty ….
We support the right of states to require an official government-issued photo identification for voting and call upon the Department of Justice to deploy its resources to prevent ballot tampering in the November elections.
We believe government should tax only to raise money for its essential functions. [Who decides what “essential” means – an imperial president?]
We support freedom of speech and freedom of the press and oppose attempts to violate or weaken those rights, such as reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
The “America’s largest voting block,” the social conservatives, is still in charge of the Republican Party machine, the neocons social dominators are running their campaign and Sarah Palin will only help accelerate what Bush and Cheney have started.
This is worse than ‘more of the same’ or ‘four more years.’ If Sarah and John were elected, we will not only have neocons in The White House, we will also have the godhead of right-wing authoritarian followers taking over Cheney’s man-sized safe.