Social Conservatives Plot 'Coup' Against GOP over Family Issues

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 08:18 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Social conservatives are plotting a political "coup" on a GOP they deem has gone soft on issues such as gay marriage and abortion, Politico reported Thursday.

Recently, a secret strategy session between leaders of the religious right and its wealthiest backers was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Northern Virginia over ways to enlist mega donors into their "conservative civil war," according to Politico.

During the mini-summit by invitation only, which was closed to reporters, part of the shaping of the master plan included aggressive super PAC spending against Republicans in GOP primaries, holding retreats at the Reagan ranch and holding donor conferences in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

High-ranking retired military officers have been consulted on military tactics that could be applied to campaign spending strategies.

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese and funded by the secretive Council on National Policy, organized the event that brought together conservative groups, Politico reported.

The Republican National Committee, which has focused on Obamacare and other fiscal issues admitted in a 2012 postmortem, "When it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and in deed be inclusive and welcoming," and that the party "must change its tone --- especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters" women and minorities, or face the loss of huge voting blocks.

On Wednesday the GOP committee bolstered its promise with a New Year's resolution to "spend more time welcoming new people.

"As a party, Republicans resolve to make 2014 about engaging with more people in communities all across America," he said. "We’ll spend our time welcoming new people to our party and listening to people in places where we haven’t spent enough time in years past," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

That has raised the hackles of social conservatives, who also see an opening in the recent backlash against the tea party in Congress and disenchantment with established groups such as Karl Rove's Crossroads and the Koch brothers' fiscally conservative agenda, even though these two giants combined raised an impressive $750 million for the 2012 elections, according to Politico.

Attendance at the Ritz hotel event included Gary Bauer’s American Values, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, among others, which all totaled have successfully raised $280 million in 2011 and 2012.

"There are enough people out there that are pro-life and pro-family that have the resources to fund political efforts on those issues and for a variety of reasons they just haven’t stepped up and so we have to do a better job of getting them to step up," Bauer told Politico.

"We’ve been behind the curve and that we need to do a better job of strategic fundraising and working together in order to get more traction on these issues."

Equally important is the long term aim to place a socially conservative Republican presidential candidate to face off with Hillary Clinton.

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