If you need proof that social issues will play a role in the 2012 national and state elections, look no further than the Republican Senate debates in Florida yesterday.
All of the candidates, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, retired Army Col. Mike McAlister and business man Craig Miller, all came out against gay marriage, according to the Tallahassee Democrat:
When asked about New York’s recent legalization of gay marriage, the four Republicans said they supported the federal “defense of marriage act,” which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
“I think that’s how God intended it to be,” said Miller. “This direction, this slope we’re on, takes our country in a direction that we need not go.”
McAlister said that, as a 10th Amendment advocate, he would prefer to leave marriage to the states “but it has to be protected.” He said variations of the issue have been on the ballot in 32 states — including Florida, which outlawed gay marriage in a 2008 referendum — and that “tens of millions of people have voted” to define the union.
Orlando attorney John Stemberger, a founder of the Family Policy Council, ran the constitutional amendment campaign on marriage three years ago. He said the four Republicans articulated strong conservative positions in the debate and that support of social conservatives and tea party activists was crucial to electing Gov. Rick Scott and Rubio last year, along with some members of the U.S. House and local governing boards.
“If history is any indicator, if the social conservatives and tea party can get on the same page as a candidate, they can determine the nominee,” said Stemberger. “They are the largest and most cohesive voting bloc of the Republican Party.”
And, yes, you can be sure all four candidate blasted so-called “activist judges” who would approve equality. Remarked Hasner, “I’m just very hopeful that we’re going to have a Republican president who’s going to appoint strict constructionists.”
Remember that glimmer of hope when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for a truce on social issues? Yeah, that ship has clearly passed. The libertarian Tea Party and the traditionally anti-gay social conservative movements are now working in tandem. That doesn’t mean, however, that such blatantly discriminatory politics will necessarily win over voters.