Ronald Reagan used a metaphor to describe the coalition that swept him into the Oval Office. To him, the conservative movement of 1980 was a three-legged stool, supported equally by three groups: fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national defense conservatives. Mitt Romney mentioned this metaphor frequently during the ’08 campaign:
Lately we conservatives haven’t been represented well by the Republican Party. The Democrat machine thumped the GOP in 2006 and 2008. Republican leaders wonder why they lost, and some have said that the “Era of Reagan” is over.
Chuck Asay sums up this view humorously:
It’s funny in part because it seems plausible. Are the three parts of the coalition completely splintered now, as this Venn diagram illustrates?
Josh Painter thinks so. Some pro-choice Republicans seem to think that dumping the social conservatives is the ticket to victory.
But could it be that the stool actually rests largely on one big leg, like this?
Time will tell, but I suspect that it’s more the latter than the former.
Joe Carter sees the stool as one-legged. I didn’t support his guy (Huckabee), but his general argument accurately reflects what I perceive about conservatives here in NE Ohio. We tend to be socially, fiscally, and militarily conservative all at once. We don’t fragment into three warring camps. If the GOP decides to alienate social conservatives, it will lose much more than 1/3 of its support.
Do you see things the same way?