Gay Patriot Header Image

Democratic social issue focus at convention today likely to be
as successful as Republican social issue focus in 1992

Yesterday, I wondered if the Democratic Convention this year will mirror the Republican Party’s 1992 “Family Values” affair; it would “mirror” it in the way a mirror reproduces an image but from the opposite perspective of the original.

Back then, the Republicans focused on “family values,” attempting to raise doubts about then-womanizing Democratic nominee.  This year, the Democrats seem also focused on “abortion rights,” attempting to raise doubts about Republicans who, they allege, want to wage some kind of war on women.

In their respective conventions, each party would make social issues the focus by attacking the supposed extremism of the other side.  And both times, it seems the parties struggled to find a focus.  Then-President George H.W. Bush couldn’t run on the economy, given its sour state in 1992(though not as sour as today) and he raised taxes despite pledging not to do so.

Current President Barack Obama can’t run on the economy, given the weak recovery, with growth much less and unemployment much higher than his team had forecast when he pushed his “stimulus”.  And he has failed to cut the deficit in half despite pledging to do so.

Interesting for today’s Democrats that they’re only now, fewer than two weeks before their affair, seizing on the abortion issue — in the wake of Todd Akin’s crazy comments.  (And this, like the Bush reelection campaign of 1992, is indeed a campaign in search of a theme.)  Yesterday, as I noted in an update, Ed Morrissey reported that recent agenda changes at the Democratic convention, would “make Akin the poster boy of the GOP and focus the three-day affair on abortion and contraception policy“.

Making social issues the focus may rally the base, but it won’t sway independent voters for whom the economy is the primary issues.  Democrats this year could learn a lesson from an embattled Republican facing reelection in troubled economic times: social issues don’t win elections.

RELATED:  Mark Hemingway observes that “a cooperative media is helping Obama play up the abortion issue—yesterday the Washington Post provided coverage of the Akin controversy on pages A1, A6, A7, A15, C1, and C5“.  That much coverage to a Senate candidate repudiated by his party?  Have they ever paid one-tenth as much attention to Mrs. Boxer’s crazy statements — and she has been elected to the United States Senate.

UPDATE:  In a great piece on a topic similar to that of this post, Byron York offers:

By choosing to spotlight abortion and gay marriage at their national convention, Democrats could give voters the impression that they’ve got their priorities all mixed up. Sandra Fluke may draw headlines, but does she really represent what voters think is most important?

Read the whole thing.

UP-UPDATE:  Calling Akin’s crazy comments “a great and unexpected gift” to the Democrats, Ross Douthat warned that

. . . great gifts [can] also [be] great temptations. Having Akin front and center is clearly helpful to the Democrats. Having liberal politicians harping incessantly on the issue — accusing Mitt Romney (falsely) of favoring banning abortion in cases of rape, headlining abortion rights at the Democratic Convention, and so on — is a riskier maneuver.

As the Republican Party has discovered in the past, when voters want to talk about the economy and you can’t stop talking about the culture war, it’s easy to seem out of touch even when the public agrees with what you’re saying.

Read the whole thing.

 

Share

27 Comments

  1. So… perhaps we’re looking at the GOP’s turn to have a seeming moderate technocrat overthrow the self-distracted incumbent party by means of a laser-like focus on “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 24, 2012 @ 4:04 am - August 24, 2012

  2. Sandra Fluke should really send Rush Limbaugh a royalty check; she was nobody before he called her out. Now, look at her.

    Comment by V the K — August 24, 2012 @ 6:09 am - August 24, 2012

  3. Well Akin did hand them this on a proverbial silver platter. Now that the Huckster and prominent social con leaders, like NDT’s buds at FRC, have rushed to his defense against those eeevvviiiil RINOs (like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin & Sean Hannity) these issues will remain at the forefront. Should they? No. They are important, yes, but most voters care more about jobs and the economy. Will they be enough for Obama to win reelection? Very doubtful. At least we’ll have some “entertainment”…

    Comment by JohnAGJ — August 24, 2012 @ 7:40 am - August 24, 2012

  4. Sandra Fluke’s 15 minutes expire November 7th. Although she does have Rush to thank for her 15 minutes.

    If the democrats want to make their convention all about abortion and how much the GOP hates women-more power to them-the people who are going to be most influenced by their message are already in their base and aren’t voting for a republican anyway. What they likely will do is turn off the few remaining swing voters who are worried about government spending and whether they are going to have a job in the next 4 years.

    They really do not care about abortion this year.

    Comment by Just Me — August 24, 2012 @ 7:46 am - August 24, 2012

  5. Speaking of social issue pushers FoTF

    “Would it be wrong to ask people to pray? Would it be wrong if we asked people to pray for rain? O.K., not just rain, abundant rain. Torrential rain. Urban and small stream flood advisory rain. Would it be wrong if we prayed for rain on, say, a particular night at, say, a particular location? Ah, say the evening of August 28th, right here at Mile High Stadium here in Denver. During the prime time t.v. hour when a certain presumptive nominee is set to give a certain acceptance speech at a certain Democratic National Convention?

    “I’m talkin’ umbrella ain’t gonna help ya rain. Not flood people out of their houses rain, just good old swamp the intersections rain. We’re not asking for hail the size of canned hams, or lightening bolts to set the bunting on fire. Just rain. Beautiful rain. Network cameras can’t see the podium rain. Attendees can’t walk to the indoor arena without wishing for hip waders rain.

    “I know you might ask why would I pray for that. Well, I’m still pro-life and I’m still in favor of marriage being only between one man and one woman. And I’d like the next president, who’ll select justices for the U. S. Supreme Court to agree. So I’m praying for unexpected, unanticipated, unforecasted rain that starts two minutes before the speech is set to begin. Would it be wrong to pray for rain?” – Focus On The Family spokesman Stuart Shepard, speaking four years ago today. (Via Pam’s House Blend)

    Comment by rusty — August 24, 2012 @ 9:57 am - August 24, 2012

  6. Dan,
    Actually, putting Mary Fisher on as a speaker in 1992, the Republicans mirrored or “responded” to the Elizabeth Glaser speech at Democratic convention. Fisher, who was HIV+, delivered an eloquent plea for basic humanity that has gone done in the books at one of the 100 best speeches of all time. Judging from the responses of those in the audience, it didn’t appear that she was courting “the family values” vote. However, AIDS was very much a major social issue at the time, and, in retrospect, the Republicans choice to give her the spotlight looked like a desperate attempt for the GOP to show America that, “we have a heart too.” Lucky for them, they couldn’t have picked a better speaker. Unlucky for them, it wasn’t enough to send a message that they would be leaders in helping those in need and solving this crisis (or, making it more manageable).

    Also interesting from 1992:

    Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey wanted to speak at the convention, but did not speak. Casey maintained that he was denied a speaking spot because he intended to give a speech about his opposition to abortion, while the Clinton camp said that Casey did not speak because he had not endorsed the Clinton/Gore ticket. After the convention was over, Casey told the New York Times, “I support the ticket. Period.”Other Democrats opposing abortions such as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Senators John Breaux and Howell Heflin, and five anti-abortion Democratic governors did speak. While Democratic officials said that these speakers were not barred from discussing their opposition to abortion, they nonetheless did not focus on the issue in their speeches.

    Judging from the exuberance that the baby boom generation felt they had finally arrived politically, best epitomized in the video “A Man from Hope” and the memorable use of “Don’t Stop” from Fleetwood Mac, Dan, and were making a bee-line for the white house. I recall it being one of the shrewdest and most effective conventions to date and it didn’t appear the Democrats were “struggl[ing] to find a focus” at all. Care to elaborate?

    It will all be very interesting to see how this plays out, none-the-less.

    Regards,
    Cinesnatch

    Comment by Cinesnatch — August 24, 2012 @ 10:00 am - August 24, 2012

  7. Will there be an “Evil in New York” post today?

    Comment by Cinesnatch — August 24, 2012 @ 11:23 am - August 24, 2012

  8. Sandra Fluke is the real Pat from the fiction of SNL; she’s a disaster for the Democrats, yet they are too desperate not to use her. The Democrat convention, likewise, will be a disaster–no matter how much the MSM spins for Obama. Obama has nothing to run on for his re-election. He should resign in disgrace, but his mutated eggshell ego won’t let him. Obama is the death of the Democrat Party & all Communists associated with it.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — August 24, 2012 @ 11:44 am - August 24, 2012

  9. It’s no wonder that social issues are front and center. For four years the Republicans haven’t had a single jobs bill, but over 30 abortion bills. Now it’s turned around and bitten them hard. They denounce Akin and at the same time embrace his position as their platform.

    [Joe, you better check your facts. The Republican House has passed 30 jobs bills on which the Democratic Senate has refused to act. --Dan]

    Comment by joe arrigo — August 24, 2012 @ 1:05 pm - August 24, 2012

  10. As I said in the other threads – the GOP has been introducing abortion bills all over the country at an unprecedented clip.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/08/nation/la-na-abortion-legislation-20110508

    In the first three months of 2011, legislators in 49 states introduced 916 measures related to reproductive issues, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York nonprofit research organization that supports abortion rights but is viewed by both sides of the debate as providing reliable statistics on the issue.

    More than half of the measures — 56% — seek to restrict abortion access.

    So pretending that the Democrats are just kind of pulling the abortion issue from out of their butts because they need a distraction doesn’t really work. As usual, it’s the Republicans that are pushing abortion as a national issue. You were trying to be sneaky about it, to be sure, but you can’t pretend like the Democrats are overreacting. Virginia almost signed off on forced transvaginal probes. Absolutely Democrats have a right to be talking about abortion this year.

    [Um, Levi, introducing a bill doesn't mean making it a priority. Any legislator can introduce a bill. Question is how much time have the various legislative chambers devoted to their consideration. --Dan]

    Comment by Levi — August 24, 2012 @ 1:51 pm - August 24, 2012

  11. Dan,
    http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/gops-claim-house-passed-30-jobs-bills-bogus

    This may be of interest to you. I am out in the field working right now, so I dont have the luxury of commenting further. But it’s something I came across on my break.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — August 24, 2012 @ 2:25 pm - August 24, 2012

  12. Not really, Cinesnatch.

    Because all it does is reveal that the Obama Party left thinks anything that allows private businesses and industry to expand and grow does not create jobs.

    It’s just like Obama’s screaming statement this morning that profit is bad and has nothing to do with employment. Leftists live in a delusional dream world where the government is all and the only employment that is real is the government.

    And I see Levi and his fellow abortionists who say that recreational sex is more important than human life are now trying to take over this thread. One should point out, again, that Levi and the Abortion Party led by Barack Obama are making abortion front and center, insisting that the only issue is abortion, demanding that taxes be hiked to pay for abortions for wealthy white liberal women like Sandra Fluke, and that anyone who doesn’t support abortion hates women and wants them to die.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 24, 2012 @ 3:11 pm - August 24, 2012

  13. By Progressive standards, the only real “jobs bill” is a “Government jobs bill.”

    Comment by V the K — August 24, 2012 @ 3:16 pm - August 24, 2012

  14. At 0:21 to 0:28, see Taiwanese animation of gays working in the field – for Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-mFQyr5ppc&feature=youtu.be

    At 0:40-0:45, Romney comes to hack off their chains – and they look confused! Taiwanese animation, it never lies – because it comes from non-white people in a non-Western country, right? LOL :-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 24, 2012 @ 4:08 pm - August 24, 2012

  15. [Um, Levi, introducing a bill doesn't mean making it a priority. Any legislator can introduce a bill. Question is how much time have the various legislative chambers devoted to their consideration. --Dan]

    Don’t embarrass yourself with silly nonsense like this. I proved you wrong, just deal with it. Your contention that Democrats are bringing up abortion out of left field is plainly not true when compared to the enormous amount of energy that Republicans have expended over the past few years to restrict abortion. If you’re okay with Republicans launching an all out assault on abortion all across America, you don’t really have a leg to stand on when you whine about Democrats using the issue as a distraction.

    Republicans don’t want to talk about abortion on the national stage because it’s a political loser for them. I know you’re spinning it like you’re trying to focus on what’s really important, but the coordinated efforts by Republicans to outlaw abortion over the past few years betray you. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows Republicans consider abortion (at least, catering to pro-lifers) a priority, you just don’t really have the balls to have a debate about it. Especially since so many have eagerly embraced the no-abortion-for-rape-victims line of thinking. You’d like to keep chipping away at it in state houses and want to disarm Democrats by taunting them into submission. You’re not fooling anyone.

    Comment by Levi — August 24, 2012 @ 4:39 pm - August 24, 2012

  16. Well Levi, When we have people like you who want to slaughter your fellow children because they’re inconvenient, it’s not surprising that the adults would want to protect the fellow children.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 24, 2012 @ 6:02 pm - August 24, 2012

  17. Now, Levi, no, you haven’t proven me wrong You pointed out that Republicans have introduced lots and lots of bills on abortion, but they haven’t devoted much actual legislative time to such bills.

    The Republicans want to focus on economic issues because those are the issues the American people want to focus on. If the Democrats focused on those issues, they’d have a hard time of it. So, they’re focusing on abortion.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — August 24, 2012 @ 6:44 pm - August 24, 2012

  18. Yes, Levi.

    Republicans think that people like you who admit they murder children for the sake of recreational sex and who yourself admit cannot take responsibility for their own behavior have made it clear that they NEED to be restrained by law.

    You could have abortion if you showed you could use it wisely. But you can’t. You whined and screamed that liberals like yourself can’t be trusted to be responsible. You whined and screamed that recreational sex was more important to you than human life.

    Clearly, the only thing that will stop you from killing over a million people a year is a law. Your tantrum-throwing over that fact is ludicrous when one considers that you and your fellow “progressives” want to outlaw soda and Happy Meals, but again, it is a prime example of how you think government should subsidize and promote your stupidity at the expense of everyone else.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 24, 2012 @ 8:21 pm - August 24, 2012

  19. We need to emphasize that even more.

    Levi states that he and his fellow “progressives” will not be responsible. They will not use condoms or contraceptives; they will be promiscuous and continue to have recreational sex, and then they will kill the baby.

    The only way to stop Levi from murdering a child is to make it illegal and to put him in jail. That is just how pathological and desperate Levi is for recreational sex without consequences.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 24, 2012 @ 8:29 pm - August 24, 2012

  20. I would say it is worse that in a time of grave economic and fiscal crisis in California, the top priorities of the Democrat Assembly were:

    1. Mandatory LGBT History curricula in public schools.
    2. State tuition for illegal immigrants.
    3. High Speed Trains to Nowhere

    All of which were bills that were actually voted on and passed by the Democrat Legislature and signed by the Democrat Governor.

    House Republicans have sent 27 Jobs Bills to the Senate, but One-Man-Filibuster Harry Reid won’t even bring them to a vote. However, the Democrats have repeatedly hustled up the effort to bring legislation forward to overturn the “Citizens United” ruling. Which I guess is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than creating jobs or reducing the deficit.

    And Levi claims Republicans have misplaced priorities?

    Comment by V the K — August 24, 2012 @ 8:38 pm - August 24, 2012

  21. Unlucky for them, it wasn’t enough to send a message that they would be leaders in helping those in need and solving this crisis (or, making it more manageable).

    Equally unlucky for them, the populist panderer Pat Buchanan was also chosen as a speaker (in a more coveted and visible prime-time slot) and his red-meat-for-the-masses delivery completely overshadowed any of the other speakers during that convention. That became the defining moment of the 1992 RNC and helped define the election as the logical transition between The Past [George H.W. Bush] and The Future [William J. Clinton].

    That, and the entry, exit, re-entry and eventual vote-siphon of Mr Charts-and-Graphs.

    Comment by RSG — August 24, 2012 @ 8:48 pm - August 24, 2012

  22. Not to mention that Levi’s wet dream of a state government in California has — surprise! — been hiding money and using it to pay Obama Party donors and cronies on what can only be termed an epic scale.

    Levi won’t talk about this. Levi screams and whines and wets his pants about abortion instead, because little boy needs to kill babies for recreational sex.

    Such a cowardly little boy Levi is. Too much of a wuss and a pansy to answer.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 24, 2012 @ 8:52 pm - August 24, 2012

  23. Your contention that Democrats are bringing up abortion out of left field is plainly not true when compared to the enormous amount of energy that some Republicans have expended over the past few years to restrict abortion. If you’re okay with some Republicans launching an all out assault on abortion all across parts of America, you don’t really have a leg to stand on when you whine about Democrats using the issue as a distraction.

    Most Republicans don’t want to talk about abortion on the national stage because it’s a political loser for them. I know you’re spinning it like you’re trying to focus on what’s really important, but the coordinated efforts by some Republicans to outlaw restrict unlimited abortion over the past few years betray you might suggest otherwise. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows some Republicans consider abortion (at least, catering to pro-lifers) a priority, you just don’t really have the balls enough time in the day to have a debate about it. Especially since so many a few have eagerly embraced the no-abortion-for-rape-victims line of thinking.

    There, fixed it for ya.

    Comment by RSG — August 24, 2012 @ 9:08 pm - August 24, 2012

  24. Perhaps Levi is unaware of recent polling which shows that 62% of Americans oppose unlimited, unrestricted abortion. And every year the number goes up.

    Sorry, Levi, but you and your party (and culture) of death will not win the day. Americans are fundamentally moral and decent people. But you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — August 24, 2012 @ 11:17 pm - August 24, 2012

  25. #15: “If you’re okay with Republicans launching an all out assault on abortion all across America, you don’t really have a leg to stand on when you whine about Democrats using the issue as a distraction.”

    Ha ha. Just noticed this comment from Levi. Love the use of the phrase “all out assault on abortion.” For Levi (and all amoral, sick progs), GOP politicians introducing legislation to regulate abortion in any way constitutes an egregious, inexcusable “assault,” but what abortion doctors are doing every minute of every day to gestating humans in the womb doesn’t trouble them IN THE LEAST (even the horrifyingly gruesome method doctors use to kill viable third-trimester infants). I honestly don’t know how people like Levi live with themselves, much less have the nerve to be self-righteous about their arguments/efforts to protect/promote/expand/subsidize/champion abortion.

    Comment by Sean A — August 25, 2012 @ 4:48 am - August 25, 2012

  26. There are two inconvenient truths about abortion:

    1. Almost everybody has made up their mind about it.
    2. Most normal people don’t want to talk about it; it’s an awkward and uncomfortable subject.

    This is why it’s a strategic blunder for the Democrats to make abortion the entire theme of their convention and campaign.

    Comment by V the K — August 25, 2012 @ 12:43 pm - August 25, 2012

  27. [...] Democratic social issue focus at convention today likely to beas successful as Republican social iss… [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Obama ’12: a candidate in search of a theme(and with an almost visceral contempt for his opponent) — August 25, 2012 @ 5:18 pm - August 25, 2012

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.