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January 25, 2005

Religious Conservatives Notice They're Being Used

This looks significant. Religious conservatives are finally rebelling at having their votes used to support elite economic policies, while their primary concerns get mostly lip service. (Or, as John Stewart noted last night, Bush just phoned in a message to an anti-abortion rally on his own front lawn because he didn't want to be seen with them.)

But in a letter to Karl Rove, supporters of the gay marriage ban are threatening to withhold support for social security reform unless they get a higher priority from the White House:

"We couldn't help but notice the contrast between how the president is approaching the difficult issue of Social Security privatization where the public is deeply divided and the marriage issue where public opinion is overwhelmingly on his side," the letter said. "Is he prepared to spend significant political capital on privatization but reluctant to devote the same energy to preserving traditional marriage?...When the administration adopts a defeatist attitude on an issue that is at the top of our agenda, it becomes impossible for us to unite our movement on an issue such as Social Security privatization where there are already deep misgivings."
The longer Republicans are in full control of the government, the more this anger has to build. Republican leadership may want to win elections by dishing occasional red meat rhetoric to the far right, while winking at moderates that nothing too drastic will happen, but religious conservatives have to continually ask themselves whether it's really an accident that the Supreme Court -- with seven out of nine Justices appointed by Republicans -- still hasn't overturned Roe v. Wade. Is it a deliberate strategy to keep religious conservatives mobilized on behalf of the GOP, while never delivering policy changes that would equally mobilize the Left?

Posted by Nathan at January 25, 2005 06:26 AM