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Life isn’t just another “social issue”

“Invoking fiery references to Satan, ‘savagery’ and a ‘culture of death’ to criticize their opponents, anti-abortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues…” reported the AP, somewhat erroneously.

This is not an allegation of fraud, just of the usual distortions of deadline journalism. The quotes are accurate, but they warp the whole picture into something barely recognizable.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Huckabee and many others spoke at the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List’s “Campaign for Life” event on Wednesday. The organization’s PAC plans to spend about $10 million in the 2014 midterm elections to elect more leaders sympathetic to the pro-life cause.

The only “social issues” all the speakers agreed on was abortion. In addition to the usual social conservative stalwarts, the event included more eclectic, libertarian-leaning speakers, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and political commentator S.E. Cupp.

Sen. Lee is promoting criminal justice reform which would drastically reduce prison sentences for nonviolent, drug-related crimes. He would rather not see an “intense focus” on the social issue of the War on Drugs.

Yet on Wednesday, Lee said that those who support abortion on demand are part of a “culture of death” that promotes “savagery.” That culture must be resisted and the law changed, he argued.

Crossfire regular Cupp is strongly in favor of gay rights and gay marriage, so much so that she refused to speak at CPAC last year over its exclusion of gay-rights group GOProud. On that prominent social issue, Cupp thinks social conservatives are very wrong and doesn’t shy away from telling them so.

Yet at the Susan B. Anthony gala and summit, Cupp gave a talk to counter the popular Democratic narrative that Republicans are engaging in a War on Women because of their opposition to abortion.

Speaking soon after Cupp, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer accidentally explained how Republicans can be deeply divided over so many social issues but in general agreement about the need to curb abortion.

“Abortion is not a women’s issue. It is not a men’s issue. It is not a health-care issue. It is a violence issue,” she said.

According to surveys, most supporters of the GOP — from Mormon convention-goers to gay friendly, pot smoking hip young Republicans — agree with that sentiment.

For that matter, so do most Americans.

Jeremy Lott About the author:
Jeremy Lott helped found and manage four publications for the Real Clear Politics family of websites. He is the author of three books and an e-book, as well as the recognized ghostwriter of former Maryland governor Marvin Mandel’s memoirs. Follow him on Twitter @jeremylottdiary
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