Social Conservatives Are Ready to Cut Entitlements. What About You, GOP?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 6 2011 2:13 PM

Social Conservatives Are Ready to Cut Entitlements. What About You, GOP?

My new piece, which is getting a little buried today under the weight of Weiner news, is based on my day at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference , where I asked social conservatives two questions. Should the GOP campaign on entitlement cuts? The answer: Yes. Can they win if they do? The answer: Maybe not, but they should anyway. There's nothing new about a party base demanding more and more of the candidates, but the stick-to-it-ness of social conservatives on entitlements has produced all manner of new ideas for opting out of Medicare and Medicaid.

Also, you have to like Ken Blackwell's honesty.

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"Clean water is important to us," said Blackwell. "Decent housing is important to us. But they're not rights. And we have to begin to say that what's important is that we in a rational way are able to reform these programs in a way to save them. And, yes, if it means that somewhere down the line individuals have to make sacrifices, because the rationalization of the system means we save it, but we are also doing it in a more efficient way. … I don't think too many Americans will object to that. At the end of the day we're going to get back to making sure we're in a position to finance the wars in which we engage. Does that mean we can do that without sacrificing? No. We have to make sacrifices. But what's more important? Our freedom and security or the gluttony of the federal government?"

 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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