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Gary Johnson: Social issues are not going to win the White House

August 19, 2011Posted in Blog, Gov. Gary Johnson, Issue, Spending, Twitter

August, 19, 2011, WASHINGTON, DC - In a speech Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson criticized the “social conservative fringe” of the Republican Party, saying “There is no majority in America that can be built on hypocrisy and inconsistency.”

Johnson said, “Social issues are not going to win the White House in 2012.  When I see Republican Presidential candidates discussing morality as if the government were some type of watchdog and moral compass for America —then I see the American electorate being turned away. America does not want its government dictating behavior the bedroom, we do not want a government invading personal lives. The Republican Party is about efficient management of the government pocket book.  We are the party that can restore economic prosperity to this county. However, if continue to get sidetracked by the social conservative fringe of the party—we will never get that chance.”

“When they look at the field of candidates for President, what do voters really see?  They see: We need to balance the budget, but not too fast.  We need to deal with entitlements, but not enough that anybody really feels a difference.  And yes, we need to cut spending by trillions, but don’t touch defense.  And worst of all, the voters see a Party that says it wants government out of our daily lives, except when it comes to gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, what we do on the internet, or what our families look like.

“If there is one thing the American people – particularly young, not-yet-jaded Americans  — cannot stomach, it is hypocrisy.  If hypocrisy is too harsh, let’s call it inconsistency.  People want their leaders to be consistent – in philosophy, in policy, and in their actions.  That is where too many Republican candidates and leaders have a problem.

“Try building a winning coalition for 2012 on a platform of intolerance.  Try a message that says, we love gay Americans because they are our brothers and sisters, but we don’t think you should really have the same rights as all of us straight people.  Try saying we of course support freedom of religion, but if you’re a Muslim, we’re not sure we want you working for the government.  If you are a woman, of course you should be able to make decisions for yourself – unless you are pregnant.

“A Republican Party that systematically tries to shoehorn Americans into a Norman Rockwell painting is a party that is defying basic fairness, undeniable demographics, and most important, is fundamentally inconsistent with the very values it claims to hold.

“Historically and philosophically, the Republican Party is the party which should be offering a notion of tolerance, truly small government and freedom – and that is why I’m a Republican.  But watching the presidential race today, that is not what voters are hearing.  Rather, in too many cases, they are seeing unadulterated pandering to so-called social conservatives.

“Some candidates who used to be pretty receptive to the notion of gay rights are now signing pledges against gay marriage and otherwise equivocating.  Family values have become a mandatory code phrase in every Iowa speech.

“I am convinced that this obsession with imposing values and legislating morality is leaving a large slice of the American electorate on the sidelines. The result, I fear, is that we Republicans – by the time we run our candidates through the gauntlet of social litmus tests – will end up with a nominee and a perception that will relegate us to a minority status for a generation or more.”

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