The Problem with Socially Liberal Republicans...
I still ask - aside from Abortion and Gay Marriage, what social issues do these people have in mind?
guns? Amnesty? Sex education? condom handouts? needle handouts? What? And, where do things like entitlement programs fall? People who are socially liberal would probably support entitlement programs to "help those less fortunate" but then what about their supposed economic conservatism? these issues don't exist in a vacuum.
I personally am not a social issues voter, but I find that I trust socially conservative politicians to remain conservative much more than I do the opposite. I can't recall, for instance, a socially conservative politician or jurist who "grew" in office to a leftward tilt. I can, however, name a slew of socially liberal GOPers who "grew" once in office to embrace ever more leftist positions.
It's true: Once you've crossed the Rubicon and declared yourself pro-life, by and large you're stuck being a conservative. The New York Times hates you and there's absolutely no reason whatsoever to curry favor with them. There is little chance of "evolution" in office once you've already declared yourself a hopelessly devolved troglodyte.
The pro-life position is not for me a position I favor in and of itself -- but a proxy for other positions I care more about. Judicial restraint, for example: Look, if I were playing the Wishing Game, I might suggest that conservative judges give a pass to Roe v. Wade (just to not upset the political applecart) while ruling conservatively on every other issue. But I'm not playing the Wishing Game. In reality, judges who favor Roe v. Wade favor just about every other example of liberal judicial legislating, and judges who are against Roe v. Wade are against every other example of liberal judicial legislating.
As a general matter (with many exceptions, of course), I'm more comfortable voting for pro-lifers than pro-choicers because pro-choice Republicans seem to be eager to find lots of other shared values with Democrats.
Culture and class is overwhelmingly important in this, and most refuse to acknowledge it. The Christie Todd Whitmans of the party love Bill Weld and hate Sarah Palin. Of course they love Bill Weld-- a liberal Northeastern establishment patrician country-club Republican.
But Sarah Palin? Not quite our class, dear.
Worth reading in full.