A few weeks ago we noted that Newt Gingrich was embarking on a new effort seeking to bridge the divide between the fiscally and socially conservatives wings of the Republican Party in order to take advantage of their shared ideology and values and rebuild the conservative coalition. As we said at the time, this effort was aimed primarily at getting the fiscal conservatives to find common ground with the social conservatives, who they have tended to dismiss:
The key to success of this project is to get economic and social conservatives to work together to find candidates that both side can support. And that seems to be what Gingrich is focusing on by getting the fiscally conservative groups to realize that they have an ally in the Religious Right and that by finding candidates that appeal to them they not only guarantee the Right’s substantial political support, but will end with candidates that will push both the social and fiscal conservatives’ agendas.
While the social conservatives have also been relatively loyal to fiscal conservative ideals as well, the same cannot be said for the fiscal conservatives when it comes to issues social conservatives care about … which makes this recent column by Ken Blackwell all the more confusing:
The past couple of months, economic conservatives have aggressively opposed President Obama’s agenda to radically expand government, financed by deficits that run into the trillions. If social conservatives want to protect America’s families and social values, they must join with their fiscally conservative cousins to oppose President Obama and reverse America’s culture of debt.
Why is Blackwell aiming his advice at social conservatives, telling them to “join when their fiscally conservative cousins” rather than at the fiscal conservatives urging them to join their socially conservative cousins?
Religious Right groups have been loyal soldiers in the fiscal conservatives battles for years and have played a key role in recent attempts to mobilize opposition to everything from stimulus legislation to the bank bailouts to the current budget proposal. But fiscal conservatives have been all but absent in the Religious Right’s efforts to stop a handful of President Obama’s nominees or fight his agenda on the reproductive choice/equality/social issues that the Religious Right cares about.
But for some reason, Blackwell is telling the Religious Right that they have to find ways to work with the fiscal conservatives, which is something that they have always been eager and willing to do because they actually share pretty much the same agenda on economic issues.
It is the fiscal conservatives who have traditionally dismissed the need to work with their “cousins” … and as a senior fellow at one of the preeminent social conservative organization in the country, you’d think Blackwell would know that.
But Blackwell is also on the board of the Club for Growth, one of the preeminent fiscal conservative organizations and so it seems as even in these new efforts to bring together two of the key sections of the conservative coalition, it is once again the fiscal conservatives who are calling the shots and telling their socially conservative cousins that it is their responsibility to fall into line for the greater good.