On the Middle Class, Schumer Was Right

Almost exactly one year ago, I and my colleagues at the American Principles Project released an election autopsy on the lessons of 2012. Countering the conventional wisdom that conservative social issues were distracting voters from the GOP’s winning economic message, we argued that social issues were neither hurting Republicans nor electing Democrats, and that the key problem was that both parties were failing to address the core concern of voters: declining standards of living brought on by prolonged wage stagnation combined with moderate inflation in the items that consume the bulk of middle-class families’ budgets.

Someone finally got the message. Who would have thought it would be New York’s Democratic senator Chuck Schumer?

“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said in a speech before the National Press Club. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health-care reform.”

Democrats, energized by their power to pressure Republicans to back away from abortion, gay marriage, and religious liberty, drew the wrong lesson and tried to win reelection with a “war on woman” meme fundamentally disconnected from women’s core concerns.

In a striking Washington Post column on November 26, political scientists John McTague and Melissa Deckman make clear that being pro-abortion is not the ticket to Democratic victory. “It wasn’t clear even in 2012 that this rhetoric worked,” they write, citing a recent study by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck “that found no link between news coverage on contraception and abortion and women’s attitudes about either Obama or Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign, and little evidence that attitudes about abortion were central to moving women voters to Obama.”

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Christian Post: Panel Finds Religious Freedom Can Unite Libertarians and Social Conservatives

WASHINGTON — With conservative Christians and libertarians sharing common ideologies that stand against big government and federal overreaching, the two groups’ need to put aside their few differences and unite in order to defeat a Democratic agenda that “assaults” American liberties, a panel of prominent social conservatives agreed Saturday.

Speaking at a Family Research Council panel at the Values Voters Summit in Washington D.C.,a social conservative pollster, political commentator and campaign advisor for Sen. Rand Paul, R- Ky., discussed the importance of getting the two ideological groups on the same voting path to solidify their stances against issues like big-government overeaches and infringement on personal and religious liberties.

…”For me, the separation [of the two groups] has always been a little odd,” conservative commentator Maggie Gallagher said. “A lot of the tensions that we are experiencing between social conservatives and libertarians, some of it is specific to the issue of gay marriage. A lot of it comes from the perception by many libertarian donors that social issues is what is holding the Republican Party back.”

However, Conway added that libertarians and social conservatives mostly agree on their stance against abortion. While not all libertarians are pro-life, Stafford agreed with Conway by saying that more libertarians are pro-life than people realize.

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NRO: No Wave for the GOP

Republicans need to fire the consultants who urge the party to mute social issues. 

The latest polls suggest the GOP now has only a 50–­50 chance of retaking the Senate.

There needs to be a mass layoff — of highly paid GOP consultants. Otherwise we risk a repeat of 2012, when overconfident Republicans in the middle of the worst economy since the 1970s became convinced that all they had to do to win was not be Obama. And they lost.

Romney’s strategy was simple. On the social issues, avoid, downplay, mute. On the economic issues, sound vague, promise to help job creators, and wait for the other team to self-destruct.

The RNC’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election reinforced the idea that doing more of what didn’t work would be the pathway to victory. If only we add more women and more diverse ethnicities to the GOP ticket while avoiding Akin-esque gaffes, we can win. “Don’t do stupid stuff,” while always good advice, is no more a winning strategy for the GOP than it is a foreign policy for a great nation.

It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove acknowledged that despite the horrible environment for Democrats “a GOP senate majority is still in doubt.” Why? The Architect is convinced that his model is sound — donors just need to open their wallets to the consultants to script more TV ads.

While Democrats are out-spending Republicans, and GOP donors should take notice and correct this, the relatively narrow spending gap would not make the difference in a wave election.

Take Monica Wehby’s struggling campaign in Oregon. The state is an outlier for Republicans today, so a Wehby victory there would represent a profound rejection of Democrats. Perhaps that is not to be expected. But she is the perfect test case for the RNC “autopsy” strategy: an attractive professional single mom who is pro-choice, and now pro–gay marriage. The Koch brothers have spent $1.6 million in TV ads, and yet Wehby’s poll numbers show she is losing ground. I think economic ads like this one are part of the reason why:

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NRO: GOP Should Address Falling Value of Wages

From the National Review Online.

I was in the Eisenhower Lounge of the National Republican Club, where the executive directors of the RNC, the NSRC, the NRCC, the RGA, and the RSLC called a press conference to announce: The Rs think Republicans are going to win in November.

Mamie Eisenhower in her sweet pink ball gown smiled gently down on the solid show of middle-aged men in suits, blue or grey, and ties ranging from red to auburn (only the NRCC’s Leisl Hickey broke the monotony). While the press turnout is good (the conference closes with a question from Luke Russert), the stories afterward were thin, with the Hill presenting dueling interpretations, “GOP Presents United 2014 Front,” and “GOP Primary Wounds Still Smarting.”

The latter referred to the unforced PR error by the NRSC’s Rob Collins in responding with visible venom to a reporter’s inevitable tea-party question. “The for-profit conservative base here in D.C., we’re never gonna get along with, at least this cycle,” Collins said, before backtracking slightly: “That’s not true, there are some that will have a role to play in the general election. But some of the louder voices, it has not been good for their bottom line to get along with [us], so they choose not to.”

Read the full article here.

Hill OpEd: Reid, Dems running scared on abortion issue

This article originally appeared on The Hill.  Read the original here

By Maggie Gallagher

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is running scared on abortion.  That may be surprising to conventional pundits who believe “social issues” are ruining the GOP politically, but you can tell when a Democrat leader is scared of a social issue – when he attacks his GOP opponents for allegedly acting on “politics” not principles.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) rallied with prolife groups to push for a vote on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks (around five months), the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and made Reid sound annoyed, not at all the happy War on Women camper:

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National Review Online: More Moms Stay Home With Their Children

A decades-long trend that saw an increasing percentage of mothers working may have reversed itself. More moms are staying home full-time, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers,” a new study by D’Vera Cohn, Gretchen Livingston, and Wendy Wang, reports that the proportion of women staying home full-time rose 6 percentage points, from a historic low of 23 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2012.

Are more women getting what they want?  Perhaps.

Over the last generation, there has been surprising stability in women’s gendered preferences for motherhood over work: The proportion of mothers who say full-time work is their ideal in 2012 was 32 percent, just a nudge up from the 30 percent who said so in 1997, according to an earlier study by Wang, a research associate at the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. (In 2007, at the start of the recession, just 20 percent of mothers described working full time as “ideal.”)

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Fox News: Hey, GOP, want to win in 2016? Fix fundamental flaw in Republican brand

Reince Priebus recently sat down with Politico to review progress since the release of the RNC’s “autopsy” on the 2012 election one year ago: “We have ‘the tale of two parties’ that we’re contending with,” Priebus astutely said, “We’ve got a midterm party that can’t lose, and we’ve got a presidential party that’s having a hard time winning.”

The ObamaCare debacle looks to make 2014 a good year for the GOP.  But conservatives cannot afford to take 2016 for granted, nor to misdiagnose the fundamental problem with the current GOP brand.

While Democrats urge Republicans to drop the so-called divisive “social issues,” the truth is the GOP’s gender, youth, and Latino gaps are fundamentally driven by economic perceptions.

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APIA Releases Autopsy Report

In October 2013, American Principles in Action (APIA) released an analysis of the 2012 election titled, “Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012″. This analysis stands in sharp contrast to the Republican National Committee’s report, “Growth and Opportunity Project”, popularly known as the “autopsy.”

“Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012″, takes a hard-headed, skeptical, and primarily political look at the lessons Republicans must learn from 2012 in order to build a winning national GOP coalition. It challenges the conventional wisdom that the national GOP’s loss in 2012 was a result of a focus on extremist social issues, which hampered candidates touting a winning economic message.

This document challenges the existing “truce model” and puts forward a case for integrated conservatism. It argues social issues are winning issues, and that a winning economic message must address the concerns of middle-class voters.

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Why Obama Never Says Abortion

Perhaps you noticed that President Obama became the first president to speak at a Planned Parenthood gala, without ever mentioning the word abortion.

This new poll suggests why: 55 percent of Americans, including 38 percent of pro-lifers, do not know that Planned Parenthood provides any abortions. Just 6 percent of all Americans know Planned Parenthood clinics perform more than 300,000 abortions each year.

Alongside the refusal of television and other media to cover the sensationally disturbing Gosnell trial, this fact alone exposes the extent of the Left’s cultural domination of the media-infotainment landscape. The culture war is a war over the power to “name reality.” The new, new Left is consciously exercising this power, shamelessly. Read More…