“The more Republicans try to regulate personal behavior, the bigger the hole that they dig for themselves. For one thing, most voters wake up worried about having a job or getting a good education for their kids, not choice or guns or school prayer. Second, the voters to whom the various social issues do matter are fairly evenly split, pro and con.”
“Welcome back, Gender Gap; can’t tell you how much we’ve missed you.”
“Social issues are a luxury of better times, and right now most Americans are more concerned with the bottom line and the strength of the economy.”
“All you have to do is look at how independents and women have moved in the congressional generic ballot and presidential head-to-head for proof that this has been a disaster for Republicans.”
“The GOP’s old-time ‘wedge-issue’ strategy just doesn’t work anymore. It’s 2012. Contraception, immigration, and gay marriage help our side more in battleground states by mobilizing youth, women, etc.”
“For the first time in a generation, social issues will help us and hurt them. Gone are the days when Karl Rove would whip up a bunch of ballot initiatives in swing states to drive the Republican message.”
“The R’s have dug themselves a huge hole with moderate and independent women, and with Hispanics generally. From a D point of view, all I can say is, ‘Keep talking!’ ”
“The more Republicans use social issues to drive out their base, the better chance Democrats have of using the same issues to mobilize millennials and mainstream women.”
“It is all about the story line that is told by each side.”
Will the reemergence of social issues in the presidential campaign be positive or negative for your party’s 2012 election prospects?
Republicans (105 votes)
Very positive: 1%
Somewhat positive: 11%
Somewhat negative: 51%
Very negative: 16%
“Republicans need to incite their core voters to win states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana, where social issues are important.”
“OK to debate them in the primaries. Bad news if we are debating them in the general.”
“Depends what social issues we are talking about. Contraception is bad for GOP. Affirmative action is a net positive.”
“Republicans win when we talk economics. We lose when we talk about social issues. It is that simple. We scare people away, and we are tone-deaf to the concerns of the nation.”
“We’re on the wrong side of inevitability on gay marriage, plus the other side will flog the contraception issue ad nauseam. Both will be net losses for us.”
“With reproductive and gay-rights issues a wash at best and immigration a major negative, we are stirring up an unnecessary cloud of dust obscuring a terrible economic record.”
“Someone please get Rush [Limbaugh] a muzzle.”
“We get all giddy about it in the primary and then slapped in the face with it in the general.”
“Could not be more stupid. When Americans are worried about jobs, we are talking about condoms.”
Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.
GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O’Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.
This article appears in the March 17, 2012, edition of National Journal.