The Moose suggests that the donkey may not be the only one with a problem with social conservatives.
It has now entered the conventional wisdom that Democrats must develop a strategy to reach more traditionalistic voters. The Moose shares this CW - sometimes it is actually correct. But it should not be overlooked that the Republicans may suffer from the rising expectations of social conservatives.
After all, the religious right truly delivered for the Bushies. They mobilized their forces and now they want to be rewarded. They don't want to return to the pews and remain quiet as church mice. Note this quote by Christian right leader Dr. Dobson in a must read article in yesterday's Times -
Dr. Dobson said he told the caller that many Christians believed the country "on the verge of self-destruction" as it abandoned traditional family roles. He argued that "through prayer and the involvement of millions of evangelicals, and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God has given us a reprieve."
"But I believe it is a short reprieve," he continued, adding that conservatives now had four years to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, to stop abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, and most of all to remake the Supreme Court. "I believe that the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, and if they don't do it I believe they will pay a price in four years," he said.
Or as another religious conservative organizer ever so subtly put it, "The president rode our coattails."
With a few modest exceptions, the Elephant hasn't exactly delivered for the religious right. The big money men have gotten the goodies while the Bible folks have delivered the troops. It appears that may no longer be good enough with a re-election victory attributed to the righteous folks.
But there is trouble in paradise! Incoming pro-choice Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter initially threatened Armageddon if the President sends a pro-life Supreme Court nominee to Congress. But then the religious right threatened him with the wrath of the Lord and he retreated. Senator Frist, who has '08 ambitions, will be closely watched to see if he delivers the goods for the social conservatives.
They're making a list, checking it twice to see who's going to be naughty or nice!
Meanwhile, the President did not fare well in the election with moderates and independents. These voters may be further turned off if the GOP panders to the religious right.
All of this is not to say that the donkey doesn't have to worry about getting his act together on value issues. But the Moose is making the point that the elephant cannot be care free on the cultural front. Gary Wills put it nicely -
"In his victory speech yesterday, President Bush indicated that he would "reach out to the whole nation," including those who voted for John Kerry. But even if he wanted to be more conciliatory now, the constituency to which he owes his victory is not a yielding one. He must give them what they want on things like judicial appointments. His helpers are also his keepers."
The Moose bellows - Amen Brother!