Northeast Republicans have only one election card on their table – the economy, stupid. There ain’t no more. Slothful Northeast Republican Parties have permitted Democrats to define all the social issues; for them, such subjects as abortion on demand, gay marriage and the abolition of the death penalty are strictly verboten. Among gentlemen Republican moderates in Connecticut, discretion on social issues has been the better part of valor for more than two decades, which may help to explain why there are no more social issue averse Republicans in New England.
The last Republican moderate in Connecticut who surrendered to Democrats on social issues was State Senator Andrew Roraback. Recently appointed to the judiciary by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, Mr. Roraback lost his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives to present U.S. Rep Elizabeth Esty.
Mr. Roraback’s loss was preceded by other Republican Party losses. Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation used to be studded with a host of moderate Republicans, among them U.S. Representatives Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Chris Shays. They have all been replaced by left of center Democrats. Mr. Malloy and the Malloyalists are all progressive Democrats. The moderate Democrat also has become an endangered species, at least here in the Northeast. In other parts of the nation, moderate Democrats, taking a cue from unions, are abandoning Obamacare in droves. Not in Connecticut. Obamacare is to progressives in Connecticut what the Alamo was to patriotic Texans.
Concerning the much more lively and combative progressive Democrats, the National Journal puts it this way: “’Especially on social issues, the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved in the more liberal direction,’ said Bill Galston, a former Clinton administration official and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘There's a new generation of Democrats who see lots of gain and very little pain in stronger gun safety legislation and gay marriage.’”
That is simply another way of saying that the forward motion within the Democratic Party, since the advent of President Barack Obama and his Chicago political machine, has been to the left; progressives are liberals raised to the 3rd power and beyond.
When a newspaper wished to bestow a compliment on Republican candidate for governor John McKinney it wrote of his father, Stewart McKinney, that the late 4th District U.S. House Representative “was the type of Republican that has all but vanished from the political landscape: A New Englander who smartly blended fiscal conservatism with social progressivism, working on pro-environment legislation and supporting abortion rights.”
The 4th District is now owned by Democrat Jim Himes. The 5th District was owned by progressive Democrat Chris Murphy before he moved on to the U.S. Senate. The entire Connecticut U.S. Congressional delegation is progressive, and one of the reasons New Englanders who in the past neatly blended fiscal conservatism with social conservatism are now so rare a species in the Northeast is that all of them have been replaced by Democrats who are left of center on economic issues and purebred progressives on social issues.
Not only are there no social moderates, Republican or Democrat, in Connecticut’s one party state, there are no fiscal conservatives either. “Fiscal conservatism” is a blind used by Democrats in Connecticut who quickly abandon all pretense of a prudent economic policy once they achieve office.
If in the post Obama era you vote for a fiscally conservative, socially progressive Democrat , you will end up, after he has mingled in the course of a few months with brother progressives in the legislature, with a fiscally and socially progressive enthusiast of the purest water. The whole notion of a fiscal conservative who is also a social progressive is in much of the Northeast a rib tickling mythical construct – like a unicorn or a griffin.
The problem with the Connecticut Republican Party is NOT that it does not know how to stoop on social issues to conquer on fiscal issues. The problem is that the stooping no longer conquers – because Republicans have permitted the far left to define “social issues.” That is why the moderate Republican in New England is nearly an extinct species; he has ceded half the political battleground to the opposition and lost the war.
Republicans must learn how to broaden the “social issues” category to include the social ramifications of such obvious disasters as Obamacare, the one party state, crony capitalism, the disintegration of families, a penology that crowds courts and prisons with social delinquents while giving get-out-of-jail-early credits to murderous inmates, arrogant legislators who think it unnecessary to schedule hearings on bills that shape the future of the state, a tax, regulatory and spending policy that drives businesses out of Connecticut… and on and on. All these are SOCIAL ISSUES, women’s issues, minority issues, and left unattended, they will bring Connecticut to its knees, which is exactly the suppliant posture that politically suits the kind of progressive who regards the salvation state as the first and only resource for afflicted citizens.