GOP Primary Candidates United on Culture Wars

Posted by BBC News on Jun 14th, 2011 and filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Fast analysis of Monday’s Republican presidential debate has focused on whether former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a veteran associated with the 2008 campaign and also the front-runner in lots of eyes, made it through his encounter with six rivals. Romney actually emerged unscathed, as the candidates took aim at Barack Obama rather than each other. But there was clearly one notable feature of the debate: the near-unanimous enlistment of the individuals in the culture wars.

On abortion, Michele Bachmann, who received the charisma award from experts, declined to make an exception from her opposition for rape and incest. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty boasted: “The main pro-life organization in Minnesota provides me with very, very high marks.” Rick Santorum (accurately) described himself as a leading opponent of abortion: “You can search the record. Not only have I been constantly pro-life, but I’ve … taken the bullets to go out there and fight for this and lead on on those issues.” Romney said that “people understand that I’m firmly pro-life. I will support justices who believe in following a Constitution and not legislating from the bench. And I believe in the sanctity of life from the very start until the very end.”

The candidates were contemptuous of gay rights. None demonstrated any enthusiasm for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (though Ron Paul said he would not reinstate it). Pawlenty, Bachmann, Santorum and Romney supported a constitutional amendment to declare marriage the union of one man and one woman. (Gingrich would do so if the Defense of Marriage Act were struck down).

It’s a truism that Republican presidential candidates, having proven their conservative bona fides in the primary time of year, move to the center in the general election. But that will be completely different if the eventual nominee adheres to these positions.

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