As the Republicans found in the last election, you can’t be corrupt and you can’t spend like a liberal and expect the American people to support your political party. It was a combination of corrupt politicians and free spending Republicans that cost Republicans the election.
The Reagan coalition was born out of two distinct paradigms coming together to build a powerful political coalition that for a time gave Republicans the Congress and Whitehouse. One paradigm was the social conservatives that believed God and morality were the fabric that held a society together. The birth of the Moral Majority brought social conservatives together from both political parties under the tent of the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan embraced the social conservatives and their agenda and he was swept into power as a result.
The other paradigm was the economic conservatives that believed in limited government, fiscal responsibility and a free economy. These were the Wall Street types that understood how a healthy economy should run. Reagan embraced the economic conservatives and the Reagan’s tax cuts and economic policies resulted in the economy to flourish. What both sides had in common is the belief in a strong military and national defense. The coalition of social conservatives and economic conservatives binding together as one ushered in the Reagan era.
As time passed each paradigm began to think that it was their side that was solely responsible for the Reagan years and the coalition fractured. Social conservatives began to treat the coffers of the US Treasury like the church house. In their compassion to help people they broke the bank with new entitlements like the prescription drug benefit and out of control spending. Instead of controlling spending they compromised economic conservative principles and created massive deficits and the people spoke back at the ballot box.
On the other side the economic conservatives concerned more about money than morality abandoned the moral principals and concerns of those that understand that a prosperous nation without a moral compass will fall into immorality which will destroy a nation and its people. The social ills that exist in the country have everything to do with morality and nothing to do with money. The economic ill that our country is experiencing is a result of economic policies and over-spending.
This year’s crop of Republican Presidential candidates illustrates the rift that exists between these two groups. You have several candidates that are strong economic conservatives, but are either social liberals or only pay social conservatives lip service. You have one true social conservative ( Huckabee) that embraces social conservatives but whose economic conservatism is in question. Which ever candidate that figures out that they need both social conservatives and economic conservatives to win, will have the best chance to the nomination and Presidency.
If they don’t figure it out, the Democrats will win the White House and the Congress. If they do figure it out that social conservatism and economic conservatism once again united is a powerful political force to recon with and more importantly is best for our country.