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Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., answers a question during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Monday, June 13, 2011.
Social conservatives have their candidate to go up against Obama
While the economy is on track to absolutely dominate the 2012 election cycle, social conservatives are on track to play kingmakers in the Republican presidential primary. We feel pretty good about our prominence in the GOP.
First, Michele Bachmann has arrived. The congresswoman, a champion of social conservative issues and the tea party movement, earned every bit of buzz following her debut in the first major Republican presidential debate. She was brilliantly bold when she said, “I want to announce tonight, President Obama is a one-term president.”
As a media savvy, proven fundraiser with the ability to excite conservative audiences across the country, it was clear that Bachmann had the tools to become a top tier presidential candidate. We learned Monday night in New Hampshire that Bachmann also has serious debating skills and a command of policy. This week, Bachmann exceeded the expectations of her supporters and detractors.
Although there are some likely Republican voters who have strong opinions about Bachmann the politician, most are just beginning to learn about Bachmann the tax attorney with a post-JD degree in tax law from William & Mary, Bachmann the mother of 5, Bachmann the foster parent of 23, and Bachmann the policy wonk.
For those of us in the social conservative world, it is exciting to see Michele Bachmann enter the race as a force. By blending tea party principles and unquestionable social conservative credibility, Bachmann can appeal to the majority of Republican primary voters. Her embrace of constitutional conservatism is uniting.
Second, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is talking up
his social conservative credentials in preparation for a possible entry into the Republican field. As the longest serving governor in U.S. history and the top executive of the second biggest state in the country, Perry is expected to shake up the nomination contest if he jumps in.
Third, the top candidates already in the race are solid on social conservative issues. When John King, CNN’s debate moderator, asked about abortion, marriage, and the separation of church and state, there was no disagreement between the top contenders. No one questioned Mitt Romney’s commitment to life and Tim Pawlenty gave a great answer on his view, shared by all social conservatives, of the First Amendment. Pawlenty said, “the protections between the separation of church and state were designed to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith.” After a few minutes, the debate moved on.
The fact that social conservative issues are no longer controversial in the GOP demonstrates another success of our movement. In a match-up with Obama, the issues will be debated, it will be heated and there will be an obvious contrast between whoever the Republican nominee is and the president’s record. The top goal of social conservatives, like every other conservative, is to beat President Obama. With plenty of solid social conservative candidates in the GOP field, we will certainly be able to fire up our grassroots machine and unite in the general election.
As Romney said, “Any one of the people on this stage would be a better president than President Obama. He has failed in job one, which was to get this economy going again. He failed in job two, which was to restrain the growth of the government. And he failed in job three, which is to have a coherent, consistent foreign policy.”