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'Liberty Caucus' Hopes to Expand Reach of the Republican Party

'Liberty Caucus' Hopes to Expand Reach of the Republican Party

Concerned about calls by social conservatives to use government to enforce 'moral codes,' the Bexar County Repubicans Liberty Caucus seeks to move the Republican Party toward support for more personal freedom, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  "We believe in limited government, fiscally conservative government which is a good steward of the public money, we believe in free enterprise, and we have an emphasis on individual liberty," said Teresa Cleghorn, the Founding Chair of the Caucus, which has been registered as an official Republican Party organization.

  "What people do in their own bedrooms which each other, that's not our business," she said.

  The establishment of the Liberty Caucus is the latest move in a nationwide effort to move the GOP away from the control of social conservatives who have  been the guiding force behind the Republican Party for decades, pushing for limits on reproductive freedom, opposition to same sex marriage, and support for the 'War on Drugs.'

  Cleghorn says the 'War on Drugs' is a good example of where the Liberty Caucus breaks with the mainstream socially conservative Republican Party.

  "This War on Drugs has been extremely expensive and has done nothing to limit the number of drugs, and it has certainly done nothing to limit the number of people who are in prison for non violent offenses," she said.

  Social conservatives date their ascendancy back to the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater's 'Southern Strategy' of the late 1970s, designed to reposition the Republicans in the wake of the Watergate scandal and in the face of the rapidly changing society of the time.

  It became dominant in the GOP in the last decade, when Bush Administration political guru Karl Rove specifically set up ballot measures to ban same sex marriage in 2004, to increase Republican turnout and help George W. Bush win re-election.

  Social conservatives remain dominant in Texas, where the Legislature in 2013 approved strict limits on abortion, refused to expand gambling, and took a largely unanimous position in favor of social conservatism.

  But Cleghorn and other Libertarians say the social issues are repelling younger voters who lean toward the low tax and limited government part of the GOP, but can't align themselves with issues like opposition to gay marriage.  For many millennials, same sex marriage is a 'settled issue' much as desegregation was a 'settled issue' for Baby Boomers who were in their position in the seventies.

 

 

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