Two months ago, Politico said social issues have “been largely relegated to the sidelines” in Republican politics, and the GOP’s competing wings have both “steered away from social issues they deem too divisive.”
Since then, conservative policymakers at the state level have been very aggressive in pushing proposals to restrict reproductive rights, while Republicans at the federal level keep one culture-war issue in particular on the front-burner.
Invoking fiery references to Satan, “savagery” and a “culture of death” to criticize their opponents, anti-abortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues in the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.Like many abortion opponents, the Susan B. Anthony List is in search of a White House contender who won’t shy from social issues after back-to-back presidential nominees in 2008 and 2012 who focused their campaigns on the economy and came up short. Several potential 2016 candidates were making their pitches in blunt terms, urging the group members to stick to their principles and fight those who would stand in their way.Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said those who support abortion rights favor a “culture of death” and engage in “savagery.”
Lee was joined by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and a lengthy list of other lawmakers, all of whom pushed a similar message: Republicans must keep opposition to abortion rights at the center of the party’s agenda, even at the federal level.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went so far as to suggest this issue could help the GOP overcome its difficulties with minority communities. “The more we think about the baby, the better off we’re going to be,” he said. “We’re going to win this argument, but it’s going to take some time.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) was especially forceful in his pitch.
The one-time presidential candidate, who’s expressed an interest in running again in 2016, delivered the keynote address to the Susan B. Anthony List, and if attendees were hoping for some rhetorical red meat, Huckabee delivered.
If Americans don’t protect the unborn, they won’t protect people at the end of life either, Mike Huckabee said Wednesday night at a Washington gala sponsored by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.“If we teach the generation coming after us that it’s okay to terminate a human life because it represents a financial hardship or social disruption, what are we telling them?” Huckabee asked. […]Huckabee also urged GOP members of Congress who were in attendance — including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Reps. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Trent Franks of Arizona – to make opposition to abortion a bigger part of the Republican message in the midterm elections.
“Whether it’s politically expedient or not is of no consequence to me,” Huckabee added.
If the culture war was “largely relegated to the sidelines,” it appears quite a few notable Republican leaders have gotten the issues off the bench.