The coming split

Or, rather, I hope there’s a coming split, in the Republican Party. Bob Novak describes the latest defection from the pro-life movement (if you don’t think that issues of stem cell research are intrinsically the same as pro-life issues, then we need to talk). Talent’s repudiation of his support for Sen. Brownback’s anti-cloning legislation is emblematic of what seems to be a growing rift within the GOP: between “fiscal conservatives” — that is, those beholden to big business and driven by economic motives — and “social conservatives.”

I certainly fall into the latter group, as I hope would most sincere Catholics and other Christians. What do we do when the party that we put into power says that to be conservative means to promote economic growth, even at the expense of ethics? Do we leave and form our own party? If we did, would it not ensure that the Democrats, who have all the bad aspects of the “fiscal conservatives” without even lipservice to our concerns, rise to power? Should we even care about practical matters such as this? Should we not just vote (or not vote) according to the beliefs that we know to be true?

What Jody Bottum calls “the new fusionism” can’t last. Or, rather, it can’t last with me as a supporter. When business interests, who fund the GOP to a large extent, say that more money–MUCH more money–can be made by supporting stem cell research, and if it isn’t supported, well, they’ll take their money elsewhere, what does the GOP do? I expect that quite a few legislators will follow Talent’s lead and bow down to their true master: Mammon. The unhappy marriage between those of us who are quite happy to have economic growth as long as our beliefs are not compromised, and those of us who have no true beliefs other than economic growth, ought to end in divorce.

(HT for Novak article: Shea)

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