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12/04/2008

FOF: Our moms think we're cool

by Jeremy Hooper

As more people, including self-professed conservatives, continue to speak out about the Republican Party's "values voters" problem (as in the evangelical set's fascination with things like gay sex is weakening the GOP), the groups who traffic in socially conservative mindsets are scrambling to keep their tokens in the game. In doing so, they are turning to even more ridiculous forms of "proof" of their movement's worth. This from Focus on the Family:

A post-election poll shows the conservative movement is not dead yet.

Turns out, the 4 million members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) care about more than the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Eighty-four percent of NRA members don’t want President-elect Barack Obama to expand abortion, a poll by ATI-Zogby International found. And 94 percent want Supreme Court judges to focus on U.S. laws instead of mixing in foreign law.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations at Focus on the Family, was on hand as the poll results were distributed this week in Washington, D.C.

“We have tended to pigeonhole NRA members as people who only care about gun rights," he said. "What this survey shows is that they care every bit as much as — in many cases, more than — values voters about those core issues of abortion, marriage and who’s going to be on the Supreme Court.”
...
Good News: Social Conservatism is Alive and Well [CitizenLink]

Wow, NRA members are down with the socially conservative agenda? Well that surely goes against every NRA stereotype we've ever heard! Mind = blown. What next, FOF -- gonna shock us all with the revelation that the United Auto Workers are fans of paved roads? Or maybe you'll leave us all with agape mouths when you tell us how Planned Parenthood is against appointing Phyllis Schlafly to their board? Because seriously, we are just in disbelief at finding out the National Rifle Association trends rightward.

[/sarcasm]

But here's the thing: This "is conservatism dead?" debate isn't about whether or not special interest groups like NRA or Focus on the Family feel that the "pro-family" wing should be catered to. We know they want special attention. But what this about is whether the Republican Party leadership sees the world as one that is moving towards or away from the sort of anti-gay, anti-progress values that groups like FOF espouse. The question is whether in two, four, eight years, the party will put stock in the sort of divisive issues that Bush/Rove used to polarize (and weaken) this nation. It's whether they will look at the way new voters are trending, and see the religious right's agenda as one that will be embraced by new millennials. This scenario doesn't hinge on the opinions of the already-commited choir, but rather on those independent thinkers who are weighing our political parties on the basis of their merits. This political case study is about the forward-thinking future, not the regressive past.

So is the socially conservative movement dead yet? We'd say no, not even on life support. But does the writing on the wall give us reason to believe that more-accepting, free-thinking mindsets are going to reverse around 2010, with James Dobson's aged 20th century ideas coming back with a Falwellian fury? We'd also give that a big fat no. And to convince us otherwise, it's going to take far more than one poll from one of the nation's most prominent right wing special interest groups.

**SEE ALSO: A 1980 ABC news report on the rise of the religious right:

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