More calls for a culture-war truce

MORE CALLS FOR A CULTURE-WAR TRUCE…. It’s been a while, but in the months leading up to the 2006 midterms — the last time a chamber of Congress had a Republican majority — GOP policymakers were intent on making the base happy.

In the three months leading up to Election Day ’06, Republicans voted on an anti-gay constitutional amendment, a flag-burning constitutional amendment, assorted restrictions on abortion rights, new penalties for “broadcast indecency,” and a measure to retain the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Republican lawmakers thought they could gin up the base and salvage the election cycle. It didn’t work, and Democrats soon after won majorities in both chambers.

It’s interesting, then, to see some Republicans urging the party to just skip hot-button culture-war issues altogether in the next Congress.

A gay conservative group and some Tea Party leaders are campaigning to keep social issues off the Republican agenda.

In a letter to be released Monday, the group GOProud and leaders from groups like the Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots, will urge Republicans in the House and Senate to keep their focus on shrinking the government.

“On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement,” they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.”

The letter’s signatories range from GOProud’s co-founder and Chairman Christopher Barron … to Tea Party leaders with no particular interest in the gay rights movement.

It’s amusing, in a way, to see someone urge the GOP to pursue “the principles of the Tea Party movement,” since no one can say with any confidence exactly what they are. Indeed, a significant chunk of the Tea Party activists say they’re involved precisely because they’re interested in social issues. It underscores the problem with pseudo-movements with no real policy agenda — their “principles” are whatever the speaker says they are.

Regardless, the letter comes just months after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) suggested it’s time for a “truce” on culture-war issues.

That didn’t go over well with much of the traditional Republican Party base, and it stands to reason this new effort will draw fire, too. Indeed, just last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was asked about the notion of a “truce on social issues” for awhile. He replied that it’s just not possible for someone to be “a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.”

With that in mind, the intra-right fight should make for compelling viewing. GOProud’s Barron noted, for example, that Jim DeMint wants to ban gay teachers from public school classrooms. “How is that limited government?” Barron asked.

I don’t know, but I’d love to hear the answer.