Social & Domestic Issues

Obama wins on social issues

If the persistent recession, high unemployment, a falling standard of living, rising dependency on government, higher taxes, and too much government debt are the dominating political issues in the 2012 Presidential race, Obama loses.

If social issues like gay marriage and free contraceptives are the dominating political issues in the 2012 Presidential race, Obama wins. 

I hated writing that last sentence because I believe in the fundamental right of California voters to amend their Constitution to define traditional marriage and I believe Obama’s order to include free abortion inducing “morning after” pills in health care plans for employees of Catholic institutions violates the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.

But with the Santorum social conservative surge, it’s time to grit your teeth and take a hard look at reality in America in 2012.

Obama is widely unpopular for his failed government-led, debt funded economic “recovery.” He is not widely unpopular for supporting gay rights and the right of women to free contraceptives in health insurance.

I believe the events of the last week indicate that Obama is trying to shift the national conversation away from the economy and toward these social issues where he can win.

Gay marriage has majority support in solidly blue states like New York and California and widespread sympathy in swing states. More importantly, while small in numbers, gay voters include many wealthy donors willing to commit that wealth to Obama’s re-election. 

But gays, like every other American, have been hit hard by bad economic times.  And many gays, like a majority of American voters, do not think Obama’s economic policies are working. 

Many Gays are fiscally conservative business owners dismayed by Obama’s continued crony corruption of the free market. Many more are unemployed. 

If the dominant issue in 2012 for gays is their right to marry, they stay with Obama.  If the dominant issues are jobs, economic freedom, and opportunity, many will vote Republican.

The distinction is even clearer in the Obama v. Catholic Church battle over mandated free contraceptives in health care coverage for employees of Catholic institutions.

A majority of women voters oppose ObamaCare, but a larger majority of women voters, including Catholics, support the mandated inclusion of contraceptives in health care coverage.

Obama won the 2008 election by a convincing margin because of women voters. If the availability of contraceptives is a dominant issue in 2012, women will again vote Obama.

But women have been hard hit in the Obama recession. Just as pay gaps have been closing, just as education has leveled the playing field for professional and business women, the persistent Depression Era-like unemployment situation has stopped too many aspiring women from reaching their goals.

Dreams on hold, burdened by student debt, facing bleak economic prospects, or age discrimination, most women voters tell pollsters that economic issues are uppermost on their minds when it comes to making a choice in 2012. 

Among women voters, if the economy is the dominant issue, Obama loses.

Even the “Obama Girl” of YouTube fame in 2008 tells Politico that she is “undecided” this time around.

A majority of American voters know that Obama was wrong to block the shovel ready Keystone XL pipeline bringing oil in from friendly Canada and despise the consequence that Canada will sell that oil to China.

A majority of American voters know that low (or no) income tax states have expanding economies and high tax states do not — that Illinois, California and Maryland have not prospered (or even balanced their budgets) by imposing a punitive “millionaires” tax.

A majority of American voters want the border controlled and American jobs reserved for those legally in America.

A majority of American voters want what they had with Ronald Reagan — a “Morning in America” of 22 million new jobs, a rising standard of living, and hope for the future of our children.

But be warned.  That majority will re-elect Obama if the alternative is a socially conservative Republican fixated on gay marriage and contraceptives.

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