Congressman Paul Ryan Latest to Call For Truce on Pro-Life, Social Issues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressman Paul Ryan Latest to Call For Truce on Pro-Life, Social Issues

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin became the latest potential presidential candidate and Republican with a national profile to call for a "truce" on social issues. He joins Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Gov. Hailey Barbour, who called for Republicans to back down on pro-life issues.

They say that, because of the downturn in the economy, Republicans and conservatives should back down on pressing social issues like abortion to avoid potentially turning off voters.

Ryan, the top Republican on the Budget Committee who has a strongly pro-life record and is viewed as a conservative who is very knowledgeable on health care issues, talked about the place social issues have in the election.

"We will agree to disagree on those issues," Ryan said Monday on CNBC. "But let’s rally around the tallest pole in our tent: fiscal conservatism, economic liberty."

That stands in stark contrast to the remarks of several pro-life leaders who spoke at the Values Voter Summit over the weekend. They emphasized that pro-life values can’t be placed behind fiscal concerns.

Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who won the presidential star poll vote from among the 2,000 people who gathered for the event, made it plainly clear what place he thinks social issues have in the party and in the election.

“Now I know some say that Republicans should stay away from such issues this year…that the American people are focused on jobs and spending and our movement would do well to stand aside, bank the win and return to fight after this fiscal and economic crisis has passed," he said.

“But we do not live in a world where an American leader can just focus on our financial ledger. A political party that would govern this great nation must be able to handle more than one issue at a time. We must focus on our fiscal crisis and support our troops. We must work to create jobs and protect innocent human life," he continued.

Pence continued, "To those who say we should focus on cutting spending, I say ‘Ok, let’s start by denying all federal funding for abortion at home and abroad! Stop funding research that destroys human embryos in the name of science, and let’s deny any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America.’"

“We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged. Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life … have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a House divided, America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles," he said. “Men and women, we must demand, here and now, that the leaders of the Republican Party stand for life" and to do so "without apology."

Ryan’s comments come after Daniels told the Weekly Standard the next president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues."

"We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while," by casting social issues like abortion aside so the next president can focus on fixing the beleaguered economy.

Daniels told WS reporter John McCormack "I don’t know," when asked if he would issue the executive order every pro-life president has done by instituting the Mexico City Policy Obama revoked.

That caused such a stir that Daniels was forced to walk back the comments — later telling reporter Michael Gerson he would sign the Mexico City Policy but saying he would stick to his controversial comments calling for a "truce" on abortion.

And Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour faced his own 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.

“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.”

That didn’t set well with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council.

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 received.


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