National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher has been sounding the alarm about moves to moderate the GOP’s positions on issues such as abortion rights and LGBT equality.
Gallagher recently harangued Ken Cuccinelli for not adequately advocating for his ultraconservative views on social issues in his foundering gubernatorial campaign. That’s right: Even though over half of Virginia voters consider Cuccinelli to be “too conservative,” she believes he is trailing in the polls because he isn’t playing up his right-wing credentials.
Speaking with radio host Steve Deace last night, Gallagher insisted any shift in the party’s right-wing platform would be “suicidal” and criticized the social issues “truce” proposed — to much Religious Right resistance — by then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2010.
“The truce strategy is the stupidest of all possible strategies,” Gallagher said, attacking party “elites” for “adopting a suicidal political strategy.”
Gallagher, who is now with the American Principles Project, recently joined the group in issuing its own report [PDF] about the GOP’s defeats in 2012 to counter the Republican National Committee’s autopsy report, which was not received well by the party’s right flank, to say the least.
“We believe the conventional explanation emerging from the Republican National Committee’s ‘autopsy’ report gets the core issues exactly wrong,” reads the report from American Principles in Action, a conservative advocacy group. “Accepting this emerging conventional wisdom will, in our view, likely consign the GOP to a permanent minority status.”
The report was authored by social issues activist and author Maggie Gallagher; activist Frank Cannon, who in a separate interview was more measured about the RNC’s effort; and Rich Danker, an economic projects director with the group. All are tied to the affiliated American Principles Project.Set to be released Thursday, their report takes issue with what they call “conventional wisdom” that Republican losses in 2012 stemmed from candidates who focused too much on “extremist” social issues, taking away from the party’s “winning economic message.”
“The Democrats know they will not pay a price for their increasingly aggressive advocacy of their extremist social issues stances, because the GOP will not counterpunch on these issues,” the report says. “Thus they can please their base at no cost.”
Cannon noted that the group agreed with some of the RNC’s recommendations, but differed when it came to emphasis of social issues.
The conservative assessment, titled “Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012,” dismisses what former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) called a “truce” on social issues, arguing that even if Republicans stopped fighting over them, Democrats would continue to highlight GOP positions on their terms.
The Virginia governor’s race emerges as one example of that dynamic, the report says.
GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who has a deeply conservative record on social issues, has often declined to wade too deeply into the subject on the stump. The report singles out an instance when Cuccinelli ducked a question about abortion restrictions, suggesting “that his campaign has accepted the conventional wisdom that the best use to make of social issues is to signal to voters that you don’t take your own positions seriously enough to govern with them, so it’s safe for the mushy middle to vote for you.”