This was supposed to be an election where America’s struggling economy takes center stage.
Then social issues got in the way.
Republican strategists know they can’t win on the economy.
“We’re weak on economic issues,” a GOP strategist admitted to Capitol Hill Blue this week. “The modest rebounds we’re seeing right now will most likely increase in the coming months and those improvements will help Obama, not Republicans.”
But the Obama administration handed the GOP a gift: A return to the gut-wrenching social issues of abortion, contraception and gay marriage. The administration’s decision to force insurance for birth control on Catholic organizations brought the highly emotional social issues back to the front burner and gave the rabid right something to rally around.
Now abortion opponents can scream “murder” and wave signs with photos of aborted fetuses and pontificate about “God’s will” through the illusion that a deity really gives a damn about what happens in the American political process.
Tea party activists lick their chops over the prospect of an election centered around social issues. The faux “grassroots” movement funded by the billionaire Koch brothers was on the verge of irrelevancy. Now the tea party zealots have a a familiar old cause.
“Clearly, this could energize the Republican base,” says another GOP consultant. “We’re seeing the emergence of issues that favor candidates like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.”
Politics, in many ways, follows an old rule called Lawyer’s Law. It says:
When the law is against you, argue the facts.
When the facts are against you, argue the law.
When both the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and call the other side names.