Haley Barbour Faces Backlash, Said Pro-Lifers Should Scrap Social Issues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 9, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Haley Barbour Faces Backlash, Said Pro-Lifers Should Scrap Social Issues

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 9
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is facing a backlash from pro-life advocates after saying at a breakfast on Wednesday that pro-life advocates should ditch social issues this election cycle in favor of focusing on the economy. That didn’t set well with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council.

“Any issue that takes people’s eye off of unemployment, job creation, economic growth, taxes, spending, deficits, debts is taking your eye off the ball,” Barbour said, according to a Daily Caller report.

“But if somebody goes to campaign for governor candidate x, I would hope that somebody would stay focused on the issues that matter to the campaign: jobs, the economy, taxes, spending, debt, deficits,” Barbour continued. “You run down rabbit trails, you’re wasting— you’re using up valuable resources that could be used to talk to people about what they care about.”

Perkins responded saying his experience in the political area is that politicians want to avoid issues with which they are not very comfortable.

"However, just because issues are not important to a candidate does not make them unimportant to voters," he said. "I’ve repeatedly said that economic issues are currently at the forefront of the minds of most voters, but the electorate, especially social conservatives, have the ability to consider a candidate’s view on more than one or two issues."

The FRC president said a large number of conservative and Christian voters make the abortion issue their number one priority when voting.

"Most self-identified, pro-life Americans, the number of which have been increasing over the last 30 years, will decide their vote not on where a candidate stands on a flat tax or a value added tax, but on where a candidate stands on the value of human life," he said in an email LifeNews.com received.

To prove his point, Perkins points to the recent Alaska Senate Republican primary race where pro-life candidate Joe Miller defeated Alaskan political legacy Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The day after the election, Miller told the Anchorage Daily News he thought the pro-life parental notification ballot measure he shared the ticket with brought out voters who supported him over Sen. Murkowski (who was supported by pro-abortion groups).

"The Proposition 2 supporters were our supporters … the pro-life vote was important," Miller said.

Perkins said, "Throughout the campaign, Mr. Miller made his pro-life stance a central part of his primary campaign, while his opponent waffled."

During the breakfast speech, Barbour also said his advice to ignore social issues like abortion is primarily for candidates seeking election in November, even though polling data makes it clear that Republicans, the overwhelming majority of whom are pro-life, are much more enthused about voting than their largely pro-abortion Democratic counterparts.

Barbour was asked about the "truce" potential presidential candidate Mitch Daniels, the Indiana governor, called for on social issues that quickly got him in trouble with pro-life advocates.

Though Barbour is strongly pro-life and has signed pro-life legislation, he said he agreed with Daniels’ sentiment, which Daniels partly walked back in a subsequent interview.

Barbour said a candidate’s stance on abortion “ain’t going to change anybody’s vote this year."

Ultimately, Perkins disagrees and said that not only do social and economic issues go hand in hand but that economic ones are depending on social issues.

"A nation’s economy will never have greater stability than its core economic unit–the family, and the stability of the family is determined by more than money. Family matters and if the Republicans want to succeed where they failed last time, they had better remember that fact," he concluded.


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