Social Conservatives vs. Limited Government Conservatives

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The front of today’s Family Foundation mailer

When Ronald Reagan was elected president, he did so by building a winning coalition of fiscal and limited government conservatives, social conservatives, and those who supported a strong national defense to deter Soviet aggression and expansion.  Although that coalition seemed to work well during the latter portion of the Cold War, day after day, little by little, it has been breaking into its component pieces.

As one example, today I received a flyer in the mail from The Family Foundation, one of the most active socially conservative organizations in Virginia.  Their featured speaker for Lobby Day this year is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Although Huckabee is admired by many social conservatives, both his rhetoric and his record is troubling to those who support lowering taxes and shrinking the size of government.

For example, as governor he increased gas taxes and the sales tax.  As ontheissues.org reports, “90 tax cuts indeed were enacted under Huckabee; however, so were 21 tax increases, and they far outweighed the cuts. The total net tax increase under Huckabee was an estimated $505.1 million. Not surprisingly, anti-tax groups give Huckabee poor marks, and the anti-tax group Club For Growth has even been running TV ads against Huckabee on this topic.”

As another example, earlier this year Mike Huckabee urged conservatives to “stop the fight” against Common Core, ostensibly granting the federal government a role in education despite the lack of any constitutional authority to do so.

And these are just a few issues; one can find a variety of others that would leave supporters of liberty cringing.

So is the Reagan era coalition of conservatives over?  Perhaps so.  There seems to be an element of the GOP that will support any candidate, no matter how poor on fiscal issues and actually making the government smaller, so long as he or she makes a public statement of Christian faith and decries the evils of abortion.

Don’t get me wrong, social matters are certainly important to many people in Virginia and The Family Foundation has been one of the leading groups in this state.  However, by offering Mike Huckabee, a big government politician, the featured spot on their roster for the annual Lobby Day, have they sent a clear message that these other issues simply don’t matter?

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