Erick Erickson on the Evangelical Vote

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

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Yesterday, Erick Erickson over at nailed his post on Evangelical Christians (I am one) and their leadership (Dobson, Perkins, etc.). Most of his post stemmed from a gathering over the weekend where the leaders caballed in Texas to decided who they were going to get behind for President in the Republican Primary. Obviously, their hands were tied to a certain extent.

On one hand was a guy I think many wanted to get behind, Rick Perry, who has been in a free fall in the polls since October. He speaks their language and is easy to like. On the other were Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

It was and is a line up of less than perfect candidates.

It’s not Mitt’s Mormonism. None of them trust him to be the conservative he says he has become and it is hard to argue against their skepticism.

It’s not Newt’s multiple affairs. It’s the combination of his arrogance and lack of political courage when the chips are down.

And for Rick Santorum, well, it’s a lot of things. I usually start with his “I am here to grow government and proud of it” attitude while he was a Senator in Washington, DC. For more on that, click here.

Yet, in the end, almost 70% of the leaders voted to back Santorum. It is, I fear, a symbolic gesture that will come back to haunt them. The era of the Christian Coalition and the Moral Majority are over. Why? Because the fight is not about overturning Roe v. Wade and I am not sure we will ever get back to a place where it is. The fight right now (and I could make the case it has always been) is the fiscal health of this country. Make no mistake. I am 100% pro-life and will always fight for life. But that is not the fight right now.

I have written in the past that the political arena, much like any other sphere of life, is not a static vacuum. Nor is it an arena that can expand to offset growth. Think of it this way. Government is a static sphere, a circle. The lines cannot move and the more one entity inside it grows, the more another or others must by necessity shrink.

So when Evangelical leaders and candidates like Mike Huckabee (Evangelical) and Rick Santorum (Catholic) run around proclaiming their conservative bone fides based on their social issue stances while giving away the farm when it comes to growing the size and scope of government, I would argue they are actually working at cross purposes against conservatism, especially social conservatism.

The biggest and broadest foundation for conservatism begins with individual liberty. When that foundation is shrunk by government intrusion (fueled by the growth in the size and scope of government), individual liberty disappears.