The Future of the Republican Party is to be Mired in the Past

An interesting Slate discussion among (mostly) smart conservative voices descends into the Republican Party’s achille’s heel: futile abortion debate. Ross Douthat, one of the more sensible young conservatives loses his cool and crassly lambasts Douglas Kmiec’s suggestion that conservatives relax on the three-decade-long abortion fight that has obsessed the party.

Douthat:

I am sure that Kmiec is weary of being called a fool by opponents of abortion for his tireless pro-Obama advocacy during this election cycle, but if so, then the thing for him to do is to cease acting like the sort of person for whom the term “useful idiot” was coined, rather than persisting in his folly.

Meow…

And Kmiec responds with a little condescending “grace”:

While we have not met, so little of what you have written is in any way respectful or acknowledges that you are addressing not some abstraction but a fellow human that I can only pray that if any of your family or closest friends come into contact with this commentary that they reach out to you in the most gentle and understanding way, without precondition, to calm an anger that is harmful to the soul.

I picture that Family Guy episode where Stewie provokes a fight between fellow children, and shouts, “Dance puppets, dance!”

This is to be expected. It is apparent that the rift in the right wing will be between social conservatives and economic conservatives. But the division is stickier than it may appear. Douthat in a previous topic on the same Slate forum calls for conservatives to relax on the anti-evolution and abstinence-only rhetoric, but he easily gets snagged on that old hot topic. Look guys, it a losing battle. Social conservativism is a futile movement. Societies change. Ain’t nothing gonna stop that, short of some sort of Taliban-style totalitarian state. This doesn’t mean that any erosion of values or adoption of new values is well and good, but it means that we all have to be open to how values change, not reject them out of hand.

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