This won’t be popular with some folks, but the truth tends to hurt
As the dust settles, it seems abundantly clear that Mitt Romney, lost on November 6th, 2012 for TWO primary reasons; first, and most importantly, he was unable to convince enough Americans to trust him after flip-flopping as much as John Kerry did in 2004. Conservatives, Independents and Moderates were all left to wonder, “Which Mitt Romney would they get,” – the reliably liberal former Governor of Massachusetts or the “Born Again” and self-professed "severely Conservative" Romney of the GOP Primaries...
Second and just as damning was social/religious Conservatives apparent refusal to recognize that the electorate will no longer tolerate reflexively anti-gay and anti-abortion rhetoric, especially talk of “women’s bodies shutting down in the wake of a legitimate rape,” or referring to rape related pregnancy as “just another form of conception,” or to rape as, "something that God intended to happen" – those views marginalize not only the kooks who utter them, but the Party they represent! And that is intolerable and untenable going forward.
Moreover, in the wake of November 6th, 2012 the GOP’s monied interests, it’s socially liberal “Moderate-wing" will almost certainly look to rein in and clamp down on these “marginal extremists.”
I’ve said forever that (1) Roe v Wade was “bad law,” as that issue should be decided state-by-state, same as the Supreme Court’s Capital Punishment ban was an egregious over-reach that ultimately was undone, BUT even I acknowledge that (2) I believe and fervently HOPE that not a single state in the USA would even make abortions harder for poor women to get, let alone barbarically banning abortion outright.
Look, bottom-line, an UNWILLING parent is also an UNFIT parent (at least at that point in time) and bringing an unwanted child into a chaotic, often dysfunctional environment is tantamount to child abuse! Universal access to contraception for ALL women, and preferably MANDATORY contraception for the dependent poor is the only path that is truly consistent with the humanitarian nature of our Founder’s Design.
It is the same with “gay rights” (equal protections for homosexuals). Given that NO ONE “chooses to become gay,” there is no logical rationale to excuse treating gays any better or worse than any other group of Americans. While that doesn’t preclude religions from teaching that homosexuality is a “sin,” nor from Marrying gays in their churches, temples, synagogues, etc., as the 1st Amendment guarantees, homosexuals must be accorded the SAME rights and privileges as every other citizen by the government in ALL transactions.
Consider that Maine, hardly a “wildly liberal state,” and one that voted down same-sex Marriage a few years back, passed a same-sex marriage provisions THIS year! The anti-gay forces must accept that they “fought the good fight,” but lost on this issue – that ship, as they say, has sailed and the Republic will survive just fine.
For better or worse, the Moderate-wing of the GOP functionally “owns” that Party - they fund its elections and they set most of the core agenda behind the scenes. For years they allowed Christian Evangelical Conservatives a piece of their platform, but after this latest rash of humiliating outbursts by extremists, that’s almost certainly going to change...and it SHOULD!
The problem up until now has been an apparent lack of communication on both those sides. The Rockefeller-wing of the GOP wants the votes of the “Christian-Right,” but never has had ANY intention of “overturning Roe,” or “banning homosexuality,” etc. But they foolishly paid lip-service to the most extreme elements of that group and the “Religious-Right” foolishly ignored what was painfully and hilariously obvious to everyone else – that they were being played by their savvier, better educated and better-heeled partners. Neither side seemed to ever really want to talk to each other - the Religious-Right, out of their skepticism for the “Rockefeller-wing Republicans" (and rightly so) and on their part, the Moderate Republicans antipathy for even being in the same room with a group they consider little more than gullible rubes.
In successive elections a collection of fringe extremists from Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angle in 2010 to Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin in 2012, eradicated any hopes the GOP had of re-taking the Senate! In the end, these folks couldn’t have helped out the far-Left cause any more, if they'd been “liberal plants” sent in to undermine Conservative success. Could it be that?...Nah.
But seriously, what were these kooks thinking?!
Worse still, in numerous locales, when the GOP took over legislatures on promises of fiscal discipline, they moved instead to FIRST put forth a draconian social agenda that allowed the Democrats to label such extremists “The American Taliban.”
Where there has been a tenuous truce, enabled by a mutual avoidance of each other, in the wake of the 2012 debacle, I expect the GOP to confront and make clear that such extremist views will be silenced going forward within that Party.
If there remain those who insist on seeking to push that failed agenda, they’ll have to do so from a 3rd Party...probably one that could effectively hold its meetings in a phone booth. There’s simply no way the GOP can move forward with a anti-abortion, anti-gay social agenda that would’ve been controversial even in 1950 America!
This is NOT to say that religious conservatives must give up their views, they must only give up the idea of having them included in any mainstream agenda.