Are the best fiscal conservatives also social conservatives

DeMint upsets some libertarians because of his culturally conservative views. “Good riddance, Mr. DeMint,” wrote libertarian blogger Andrew Kirell at the website Mediaite, upon the news of DeMint’s early exit.

DeMint is pro-life. So is Ron Paul, who explains that the most basic function of government is to protect the vulnerable from violence.

Also, the big-government side in today’s abortion battles is the “pro-choicers”: The Senate hasn’t tried to curb abortion much in recent years, instead, the fight is over how big the federal subsidies should be for abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Just as with the contraception mandate, the socially conservative position here is “get Washington out of this.”

DeMint opposes gay marriage, but again, the U.S. Senate hasn’t had much to say on the issue.

DeMint did vote against libertarian principles on some prominent issues, such as immigration. But when DeMint offended libertarians, it was mostly with his words. In a 2004 debate, DeMint said he didn’t think open lesbians or women who are pregnant out of wedlock should be teaching. But it never mattered what DeMint thought about who should and who shouldn’t be teaching — in part, because he believes in federalism and he doesn’t want Washington meddling in education.

DeMint upset libertarians when he told Fox in 2010, “You can’t be a fiscal conservative unless you’re also a social conservative.”

DeMint’s wording was very poor, and this is a gross overstatement. But had he been more careful, he would have had a good point.

DeMint and others could make deeper philosophical arguments about family, church and community as counterweights to state power, but there are also the basic facts on the ground: The best fiscal conservatives in politics are all social conservatives. Look at the Club for Growth scorecard again. All the most fiscally conservative senators are pro-life. You have to go down to No. 27 in the Club’s rankings — Mark Kirk — to find a pro-choicer.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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