Whether or not social conservatives are correct in their beliefs is one question. Whether a more socially conservative Republican party is a good political strategy is an entirely different question. Whenever a political party moves farther toward one end of the spectrum or another it tends to satisfy supporters on the end of the spectrum towards which it is moving and alienate supporters in the middle of the spectrum who lean least toward the moving party. This doesn't mean that parties should never move farther towards the end of the spectrum. If the true believers at the far end get disenchanted, they become apathetic, participation, donations and eventually voter turnout will be adversely effected.
To exert maximum influence, political parties must walk a fine line. Often, in a governing coalition, nobody is very happy with the resulting government. This is the situation that the Republican party found itself in three years ago. Even though they had put together a controlling coalition in national politics, a lot of their supporters became critically dissatisfied. What followed was not a resurgence of support for the liberal values of the Democratic party but a lack of support for the Republicans. The Democrats won control of the executive and legislative branches of government because Democrats ran a nation wide campaign of bland, cheerful, centrist apathy, promising all things to all people. Now that the economy is going into a shit storm, nobody's going to feed a quarter into the juke box to hear that song again.
Obviously, the Republicans cannot revitalize their party by offering the people the same thing that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are touting. They have to offer something in opposition. The functional move would be to offer a platform of austerity and strict fiscal conservatism then dial the religious and moral mania of the social conservatives way back but that's not what their true believers want to hear and that's not the way they are going. Besides, the Republicans may regain power no matter what they do, just because the Democrats are so fucked up, so why offer anything actually constructive. Pander to the base.
Most people understand that America as a country and as a people have been writing checks they can't cover for a long time. They understand that there is going to be some suffering involved in getting the economy out of the red. There is going to be inflation. There is going to be a decrease in living standards. There is going to be a decrease in government services. There will be high unemployment as people shift out of service jobs and into production. Somebody is going to have to coin a term a little harsher than stagflation to describe it. It's going to happen whether anybody likes it or not. It would work out better if we all went into it at the same time, together, in an organized manner. It's not going to happen, at least right now. This is not something the Republicans are willing to admit. You can't blame them. It's a pretty depressing idea and harkens back to the Jimmy Carter national malaise days. The Democrats are also aware of this and no more willing to introduce this kind of rhetoric than the Republicans. Everybody is more comfortable hearing that the economy is getting back on track but it will be a slow process and we should all be patient. We fill the time debating the basic human rights that should be accorded to all the little, soon to be aborted, pre born souls and whether or not global warming is real. Like anybody really gives a shit about either one of them.
America needs a great leap forward on the same scale as China started in the last days of Mao Tse Tung. The problem is, that no matter how dark it's getting or how quickly it's falling over the land, nobody willingly starts a journey like that while sitting comfortably in an air conditioned, four bedroom rambler with all the trimmings, in a well manicured suburban development, even if you can't afford it and it's in foreclosure. The electricity is still hooked up and the toilets still flush today, baby. We ain't goin' nowhere. It doesn't mean the journey's not coming, just not right now.
My advice to the Republicans is walk with Jesus. Dig that bunker in the back yard. Keep buying the guns and ammo. Take the grandkids to Disney World.
My advice to Democrats is take a hike in the Sierras. Spend a week camping out under the stars. Adopt a polar bear. Save the Whales.
We're stalled out here. All the choices we make from here on out are likely to be bad ones. So make as few as possible. Things are going to get a lot worse, no point rushing it. The good part is, it's not that bad right now. They're still printing money. They're still cashing the bad checks. Write a few more when you get a little short. Just don't get crazy about it. Stretch things out as long as possible. Enjoy life. Go to a hockey game. Have a beer. Buy the kids hot dogs. You may not have many more chances and there isn't anything you can do to help right now. No use making yourselves miserable. That will come soon enough.